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Siberian :: Cat Breeds

A magnificent, wild-looking cat, the Siberian is an excellent hunter and is well adapted to surviving in a climate of extreme temperatures. Little is known of its background, but some people think that it is one of the earliest longhaired breeds.


Siberian cat breedThis intelligent, bold breed is a large cat with a modified wedge shaped head with rounded contours and very expressive eyes. They have heavy boning with a muscular build and a barrel shaped torso. Their ability to be very agile is great as their back legs are slightly longer than their front legs. This gives them the ability to jump great heights.

According to Russian cat fanciers, the true Siberian is exported with a metrika (Russian pedigree) seal and specific signatures from a recognized registry and member breeder. Russian breeders report that some lines have a predisposition towards umbilical hernias, a problem that can be surgically repaired. Kinked tails are occasionally found, but do not affect the well being of the cat.

The Siberian's were recorded as participants in the first cat show in England in the 1700's and have been judged to Grand International Championship overseas prior to their export. Old Soviet law discouraged pet ownership due to the housing and food shortages and war depleted representatives of various purebreds. It was only in 1987 that the Russian Cat Clubs (recognized as individual registries there) began to keep official records in an attempt to retrieve what had been proscribed or lost. On June 28, 1990, the first Siberian's were imported to the USA by Elizabeth Terrell of Starpoint Cattery, only traditional colours were imported at that time. The Russian's and Elizabeth Terrell traded two breeds that were not found in either country. The Russian's wanted some Himalayans and Elizabeth wanted the Siberian cat. The trade finally happened after years of communication between the two.

Differences From Other Forest Cats:

Their physical shape is what distinguishes the Siberians from other forest cats. Siberians are more circular, with a rounded head and eyes, and a barrel shaped body. Overall physical appearance should be one of strength and power, but with a sweet expression. Maine Coons are more rectangular with a longer body, tail, and legs, and taller ears. Norwegians have a triangular head, slanted eyes, and pointed ears.

The Siberian may take as long as five years to fully mature. They love to be groomed and will actually roll over to be brushed. The medium long to long coat is very spectacular in the Winter months. The coat on most Siberian kittens usually becomes full the first Winter after their first birthday, some may take longer. The coat is very difficult to wet, which helps to protect them in the cold harsh Russian environment. Most Siberians will "shimmy" their tails when when they are happy. Some mistake this action for spraying, yet it is not.

Some pointers on the Siberian Cat:

  • Considered by some to be the ancestor of all long haired cats.
  • Can take up to five years before the cat matures to full size.
  • Considered to be the largest domestic breed in the world.
  • Known to have an amazing jumping ability.
  • Kitten buyers should make sure that their Siberian is authentic, and not just a longhaired cat that resembles pedigreed Siberian.
  • Dander is probably the main allergen that cats produce. Siberians produce less dander than most cats, probably due to their oily based fur. Since dander is just dry skin, the oils in the fur keep the skin from drying out. It also gives the Siberian fur the soft feel like that of a rabbit.
  • Many people who have allergic reactions around cats have found that they are not allergic to this breed.

The Siberian is a physically affectionate cat, and loves attention, they are also loyal, protective of their humans, sociable and confident. These cats have also been known to give their owners love bites. Being a mellow breed they make great companions. They are happy to share your lap and bed (usually your pillow) with you. The Siberian is a very intelligent breed, that learns quickly, and even seem to "problem solve" to get what they want. They seem to have some dog-like qualities. Siberians love purring but also squeak and chirp, they love to be spoken to and will come running when they hear their names. The eyes seem to speak to you when you look at them, they are very expressive. They also love to play in the water, water bowls and dripping kitchen sinks.

The Siberian cat comes only as a longhair. Although brown tabby is the most common colour, it may be any pattern or colour or combination of colours, solid lilac or solid chocolate - some Cat Organizations do not accept the colorpoints for judging. With their triple coat the longer hairs are pale near the skin, darkening toward the outer end. This makes the coat shimmer as the cat moves.

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