Siberian Cat

Siberian cat bred in Russia at the Golden Dream Cattery
Siberian cat – Businka Golden Dream – bred in Russia at the Golden Dream Cattery. Please click on the photo for more. Photo: Golden Dream Cattery.
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Please note that the article is split into sections with links to the next for technical reasons.

Introduction

The Siberian is the national cat of Russia, a “stately cat” and my kind of cat.

Torbie or patched tabby Siberian cat
Photo: copyright Helmi Flick.

Helmi Flick, a renown, professional cat photographer who knows cats well, calls this breed one of the “natural breeds”. This means evolving in nature perhaps as a semi-feral cat (household and farm cats) without interference by breeders until discovered and refined by the cat fancy fairly recently. Until then it was a long-haired moggie living in the harsh regions of northern Russia. But it is said that of all cat breeds the Siberian is “more reminiscent” of a wild cat. And this could well be true when we see the Scottish wildcat (a wildcat species of the European wildcat).

The supporters of the Siberian cat in Russia like to preserve the wild look. Although in the USA (TICA for instance), the standard encourages a less wild appearance. However, being a natural cat, it developed a tabby coat, the predominant coat type for this breed encouraging breeders to breed for self and shaded colors.

Female Siberian cat
Female Siberian cat. Photo and breeder: DC Kennel, Santa Rosa, Philippines.

Apparently, both the Russian president Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev keep Siberian cats (as at 2010)7.

This cat is a thick coated, distinguished and stately cat that comes from Russia, a country of harsh winters. This is a large, strong cat with a triple coat refined by nature not by humans. It is one of the heavier cats (see domestic cat size comparison). Its body type gives the impression of power and strength1. The size is nicely offset by the sweet face. The Siberian reflects the environment in which it evolved over a very long time with an oily top coat to two further coats (awn and down hairs) to keep out the wind.

Siberian cat Darius
Siberian cat Darius. Photo copyright Helmi Flick. Please click on the image to see a large version and some words by the breeder, Sue.

The Siberian cat is an accomplished jumper through its agility and power. Its hind legs are longer than the forelegs. Another good jumper, the Manx has a similar leg conformation. Another excellent jumper is the similar Norwegian Forest Cat. The strong back is arched when the cat is not moving. The head is a modified wedge1.

The Siberian is also called the “Siberian Forest Cat”2. This is not a lapcat.

22 thoughts on “Siberian Cat”

  1. I am blessed to have adopted a rescue kitten who appears to be Siberian. He is about 18 mos old now and looks identical to the red full-sized photo above. He was a tiny kitten when we got him and I assumed he was Maine Coon mix but as he grew he was totally different from the MC mix I have. It soon became evident he was a Siberian mix. I’m happy to report that, contrary to most descriptions I’ve read, he is quite a lovely lap cats. He spends a lot of time outdoors and is an avid hunter (gifts include mice, moles, bats and snakes:) But when he is indoors he like nothing better than to cuddle up in my lap and take a nap. He’s a totally charmer! So thrill to have him! Thought I might add a Norwegian to my collection but two boys are so well bonded I decided to heed the old saying “Two company. Three’s a crowd”:)

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    • Hi Diane. He looks superb. He certainly has the Siberian or Norwegian Forest cat appearance. He looks more Siberian – quite a cobby conformation. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. My Siberian is full of energy. She would play all day if you had the time and energy to play with her that much. I should have gotten two of them.

    She’s very attached to me. She follows me everywhere, including even into the bathroom. She’s not a lap cat, but she likes to be near me. She also likes the other members of my family, but I’m definitely Mommy to her.

    My mother, my sister and my brother-in-law are all very allergic to cats. With my last cat, a stray born under a friend’s house, my brother-in-law couldn’t come over here without having an asthma attack.

    With my Siberian, he and my sister can spend all day here, with no problems at all. I live with my parents and my mother doesn’t react to her either. It has been well-worth getting a Siberian.

    For people who love cats, but are allergic to them, I’d suggest finding a Siberian breeder and asking them if you can go to hang out with the cats and see how you do. You might just find that you’ve found your cat.

    They’re expensive, but for me, it meant the difference between being able to have a cat and not having one, which was not an option for my emotional well-being. Fellow cat lovers will know what I mean.

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    • Thanks a lot Leslie for telling us about the hypoallergenic qualities of your Siberian cat. I was sceptical about this. In fact I did not really believe it but your comment has changed my opinion a little. Thanks Leslie.

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  3. my boy Rula who I call my runaway Siberian cat has become more friendly with friends and family now after taking him in august 2011 took some time but we got there. He has such a sweet nature and very gentle. I am so glad I have him in my life now !!

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  4. I can vouch for a lot of info here. My female differs in that she is dainty rather than powerful. But she does come to tell me with a ‘ something’s wrong!’ Face when the window cleaners come, and once she burst through the cat flap with the same expression and when I looked out the window there was some young teenage lads in the back garden. Amazing to see in a cat an quite heart warming really that she comes to tell you! When she was younger she did play fetch but now we play a kind of mouse tennis on the stairs. The cat I had before I was allergic to, she was a moggie with strong British shorthair traits, I had to wash my hands after touching her but with Muffin ( had her 8 years now) I can kiss her and my lips don’t burn and swell, I can rub my eyes and they don’t itch… Well unless it is prolonged. I wouldn’t say in my experience they are 100% allergy free but it has made a huge difference to me. She is my best friend, an occasional lap cat, loves to be where the people are, greets people but then disappears. She’s not fond of being picked up for long. She can bite but only bites very very gently and normally licks you immediately after but it makes her feelings known. She lives to sleep on the bed. Not a fan of kids, maybe the males would be more placid? And the only negative is the hair she leaves everywhere! She hates being brushed so it’s a bit of a losing battle. She is independant and does not live with other cats very well, she liked it best just her. She is very bold with dogs on her territory and will march straight up to them leaving the dog very wary! It’s amazing to see. She has lived with a dog but really does prefer it on her own. This is obviously going to vary from car to cat but this is just to support some of the description of this breed above.x

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  5. I have owned a full blooded Siberian for the past 7 years. Having had cats most of my life, I must say my Siberian is truly unique in personality and disposition. He is especially social and gregarious with anyone who comes into his environment. Very dog-like and companionable, he is a joy to be with.

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