Let's talk Siberian cats

The Siberian cat’s thick and lustrous coat is not just for show – although it is magnificent. Over the centuries, this ancient breed developed a triple-layer insulating and waterproof fur coat, ideal for withstanding the harsh climate of its native Siberia. If their ancestors evolved for the rugged, outdoor life, these days, Siberians certainly appreciate more comfortable conditions – these affectionate cats can be playful but are mostly quite content curled up in the warm, near their owners, always ready for a snuggle. 

Official name: Siberian

Other names: Neva Masquerade (pointed variety) Siberian Forest Cat 

Origins: Russia

Siberian sitting looking above camera in black and white

 

Shedding level

High

Warm weather? Low
Physical activity needs (high, low, medium) Low Kid-friendly?*  Very high
Compatibility with other pets
High


* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.
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Illustration of Siberian cat
Male
28 - 33 cm Height
7 - 8 kg Weight
Female
28 - 33 cm Height
5.5 - 6 kg Weight

 

 Baby cat  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten  4 to 12 months
 Adult 1 to 7 years
 Mature  7 to 12 years
 Senior  From 12 years

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Get to know the Siberian

All you need to know about the breed

With their extravagant fur coats, wide round eyes, fluffy ears and impressive brush-like tails, Siberian cats are true Russian beauties. But if you’re expecting an icy temperament to match their icy Siberian origins, you’re in for a bit of a shock. These wonderful cats are big softies who just want to be close to their chosen humans – they will literally follow you around the house and snuggle up on your lap, offering themselves up as a sort of feline hot water bottle. 

Siberian cats will even ‘talk’ to you. Siberians communicate with their humans through sweet little chirps and harrumphs as well as the more conventional purrs and miaows. 

Gregarious Siberians get on well with other animals and children too. They are playful and athletic by nature and that may sometimes translate into energetic leaps onto the furniture or frenzied batting at the cursor on your computer. However, these cats also have a calm, placid side. No wonder the Siberian breed is sometimes put to use as a therapy cat. 

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2 facts about Siberian cats

1. From Russia with gloves

Actually gloves might be the only thing missing from the Siberian’s winter wardrobe. This warm-hearted cat’s weather-proof clothing is impressive: a triple-layer, water-repellent coat, a full ruff, fluffy breeches and a fox-like bushy tail. Tufted paw pads complete the Siberian’s outdoor equipment, there to help them walk across the snowy landscape before they got to you.

2. Lynx-tipped Neva Masquerade

No, it’s not a secret code, but a way of describing a Siberian cat with distinctive markings and tufty ears. The alternative name Neva Masquerade is used for Siberians with darker fur on their extremities (also known as pointed). And if your cat has little tufts of hair on the tips of their ears then they have something in common with their bigger, wilder (distant) cousin, the lynx. These tufts, which help keep cats’ ears clear of dirt, are known as Lynx Tips. 

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History of the breed

Siberian cats date back at least a thousand years and are thought to be related to the Norwegian Forest Cat: the physical similarities between the two breeds are obvious and they both evolved to withstand harsh cold environments. 

Siberian cats have long been popular multitaskers in their homeland of Russia, from farm cats to much-loved family pets, even making magical appearances in local folklore and fairy tales. 

Although some had been shown at cat shows as far back as the 1870s, it was only after the end of the Cold War that these fabulous felines really started to be more widely known as some Siberian cats were exported to Europe and the United States. The Cat Fanciers’ Association accepted the breed for registration in 2000 and the breed made it to championship status in 2006. 
Front view of standing Siberian in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Siberian cats

1. Tail

Thick bushy tail resembling a fox’s brush.

2. Ears

Medium-sized ears, with longer hair at the base and sometimes tufts at the ends.

3. Coat

Fluffy, medium-length weatherproof fur in various colours.

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Siberian
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Heart trouble

Siberians are generally healthy cats but the breed is among those prone to a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that causes the heart muscle to enlarge, decreasing its efficiency. Always try to buy from a reputable breeder who will take care to only breed from disease-free parents.

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Watch the pounds

Siberians are a naturally big breed and may be at risk of putting on too much weight, which can lead to health problems. Make sure your cat eats the right food and in the right quantities to ensure they stay in the best of health. Regular check-ups with your vet are always a good idea. 

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Caring for your Siberian

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Keeping that wonderfully thick Siberian coat in good condition doesn’t take as much effort as you might expect: a brush or comb twice a week should ensure it stays tangle free. During shedding season, you may need to increase the frequency. Regular ear and teeth cleaning (daily if possible) and nail trimming are important too, and your cat needs to have access to a scratching post to allow them to fulfil their instinctive need to scratch. Siberians are playful cats and appreciate the chance to run and jump or chase a toy. If you have the patience, intelligent Siberian cats can easily master obedience commands and tricks – good for their mental stimulation.

All about Siberian cats

Not really – Siberians’ coats may be thick and impressive but they only need a quick brush every few days to stay in good, knot-free condition. In shedding season (twice a year) expect to do a little more brushing and probably a LOT more vacuuming. 

No cats can be considered truly hypoallergenic. However, anecdotal evidence suggests the Siberian breed may not elicit such strong reactions in people with allergies as other breeds. That may be because Siberians have lower levels of the allergy-causing protein in their saliva and skin than other cats – but scientists are still researching the phenomenon. 

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/