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Things You Need to Know About Siberian Cats

Anuj Mudaliar
Known for their long, fluffy coat and almost dog-like devotion, Siberian cats are very popular pets in many parts of the world. This article provides all the information you need about this cat's personality traits, physical characteristics, and other information that is good to know while considering this breed as a pet.

Did You Know?

The Siberian cat breed has been seen in Russia for around 1,000 years, and has been officially named as the national cat of the country.
Siberian cats, also known as Siberian forest cats, or Moscow Semi-Longhair cats, are a glamorous breed originating from the sub-arctic Taiga forest region of Siberia. They are primarily known for their long, fluffy coat, which protects them from harsh cold conditions.
As with many other cat breeds, the Siberian forest cats were domesticated for their hunting abilities, and keeping mice and rats away from grains and other produce.
The 1980s saw a surge in Russia for breeding pedigreed cats. The first standard Siberian cat was developed in Moscow at this time. They were brought to the United States in the 1990s, and have slowly gained popularity as pets due to their looks & largely hypoallergenic nature. We will now look at the appearance & physical characteristics of Siberian cats.

Physical Characteristics

The Siberian cat has a lush, triple coat composed of outer guard hair, awn hair, and a soft downy undercoat, and can look fairly similar to the Norwegian forest cat or the Maine Coon. Adult cats sport a thick ruff around the neck, but shortish hair near the lower chest and shoulder blade regions.
Siberian cats are available in a wide range of colors, such as silver, red, gold, white, black, etc., usually interspersed with patches of white. The average Siberian cat is medium-large sized, and can weigh anything from 10 to 20 pounds; in rare cases even more.
Females are mostly smaller than the males. The body is barrel-shaped, stocky, and muscular, with large and furry paws, and very thick and furry tails. However, these cats grow rather slowly, and can take up to five years to reach their full adult size.
These cats usually sport an alert and powerful look of a predator when on the move, though they have a calm but curious expression otherwise. The heads are largely rounded and broad, which taper down towards the nose.
They have expressive round eyes, which can come in various shades such as green, gold, and copper, some cats may also have blue eyes or eyes with different colors.


Siberian cats sexually mature much faster than most other breeds, and can become active for reproduction as early as when they are just five months of age.
An average litter will have around 5 - 6 kittens. The best age for breeding these cats is between 18 months and six years. However, females have been known to give birth even at the age of nine or ten years. They are known to be very good parents, and have strong family bonds, which is why it is recommended that one should bring home these cats in pairs.

Personality Traits

The temperament of a Siberian cat is one of its major plus points, and is a large factor in why it is very popular as a pet. Often known to show dog-like affection, they nearly always follow their owners around the house, and will want to get involved in any activity one may be busy with.
These cats also love to snuggle, and often like to communicate with a wide range of vocalizations, including chirps, purrs, trills, and meows.
They are usually very calm, and also friendly towards kids, strangers, and other pets, which makes them ideal as therapy cats. However, it is important that new pets are gradually introduced to other animals to make sure that they are comfortable with each other.
Siberian cats usually love playing in water, and can enjoy playing in tubs, and tipping their water bowls over. They are extremely active and playful, and some have even been found to start a game of fetch with their owners by bringing over a toy to throw.
They are also quite intelligent, which makes it easy to teach them tricks. Due to its forest cat ancestry, it is important that the owner provides it with many surfaces to climb and jump onto, as they love to reach places with great heights and jump across long gaps.
Although these cats love to play outdoors, they should have their regular living space inside the house too.

Health Problems

Both pure and mixed-breed Siberian cats are very robust and largely resistant to diseases, and can easily live for more than 15 years if cared for properly. However, this breed is susceptible to diseases that are genetic in nature, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In this condition, the muscles of the heart grow to sizes that are larger than normal.
Another disease known to affect them is polycystic kidney disease, where cysts form inside the kidneys, gradually growing in size as the cat ages, eventually ending in kidney failure.
Good living conditions, & regular checkups & vaccinations with a vet can help in preventing or reducing the effects of these diseases. Apart from this, it is also important for owners to keep their Siberians from getting obese, as they are very fond of food. Keeping them from getting overweight will ensure that the cat remains healthy throughout its life.

Care and Grooming

Siberian cats have a very thick coat, which gets even thicker during the winter season. Despite this, it is fairly easy to groom them, as the fur doesn't easily tangle or mat. Brushing the fur once a week should be enough to keep your cat looking good.
However, it is important to brush the hair daily during certain times in the spring and fall, when these cats tend to molt and shed a lot of hair. This will remove all the dead hair and prevent it from getting into knots.
The fur is largely water-resistant. This is good for the owner, as regular bathing is not required, and shampooing this water-resistant fur can be quite a task. However, baths can be a good idea if people in the house are allergic to cats. It should not be too difficult to persuade a Siberian cat to bathe, due to their affinity to water. Make sure you thoroughly wash off all the soap though.
Apart from this, one should remember to maintain a healthy diet, trim the nails, check the ears for infection, and brush the teeth of the cat every week. It is important that these routines for hygiene are practiced from the time the cat is young, so it becomes easier with time.

Are Siberian Cats Hypoallergenic?

Although not proven scientifically, Siberian cats are largely hypoallergenic. This is because, the saliva of these cats contain significantly lesser amounts of a protein called FelD1, than other breeds. When cats lick their fur, the saliva eventually dries and flakes off, and if the flakes contain high amounts of FelD1, the chances for allergies increases.
So, although Siberian cats rarely cause allergies, it is best that a prospective owner spends some time with the cat before bringing it home.
This will not only allow you to check if you have an allergic reaction, but will also help you to bond with your future pet. Moreover, many cat allergies go down over a period of time, so if you do find yourself allergic to your Siberian, give it a month's time to be sure.

Purchase or Adoption

When you are looking to adopt a Siberian cat, it is important that you get your pet from a good breeder. Always look out for the following warning signs that might indicate a poor pedigree, or a breeder who is irresponsible.
  • Unwillingness from the breeder to provide references of other buyers.
  • Language mistakes in the advertisements, which might indicate a scam from people overseas.
  • Pictures of cats in the advertisement which do not look like Siberians.
  • Breeders who don't check all their cats for genetic problems.
  • Sale of cats that are either too expensive or too cheap. The normal range is between USD 1,100 and 1,400.
  • Breeders who guarantee an allergy-free cat.
These cats are so loved that it is not very easy to find them for adoption, and it is not uncommon to find oneself on a waiting list. So, if you are indeed fortunate enough to have this rare, but cherished breed, you are surely in for a treat.