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.
- 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”.