The bare essentials of the feline form are found in the elegant naked Peterbald. The incomparable cat from Russia with its graceful long body lines and engaging personality is as rare a gem as the famed Faberge eggs. The coat ranges from a totally smooth bald skin through a velour texture to a unique short brushy coat. The slim, elegant lines, the love and trust shining from its eyes and its hypnotizing movements make this cat a piece of living art that mesmerizes all who meet it. Gently taking your face in their slender paws, these bat-wing-eared cats steal your heart as they favor you with caresses and non-stop purrs.
The Peterbald developed from a cross between the Donskoy and the Oriental Shorthair and its history is entwined with that of the two parent breeds. In February 1986, a woman named Elena Kovaleva rescued a tiny fluffy tortoiseshell kitten from some boys and it home with her, naming it Varvara. At 4 months, Varvara slowly began to lose her hair, starting with her head and moving down her back. Fearing an illness, Elena took Varvara to the vet but when all treatments failed, they left her alone because she was otherwise very healthy. By 1993, after several litters, each with either bald, balding or brush coated kittens, it became clear that this was a unique gene. The Oriental Shorthair was developed to explore color and pattern on a cat with the type of the Siamese but with full body color rather than point restriction.
In 1993 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Afinguen Myth, a brown mackerel tabby Donskoy with a refined look, was bred to a tortoiseshell Oriental female named Radma Vom Jagerhof. The resulting offspring were very popular in St. Petersburg and quickly became known as Peterbalds. New lines developed as more people crossed the Peterbalds with Donskoy, Oriental Shorthairs and Siamese. The Peterbald combines the Donskoy's balding gene with the elegance of the Siamese and Oriental Shorthair to create a distinctly different feline with a graceful outline, large, low-set, bat-like ears and a blunt wedge. TICA accepted the Peterbald into the new breed process in 1997 and recognized it for championship status in 2005.
The highly intelligent, affectionate Peterbald will entertain you with its playful antics. These are active cats whose grace and athleticism will never cease to amaze you as they perform an aerial ballet in their games. They are inquisitive, playful cats who investigate everything and invent their own games for their entertainment but are happy to include you. Devoted to their owners, they want to spend as much time in your company as possible and miss you when you are away. Highly sociable cats, they get on with people, children, dogs and other pets but need company and should not be left alone for long periods. These irresistible cats will entertain you with their games, love you with all their heart, and delight you with their unwavering enthusiasm for life.
Peterbald coats are divided: Bald and Hairy: Bald is further divided into Ultra Bald, Flock or Chamois, and Velour; Hairy into Brush and Straight. Ultra Bald kittens are born without hair and never grow any. Their soft skin is warm and sticky to the touch with no whiskers or eyebrows. They prefer a massage to stroking. Flock or Chamois Peterbalds are 90% hairless with no visible hair and feel smooth to the touch. These silken-skinned cats have no coat resistance when you stroke them and no sense of stickiness. They may have down on the extremities while their whiskers and eyebrows will be kinked, curled, and/or broken. The Velour cat is 70% hairless with a coat up to 1mm in length. It looks completely hairless from a distance but has some resistance when stroked. When sparse, the skin is clearly visible but if dense, the coat shines giving the cat a sleek look. As these cats age, the Velour coat may change to a Flock/Chamois coat. Brush coats have wiry hair ranging from barely wavy to almost curly with an irregular texture and are up to 5mm long. A kitten with a light brush may change to a bald coat by age 2 but kittens with a heavy, dense brush will always have a brush coat. The whiskers are always curled or kinked. Straight coated Peterbalds do not have the hair loss gene and have short close-lying coats and normal, straight whiskers.
Svelte, graceful, elegant are the words that come to mind when looking at the Peterbald. Long, almost tubular bodies; long, fine, spider-like legs; long, whippy tail; long, graceful neck, long, straight profile-from head to toe and nose to tail the Peterbald is long. The slender frame is covered with a strong musculature that ripples as the cat engages in its aerial play. The extra large ears are set very low on the head reminding one of bat wings and to balance the ears, the long wedge ends in a blunt muzzle rather than a pointed one. The oval paws are webbed with long agile fingers and toes that the Peterbald uses to grasp objects.
Like people, they need regular bathing to remove grease and dirt so it does not build up on their skin making it look grimy and they will leave residue where they sleep. Ultra bald cats are oilier and need more frequent bathing than the other coat types. Pay special attention to keep the ears and nail beds clean as residue can build up quickly in these areas. Some cats may require daily cleaning of their tail to prevent blackheads. Human skin burns in strong sunlight and so does the Peterbald's so make sure you limit their exposure or use a sunblock.
If you are allergic to cats, the lack of coat does not necessarily mean that you will not be allergic to a Peterbald. Allergic reactions are triggered by different proteins-some may be from saliva, some from coat, and some from the skin dander. Make arrangements to spend time in the company of some Peterbalds to see if they trigger a reaction.
Health Issues Common to Peterbald
All pedigreed cats have some sort of health problem, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either lying or is not knowledgeable about the breed. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
Peterbalds are generally healthy and do not appear to have major genetic problems, though some suspect that the dominant genetic mutation causing hairlessness could cause feline ectodermal dysplasia. It’s always wise to purchase a cat from a breeder who offers a written health guarantee.
Pet Insurance for Peterbald
Pet insurance for purebred cats costs more than for mixed breed cats. This is because a purebred cat is more likely than a mixed breed cat to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which purebred cats are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your cat is when he’s a healthy kitten. You can’t predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.