The Siberian Cat Breed

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Are you looking for a cat that is a big teddy bear? A Siberian cat might just be for you. These cats are the second largest cats in size -only the Maine Coon is bigger. They are a newer, and still rare, cat breed in the United States, but they have exsisted in Russia for hundreds of years.

Dressed for Winter Weather

Cat Love

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As  you might suspect, the Siberian cat breed is no stranger to cold weather. They have a dense, medium-long, triple layer coat to keep them warm. This coat is complete with a ruff of hair around the neck and fluffy britches and tail. Small tufts of hair on top of the ears may also be present. The oils on the hair help to repel water and keep the cat dry. A Siberian cat’s coat can be found in many different colors and patterns. The coat doesn’t tangle easily but still requires consistent grooming because the coat’s thickness changes seasonally. These changes can mean a lot of shedding. Despite the shedding, it is believed by many that Siberian cats are hypoallergenic. To be specific, it is believed that Siberian cats shed less FelD1 in their saliva and therefore put less of the allergen into the environment. This does not mean that they do not cause any allergy symptoms in people with cat allergies, but it is likely that the symptoms will be fewer. A Siberian cat’s body has round contours and few angles. They have very sweet, round faces topped with rounded ears. Their eyes, which can be any color, are almost round with a distinctive upturn  at the outer corner. When viewed from the side, a slight curve in the muscular Siberian cat’s back can be seen. This is because their powerful hind legs are slightly longer than their front legs.

The History of the Siberian Cat Breed

I'm getting sleepy

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The Siberian cat breed is a naturally occurring breed that began in Russia. No one is exactly sure how these cats got to Russia, but the current theory is that humans immigrating to Russia brought them there. Once in their new home, the cats adapted to the harsh environment and became the breed we see today.

The earliest records of the Siberian cat breed are from 1,000 AD. However, there is very little information existing on the early Siberian cats. Russians have used Siberian cats in their folklore and in children’s books. One folklore cat was Kotofey (or Catafay) Ivonavich. In a popular story, Kotofey marries a witty fox in the woods. Together they trick all of the other animals in forest into fearing them and bringing them food.

When the first official cat show took place in London in the late 1800’s, Siberian cats were there. Still, there were not many records kept on the cats. Though cat fancy groups were popping up worldwide after that first event, Russia did not keep up with this trend. Under the soviet regime, food and housing became scarce, so the Russian people were not allowed to keep pets.

It wasn’t until the end of the Cold War that cat fancy in Russia resumed. The first Russian cat fancier club, called Kotofei Cat Club after the folklore character, had their first show in 1987. That is when a Russian breeder put out an ad looking for another breeder to donate a few Himalayan cats to help them begin a breeding program. This breeder was also willing to trade Siberian cats for Himalayan cats. American Himalayan breeder, Elizabeth Turrell, happily answered the ad. She traded 3 Himalayan cats for 3 Siberian cats. She began the breeding program for Siberian cats in the US in 1990, but found it hard to find pure breeding stock because of how new the practice of pedigreeing cats was in Russia. The Siberian cat breed was not accepted to the CFA until 2000.

A Pleasant Personality

Eva / Siberian Forest Cat

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A Siberian cat is a perfect pet for a family. These cats are calm and loyal. They love  to be with their humans and they don’t mind children, dogs, or other pets. Siberian cats tend to be on the quieter side and they have a knack for knowing when their humans could use a little emotional support.

Just because Siberian cats are laid back, doesn’t mean they don’t play hard. These cats are furry acrobats. They have powerful hind legs that help them to jump further and higher than anyone would suspect they could. Siberian cats are also good at problem-solving. They will figure out how to get exactly what they want.

If you are considering adding a Siberian cat to your family, check out the adoptable Siberian cats from PetFinder!

Have you ever met a Siberian cat?

Sources & Digging Deeper

Siberian – CFA

Siberian – TICA

Siberian Cat – PetFinder

Liza the Fox and Catafay the Cat – Russian Crafts