Peterbald Cats: Characteristics, Origin & more Details

The modern, hairless masterpiece 

The Peterbald is one of the youngest recognized cat breeds in the world. 

This breed was first bred in 1994 in Russia by cross-breeding an Oriental Shorthair and a Don Sphinx. The Peterbald was officially recognized as a separate breed in 1997. 

The result? A curiously short-to-no-haired, regal-looking cat that is highly affectionate and sociable, more so than either the Sphinx or the Oriental. The Peterbald is the best of both ancestors, carrying the unusual hairlessness of the Sphinx and the friendly demeanor of the Oriental Shorthair. 

Peterbald
Peterbald

Quick facts about the Peterbald

Weight: 6 to 10 pounds Height: 8 to 12 inches
Life span: 12 to 15 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: social | affectionate
Playfulness: high Activity level: active
Vocalness: frequent Coat length: hairless short
Shedding amount: occasional
Good with: kids | seniors | dogs | other cats | families
Traits: Peterbald cats are hypoallergenic and easy to groom. They are also friendly toward humans, other pets and strangers. They have strong loyalty to their owner.

Peterbald’s have long, lithe bodies (taken from their Oriental predecessors) and dexterous toes, wrinkled skin, and varying amounts of hair, as their Sphinx predecessors. 

The variable coat of this lovely cat is worth taking notice of. 

Besides the more obvious variations in coat color, Peterbald’s have striking differences in the types of hair that they can grow. 

Peterbald’s coat comes in a variety of lengths and textures: 

  • Completely hairless save for fine hair on the face and paws 
  • Ultrafine, fuzzy velour type fur covering the entire body 
  • The downy, soft fur of differing lengths throughout the skin 
  • A full coat of wiry guard hair, with patchy variations in the length 
  • “Straight coat” — A Peterbald with a classical feline coat

It is important to note, however that these coats can and do change throughout the cat’s life. 

The more hairless the Peterbald you own, the more stringent the skincare routine must be. 

Peterbalds are highly susceptible to changes in temperature, sunburn easily and are prone to skin infections, all relating to their lovely hairlessness. Keeping them as indoor cats is a great way to combat this, as well as monitoring playtime with other animals to limit scratches to the skin. 

Peterbald

While the Peterbald’s skin has a natural oil layer that protects it, weekly baths (or at least wipe downs with a warm damp cloth) are important to minimize the risks of acne and other skin irritations. 

This point is minor, however, especially if your motives for owning a Peterbald are house pet-related. 

These loving cats live to be between 12-15 years and are well-known for their strong familial bonds. Well-known for following family members around the house all day long, Peterbald’s are energetic and chatty and make a joyful addition to any home-loving family. 

Be careful not to leave this cat alone for extended periods, as they do suffer from separation anxiety. Gentle companionship is what these modern cats truly desire. 

Origin

Russia

Health

Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

The Peterbald cats have a striking resemblance with the Oriental shorthair cats because they were created from a cross of the Oriental shorthair and a Don Sphynx cat. Known for the presence of the hair-losing gene, Peterbald cats are sometimes born hairless, while those with hair eventually shed the coat off as they age and take the bald and hairless appearance.

Native to Saint Petersburg in Russia, Peterbald cats are an affectionate and highly energetic cat breed, with a life expectancy of 10-15 years. Because of their genetic pool, the Peterbald cats are naturally healthy with very few health conditions.

Aside from being prone to environmental conditions like sunburns or extreme cold due to baldness, the Peterbald cat is known for only one inherited condition known as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). 

Progressive retinal atrophy is an inherited medical condition affecting the eyes of the Peterbald cats caused as a result of the autosomal recessive mutant gene.

This condition causes the degeneration of light-sensitive photoreceptors present in the retina, leading to poor vision or even outright blindness in the Peterbald cats.

The retina is a thin layer of tissue present at the end of the eye containing photoreceptors known as rods and cones. These receptors play roles in how images appear in the Peterbald cats. 

Due to the mutant gene CEP-290, Peterbald cats with Progressive Retinal Atrophy may show some signs like;

● Gradual loss of vision.

● Inability to see clearly in low or dim lights.

● Complete loss of sight.

● Extreme pupillary dilation.

● Cats may feel uncomfortable in dark places.

Because this condition is progressive in nature, meaning it can go from poor vision to losing sight. It is essential to schedule a quick visit to your veterinarian once these signs are observed in the Peterbald cats.  

Your veterinarian could ask for further history to nail a diagnosis. Other eye tests and examinations may also be carried out on the Peterbald cats.

Also, a DNA test could be carried out by your veterinarian to screen for the defective gene causing progressive retinal atrophy in the Peterbald cats. In cases where progressive retinal atrophy is confirmed, removing such Peterbald cats from breeding programs is essential.

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