Welcome to the Siberian Cat World. We are all about the wonderful Siberian cats.
This is a place for all Siberian cat lovers and fans. Here you’ll find all the information you may need about this breed. To start with, there is a big overview article about Siberian cats below. Also, check out some of these articles on particular topics related to Siberian cats.
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Siberian cat – Breed overview
Siberian cat origins
The Siberian cat is a fairly young breed that was first identified in Russia in the 1980s. It is also called Siberian Forest Cat, but normally referred to simply as Siberian Cat. In just a little over forty years, this breed has become extremely popular not only in mother Russia but all over the world.
And it won’t surprise anyone who knows Siberian cats. They are truly a wonderful breed! If you are in love with Siberian cats, or just want to find out more about these beautiful animals – you will find everything you need on this website.
There are a lot of myths and stories about how Siberian cats came to be, and no one really knows the truth. The general opinion is that they originated in Siberia – a vast Russian region spreading over most of Northern Asia. It’s a rugged area boasting extremely long and cold winters and very short (and also cold!) summers.
The Siberian cat’s distinct interior – large, sturdy, muscular body and dense, thick coat to protect them from the cold is a great reflection of their native land. It is truly a native cat of Russia and the pride of the country. Siberian cat is often a character of fairy tales. For example, a Russian fairy tale witch, Baba Yaga, had a Siberian cat.
You can also see Siberian cats in classical Russian paintings that are hundreds of years old.
Siberian cats used to live in monasteries where they not only helped fight rodents but also acted as guard dogs, warning dwellers of approaching strangers, thieves or enemies. Vendors and shop owners would have at least one Siberian cat to protect their shop from rodents and would often do competitions and “cat shows” among themselves, to show off their beautiful Siberians.
In our days, one of the biggest Siberian cat fans is Russian prime-minister and president Dmitry Medvedev. His cat Dorofei is known to have taken part in an unofficial meeting between Medvedev and the former American president Barack Obama!
From Russia, the Siberian cat breed spread all over Europe and was mentioned in Harrison Weir’s book “Our cats and all about them” at the end of the 19th century as one of the long-haired cats at the cat show in England in 1871. Today, there are more than 300 officially registered Siberian cat breeders all over the world!
So what is so special about this breed that earned it such popularity? It’s the Siberian cat beauty, power, and strength. It’s their dense, long coat of various colors and patterns that doesn’t require that much grooming. It’s the way the Siberian cat expresses the character of a real wildcat with it’s strong, calm temperament and excellent survival and hunting skills.
Siberian cats are born hunters – quick, strong and smart. When it comes to hunting and surviving, Siberians are so well-equipped and capable that they will always be able to make it, even on their own in the wild. They are very strong cats, and also very intelligent.
A Siberian cat will easily catch a mouse, a rat, or even a rabbit if they are hungry enough! Because of the strong hunter instinct, they often remind dogs. They can even bring you the results of their successful hunting! If you ever let your cat wonder outdoors, don’t be surprised if they bring you a mouse or a rat.
If you live on a farm, or have a rodent problem in your house, your Siberian will help you solve that. The downside of this is that you shouldn’t own any hamsters or parrots or rats as pets if you have a Siberian cat at home. It would be too much of a temptation for the Siberian, and too dangerous for the little rodent or the bird.
Siberian cats are very brave. They will go into an attack mode if they feel threatened by another animal, or to protect their territory, and can take on an enemy much bigger then them, even large dogs like German Shepherds. In normal circumstances, however, Siberians are virtually non-aggressive and are great with people and children.
Although they are excellent hunters and protectors, Siberian cats also possess soft and loving nature and great intelligence. Many of the Siberian cats’ owners mention that this breed is like no other cat they have ever encountered. These cats are often called dog-like for their intelligence and loyalty, and ability to learn tricks.
Siberian cat really does have a lovely, almost dog-like personality. They love their people with all their heart and are far less independent than other breeds. Siberians are not aloof cats! Although they are brave and independent by nature, they still tend to spend most of their time close to their owner. They will happily follow you around the house and participate in everything you do, whether you are cooking dinner, reading a book or enjoying a shower. (They likely won’t get in the shower with you, but they do like to watch, just to make sure you are OK! 🙂
Because they are very agile and strong, Siberian cats love heights. You will often find your kitty at the tallest spot in the house – on your counters, on the fridge, on the mantelpiece or on the top bookshelf. Cats generally love heights: being high above gives them a great outlook and makes them feel safe. It also gives them a chance to practice their superior climbing skills! Your Siberian cat will be very grateful if you get them a cat ladder or build some kind of contraption that would allow them to climb up! If you don’t, they might resort to using existing furniture.
Siberian cats tend to be very brave and confident. They are hardly ever afraid of loud sounds, or cars, or people. These cats will take part in guarding your home, taking that responsibility very seriously. They will courageously protect you from other animals and sometimes people if they don’t trust them!
However, as mentioned before, generally Siberian cats are not aggressive, and rarely hold grudges against people. They are not the kind of cat that will poop in your slippers out of revenge (Like some cats we know.) You can expect sincere and noble behavior from these cats with a Siberian soul.
The Siberian cat is one of the smartest breeds out there. They learn very quickly and are able to stay safe and sound in various dangerous circumstances. They are also capable of understanding what you want from them and will be happy to follow your lead and your rules around the house. (Most of the times!)
Siberian cats can be easily taught to use litter-box or even go on a toilet! They will definitely not be keen on making a mess in your house. They can be easily taught games and tricks, just like dogs. Some will sit and roll on command, some will play fetch with you. Whatever it is, your cat will be happy to spend time with you.
Siberian cat breed description
According to breed specifications, the Siberian cat is a large cat boasting an excellent physical form, sturdy, muscular body, and dense, thick coat. It’s a slowly maturing cat, with kittens achieving adulthood by around five years of age (much slower than most breeds of cats).
Because they are such a slowly-maturing breed, color deviations and other “shortcomings” are allowed until a certain age (for show cats). Female Siberian cats are much smaller than male cats. An average Siberian female cat can weight anywhere from 7lb to 14lb, whereas an average male could weight 12lb to 18lb. Siberian cats have a trapezoidal-shaped head with soft contours, well in harmony with the rest of the body. The cats have large eyes that are almost circular in shape. The color of their eyes may vary and is not correlated to the color of their coat.
Siberian cats have a medium to large-sized barrel-shaped body, usually very sturdy and muscular, with long and fairly massive paws. Unlike other cats, the Siberian cat has patches of fur between their toes to keep them warm! Siberian cats have longer hind paws then their front paws, which makes their body look slightly bent down at the front and makes them such effective jumpers. They have strong bones and a well-developed muscle mass. They often have a hard rounded tummy that adds to their sturdy looks.
Breed defects for the Siberian cat breed are: narrow face, tail too long, thin build, low muscle weight, a longer body (as opposed to barrel-shaped), almond-shaped eyes, front or hind paws too long.
Those, of course, are only important when it comes to show and breed cats. If you just want a pet animal, you yourself will likely not even notice any differences and those “defects” really won’t matter.
Siberians normally have strong health and great immune system, unlike a lot of purebred cats. They are really outstandingly healthy! They live up to 18 years or more and usually stay very healthy until they die.
They can have a few genetic conditions, such as Hereditary Heart Disease ( HCM), kidney disease, feline leukemia. You can avoid having those issues by making sure you get your kitten from a reputable breeder.
A good breeder will thoroughly screen their cats for any conditions and will never allow a cat that has a genetic abnormality or a potential for disease to participate in breeding. At least in the USA, Canada, and Australia. (Although some Russian breeders are not always as diligent as they should be.)
Buying a cat from a good Siberian cat breeder will guarantee that you will not encounter any grave issues with your cat’s health. You can read more about finding a good breeder here.
Although Siberian cats are a slow maturing breed, they can start their reproductive stage of life quite early – sometimes as early as five months of age. That is because the breed is very close to its natural state and in nature, the ability to start reproductive period early is always a competitive edge. In nature, a lot of cats die very young so having offspring early in life gives these cats more chances to survive as a breed.
Siberian females can bare kittens up until age twelve, although younger mothers tend to have healthier kittens. Siberian cats tend to have large litters (5 to 6 kittens, sometimes up to 9 kittens!) (compared to other purebred types of cats).
Siberian cats make great parents. Male cats will take as big a part in tending to kittens as the female cat, and often male and the female cat live together as “family” forever. Even very young cats show great care for their litters. Siberians, in general, tend to be very social and thrive in presence of other Siberian cats which provides them with affection and entertainment.
Siberian cat coat
The coat of a Siberian cat consists of two layers: a thick, warm undercoat and a dense “overcoat” that has excellent waterproof qualities. Due to this coat “design”, a sturdy Siberian cat can handle way below zero temperatures with ease! No wonder Siberia was just the right climate for these sturdy cats.
Siberian cats come in multiple coat colors. Those can be: Brown Tabby, Tabby with White, Solid Black, Black and white, Silver tabby, Silver Tabby with White, Golden Siberian, Torbie, Red Tabby, Creme and white, Red Silver Tabby. Read more about Siberian cat colors here 🙂.
Due to the work of breeders Siberians have a large number of various coat colors and patterns that originally weren’t natural for the cats living in the wild. Their natural, tabby color, is the one that’s suited best for camouflage purposes in the wild.
Siberian cats love sunbathing, but don’t let them stay under direct sunshine for too long – it may lead to their coat drying out in patches and further coat damage.
Siberian cat coat is water-resistant and very thick, so washing these cats is usually quite a task! However, apart from regular combing, Siberian cat coat doesn’t require much care.
Siberian cats do shed. All cats shed to a certain degree (except for certain hairless breeds like Sphynx cats.) Siberians have luxurious, dense coats and certainly shed a fair bit! You will definitely see your Siberian’s hair on your rug, your chairs, your sofa and your lap, because that’s where your cat will spend lots of time! 🙂
Do consider this factor when you think of getting a Siberian cat. If a bit too much shedding is going to be a problem, you might want to look at a different breed. For Siberian cat lovers it’s only a minor inconvenience and the love and fun that these beautiful cats bring in your life make it fully worth it.
Siberian cat grooming
Because Siberians do have so much hair, it’s a great idea to help them groom it. Combing your Siberian cat’s hair a few times a week will help get rid of extra hair that’s already falling out and collect it in one place as opposed to being scattered around your whole house. You might even be able to knit something out of all the hair your cat sheds. Maybe some cat socks or cat hat! 😉
Get a few combs of various density and set up a regular schedule for when you and your kitty are going to have grooming time. If you start them when they are young, they will likely enjoy the experience, provided you brush their hair carefully and not hurt the cat.
Brush along the direction of the growth, not against it! If you encounter a patch of tangled hair, try to carefully untangle it, keeping scissors for last resort only! Cutting out patches of hair may damage your cat’s coat and their looks!
Siberian cat and allergy
Many people suffer from cat allergies, which complicates their life when it comes to choosing/owning a pet. Are Siberian cats hypoallergenic?
Well, no cat breed really is, because any cat produces various types of allergens at all times. Most of the people that suffer allergies are allergic to cat hair, cat dander, cat urine or cat saliva. When it comes to allergens in cat saliva (which is the culprit in most cases), the real allergen is FelD1 protein that people are triggered by. It’s produced in the cat’s saliva, and when the cat licks itself, it gets spread throughout its fur. Then the saliva dries and the allergen becomes airborne and fills the space where the cat lives.
That’s why people will show allergy signs in one room while the cat is actually in the other. If you have a cat anywhere in the house, its allergens will be literally everywhere.
However, Siberian cats produce noticeably less FelD1 than any other types of cats, which makes them hypoallergenic for some people. A lot of people allergic to other types of cats notice that they don’t have any symptoms of allergy to Siberian cats (even though they have quite a bit of hair and shed quite a bit too).
Siberian cat immunity and health
I have a separate article about this here in this Complete Guide to Siberian Cats Health. You may want to check it out if you want a more full and detailed description of various conditions that Siberian cats sometimes have. Siberian cats are one of the sturdiest and healthiest of the purebred cat breeds. Provided you do your research and find a good breeder, your kitten will most likely be absolutely perfectly healthy and happy, and will not have any genetic issues that may appear later on.
The Siberian cat is a truly wonderful creature – a tender soul in a strong muscular body of a cat that can easily survive Siberian frost! (That is actually a thing in Russia!) They are kind and inquisitive, strong, brave but loving at the same time.
Siberians are great hunters and great protectors that will guide your home (or your bed!) better than any dog. They will not annoy you with their meowing but will definitely keep you company when you need it. They are great with kids. All in all, a Siberian cat would be a great addition to any family, provided you do your research and learn as much as you can before you adopt one 🙂
WHERE TO BUY A SIBERIAN CAT
Here you will find a list of breeders worldwide, split into countries and territories: