The Siberian cat is a grand breed with a strong, muscular body and pleasant disposition. This tall cat possesses a dense triple coat with a sizeable neck collar, which makes it invulnerable to extreme cold of Russian winters. It achieved international recognition only in 90s of the XX century but it has already earned appreciation of thousands of cat fanciers from all over the world.
Photo: © cattery Shiny Siberian (shinysiberian.it)
The Siberian cat originated in Russian Siberia, which is famous for its severe northern climate. No wonder that this breed has such thick and long hair: it protects it from the most adverse weather conditions. It’s believed that this breed came to existence more than 1 000 years ago and was treasured for its hunting prowess by local inhabitants. This cat was a true professional at saving supplies of grain and other provisions from insatiable appetite of household rodents. In Russian folklore it was often pictured as a magical creature, which was endowed with the power of opening gates to invisible spheres.
The Siberian participated in several Cat Shows in England and New York in the XIX century and it was depicted in cat books issued in 1889, 1898 and 1900. Despite the presence of these early references to this breed, its thorough depictions were fairly scanty at that time. In the 80s of the XX century cat breeding began to gain more and more popularity in Russia and more systematic approach to breeding became more common. Kotofei Cat Club in Moscow developed the first standard for the Siberian and 12 of its specimens were exhibited at All Union Cat Show in 1989.
In the 90s several Siberians were finally imported in the United States by the breeder Elizabeth Terrell who swapped them for some Himalayan cats. The International Cat Association recognised the breed in 1996. The American Cat Fanciers Association granted it its complete recognition in 1999, followed by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2006.
The Siberian cat is a highly people-oriented breed and strives to take part in every family activity. Get ready that this cat will be trailing you while you walking around the house. It loves resting in the lap of its master and being gently combed, and always looks forward to this bonding experience. As a rule it’s a quite cat although it’s won’t hesitate to voice out its point of view with mild chirps and meows. This breed is hospitable with newcomers in your house and likes to get involved in exuberant games with them. It’s perfectly fine with children and other domestic animals as long as they comply with its right of a private space.
The favourite activity of the Siberian is playing fetch with its master so make sure to spend enough time with this lively and sociable cat. It’s highly capable of learning tricks and commands and usually welcomes every chance to challenge its natural intelligence.
The early specimens of the Siberian had to survive in forests so this cat is characterised with incredible stamina and lacks typical cat’s fearfulness of water. It can frisk in water for hours on end and jump at the highest point in the room without any significant effort. It’s a good idea to install in your apartment a tall cat tree and buy your pet plentiful of puzzle toys.
The Siberian has a well-balanced and calm personality, which makes it a very perspective therapy cat. And although it likes to be in the centre of your attention it will patently await you at home while you are earning money for its food and toys.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
The Siberian is relatively easy to care for. Its dense, waterproof coat isn’t prone to mats or tangles so weekly brushing will be quite sufficient to keep it in excellent condition. During spring and autumn this cat gets rid of its seasonal coat so except to find large bunches of cat’s hair all over your place. It’s essential to brush the Siberian on a daily basis during these periods in order to remove loose fur and prevent mats from developing.
Other than that this breed needs rather basic grooming. The owner should trim its nails weekly and regularly inspect the ears for the signs of infection (nasty smell, redness, etc.). Frequent bathing should be avoided although it can be helpful in diminishing allergens in the house if one or several members of your family suffer from allergy.