From Russia with love: that’s the Siberian cat, a glamorous native feline from the taiga of Siberia, a forested area with a subarctic climate that no doubt contributed to this cat’s long, thick, protective coat.
The Siberian cat is highly affectionate with family and playful when they want to be. However, their exercise needs aren’t overly demanding, and they’re just as happy to snuggle up with their humans as they are to chase a laser toy–maybe even happier.
These cats will follow you all over and gladly participate in whatever you’re doing–sometimes whether you like it or not. If you crave a warm cuddle buddy for those cold nights in Siberia–or wherever you live–the Siberian cat may be the perfect feline family member for you.
From Russia with love: that’s the Siberian, a glamorous native cat from the taiga of Siberia, a forested area with a subarctic climate that no doubt contributed to this cat’s long, thick, protective coat. The cats have been known in Russia for some 1,000 years and often figure in Russian folktales.
As in every culture, the cats were prized for their hunting ability by householders and shopkeepers. They kept mice and rats well away from stores of grain and other foods.
Siberians were first imported to the United States in 1990 and were recognized by The International Cat Association in 1996. The American Cat Fanciers Association accepted the breed in 1999, followed by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2006. The breed is gaining popularity because it has a reputation for being hypoallergenic—which may or may not be the case, depending on the individual person.
This cat typically weighs 8 to 17 pounds — and sometimes more.
The Siberian’s heart is as warm as his homeland is cold. He loves people and wants to be near them, so expect this affectionate cat to follow you around, including to the bathroom, and to “help” you with all of your reading, TV viewing, computer work and meal prep. Sitting in your lap while you comb his fur may well be the highlight of his day. When you come home from work, he might not have a martini waiting, but he will be pleased to tell you all about his day in quiet, pleasant trills and chirps, interspersed with a few meows and purrs. Guests will find him to be a genial host; this is not typically a cat who is shy in the presence of strangers.
Besides being loving and attentive, the Siberian is also active and playful. He will instigate games of fetch by bringing you a favorite toy to throw. Any item can become a plaything for this clever cat, so keep jewelry or other potentially intriguing items out of his sight. Teaching him tricks is a fun and easy way to challenge his agile brain.
Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Siberians are generally healthy, but one problem that has been seen in the breed is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease that causes the heart muscle to enlarge. It is found in pedigreed and non-pedigreed cats. Siberians are one of the breeds that may be affected by this disease.
The Siberian’s thick triple coat should be combed or brushed a couple of times a week to prevent tangles or mats. The coat will shed seasonally in the spring and fall, and you may need to groom more frequently during that time. A bath is rarely necessary, which is a good thing because the coat is highly water-resistant. It can be difficult to get a Siberian wet enough to shampoo him.
Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection.
These are some characteristics of Siberian cats.