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Types of Peterbald hair

There are several types of a skin/hair/coat a Peterbald can have, ranging from totally naked cat (much more naked than Sphynx, for example) to a "brush" kind of hair, which is somewhat similiar to a normal cat's hair. With any type of those, a cat is still Peterbald if she looks the way standard describes it.

(1) Completely hairless cats (also called "rubber cats" or "gummy cats"). The kittens of these type are born absolutely hairless. Their skin is soft, warm and almost sticky to the touch, forming charming wrinkles on all body. Completely hairless Peterbald kittens are usually (not always though) born with open eyes and without whiskers and eyebrows. For people who have allergy from cat's hairs most advisable option is completely hairless Peterbald, though it's still not 100% guarantee there won't be allergy.

There's some genetic-related discussion in Peterbalds-fanciers community. Some people tend to think that completely hairless Peterbalds are homozygous on the hairlessness gene, meaning that every kitten of that cat will have at least one of those genes too, and, effectively, have one of Peterbalds type of hair too. This opinion isn't confirmed at the moment, as all of suspected homozygous cats who were mated with Oriental shorthairs or Siamese cats, produced a kittens with normal hair. Since kittens have normal hair, they don't have hairlessness gene at all, therefore their mother (or father) is heterozygous, not homozygous.

(2) Flock. "Flocked" hair is short, fine down made of sparse rather little hairs. When you look at "flocked" part of the body from some distance (0,5 meters and longer) you don't actually see hairs on there (especially on light-colored cats), but if you touch it with hand you will momentarily note that it isn't "gummy", it's somewhat other, smoother sensation. Some breeders like to differentiate two subtypes of flock, usual flock and extra-short flock that is one little step from gummy skin. Still, from times to times hairs may very from one of those subtypes to another (with age, pregnancy and other factors).

It's useful to know that even flocked cats may have longer type of hair ("velour" or "brush") on some areas of the body. Usually it's points and tail. Flocked and velour cats may (though some don't) lose hair when they are growing up, right to two years. Usually down becomes shorter and finer on the backbone, from head towards tail.

(3) "Velour". Velour type of hair is made of 1-3 mm hairs, closely put one to another. Usually you can see those hairs from middle distance and when you touch a cat with a hand it's still somewhat smooth sensation, though hand get some resistance when you move it over skin, you sense some short hair (which you don't with flock). From longer distances you can notice "velour" by light's shining on the hair. Light doesn't shine on flock and hairless skin.

(4) "Brush". These are curly hairs, longer than velour. From even middle distance you can't say a brush cat is hairless. She is hairy, though curly. When you touch brush hair, it's absolutely unlikely to anything naked, it's just a soft or hard hair, short or lengthy. Brush cats have curly whiskers, which differs them from cats with normal hair, sometimes also called "straight hairs".

Sometimes a cat can be "brush-point", that is she have brush kind of hair on legs and tail and velour (or even flocked!) on other parts of the body.

Main thing is, there are no just 4 strictly defined groups of hairs, those groups are somewhat diffusive, you can't always tell if it's flock of velour, if it's extra-short flock or usual flock and so on. There's plenty of interim cases.

And final note, when you're not sure what kind of hair your cat is, check a legs (not tail) and decide upon its analysis.

Text by Pavel Kirillov,

Klazeekats Romeo (brush coat)