Siberian cats, despite their large size, are usually gentle animals that tend to be very laid back and good with children and other pets.
The Siberian is a Russian cat, but how it originally arrived in Russia is not known for sure. The most likely scenario is that explorers, traders, or immigrants brought cats over to Russia and they subsequently evolved to become the robust longhaired Siberian cats of today.
The Siberian has existed for more than 1,000 years, but was not brought to the United States until 1990, and was only accepted by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in February 2000. Siberian cats are still quite rare in North America.
Siberian Cat Appearance
This large, sturdy, robust cat evolved to withstand a harsh climate, and the Siberian’s large build and coat reflect this heritage. A semi-longhaired cat, the Siberian has a thick, plush, luxurious coat that is much fuller in the winter than the summer. Available in a wide variety of colours, the coat features a full neck ruff and a tight, water-resistant undercoat.
A slow-maturing breed, the Siberian requires four to five years to reach its full weight and coat length, though these cats are capable of procreating at a much younger age, well before full maturity is reached. When they have achieved their full size, females typically weigh 8-11 pounds and males 12-16, and sometimes even more.
Powerfully built with back legs slightly longer than their front legs, Siberians are excellent jumpers, able to leap significant distances. These stocky, barrel-chested cats give an overall impression of sturdiness and solid strength, but the typical Siberian face, a broad wedge shape with pleasantly rounded contours, has a cheerful, good-natured appearance.
Siberian Cat Personality
Siberians are among the more doglike cat breeds, and thus often appeal to dog people. Devoted and loyal, they are inclined to greet members of the household at the door and follow them around, and they are good problem solvers and quite trainable. Most Siberians also like to play fetch with their toys.
Siberians are friendly, but not particularly demanding or vocal, though they are inclined to chirp and trill when excited. They tend to be sweet-tempered and amenable to handling, even by young children, though there are certainly exceptions to this rule. However, most Siberians are friendly, tolerant, easy-going, and pleasant, and thus make good family pets.
Among the Siberian’s more amusing quirks, many owners have noted that their cats are fascinated with water, showing curiosity about bathtubs, playing with water dripping from sink faucets, and purposely dropping toys into water dishes.
Siberian Cat Grooming Requirements
Although their coats are not as inclined to tangle as those of Persians, Siberians still require regular grooming to prevent matting, and should be thoroughly groomed at least once a week using a steel comb. Additional grooming may be required during the shedding seasons (spring and fall) to remove loose hair, as Siberians shed quite rapidly and extensively during these times.
Siberian Cat Health
Siberians are a particularly healthy and hardy breed. They may be slightly more prone to cardiomyopathy and hip dysplasia than mixed-breed domestics, but obtaining cats from legitimate breeders significantly reduces the likelihood of genetic health problems.
Are Siberians Hypoallergenic?
Potential adopters often wonder about the claims that Siberian cats are hypoallergenic. Some preliminary evidence suggests that Siberians may produce less of the Fel d 1 protein, the allergen that usually causes the problems. However, there has not been sufficient research conducted to prove this claim conclusively for all Siberians and not all allergy sufferers can tolerate Siberians, though breeders have been able to place Siberians in homes with certain people who otherwise cannot tolerate cats due to allergies.
Some allergy suffers have also had luck with Cornish and Devon Rex cats, which have short, tight, curly fur, and others have found Russian Blues less likely to provoke allergic reactions. The best approach for potential adopters is to spend time with the cat to be adopted in order to gauge their reactions before proceeding.
Adopting a Siberian Kitten or Cat
The Siberian is still quite rare in North America. The cost of Siberian kittens varies based on blood lines, markings, and other factors. Breeders usually maintain waiting lists, and kittens can be very expensive, ranging from around $800-$2,000.
Homeless adult Siberian cats are also available for adoption. Contact the Siberian Cat Breed Rescue or visit PetFinder’s list of available Siberian shelter cats to provide a loving home for an adult Siberian cat in need.
- American Cat Fanciers Association. (2005). “Siberian Synopsis.” ACFACat.com.
- Cat Fanciers’ Association. (15 June 2009). “Breed Profile: Siberian.” CFAinc.org.
- Helgren, J. Anne. (2009). “Choosing a Siberian.” PetPlace.com.
- PetFinder.com. (2009). “Siberian Cat.”