Hairless cat lovers tune in! This Cat Breed Corner star is ready to invade your personal space, steal your heart, and even make friends with the family dog. If you need a Peterbald-friendly Cat Sitter, or elsewhere, Mad Paws will connect you with the best!
The history of our cat in question starts with one woman: Olga S. Mironova. In 1993 in St. Petersburg, this cat breed enthusiast crossed her beloved Oriental Shorthair, named Radma Vom Jagerhof, with her other beloved Don Sphynx, Afinguen Myth.
The result was a litter of adorably Shorthair-looking kittens with little-to-no hair. These experimental kitties were a success, and cat lovers all around Russia started taking an interest in the hairless breed. So, Olga selected one of the brood, whom she named Nocturne Iz Murino, as well as three from subsequent litters, to serve as the foundation of a new cat breed. Over time, Siamese were also used to diversify the gene pool.
And when it came time to name the brand new breed, what else could she call them but a clever take on their place of origin? Peterbald was the perfect title.
By 1997, the International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the Peterbald breed, giving the cat hope for eventual champion status in 2005. With that status, these unique felines gained acceptance into major TICA competitions.
Today, the Peterbald is still a pretty rare breed, and you won’t find them in many homes outside of Russia. But we can anticipate that these cats are only going to get more popular as more people learn about them. When you hear about their wonderful personality, you might fall in love, too!
To understand this cat’s personality, it’s useful to revisit the characteristics of the Peterbald’s predecessors.
Let’s start with the cat who provided the hairless gene: the Don Sphynx. You may also know these cats by their many other names—the Donskoy, Russian Hairless, or the Don Hairless. These cats are known for being sweetly affectionate and mild-mannered. They’re as loyal and people-oriented as any doggo, and they’ve got an intelligence level that will wow you.
The Don Sphynx is also very playful and energetic, and they’ll recruit any and all house members to join in their games. They enjoy company and don’t like to be left alone for too long.
Now, how about the Oriental Shorthair? Well, like the Don Sphynx, they’re also incredibly intelligent, lively, and playful. According to studies, they may be even more attention-seeking and clever than the Don Sphynx. They simply will not be left out of the fun.
That leaves us with the Siamese. If you thought this breed might add a touch of calm to the Peterbald, you’d be wrong. Siamese, as close relatives of the Oriental Shorthair and Don Sphynx, are equally active and filled with personality. In fact, they consistently rank among the smartest cat breeds. This helps to explain how they can stir up so much trouble for an inexperienced Cat Owner.
What does all this mean for the Peterbald? Well, things will never be boring around this cat! They’re likely to follow where their curiosity takes them, whether that means learning how to open the treat drawer or setting up a lively game of pounce on the family dog. They’re affectionate and loving towards their Owners, so don’t expect to have any personal space with this breed. And just like you wouldn’t want to leave a pupper home alone, this cat should also be left in the care of a friendly Cat Sitter while you’re away. After all, this isn’t your average independent cat—even a few hours alone can upset them.
And, of course, they’re smart. If you’re not able to think two steps ahead of this clever cat, you might find the mischief level difficult to manage.
Like other highly intelligent cat breeds, the Peterbald is a very trainable feline. Not only will they jump at the opportunity to spend quality time with their favourite humans, but they’ll also revel in the spotlight!
The tricky part about training a Peterbald is figuring out how to reign in that energy. They’re so quick-witted and curious that they might try to entice you to play their games instead of focus on what you want them to do.
To keep them engaged, then, you’ll want to keep your training sessions fun, fast-paced, and short. Appeal to them by using their favourite treats, and consider clicker training, which will provide them with clear audio cues.
Also, you’ll have the most success if you can schedule your training sessions after this cat has had an energetic play session. After burning off some of that extra steam—not so much that they want to snooze, but enough to tire them slightly—this cat will be ready to focus.
Remember that this is a people-loving cat. They love the treats, of course, but they love their Owners even more. So, be sure to smother them with positive praise and affection when they’ve completed a task correctly. On the flip side, if the training session starts to go off the rails, it’s better to take a break than reprimand your feline friend.
With these considerations in mind, the sky’s the limit for training a Peterbald cat. They’ll quickly master basic commands like sit and stay, and you can even teach them more complex tricks, like fetch, rollover, and shake. Dogs move aside because the Peterbald cat can learn all the classics!
From what we’ve learned about this special cat so far, It’s no surprise that the Peterbald has a lot of energy! As such, this cat needs a packed workout schedule. The best way to give this kitty proper exercise is with active play that will get them jumping, climbing, and stalking.
And luckily, finding out which games your Peterbald likes best shouldn’t be too much work. This cat will either be enthusiastic about the workout routine you’ve laid out for them or ignore you completely for their preferred pursuits.
So, be ready to test out a few different kinds of play to find out what your Peterbald likes. Maybe they’ll be excited to chase after a feather toy. Or, perhaps they’ll go wild for a bouncy ball. Some Peterbalds are even confident enough to explore the outside world on-leash. Whatever form of exercise is most engaging for your Peterbald, be prepared to make it part of your daily routine. Otherise, this clever cat will be sure to make enough trouble to entertain themselves!
In terms of living conditions, this breed does have a few requirements. On the one hand, without a full coat, they are more vulnerable to temperature extremes than other cats. They won’t do well in households that are too cold, and in bright, sunny climates, they’re at high risk of sunburn. The perfect environment for them would be a cozy home, where they won’t have unsupervised time outside. An enclosed outdoor space with plenty of shade, such as a catio or a cat play tent, would also be a great snoozing spot for a Peterbald.
Are you looking to create the perfect Peterbald playground inside? If so, you’ll want to make sure that there are plenty of ledges and high perches scattered around the house. This will give them a chance for some exercise while also granting them a comforting bird’s eye view.
Remember that this is a clever cat breed, so some precautions may need to be taken to Peterbald-proof your home. Child locks may need to be installed on doors, drawers, and cupboards that you don’t want this smart cat breaking into. That said, with regular exercise to tide them over, the more likely this furry friend will spend their days napping instead of exploring.
One final thing to know about the Peterbald is that they are vocal cats. Thanks to their chatty predecessors, this cat breed is known to use a wide variety of meows, whines, and yowls to get their point across. While their extensive vocalisations are great for understanding their mood, they may not create the ideal work-from-home environment.
As a relatively new breed, these cats have benefitted from an increased awareness around genetics and thoughtful breeding. Of course, all cats will have unique health needs, but in general, this is a healthy breed that doesn’t suffer from many inherited medical problems.
That said, any hairless or very short-haired cat like the Peterbald can experience some skin issues. In particular, the lack of a coat can make this feline more vulnerable to sun damage or injuries. And, they need regular bathing to lower the risk of bacterial infections or blocked oil glands. A rare condition called Feline Ectodermal Dysplasia can also be passed down with hairless breeds like the Peterbald.
And, while it will be easier to monitor this cat’s healthy weight because of the lack of fur, nutrition should still be a top concern. A cat as active as the Peterbald needs a good source of protein and nutrients for top purrformance!
Grooming & Care ✄
Not all Peterbalds are, well, bald. In fact, according to their breed standard, they come in multiple coat varieties, the most common being naked, chamois, flock, brush, and straight. The genetics of these different coats can determine how you will care for this unique cat, so it’s worth taking a closer look:
Peterbalds who are born hairless are perhaps the most striking within the breed. They are likely to remain hairless throughout their lifetime, and will need weekly or monthly bathing to manage the levels of oils in their skin. Additionally, you might come across what’s called an Ultra Bald Peterbald, which doesn’t have whiskers or eyelashes. In this case, you’ll also want to take extra care in cleaning the eyes.
The peach-fuzz Peterbalds are called Chamois or Flock (or Velour), and they are anywhere from 70-90% hairless. They are velvety soft to the touch, as what fur remains is made up of a downy underlayer instead of the outer guard hair. These silky cats will also need regular bathing.
Brush is the next category, and consists of one of the more unique coats in the cat kingdom. Brush Peterbalds have a short, wiry coat that is at least 5mm long, and curly whiskers. Because the Brush Peterbald carries the gene for hairlessness, it’s common for them to lose what hair they have during the first few years.
Finally, we’ve got the Straight Peterbald, sporting the traditional Oriental Shorthair coat. These soft kitties do not carry the hairless gene, and are disqualified for competition. But they are much easier to groom than the other Peterbald varieties! An occasional brushing with a soft-bristled brush is plenty to maintain their short, shiny coat.
Aside from the Straight Peterbald, these uniquely coated cats will also need a one-of-a-kind grooming routine. If your Peterbald is experiencing skin irritation, it’s best to get a vet’s recommendation on grooming techniques.
You may also find that keeping those claws trimmed will prevent this sensitive-skinned cat from hurting themselves!
One of the most distinctive things about the Peterbald is their huge bat-like ears! The kittens especially seem to be all ears, and you may wish that they could continue to be so comically disproportionate for their whole lives.
Fortunately, Peterbalds never really grow into those wings. They will continue to be large and adorable even as adults.
Final Thoughts on the Peterbald
Courageous, affectionate, goofy, and athletic, the Peterbald is sure to be the centre of attention in any household. They have a wonderful habit of making friends with everyone, as well as a slightly challenging tendency of making a game out of everything.
Luckily, training is enjoyable, and you’ll overlook any mischief this cat makes once you see how lovingly loyal they are. To avoid leaving them alone for too long, it pays to leave them in the care of a Pet Sitter.
In short, can you summon the energy to keep them active and schedule in a few baths per month? If so, you enjoy one of the most charming and unique cat breeds in the world!