A Siberian cat is a specific breed of cat that originates in the cold-weather climate of Russia.
There, they are called forest cats, because they roamed wild in the subarctic conifer forests, or taiga, of Siberia.
They may also be also called Russian cats, forest cats, mountain cats, Siberian house cats and snow cats.
Because of their cold and wet environments, Siberian cats have long, waterproof fur, especially in winter.
To determine if your cat is a Siberian or simply to learn more about the characteristics of Siberian cats, you can examine their physical appearance and observe their temperament.
Examining Physical Appearance
- Feel for a dense coat. Siberian cats are distinguished by their thick, triple-layer coats. Look for long guard hairs, followed by the awn hairs and then a soft supple undercoat. In their native Russia, these many layers help protect Siberian cats from the intense cold. The coats of Siberian cats can come in all colors.
- Find out if the cat weighs between 8.8–22 pounds. Siberians are notable for their large size and ample bodies. Female Siberian cats weigh between 8.8–13.2 pounds and males weigh between 13.2–22 pounds . If you want to weigh your cat at home, a good method is to weigh just yourself, then weigh yourself holding your cat. The difference between the 2 measurements is the cat’s weight.
- Look for green or gold eyes. Most often, Siberian cats have almost perfectly round green or gold eyes. Though blue eyes are possible, they are much less common. Some Siberian cats may have eyes of 2 different colors.
- Watch for rounded ears with Lynx tipping. Siberian cats’ ears have a rounded shape with coloring that darkens at the tips. Often, long hairs will stick out of the ears as well, which is known as Lynx tipping, and can make the ears look pointed rather than rounded. The overall head shape is a wedge, and is usually widest between the ears and tapers to a small muzzle.
- Feel for a muscular build. Siberian cats are known for being quite muscular under their thick coats. Run your hands over your cat to feel for muscle definition and size. Their paws are generally large to help them better catch prey as well.
- Find out if the cat likes water. Siberian cats are unusual from many other breeds in their affinity for water. Discern your cat’s interest in water by running a bath or the faucet at the sink. Does it come over to bat at the water or drink a bit? If so, it could be a Siberian.
- Look for a playful, active cat. Siberians enjoy engaging with their caretakers. Try playing with a feather or piece of string to see if your cat likes play. Siberians are known to be vocal as well, so watch for vocalizations—like chirps, trills, meows—while engaging in play with your cat.
- Figure out if your cat is bothered by noise. Siberian cats are unusual from other breeds in that they are typically not bothered by noise. Some people even describe them as “fearless.” To put your cat’s temperament to the test, drop something loud, like a spoon on a hard surface, near the cat to see if it startles. If your cool cat is unfazed, you may have a Siberian on your hands.
- Determine if your cat likes to sit in your lap. Siberian cats are social, affectionate cats who often enjoy sitting in their owner’s laps. They’ve also been known to follow their owners from room to room to keep them company. Observe your cat’s behavior to see if they enjoy affection or prefer to be on their own.