Siberian cat — is a breed of semi-long furred cats. They have long thick fur that is damp-proof, their ears are middle sized and the tail is fluffy. These native species are close in their behavior and origin to Norwegian forest cats and Maine Coon cats.
Gracious cat enslaves hearts with the inward slant of the green eyes and “bobcat” tufts on its ears, that remind us of its wild ancestors. Siberian cats are born hunters, therefore they feel themselves especially comfortable outside.
If forest cat lives in a flat, it needs walks at least once a week. Quite a lot of farmers have cats to protect their crops from gnawing animals.
Personality and temper are very close to the dog ones. They have very high sense of territory and home.
In case of any danger or suspicious conditions, the cat will let his owners know right away. As for their upbringing – these cats appreciate independence and clarity in everything, so it’s not a good idea to treat them as nice fluffy little pet.
History of the breed
As a breed appeared in Transurals region and in the West of Ural – in Siberia. Tough weather conditions, a lot of snow, hard frost and winds are the reason that the cat has long thick fur and underfur.
Wild forest cats also played their part in the breed appearance. Siberian cats are widely spread in the North of European part of Russia, in the Central and West parts of the country, due to the fact that Forest cats gradually came there from the West Europe.
These cats started breeding actively provided with good feed and comfortable climate here. Later they mated with the cats brought by Vologda merchants.
Is the only Russian native breed and it appeared only due to the nature. As it often happens with native species it’s not always possible to trace back their origin.
According to one version the first species of the breed appeared as a result of mating of wild Transurals cats and the pet cats that were brought by colonists from the West.
Such parameters as large size and weight made cats heroes of Russian tales, where the cats were described as guards. There are some tales that cats were faithful companions of monks in Russian monasteries and these cats were even used as watch-dogs, – they used to patrol buildings at night and warn the monks if any trespassers were around.
Owners of stalls usually kept at least one cat to protect their goods from gnawing animals and they even had informal cat shows where their pets competed with their neighbors in size and weight. It’s said that cats participated in the very first cat shows in England in XVIII.
The beginning of professional work with the breed coincided with establishment of felinology in Russia. In the 90-th cat breed standard was confirmed and the breeders started revealing its peculiar properties.
Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev is the main fan of Siberian cats breed. His cat Dorofey once even escorted the politician during the informal meeting with Barack Obama’s family.
The cat is middle-sized or large with perfect physical abilities, its power is complimented with a cute face and it’s a very fluffy cat. The body looks rounded and smooth. Kittens grow up slowly and become reproductive only at the age of 5.
Female are usually a bit smaller than males. So, one should be attentive when defining the correspondence to the breed standard of cats and kittens. Male weight is usually from 6 to 9 kg, the female – from 3.5 to 7 kg.
The cat has trapezium-shaped head with rounded outlines, it can be both middle-sized and large as well as the cat’s ears. They are rounded and a bit leaned forward. The distance between the ears should be equal to the ear width.
The fur on the ears back side is short and thin. Starting from the middle spot of the ear cat’s fur becomes longer and covers the earset. It’s desirable for the cat to have “bobcat” tufts on its ears endings.
The cat’s eyes are large, almost round, the tail of the cat’s eye is a bit inclined and directed to the earset. The distance between the eyes is larger than the cat’s eye width. The eye color isn’t connected with the cat’s fur color.
Body is middle-sized, strong and well-muscled, its back is a bit higher than the shoulders; the belly is barrel-shaped and hard, which gives the impression of a large weight and this will be really so with age. The cat’s legs are middle-sized with massive bones.
The hind feet are a bit longer than the fore ones. The paws are large and rounded with obligatory fur between the fingers. The tail is wide at the bottom and a bit contracted at the ending.
Hypoallergic properties of Siberian cats are being observed for over 10 years. Despite insufficient scientific evidences that they can be safe for lots of people who are allergic to cats, still owners and breeders state that it’s true.
Since female of all breeds produce less Fel d1, than male, breeders advise people who suffer from allergy to take a female as a pet. Also when choosing a kitten, it’s recommended to test future owner’s reaction to its parents.
Non-commercial association of breeders (Siberian Research Inc) was founded in 2005 to study allergenic capacity and genetic diseases of Siberian breed. In March 2010 there were obtained more than 300 samples of saliva and fur to study.
Content of Fel d1 in the saliva varied in the range 0.08-27 µg/ml and in the fur — 5-1300 µg. The upper threshold corresponds to the previous studies, but the bottom one appeared to be lower than expected. It was defined that cats with silvery coloring have the highest level of Fel d1.
About half of siberian cats have Fel d1 level lower than other cat breeds and about 20% of cats produce it very little.
Fur, coloring, pattern
Fur length: these are cats with fur length that varies from middle-sized to long and they have double underfur. The fur on the head is thick and stiff.
Adult species have tightly adjoined underfur and it gets thicker in winter. It’s possible for the cat to have “summer fur” – it becomes more softer and the color changes.
The fur coloring: unacceptable is chocolate brown, purple, cinnamon, faun and their combinations with white color and “Burmese” coloring as well.
All the traditional colorings are acceptable (single colored and patterned) and color points both with and without white. Any amount of white is allowed. Silvery/ smoky and colorings are allowed.
Temperament and habits are perfectly good for those who values dignity above all. These tender and tolerant cats feel every change in your mood, so you pet will never be intrusive.
But if you are in a good mood, the cat may ask for attention and communication. Siberian cats proved themselves as therapists and psychologists which can support their owner in hard times.
Siberian cats have dog-like temper. This is a loyal and faithful friend and more often the cat becomes attached to one owner. The cat will wait for its owner at the door and see him in, it’ll follow the owner around the house.
However, these cats love all family members, they like playing with kids and don’t tend to be aggressive. Love company and they barely stand being alone for a long time. So, these cats will gladly spend their time with other pets in the house, they can make friends with dogs, but some opposition between them is possible.
There are known some cases when a siberian cat attacked German shepherds. Theys are often called “watch-cats”, they guard their territory and they’ll be very suspicious to any stranger who comes into the house. If there is some sudden noise in the house the cat will react with fuff.
Despite their sociability cats breed is quite independent and the cat is not likely to appreciate if it gets too much attention from you. This is an animal with a character and dignity, therefore they require attitude on equal terms.
The cat wants to be respected as a friend, not treated as a toy, and the animal will respond the same and become your true companion.
Theys are strong physically and active by nature. They like being in motion all the time. They’ll jump and run, sometimes they even may find themselves on your chandelier, but they’ll hardly ever do any serious harm for the apartment, since the cat is very skillful and it doesn’t tend to break anything.
Siberian cat gets spellbinded with everything that is connected with water. The cat can observe water dripping from a tap for a long time or just have fun in a sink.
Walks and physical loads
To keep your cat fit you should provide it with exercise. Sadly, quite a lot of owners don’t allow their pets to go outside and they spend their whole life in a flat.
Because of this, the animal starts damaging the flat interior. The problem is easily solved – take your pet for a walk once a week – this will be enough.
Care is first of all regular combing, buying of scratching mats and washing at least once in 6 month. Its fur protects the cat from small injuries, water and cold.
For full scale care you will need a set of combs and brushes for long fur, – it can be bought in any pet store. You should comb kittens every day to make them get used to this procedure. For adult cats combing several times a week is enough.
Siberian cats love lying in the sun. Don’t allow them to stay in the sun for too long, since their fur may fade and get thinner.
The cat’s ears should be regularly examined from in- and outside. If the ear is healthy it should be clean and pink inside. If there’s some dirt and earwax in it, clean it with a cotton wool ball saturated with paraffinic oil.
Don’t wash the cat’s ears with water or any other liquids. Sometimes it’s desirable to strew the ears with antiseptic powder.
Despite having very long fur that cats aren’t very demanding. You don’t have to pare their nails, the cat deals with them by means of trees or a scratching mat.
Many of owners think that you should wash cats, it’s not true – you should wash your cat once in 6 month in warm water, with smooth movements in the direction the fur grows.
How to feed?
Vet doctors recommend to keep siberian cats up to the age of 3 on a diet that is 70% meat. Grinded beef will do (80-100 grams).
You can also feed the cat with lamb meat, boiled rabbit meat, chicken. Turkey meet can be fed in raw state. Beef byproducts are liked by cats: boiled heart, kidneys, lungs, liver.
They are recommend to de added into the duet not more than once a week. Raw fish often causes diarrhea and it’s not good for fur.
As an addition ti the diet you may use some not fat sea fish. When the cat gets older than 6 years old you mustn’t feed it with cream, milk and other fat containing products.
Become reproductive earlier than other breeds species, sometimes even being 5 month old. It’s connected with the closeness of the breed to its natural wild state.
Wild cats have a difficult life and they quite often die young. So, this is a genetic advantage they have – to become reproductive early and have a big offspring.
In the average offspring consist of 5-6 kittens and other high-bred cats have only 3-4 kittens. However, sometimes there may be only 1-2 of even 9 kittens in Siberian cat offspring.
These cats are brilliant parents. If males can get to their kittens he may help a female cat to take care of the kittens.
The kittens parent often live together and some females live with only one male. These cats feel more comfortable and happy if they have a mate, it helps them to stay active and emotionally healthy.
Some females may have kittens being 9-12 years old and even older. However, the kittens death rate is less, if the female is aged from 18 month up to 5-6 years old.
It’s connected with physical and emotional ripening, health and vitality of the cat and the law of nature, that young mothers have more healthy offspring.
Sergey is a founder and author of Meethepet.com. He’s been fond of aquarium husbandry since his early childhood.
His favorite aquariums are biotopes (Amazon River), with Echinodorus and Angelfish. However, through the years he’s had experience of keeping almost all types of freshwater fish and shrimps.