SIBERIAN

By Lynne Geary

              

The Siberian cat is a natural breed and is the National cat of Russia. It is a very old breed with records of them making their homes in Russian monasteries as far back as the 13 th Century.

Siberians are a medium to large semi-longhaired cat.  They have a very pleasing and harmonious appearance, which is described in a circular shape with rounded bodies, eyes, ears and heads, which set them apart from the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat, (as shown below). A Siberian should be a cat of great "heft", strength and muscle.  Males can weigh between 12 – 15 lbs and females 8 – 11 lbs. The Siberian has a triple coat, containing the "down" to keep them warm in the cold Russian winters, the actual fur and then the guard hairs. During the summer months you should allow for a somewhat shorter dense coat. The tail is neither too long or too short but very full and well furnished to keep them protected from the elements. Siberians do not require a great deal of grooming but do have seasonal moults in spring and autumn. They tend to be a hardy cat that looks remarkably similar to the Russian wild cats, although owners of Siberians will tell you that there is nothing particularly wild about their nature.

Siberian
Norwegian Forest
Maine Coon

Neva Masquerades

Most colours are possible in Siberians including the colourpoint, which is nicknamed the 'Neva Masquerade'. No one knows for sure how or when the colourpoint gene came to be present in Siberian cats but it seems that it has been there for some centuries. It is probably not surprising that colourpointed cats found their way into the indigenous Russian cat population given the old Eastern trade routes and the many borders Russia shares with countries that would have colourpointed cats.

There are stories of Russian fishermen along the river Neva trapping feral colourpointed cats, that liked to swim and taming them, hence the name masked cats from Neva. Many breeders breed colourpoints together with traditional colours so it seems certain that the colourpoints are here to stay. The Siberian is the only forest cat that colourpoints are recognised in.

Hypoallergenic Cats?

There has been information circulated especially in America about the suitability of Siberian cats as pets for people who would normally show an allergic reaction to cats. Although no extensive research has been carried out, fur samples tested in the USA showed that the Siberians involved had less Fel D1 flakes on their fur (these are the flakes that become airborne and trigger allergies). Please note that not all allergic individuals can tolerate Siberians and anyone who is allergic to cats should spend time in the presence of an adult Siberian and consult their GP before taking a Siberian into their homes.

Characteristics

Many Siberians are happy to be indoor cats; indeed many Russian breeders are city dwellers and live in flats. Although Siberians are “natural” cats they have not been found to be wild or destructive. The Siberian tends to be both a great problem solver and loyal to their families, most owners will testify to the dog like devotion of their cats and many have reported that their cats have a wonderful chirruping purr that they have not heard in other breeds. They are a very playful and intelligent breed, that seem to socialise well with other cats and many in the UK share their home quite happily with dogs.

Siberians come with a warning - one is never enough!!!

 


 

 

 

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