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.
History & Origin
Siberians are known as the house-cat 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.
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
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.
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.
Siberian Cats Fun 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 Coat 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 & Additional Resources
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!