9 breeds of hairless cats
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Cats are soft, furry balls of love, right? Absolutely! But did you know that there are several types of hairless cats that are just as cute? In fact, many people with cat allergies may find that a hairless cat is just what they need.
Of course, no pet is completely hypoallergenic, as they can still develop dander. However, people with allergies may be better off staying healthy and snot-free with a hairless cat, since there is no hair to cling to dander. You never know…after learning more about these unique felines, you might want to become the proud guardian of the hairless. Besides, the bald head is beautiful!
Let's get straight to these otherworldly delights.
Personality: This feline wonder is the best known hairless cat. As odd as they may look, Sphynx cats are one of the most graceful cats in existence and definitely a bunch of wrinkles you don't want to get rid of. These cats are more than happy to give you plenty of lap times. You will find that they love their family as much as possible.
History: In 1966, a domestic shorthair in Ontario, Canada gave birth to a tiny hairless kitten, who they named Prune. Prune was born without hair due to a naturally occurring genetic mutation. Breeders wanted to see if they could produce more hairless cats from Prune's line; thus, the Canadian Sphynx was born.
Skin Condition: If you think you have no hair and little care, you need to hear the facts first. These cats have soft "down" on their bodies, but it's hard to see or even feel. They usually have some very soft hairs on their ears, nose, tail and feet. However, since they are mostly hairless, their skin needs extra protection from sunburn and frigid temperatures (time for a cute cat sweater!).
Their skin is also oily, so they need to be bathed frequently – but be careful not to bathe them too much . It's a delicate balance because you don't want their skin to dry out. Consult your veterinarian to find out the best strategy.
Fun fact: Contrary to popular belief, Sphinx cats are not hypoallergenic, as these cats still develop dander. However, they are better than longhaired cats for people with allergies because dander does not become trapped or collect in the coat layer.
2. Peter Boulder
Personality: This Russian beauty is very intelligent, curious, and friendly. Peter Bald cats have long legs, almond-shaped eyes, large ears, and a thin whip-like tail. They are sweet cats who get along well with cats, dogs, and children. They're loving, affectionate and loyal, so if you're looking for someone in your fan club, Peterbald is perfect. These cats are certainly not loners, nor do they like to be left alone for long periods of time – they'll let you know that, as they're also quite talkative.
History: The Peter Bald cat breed was developed in Russia in the late 1980s and was accepted by the International Feline Association in 1997 and the World Federation of Felines in 2003.
Skin Condition: Some Peter Bald cats are completely hairless, while others have peachy undercoat, extremely short, bristly hairs, or even plain fur. These beauties need to be bathed frequently; otherwise, their skin will have excess oil, which will attract dirt and leave the skin feeling sticky. However, discuss with your veterinarian how often to bathe them, as every cat is different.
Fun Fact: As a rare breed, the Peterbald is especially sought after. They also love to "talk" so get ready for a talking kitten.
Personality: The Minskin is a cute-looking, curious cat with short legs and little hair. This hairless cat proudly comes in different colors and patterns, so there are plenty of options. These felines are friendly, affectionate, and intelligent. They're also great for kids, dogs, and other cats.
History: What do you get when you meet a Munchkin, a Sphynx, and a handful of Devon Rex and Burmese cats? Minskin! Breeder Paul McSorley started breeding these little sweeties in Boston in 1998. It was accepted as a Preliminary New Breed (PNB) by the International Cat Federation in 2008.
Skin Condition: As with many hairless breeds, their hairless skin can get sunburned easily. They also need protection from the cold.
Fun Fact: Breeding the Minskin (and other Munchkin hybrids) is highly controversial. For example, as International Cat Care explains:
"Cats ( Felis catus ) are not a naturally short-legged species. Mutations that result in short legs may limit a cat's mobility, and in some cases, leg deformities may cause pain and debilitation due to the development of abnormal joints."
Personality: Another Munchkin hybrid, the Bambino is a small but very affectionate lap cat with short legs. Some Bambinos even have furry tails that make them look like a hairless lion cub! Typically weighing no more than 9 pounds, Bambino cats are energetic, playful felines. They don't like to be alone for too long and get depressed easily. However, Bambinos love cats and they are quick to show affection for their human family.
History: Pat and Stephanie Osborne introduced the Bambino cat to the world in 2005. They own a cattery in Arkansas. They crossed sphynx cats with a recessive hairless gene with munchkin cats. Bambinos were accepted as an experimental breed by the International Cat Federation in 2005. However, both the American Cat Fanciers Association and the Cat Fanciers Association refused to accept the Bambino breed for registration because they did not want to encourage genetically abnormal breeding.
Skin Condition: Bambino cats are bald and beautiful, and usually have a very thin, fine undercoat that makes their skin feel like soft suede. These cats need regular baths to protect their skin from dirt, oil, sebum secretions, and other skin conditions.
Fun Fact: The Bambino cat's name comes from the Italian word "Bambino," which means baby. Not only are these hairless cuties small in size, but their tiny features make them look like kittens.
5. Levkoy, Ukraine
Personality: The Ukrainian Levkoy is a noble and refined hairless cat with a slender but muscular body and soft skin. These cats are playful, curious, sociable, and intelligent. They bond quickly with other pets and will even welcome strangers with open arms. They are also quite outspoken, so be prepared to hear their opinion. These rare cats can become anxious and become stressed if left alone for too long. However, they can be soothed by another feline friend. Ukrainian Levkoys need a lot of love and attention, but they will return it with endless cuteness and lots of hugs.
History: The Ukrainian Levokys were bred by Russian breeder Elena Vsevolodovna Birjukova between 2000-2011 and are the result of a Scottish Fold crossed with a Donskoy. As a new and fairly new breed, the Ukrainian Levkoy is not currently recognized by the International Cat Breed Association, but clubs in Russia and Ukraine accept it.
Skin Condition: These cats have stretchy, wrinkled skin that, like some of their brethren, can be prone to yeast infections. Many also do have a thin coat of soft, velvety fur.
Fun fact: Their ears fold toward the face like some dogs do. This is actually where the cats got their name from, as their folded ears look like the folded leaves of the Levkoy plant. It gives them a truly unique look in the world of hairless cats.
Personality: This Russian cat breed makes a great companion, especially if you're looking for a cuddly cat. Donskoy cats are loyal felines and very friendly. They are also affectionate, playful, and gentle with children and other pets, and can be trained well to follow voice commands. However, these adorable kittens are also curious and love to climb, open cupboards and investigate boxes and bags.
History: Russian professor Elena Kovalena rescued a partially depilated kitten from being tortured by a group of boys. The kitten eventually had a litter of kittens of her own, including both fur and hairless kittens. One of the hairless kittens was adopted by professional breeder Irinia Nemikina, who helped breed another hairless cat breed, the Donskoy cat. They are also known as Don Sphinx and Russian Hairless.
Skin Condition: As with other hairless cats, it is better for these cats to gently clean between baths with wipes (made just for pets) than to over-bath them, which can be taxing on their skin.
Fun fact: This cat's hairless nature comes from a dominant mutation in its gene. Some kittens of this breed are born hairless, while some shed as they grow. Donskoy cats will grow more hair to keep them warm in winter, but they will shed once it gets warm again. They are also prone to tooth decay and gum disease, so be sure to brush your cat's teeth.
7. Elf Cat
Personality: Elf cats are a fairly new breed in the feline world. This crossbreed is a bright-eyed, intelligent cat that needs a stimulating environment to keep them happy. The elf cats are new here, but so far owners report that they love to play and get as much attention as possible. They are sweet little extroverts who are kid-friendly, pet-friendly, affectionate and playful. All kinds of not loving?
History: Two breeders and cat lovers, Karen Nelson and Kristen Leedom, were responsible for developing the Elf cat breed. In 2004, they crossed the Sphynx cat with the American Curl cat, hoping to breed a hairless cat with both the iconic curl ears of the Sphynx cat and the elegant shape of the Sphynx cat.
Skin Condition: Their skin is covered with fine fur that makes it hard to see. Like the Sphinx, the Elf cat needs a balanced bathing regimen.
Fun fact: Their ears grow straight up, with the tips curling back slightly, and it looks like they're ready to start flapping them for take-off flight at any moment.
8. Short cat
Personality: These lively "players" love to be with their family. They have a reputation for being extremely playful, with many owners reporting that they behave like miniature dogs. They're friendly, cuddly, and won't sit on the sidelines. So they need a lot of mental stimulation and playtime. These cats are affectionate and want to be involved in your life. Domestic cats love the company of people, so be sure not to leave them alone for long periods of time.
History: The Dwarf is a cross between a Munchkin, a Sphynx and an American Rex. It sounds outrageous, but that's exactly what happened when this hairless cat was "Made in America" in the mid-2000s. The result is a cute little hairless cat with curled ears. Dwarf cats typically weigh no more than 5 pounds!
Skin Condition: They are covered with light down and are very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, so keeping the indoor environment just right will be your goal.
Fun: These cats are energetic, very playful, and very intelligent. You might need one of these kitties to lock your cupboards.
9. Wolf cat
Personality: The Lykoi cat breed is a fairly unique breed of hairless cats, as they usually have hair. Some cats may be full-coated shorthairs, while others are partially hairless. They shed regularly, so even a woolly wolf cat can shed completely in one season. When they shed, they shed whole patches at once, especially around the face, making them look like goofy but cute miniature werewolves. Lykoi cats may look a little scary, but these cats aren't scary at all! These intelligent cats have a cheerful personality and a friendly demeanor, and enjoy interacting with other cats, humans, and even dogs.
History: Oddly enough, while the wolf cat breed is fairly new in the feline world, its distinctive appearance is not an "artificial" trait. It is actually a natural mutation found in rare and random cases in feral cats. In 2010, the mutation was discovered in a population of feral cats in the United States that were bred intentionally to produce more of the "wolf-faced" felines. Over the years, more mutations in feral cats have been reported around the world, helping to add more diversity to the Lykoi breed's gene pool and pedigree.
Skin Condition: Like many other hairless breeds, Lykoi cats must be washed regularly. However, bathing is easy because they don't have much hair.
Fun fact: When Lykoi cats shed, the hair (or lack thereof) on their faces makes them look like werewolves. Their name comes from the Greek word "Lycos", which means wolf.
Caring for a Hairless Cat
It may seem counterintuitive, but hairless cats may require more care than larger, fluffy cats. The fur on a fluffy cat helps absorb the oils produced by the skin, which is why they don't need to be bathed as often. Hairless cats, on the other hand, don't have this extra help with their skin oils, which is why they need to be bathed regularly. However, be sure to use a shampoo designed for cats, as their skin is sensitive.
All hairless cats need to live indoors due to their delicate skin. Exposure to these elements can have devastating effects. If you take your cat outside, or even if they like to sunbathe indoors (which cats love to do), be sure to invest in some feline sunscreen (made just for cats) to protect their delicate skin and provide Put on a shirt or jacket. You certainly don't want your adorable bald baby getting a sunburn in the safety of your own home!
Make sure your cat has a soft sweater to wear in the cold and a warm enough place to snuggle. Kitty clothes also protect them from accidental scratches by roommates. With no hair, their skin is vulnerable to almost anything, so some protective armor is needed.
Finally, our hairless feline friends have fast metabolisms, so they may eat larger meals than other felines. Be sure to keep this in mind when preparing dinner, as hairless breeds are prone to obesity if not monitored.
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about the author
For 10 years I have been a professional writer with a special focus on nature, wildlife, ethnozoology and the human-animal relationship. My areas of interest include human-animal studies, ecocriticism, wildlife conservation, pets, and animal behavior. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a master's degree in comparative studies, focusing on the relationship between humans and the natural world. In my spare time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors, watching movies, reading, creating art, and taking care of my pets. Nothing makes me happier than spending a day in the company of animals.
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- International Cat Care, available here: https://icatcare.org/advice/munchkin/
- Cat Lovers Association, available here: https://cfa.org/lykoi/
- Rare Feline Registry, available here: https://www.rareexoticfelineregistry.com/elf-cat/
- Cat Lovers Association, available here: https://cfa.org/sphynx/