Whether your cat is a purebred Peterbald, or a Peterbald mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a Peterbald and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.
If you like the look of an oriental shorthair cat but prefer a bald or almost-bald cat for allergy reasons, the Peterbald cat breed may be right for you. This relatively new cat breed retains many of the best characteristics from its ancestral history, including a playful and intelligent demeanor and good overall health. But there are a few things you should keep in mind before adopting a Peterbald into your home.
While the word “bald” is in the name, not all Peterbald cats are actually hairless. There are five different coat types associated with the breed: bald, flocked, velour, brush and straight, Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, explains.
Bald, of course, is the completely hairless version of the breed, while the other four coat types each boast progressively more (and longer) hair, with the straight version being a typical short-haired coat. “Their skin and coat can be any color and pattern,” Dr. Singler says, going on to explain the other common characteristics: “Peterbald cats are small to medium-sized cats, with females usually only weighing 5 to 7 pounds. Their body type is slender and muscular, and they have large, erect ears and almond-shaped eyes.”
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A Peterbald might be a good adoption choice if you’re looking for a cat with a dog-like personality. These cats are intelligent and athletic, like learning tricks, playing games and spending time with their humans.
“Peterbald cats are loyal, affectionate and docile. They’re often said to be dog-like in their tendency to follow their parents and anyone who comes into their home, ” Dr. Singler shares. “Even though they’re gentle and docile, they’re also curious, full of energy and love to play.”
This combination of character traits makes them good family pets, as they also tend to get along with children and other animals.
Given the short history of the Peterbalds (2024 will mark its 30th year as a recognized breed) and the fact that they're a relatively uncommon breed, Dr. Singler says that there are “no known specific health problems associated with the breed at this time.”
That said, if you’re the parent of one of the hairless or almost-hairless varieties, you should know that they will be more sensitive to extreme hot and cold temperatures. This means that Peterbalds are better off kept inside, particularly during heat waves or cold snaps, and may be prone to skin irritation or sun exposure.
Also, the breed’s hairless nature may lead to another semi-unexpected side effect. “Peterbald cats are said to have a higher-than-average metabolism, so their energy and nutrient needs may differ from those of other cats,” Dr. Singler says. “They may need to eat more than other cats their same size, but it’s best to check with a veterinarian before increasing the amount they’re fed.”
Are you interested in adopting a Peterbald cat, a Peterbald cat mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.
The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.
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