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Siberian cat

Other names: Siberian Forest cat

Siberian cat
Siberian cat
Kitten

This large Russian breed adapted to the harsh climates of southern Siberia, hence their name. They are very rounded cats, and their fur is much thicker in winter than in summer. If you love large cats with mid-length hair, this is the breed for you!

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Key facts about the Siberian cat

  • Life expectancy : Between 15 and 20 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Playful
  • Type of coat : Long
  • Price : Between £150 and £650

Physical characteristics of the Siberian cat

Adult size

Female cat Approximately 12 in
Male cat Between 12 and 14 in

Siberian cats reach adult size around the age of 3.

Weight

Female cat Between 9 and 13 lb
Male cat Between 11 and 18 lb

Coat colour

Black, white, red, as well as shades of grey/blue/cream etc 

Some colours, such as chocolate, cinnamon, lilac and fawn are not permitted.

Coat patterns

Solid / tabby / colourpoint, bicolour, tri-colour
Colourpoint Siberians have a different name according to the GCCF, as they are known as a Neva Masquerade.

Type of coat

Mid-length

Eye colour

Blue, aquamarine, yellow, dichroic, odd

Description

Siberians are large cats with muscular physiques and dense skeletons which make them rather heavy! People often affectionately refer to them as barrel-shaped. They have thick mid-length hair and a thick undercoat, and are crowned with beautiful collars of hair around their heads, which are particularly noticeable in winter.

Temperament

Affectionate

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Their fur is incredibly soft and perfect for when you’re cuddling them! It is even thicker in winter!

Playful

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These cats need to run around regularly to develop and maintain their impressive muscles. They also need to expend as much energy as possible. If you arm yourself with a feather duster you’ll find your feline friend will charge around the house behind you!

Calm

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Despite their strength, Siberians enjoy peace and quiet which means they often calmly settle down with their owners.

Intelligent

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Siberians are always trying to work out what you expect from them. For example, they’ll quickly learn tricks (such as a high five) in exchange for a good treat!

Fearful / wary of strangers

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Despite their size, Siberians can be suspicious of strangers, particularly if a person comes to disrupt their family routine. Nevertheless, curious individuals will be friendly and will parade themselves in front of their new friends.

Independent

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They love to be left alone away from all noise and activity. However, they will also try and rest near their owners when they feel like it.

Behaviour of the Siberian cat

Chatty

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Due to their size, Siberians are hard to miss. Fortunately, they don’t also feel the need to express themselves with noises!

Need for exercise / Sporty

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These domestic cats have to work very hard to avoid being bored and to avoid the temptation of eating too much food. By varying independent and interactive activities, you can offer them sufficient exercise and keep them in good health.

Tendency to run away

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Their fur offers great protection against the cold and rain, and these big cats can withstand most climates. Thanks to their size, they have the strength to climb out of your garden so you’re definitely going to have to keep an eye on them!

Greedy / Gluttony

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Their appetites are proportional to their size and levels of daily activity.

Compatibility

Siberian cat and cats

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These cats definitely prefer living alone without any other cats. However, they can get along if respectful presentations are made and the interior layout of the property allows both parties to have their own space.

Siberian cat and dogs

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To start with, they’ll probably try to hide or find a high spot from which to observe this new animal that has interfered in their daily life. But by presenting them gradually (under supervision), they are able to adapt themselves excellently to life alongside a canine companion.

Siberian cat and children

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To start with, they’ll probably try to hide or find a high spot from which to observe this new animal that has interfered in their daily life. But by presenting them gradually (under supervision), they are able to adapt themselves excellently to life alongside a canine companion.

Siberian cat and the elderly

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Their calm nature makes them good companions for elderly people. It’s recommended that you seek advice from breeders in order to select the least rowdy individuals. Also, Siberians are more active when they’re young.

Price

On average, Siberians cost between £150 and £650. This price varies depending on their lineage, breeding, age and sex. On average it costs £35 per month to keep them in good health, meet their needs, and ensure they get high quality food.

Grooming

Weekly brushing is sufficient, except during their spring moulting, when daily brushing may be necessary.

Hair loss

During their spring moult, these cats lose a lot of their thick protective winter fur which they don’t need during milder seasons.

Nutrition of the Siberian cat

To keep them healthy, their diet should be of high quality, and must adapted to their living conditions (exercise levels etc.).

Health of the Siberian cat

Life expectancy

They have a life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years.

Strong / robust

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Their fur and undercoat give them excellent protection against both rain and cold weather. They also have a reputation for being generally healthy cats. However, they don’t particularly appreciate hot weather, even if their coat does adapt accordingly.

Tendency to put on weight

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Their body type is already rounded at the ribs and it is important to avoid attributing these natural curves to weight gain! Therefore you must ensure that their diet is well adapted to their lifestyle to avoid them becoming overweight. Particularly as it isn’t easy to notice their weight gain due to their thick hair.

Common illnesses

Siberians can develop the same diseases as other cats, such as oral diseases.
Other diseases that may appear include:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: it is a condition which causes the heart muscle to thicken. This disease can cause heart failure that can result in arrhythmias or even lung aedemas. You can screen for this with an echocardiograph repeated annually. 
Pyruvate kinase deficiency is a hereditary condition that causes anemia. If the cat is affected, their life expectancy can be shortened to a year, or they can stay alive for up to 10 years. A DNA screening test can be carried out to find out if the cat is carrying one or two alleles that cause the disease.

Reproduction

On average, they have 4 kittens per litter.
Cross breeding is banned.

Good to know

Siberians are described as hypoallergenic, as they don’t produce much of the FELD1 protein, whose amino acid sequence causes allergies.

Origins and history

Siberians (native to southern Siberia), are most likely descended from cross breeding between wild cats and domestic cats in the region. It wasn’t until the late eighties that a couple of breeders imported the first Siberians from Saint Petersburg to start breeding them in Germany. In 1990, the first Siberians arrived in the United States where they were recognised by TICA as a breed 8 years later.

Names

Good names for a Siberian cat: Angel, Ice, Snow, Winter

Find out name ideas for your cat here