All About The Siberian Cat

Everything You Need to Know about Siberian Cats

Breed Characteristics

Although it is generally considered a rare breed, Siberian cats are gaining popularity and interest from cat lovers around the globe.

People are mesmerized by the sheer size and regal look of the Siberian that complements its engaging and audacious temperament.

On the surface, the Siberian simply seems to be a beautiful creation that just so happens to be friendly enough to be a pet.

However, there is much more to this magnificent breed than meets the eye.


Siberians are known as the housecat of Russia.

They originated in Siberia, although it is not clear when they first came to exist.

It is estimated that they have been around for nearly 1,000 years. Initially, Siberians acted as a sort of rodent control for farms and store shops.

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However, because of their striking appearance, it wasn’t long before they became centerpieces for cat shows and competitions.

It may be surprising to learn that Siberians were not introduced to the US until 1990.

Elizabeth Terrell was a US cat breeder that focused mainly on Himalayans. After stumbling upon some photographs of Siberians, Terrell was very interested in breeding those as well.

The first Siberian cats were brought to the US as part of a trade deal between a Russian breeder and Terrell, who helped mainstream the breed in the US.

Now, Siberian cats are recognized as part of the International Cat Association and are regular participants in international cat shows.

Size and Appearance

How to Identify a Siberian Cat
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The size and appearance of the Siberian cat are definitely what sets it apart from other breeds.

The overall design of this breed is to be able to survive in the harsh climate of Siberia where it was first introduced. To put it simply, Siberians are a very large and tough breed.

The average weight is between 14 to 21 pounds with males being larger than females. Their muscular build is matched with a long, thick coat that is adaptable to harsh, cold climates. Siberian cats require a well balanced diet to maintain their beautiful long coat.

The coat can come in a wide variety of colors and has an oily texture making it water-resistant.
At first glance, a Siberian Cat looks very similar to a Maine Coon.

However, the distinct differences are that Siberians have a more overall rounded appearance in shape and body.

If you look closely, Siberian cats have rounded, rather than triangle-shaped ears. Fur covers the tops of the ears, giving them a pointed look, and hair is found inside the ear which is an added layer of protection from the cold.

While the coat and size of the Siberian are sturdy and strong, the facial features add a level of softness. The rounded eyes come in a variety of colors and can range from blue, green, or yellow. Some have even been noted as having two different colored eyes!

Personality and Temperament

The Siberian personality is usually friendly and adventurous. This breed does especially well with people, other cats, and even dogs!

Siberians enjoy the company of their family and make excellent companions with their calm demeanor and quiet sounds.

However, while Siberians are mellow and easy-going, they do have a very playful personality. They are known for their sense of adventure and agile ability.

It is not uncommon to see a Siberian jump and somersault while chasing a toy. They enjoy the challenge of learning new tricks, and some have even learned how to play fetch.

To keep a Siberians happy, it is important to engage in playtime and challenge them with learning new tricks.


Siberian cats are hearty animals, so they are healthy. However, they are susceptible to one disease in particular: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

This is the most common form of hereditary heart disease in cats. Essentially, the disease causes thickening around the heart which leads to some health problems and can cause death.

Breeders should screen for HCM, and an interested buyer should be able to have verified results of those tests. For professional breeders, it is not recommended to get Siberians who have not been tested for HCM.


The appearance of Siberian cats may seem to require extensive grooming. However, while the cat does have a long, thick coat, it does not tangle or mat easily.

Weekly brushing will keep the coat in good condition. However, during the spring months, while the cat is shedding its winter coat, it is important to brush the cat daily.

While it is not necessary to regularly bathe your cat since they manage their coats quite successfully, Siberians do not mind baths.

Occasional bathing can help reduce the chance of sickness and keep the coat fresh and clean. Other than that, it is important to maintain regular care such as trimming nails and monitoring the cats teeth and ears.

Siberian Cats Allergies

While there is no scientific backing, many people classify Siberians as hypoallergenic. Some people have reported mild reaction or no reaction to Siberian cats.

Some of this may be because Siberians have a lower FeD1 occurrence in their saliva.

When a cat licks its fur, the FeD1 in the saliva develops dander. A large portion of people who are allergic to cats are so because of the pet dander.

However, because Siberians have a lower occurrence rate of FeD1 in their saliva, people may be less likely to react to it.

If you are allergic to cats, but would like to own a Siberian cat, it is important to test out your reaction before committing. Allergic reactions can vary from person to person and cat to cat.

Human Sensitivity to Siberian Cats

Because Siberians have been tested and proven to have a low occurrence of the FelD1 enzyme in their saliva, many allergy sufferers who have a sensitivity to this enzyme are not affected as much with a Siberian. Spend a few hours with one and find out how you react.

Approximately 95 percent of the people that come out to test themselves with a Siberian have little or no reaction. It is best to test with the actual Siberian that you are getting.

Some breeders will send fur samples, but this does not always work. There are no guarantees, but there is hope for allergy sufferers.

Some people who have reacted to Siberian cats went on to get acupuncture with good results. This is usually worth their while, because after having a Siberian kitten or cat, it is very difficult to live without one.

The therapeutic value of having a cat is well documented, and those with allergies can now, usually have one, with minimal effects.

Common Facts

As we have discussed here, Siberians are certainly an intriguing breed. Here are a few more things you should know:

They love water! In fact, if you acquaint Siberian kittens to water at an early age, they will most likely be lifelong water lovers.

They are known for their sensitivity. Some Siberians have been noted as being great emotional supporters.

Siberians do not physically mature until they are five years old.

Siberians have been said to have more of a dog-like personality.

The most common Siberian color is the golden tabby.

Many breeders agree that Siberians are most comfortable in a well-enclosed, safe outdoor living area.

Siberians have a unique triple purr sound.

A Siberian cat’s lifespan is 12-16 years

Siberian Cat colors and patterns

The Siberian is recognized in a wide variety of colors and patterns including color pointed. Chocolate, Cinnamon, Caramel and the according dilute colors (Lilac, Fawn, and Apricot) are not accepted in any pattern combinations (solid, bi-color, tri-color, tabby or color pointed) as Siberian cats.

Burmese or Tonkinese color are also not accepted. Any amount of white is allowed, (i.e. white on paws, chest, belly, blaze, locket etc.) on all patterns and colors including the color pointed variety.

The color pointed variety can be called Neva Masquerade. Allowance should be made for belly spots and shading on color points

Popular Siberian cat colors.

  • Gray and white Siberian cat
  • Red Siberian cat
  • Silver Siberian cat
  • White Siberian cat
  • Yellow Siberian cat
  • Black Siberian cat
  • Black white Siberian cat
  • Blue eyed Siberian cat
  • Blue lynx Siberian cat
  • Gold Siberian cat

Overview & Addtional Resources

siberian cat

Although Siberians are not well-known, they are in fact a wonderful breed. Siberians are the perfect combination of power and agility.

Not only are they one of the most beautiful cat breeds available, but they are adventurous and fun.

It is no surprise that the breed is gaining popularity, and more and more people are choosing Siberians as their companions. So rest assured you will have a great pet, for lots of fun-filled moments.

Tell us all about your awesome Siberian in our comments section below!

37 thoughts on “All About The Siberian Cat

  1. AvatarJay Jorgenson

    I thought it was really cool what was said about how humans have low sensitivity to Siberian cats! My best friend is horribly allergic to cats and so I might look into this for him. It’s sad that he’s a animal lover, but very allergic to them.

    1. AvatarMechelle

      I am allergic to most cats however I have a 14 year old Siberian baby and have never had problem at all. I didn’t even know they were ” nonallergenic”. I just knew from day one I never had a symptom and she’s in my face, literally, all the time. Your friend would love one if he’s an animal lover.

  2. AvatarAshley Benson

    I have a Siberian and she is SO affectionate! I was not expecting her to be so snuggly! I just wanted to add that to the list.

  3. AvatarLisa

    Has anyone had the experience of allergies developing to a Siberian cat over time? Even though initially the reaction was very slight?

    1. AvatarBlair

      Yes, when we first got out Siberian my allergies were not bad at all. After we had the cat for about 3-4 months, I noticed my allergies were getting worse. I think it’s because the allergens had built up in the house. We try to vacuum twice a week and are going to get rid of our wall to wall carpet. We also use one of those sticky tape lint brushes on the furniture daily. I have been allergic to cats most of my life and I love our Siberian. We got her for companionship and as a therapy cat for our daughter. Siberians are a wonderful breed and I have no regrets. 🙂

  4. AvatarDenise

    My Siberian cat, Nina, is 4yrs old. I’m not allergic to her. I had a regular house cat in the past that I was very allergic too. I don’t notice much shedding either. I brush her several time a week. She is a great pet!

  5. AvatarA Person

    I have a Siberian kitten, 7 months old. She is rarely affectionate, she’s loud, meows all the time, hates water, and is only affectionate at night. I also have 2 dogs who both want to be her friend, but she hates them. I’m not trying to say that this article is lying, but there is cases where it isn’t true.

    1. AvatarPaula

      A lot of the cat’s personality depends upon the first few weeks of its like. Cat’s are very much formed in their relations to humans by the time they are 3 months old. Most breeders do not release a kitten until it is 12 weeks old so in effect your cat’s personality is formed by the time you get it.

    2. AvatarCat lover

      She’s only 7 months old.. Her personality may still come out as she grows up. My Siberian cat is very similar to what was described. He even plays fetch. But he doesn’t like to sit in laps, he cuddles next to you instead. My point is every cat has their own personality and this article is just stating the general characteristics the breed has. Just because your cat is different doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I found this article pretty spot on besides a few things but like I said every cat is unique.

    3. AvatarDebra

      I have a 7 month old also, and she is the opposite of everything you have mentioned! It might be you! All the breeders cats and kittens have mirrored attributes to all those mentioned. It’s possible your cat is not a true Siberian, just saying!

    4. AvatarEla

      Mine used to be like that as a kitten, but now as an adult cat, she’s become ever so affectionate. Maybe you just need to give the kitty some time !

    5. AvatarMechelle

      Are you sure its a Siberian? Doesn’t sound like one. My 14 year old Siberian has always been affectionate. Always wants to be in my lap or on my shoulder or laying on my chest if I’m laying down. She’s so quite you never know she’s around and her and my dog are best buds. You may have a Maine Coone.

    6. AvatarM.J.

      My male Siberian was the exact same way with my 2 dogs, and my other cat. He was a 5 week old stray when we found him, and it took him a little while to finally warm up to us and the other animals, but now he’s just like one of the dogs lol…it might take your’s some time as well. Good luck! ☺️🐈

  6. AvatarAnnie

    Lisa. Yes. Three months nothing at all Now, asthma and hives. I’m hoping its combined with the ragweed that’s high right now and it will subside soon. Allergist thinks the levels in my house are now up from kitty just being here. Now, allegra and inhaler. Possibly shots if not better in 6 weeks. I wrote a more detailed story but I dont think it posted.

    1. AvatarKali

      Hi Annie! I was wondering how you’re doing with your Siberian kitten? Are you having any allergic reactions from your kitten? I hope all is well! How old is she? Thanks so much!!! 😊

  7. Avatarannie brookes

    I am convinced my baby was part Siberian, so many traits match this breed, the one part that is strikingly standing out is that they are known for their sensitivity….My little girl has just passed away but had the looks of a tabby Siberian………… I will be looking to get a Siberian Puss cat once I have stopped grieving

  8. AvatarElizabeth

    A Person My Siberian was not affectionate at all, and sounds like yours. When he matured he developed affectionate behavior but it took a long time and patience. He didn’t like being touched or being near me but now he’s snuggly and my shadow with typical Siberian behavior.

  9. AvatarRachel

    We just got a purebred Siberian kitten a few months ago. We purposely chose this breed for their hypoallergenic reputation and their look. He has exceeded our expectations. We all adore him. He tolerates a lot from my two younger children. He loves to play. He doesn’t mind the water and will actually jump in the bath or shower with one of us. He doesn’t love getting bathed but tolerates it better than any cat I’ve ever had. My only complaint is that he frequently gets poop on his legs. Hoping this improves.

    1. AvatarA I R

      Oh no! This is one of my worries about having these cats. Are they clean?? Are they able to clean themselves or getting poop all over?? That would be hard to deal with 🙁

  10. AvatarMarion

    We have an incredible 3 1/2-year-old spade female we named “Tasha.” She is stunningly beautiful and an absolute joy to live with. We originally picked this breed because our daughter is allergic to cats; unfortunately Tasha didn’t turn out to be hypo-allergenic. That is her only negative, however. She is very social, playful, strong, affectionate, and has lots of personality. We adore her and would recommend a Siberian to anyone who can commit to keeping one indoors for safety and health reasons, which we do.

  11. AvatarStephane

    We’ve own a siberian cat for 3 years now and we love him! It’s a magnificent animal, very affectionate and great with our 2 kids (now 6 and 8 yo). They love playing together and he’s never agressive with the kids, even when they are rough. He’s extremely sociable and doesn’t like to be alone. Whenever someone is in the house, he will be nearby. Even during our kids birthday parties, with 8-10 kids running and screaming around, he still wants to see us and play. I’ve never seen a cat that loves company so much.

    As for the allergies, I’m a little bit allergic to cats, and my wife is very allergic. When we got him, I had no reaction, but my wife reacted for about 2 weeks, which got us worried that we could not keep him. But then her body seemed to get use to it and the reactions gradually disappeared. After a month, she could put her face in his fur without any problem!

    Grooming is not as easy as the article says in our case. He often gets knots in his fur, and we have a hard time brushing him well as he does not really enjoy it, especially on the belly (close to the legs and below the neck). We now shave his belly and it helped quite a lot. He sheds a lot, especially during spring so brushing is mandatory.

    I must also mention that our Siberian is very vocal. He meows a LOT! He almost seems to talk to us sometimes and it’s cute. It’s less cute when he does it at 3am sometimes….

    Overall, a great cat to own; we love him!!

  12. AvatarMarika

    I have a six month old neutered Siberian cat and he is really stubborn and I call him a bonehead because he doesn’t listen or believe what I ask him to do or not to do, he just simply ignores me. His energy levels are at the ceiling and he needs something to do all the time. He is absolutely fearless and really clever. He likes water. He bullies two older main coons all the time and doesn’t listen them either. When clipping his nails he tries to escape and hisses and groans. He is affectionate only occasionally but likes my really young and really noisy nice and nephew. At the moment he is a handful but I do hope that time helps.

  13. AvatarDawn in Chas Sc.

    Some person abandon a kitten in my yard. He was so small his eyes hadn’t changed yet. I took him in the house, bathed him and 3 months later he finally lost his baby fangs. I figure he’s 4 months old now. I’ve had a lot of experience with felines but this little guy already weighs 7 lbs. Is longer then my shorthair domestic and has all the looks and traits of the Siberian. He’s wonderful. Wish your site accepted photos.

  14. AvatarMelissa A Jeffers

    Our loving 1 year old “FUZZ” Does the triple purr! And also sleeps in his water dish. Along with attacking the toes of whoever is in the tub. 🛁 He’s also like a pygmy Siberian, only weighing in at 9 pounds. He’s so comical he makes me laugh daily!

  15. AvatarNina

    I have a 11 year old SIMBA, I have never seen such an intelligent, cat understands many words. Response quickly when we call. He gave so much affection to my sick husband and to me. I love him so much. If anyone wants to adopt or buy a cat a Siberian is the one.

  16. AvatarEddie E Crutchfield

    I had my Siberian for 19 years, the breed is wonderful. It has been about 2 years since I lost him. I think about getting another one, but at my age(72) I just dont know. He was great with my dogs(Malamutes and Shibas). I got him and one of my Malamutes as a puppy and kitten and they were the best of buddies. I would joke that Sauron(Siberian) was the best dog I ever had.

  17. AvatarJudy

    We have a 3.5 yr old Siberian with color points, which we have had since she was a kitten. She has latched on to me in a big way, but not so much to my husband which is a big mystery. She loves to play but not enough on her own. She hardly ever speaks. And she has a sense of humor. She does not like water and only likes some dogs. She is a good pet. She was quite sick for a few months with a food allergy to chicken and seafood. She is well now with a restricted diet. I am very allergic to cats in general but not to this one.

  18. AvatarLaura Hedberg

    We absolutely love our Siberian Forest cat. He is affectionate, playful, smart and so much fun. He let’s our kids do anything to him and he seems to love it. My son puts him on his feet and does leg lifts with him. He just sits there going up and down. I’ve never had such a laid-back and also playful cat. He loves playing with toys. He’s an acrobat. However, he is not hypoallergenic. But he’s worth the allergy shots. He brings our family lots of joy and love.

  19. AvatarLittle

    We purchased a just 3-year-old Siberian female who was a retired queen who never delivered a litter, but rather self-aborted, so the breeder wanted to sell her. She came with the name “Sweet Pea”. We were so excited to be able to get her! We did everything we could to help her feel loved and comfortable with us so whe would settle in well. The first 3-4 days she spent entirely in the half basement that we have, too terrified to come upstairs. We had no other cats anymore, our house was/is small so we couldn’t figure out what was going on. She refused to eat anything for 3/4 days. Finally we were able to hand feed her a bit of kibble (same stuff she came to us eating). She then eagerly accepted a few treats with malt flavoring in them. She also would eat Instinct Raw Bites. She refused the wet food she came to us eating, but finally accepted some ProPlan and especially Soulistic (made by Weruva). We give her a variety of both dry, wet, raw and treats. Her behavior was erratic the first year. It took her forever to trust us or allow us to have her in our laps or hold her. She still doesn’t like to be held very much. She will sit in our laps nowadays but originally I had to entice her to do so with treats and raw bites. It’s become a tradition, although now she often jumps in our laps even without the promise of treats and raw bites. We play with her a lot and she plays with toys on her own. Her favorites are interactive such as the laser wand and other wand toys…. especially those with ribbons. We keep the wand toys put away when we are not supervising. We bought her a double decker condo and a cat tree and have given her multiple cozy places to nap. She loves to sleep with one or the other of us. We renamed her Zebbah (Persian for “A Known Beauty”) because she is absolutely gorgeous with her brown mackerel tabby coat and deep green almond-shaped eyes. She does not like to be combed or brushed or bathed, but she every 8 weeks she does allow a groomer at our vet’s office to trim her coat and nails then spray her with water and brush her. She isn’t the Siberian we had hoped for, but we have accommodated her ways and have learned to love her anyway. She went through a lot before she became ours including being spayed at 3 years of age after multiple self-aborts following breeding. The breeder kept her in a large cage for 10 days after she was spayed and her first day out of the cage was the day we picked her up. So the poor thing was literally terrified in the beginning. After months of trying with her, we almost gave her away. The breeder was no help to us. I found another breeder willing to take her from us if her behavior did not change. The new breeder really helped us with her suggestions. We’re very glad because otherwise we would no longer have this beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, playful and at times actually now loving creature. My dream is to be able to get her to allow me to put her in a harness, attach a leash and take her outside with me occasionally. So far that isn’t happening, but I haven’t given up hope yet. Just don’t want to make her fear me in any way for attempting to get her used to a harnass. If it never comes to be, we will accept that. She has really grown on us. We love her very much now and she has come to trust us so much over what she did the first year we had her. She turns 5 in 3 months. We look forward to many more wonderful years with her. I have moderate to severe allergies. I do have some reactions to her, but I take the precautions of washing after I handle her, vacuuming frequently, having her sprayed with water and brushed at least every 8 weeks and I take antihistamines at night so that when she sleeps with me I can tolerate her. What a strong girl she is !!

  20. AvatarLinda Evans

    We have 2 Siberian cats who are best friends! 3 years apart in age, but get along just great. My husband is very allergic to cats, but with the Siberian breed, he has no trouble at all which is why we have 2 who live indoors 24/7. They are both very affectionate and will sit on our laps when we have dinner. They are beautiful and bring a lot of fun to us everyday.

  21. AvatarGeorgia Vallejos

    I got my Siberian from the shelter a year ago. She is now getting close to two years old, and she doesn’t like to be held or petted, even though she follows us around as if she is asking for attention. She loves to be rowdy and often streaks around like a Tasmanian Devil. She is very playful, but her scratching things up is becoming a problem. I’ve been very consistent with the usual training methods, but I think this breed might be one that you would have to declaw. I know cat people would cringe at the thought, but I love her and would still like to have a house and furniture.

    1. AvatarHelen

      I had one cat who wanted to scratch my furniture. Two things worked: aluminum foil on the furniture where he would scratch & the pet spray for furniture that you can buy online or in pet stores. After a month or so of those, I could stop. And he stopped! Please do not declaw. Most vets will not do the procedure. It’s very painful.

  22. AvatarErica

    A few years ago this gorgeous Maine Coon showed up on our doorstep in the middle of winter. He was clean, well fed, perfectly groomed and distrustful of women 🙁 We’re cat people so we let him inside while we searched for his owners. Thank God no one came forward because we had named him Meatloaf and fallen in love!
    We took him to the vet and he told us that this massive guy was only about a year old!
    A few years went by and a good friend of ours with severe cat allergies told us that Meatloaf did not cause her to have a reaction like our other cats did. She asked us if we had ever heard of a “Siberian Forest cat” and I said no…
    So I did some googling and I was SHOCKED. These cats looked EXACTLY like our Meaty. He wasnt a “round” Maine Coon at all. He’s a Siberian! Meatloaf has all the traits – round ears with a little tuft, super long toe fur, round eyes, barrel chest, thick ruff, trapezoid shaped head, wide face. He had also formed a close relationship with our girl Pixie. They were definitely a couple, which is also unique Siberian behavior.
    I am still blown away and mystified about his backstory. These cats are rare and kittens cost over $1,000. Where the heck did this guy come from?

  23. AvatarHelen

    I am owned by 3 Siberians & one Maine Coon. I have noticed on two major online adoption sites that cats who are not Siberians are advertised as such. Siberians are not meowers; rather, they make noises that are very distinct. If your cat has a regular meow, it’s doubtful you have a Siberian. Only one of my three Siberians is extremely affectionate; it depends on the individual cat. But the round shape, hair between the toes, three layer coat, unique sounds, & mane should let you know if you’re owned by a true Siberian Forest Cat.

  24. Avatarvictoria Forsland

    My Siberian was a fun loving highly intelligent cat. She showed great ability to engage and learn including to play fetch with a bouncy ball. She would carry the ball around in her mouth. She also adapted to commands including no when people didn’t want her to rub against them. However I found that I was working too much for her taste and often come home to destroyed loaves of bread but never eaten. She would make a mess to show her disdain or hurt.


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