Everything about your Siberian Cat

  From Russia with love: that’s the Siberian, a glamorous native cat from the taiga of Siberia, a forested area with a subarctic climate that no doubt contributed to this cat’s long, thick, protective coat. The Siberian has a thick double coat with a neck ruff, perfect for surviving those cold northern Russia winters. He’s a sweetheart with an adventurous spirit and an agile, muscular body.



  The Siberian is an ancient, semi-longhaired domestic breed that originated in and is the national cat of Russia. The breed is recognized by most purebred cat registry organizations, which accept Siberians of any color for competition. The traditional, and still the most common, coat color is the Golden Tabby. Siberian kittens are short-haired at birth, with no outer guard hairs developing until they reach about three months of age. Their winter coats are decidedly more lush than are their summer coats.
  Siberians are considered to be quite intelligent and good problem-solvers. They are loyal, outgoing, playful, affectionate and sociable, making the breed a good choice for those who think that they are so-called “dog people” rather than “cat people.” Many a devout dog-lover has succumbed to the zany, charming ways of the Siberian cat. 

Other Quick Facts

  • The Siberian matures slowly, sometimes not reaching his full physical development until he is 5 years old. Some neutered males weigh up to 25 pounds.
  • This is a medium-size to large cat who is strong and alert. His head is a modified wedge shape with rounded contours. He has furry, medium-large ears and medium-size to large eyes that are almost round. The body is solid and muscular, supported by medium-length legs and big round feet adorned with tufts of fur on the toes. The long coat comes in all colors and patterns, including colorpoint, with or without white.
Breed standards

Other names: Siberian Forest Cat,Moscow Semi-longhair, Neva Masquerade, HairSiberian Forest Cat
TICA: Standard

CFA: Standard

Lap Cat: Yes
Physique: Stocky build
Average lifespan: 12-15 years
Average size: 8 to 17 pounds
Coat appearance: Dense, Long, and Undercoat
Coloration: Black, Blue, Fawn, Silver, and Tabby and White
Pattern: Colorpoint
Hypoallergenic: No
Best Suited For: Families with children and other pets as well as singles
Temperament: Considered a “gentle giant”. Very loyal and affectionate
  From Russia with love: that’s the Siberian, a glamorous native cat from the taiga of Siberia, a forested area with a subarctic climate that no doubt contributed to this cat’s long, thick, protective coat. The cats have been known in Russia for some 1,000 years and often figure in Russian folktales.
  The cat was first mentioned in a book by Harrison Wier, which included information of the earliest cat shows in England in 1871. Although gaining in popularity, the expense of importing the cats from Russia keeps the breed relatively rare outside of Europe.
  In the Russian cat fancy, each cat club devises its own cat standards. This fact led to much confusion in the US and other countries when the first Siberians were arriving and many appeared quite different from each other, depending on what area of Russia they originated from. One of the earliest written Siberian standards was publicized by the Kotofei Cat Club in St. Petersburg in 1987.
  Siberians were first imported to the United States in 1990 and were recognized by The International Cat Association in 1996. The American Cat Fanciers Association accepted the breed in 1999, followed by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2006. The breed is gaining popularity because it has a reputation for being hypoallergenic—which may or may not be the case, depending on the individual person.


  Siberians use their incredible intelligence to solve all kinds of problems-like determining to how to open a door to be with the owners they adore, how to get to the cat food for an extra meal, or how to recover the favorite toy their owner thinks they have so cleverly hidden out of reach! They are powerful agile cats that can leap great distances and heights, sometimes appearing to fly through the air, but despite their size, they are adept at negotiating obstacles in their path without knocking them over. At the same time, they love to play and will entertain you with their clown-like antics. 
  They adore their human families and their visitors-with children holding a warm spot in their hearts. They have a wonderful depth to their purr and talk to you with a chirping sound, particularly when they are coming to greet you when you have been out.

Health Predispositions
  The average life expectancy of a Siberian is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate, good quality diet to suit their ages.
  The Siberian is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these intelligent, high energy cats. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency – breeders should have stud cats tested


  The Siberian’s thick triple coat should be combed or brushed a couple of times a week to prevent tangles or mats. The coat will shed seasonally in the spring and fall, and you may need to groom more frequently during that time. A bath is rarely necessary, which is a good thing because the coat is highly water-resistant. It can be difficult to get a Siberian wet enough to shampoo him.
  Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection.
  Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.
  Most of the Siberian’s growth occurs in his first year and a half of life. Your kitten’s breeder may recommend that you feed him kitten food during that time to make sure he gets enough nourishment.
  Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene, and a clean litter box will also help to keep the long coat clean.
  It’s a good idea to keep a Siberian as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Siberians who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it. If possible, build your Siberian a large outdoor enclosure where he can jump and climb safely.
Behavioral Traits


  Siberians are dog-like in a number of ways. For example, many of them will run to the front door, greet their owners happily and then follow them determinedly around the house until they settle in for the evening. Others will respond to their names and come quickly when they are called.
Activity Level
  Siberians are known to be extremely playful and they don’t really fully mature until they are around 4 to 5 years old. They also have a tremendous fascination with water which often sees cats playing with drips from a tap or paddling in ponds. They have a tremendous amount of energy, when they are not napping that is and as such they like to be kept busy. If it is safe for cats to go outside, there’s nothing a Siberian enjoys more than to explore their environment which also allows them to mark their territory and hunt down prey which they are very adept at doing.
  Cats kept as indoor pets need to be given lots of things to do and places to hide when they want to, bearing in mind that the Siberian loves to climb up high so they can look down on the world below. They also need to have lots of places they can snuggle up for a snooze when the mood takes them because if there is one thing Siberians love doing it’s taking a cat nap or two during the day.
Grooming Requirements


  The Siberian’s coat clearly reflects the land of its origin. Dense and waterproof, there are three layers. The neck is ruffed, and the britches are full and fluffy with a bushy tail typically held aloft. Fortunately, however, the coat does not table as easily as might be expected, and can be well maintained with occasional brushing and combining. It is also a characteristic of this breed that they love water. Start a Siberian on a schedule of baths at a young age, and they will not complain about the process later in life. Interestingly, because the Siberian has a lower concentration of Fel d1 in its saliva, the root of many cat allergies, some people find them to be more or less hypoallergenic, although there is no guarantee of this fact.
Children And Other Pets


  Siberians with their outgoing, affectionate, fun-loving personalities are a great choice for families with children and this includes toddlers. They are extremely tolerant and patient cats by nature which means they put up with a log when it comes to interacting with children. However, care has to be taken when very young children are around cats and any interaction should always be supervised by an adult to make sure things stay nice and calm. With this said, children need to be taught how to behave around cats and when it is time to leave them alone.
  They also get on well with dogs more especially when they have grown up together in the same household. However, care has to be taken when introducing a Siberian to dogs they don’t already know just in case the dog does not get on with their feline counterparts. Siberians are incredibly social by nature and have been known to get on with small animals. However, it’s always wiser to keep a close eye on any cat when they are around smaller pets, just in case their prey drive gets the better of them, bearing in mind that Siberians are very adept and skilled hunters.
Is the Siberian the Right Breed for you?


Moderate Maintenance: Regular grooming is advised to keep its coat in good shape. It stimulates circulation, massages the skin, and removes debris and loose hair. Frequency should be once a week.
Moderate Shedding: Expect this cat to shed moderately. By providing it proper nutrition, regular grooming, and keeping the shedding contained to a small area, like a pet bed, will minimize shedding and make it more manageable.
Generally Healthy: It doesn’t have as many known illnesses and conditions as other cats. Best for owners who do not want to worry about long-term medical costs.
Low Vocalization: It is known to be quiet. Therefore, owners shouldn’t be concerned of excessive and undesirable crying or meowing, especially at night.
Moderate Attention: This breed needs a moderate level of attention. It provides the appropriate balance for owners who like involving their cats in activities but are also able to be independent. Time alone spent can be 4 to 8 hours per day.
Somewhat Active: Some regular exercise is always good to prevent sloth and obesity. Spending 10-15 minutes a few times a day will keep this breed satisfied.
Good With Others: It is usually good with everyone and can be very affectionate towards them.
Did You Know?
  You may hear that the Siberian is a hypoallergenic breed, but that is not correct. Allergies are not caused by a particular coat type but by dander, the dead skin cells that are shed by all cats (and people, for that matter). There is no scientific evidence that any breed or cross breed is more or less allergenic than any other cat.
In popular culture


  • The variety can be seen in Russian paintings and writings dating back hundreds of years. This sets them apart from breeds that are the result of fairly recent selective breeding.
  • Vonda N. McIntyre introduces a Siberian Forest Cat as the pet of Spock’s cousin Stephen in Enterprise the First Adventure (Pocket Books, 1986).
  • At least one traditional Russian folktale, collected by Prof. A. N. Afanas’ev, features a Siberian cat called Kotofej Ivanovich.
  • A Siberian cat, Dorofei, is owned by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and another by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. WBZ-AM talk radio host Steve LeVeille mentions his Siberian, Max, on his Boston-based program.
  • The 2016 movie Nine Lives features a Siberian.
  • In the webcomic Hetalia: Axis Powers, the character Ivan “Russia” Braginski owns a Siberian cat, as shown in the strip titled “Cat Conference”.

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