Cat lovers everywhere know that there are numerous breeds from all over the world to choose from. There are a number of well-established breeds that several cat registries recognize. There’s also a variety of new experimental breeds, as well as lapsed breeds, and distinct populations of domestic cats that are currently not actively developed. By the year 2016, The International Cat Association (TICA) had recognized 58 breeds, the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) recognized 43, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognized 44.
The confusing part may well be the fact that individual breed classification inconsistencies exist, meaning that one individual cat could be considered to be a different breed by a specific registry. For example, Himalayan cats are considered to be a colorpoint Persian by the CFA while TICA considers them to simply be Himalayans.
Domestic long-haired and domestic short-haired cat types aren’t actually breeds but terminologies used, and various spellings, too, for describing cats of a certain type and coat length, but not belonging to a specific breed. From American Bobtail cats to York Chocolate cats and everything in-between, there’s probably not one that is quite as popular as Siberian Cats, although Persians and Siamese are pretty popular, too. Here are 20 fun facts you probably didn’t know about Siberian Cats:
From Russia with Love
Siberian cats originated in Russia. Their earliest known reference was in 1000 A.D. This date is provided by the International Cat Association. The breed is a Russian national treasure that has been documented for hundreds of years all over Russia. They’re even mentioned in children’s books and many Russian fairy tales. In an 1889 Russian book called “Our Cats and All About Them” by Harrison Weir, there is a mention of Siberian cats. In addition, Russian families relate fondly their tales of Siberians with their amazing personalities and superior loyalty. As in many other cultures, the early Siberian cats were prized by shopkeepers and households alike because of their amazing hunting abilities. They were charged with keeping the rats and mice far away from their stores of grain, as well as many other types of foods. Siberian cats began to appear in shows during the 1870s and there was a reference to them in 1884 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
These popular cats are calm, quiet, playful and fearless. It often takes them as much as five years to gain full maturity, however, they’re really playful for their entire lives. They’re capable of getting along extremely well with kids, other cats, and even dogs and love being close to their family members. They’re quite intelligent and creative, as well as being problem-solvers. Their behavior is often dog-like, including greeting visitors at the door, playing a game of fetch, and even coming when they’re called. Siberian cats’ heritage was as a forest-dweller, therefore they like playing with water. You shouldn’t be surprised if your Siberian loves to splash you when you’re in the tub, drink from drinking fountains or faucets, or simply make little puddles by batting his paws in the water dish. As befitting hunting and working cats, they’re highly athletic. You might even find yours balancing on top of doorways or propelling himself high into the air like a Siberian gymnast. Noise and activity don’t bother Siberian cats even a little bit. Their calm, cool natures give them the potential for being therapy cats by snuggling with their owners when they’re down with a bad cold or some other illness. The great thing about attention-loving Siberian cats is the fact that they’re very patient, waiting until you have time for them rather than being needy like some pets.
These cats are active, playful, and athletic with hind legs that are actually longer than their front legs. This gives them jumping power that is quite impressive. They do best as indoor cats, especially since their fearless natures could make them ineffective at judging outdoor threats. In addition, you don’t want to be running the risk that someone might steal your beautiful Siberian.
Their grooming needs are actually low because Siberians love playing in the water. Starting to bathe yours when she’s a kitten will give her the opportunity of becoming acclimated to bathing. Their coats don’t get tangled easily, therefore an occasional brushing, like a couple of times a week, is sufficient. Due to their extra hair in the ears, they’ll need to be cleaned regularly, as well as trimming the nails.
Are They Hypoallergenic?
Siberians have been touted as being hypoallergenic, however, this has never been actually proven. They do, however, produce a lower amount of pet dander than some other breeds do, making them a possible better fit for individuals who suffer from allergies.
Siberians have a low tendency toward health problems, although they are susceptible to the usual health problems of cats. There’s one genetic condition that they have a tendency toward carrying. It’s called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and is a condition that causes thickening of the heart muscle.
Siberian Cat Personalities
Siberians are a highly intelligent breed and love solving problems of all kinds. For example, they will figure out how to open the door so that they can be with their beloved owners. They can also figure out how to get to their cat food to sneak an extra meal, or will recover their favorite toy after their owners have hidden it. They’re also very powerful and agile, leaping great distances and some pretty high ones, too. In fact, they sometimes appear to be flying through the air, and in spite of their size, they possess an adeptness for negotiating around obstacles that get in their way without ever knocking them over. They also love playing and can entertain their owners with their antics that are clown-like. They always adore their human family members, as well as visitors to their home who have children. Their purring has a wonderful depth to it and Siberians communicate with a kind of chirping sound, especially when they come to the door to greet you when you arrive home after being out and about. They have a way of knowing when they’re needed for moral and/or psychological support and have a tendency toward spending extra time with that person in need of support.
Singular Siberian Personality Traits
Their hearts are as warm as their homeland was cold. They all love people and have a desire to be near them. You can expect your affectionate cat to love following you around all the time. This can include following you even to the bathroom and helping you with things like reading, watching TV, doing computer work, and even during meal preparation. Getting to sit on your lap while you’re brushing his or her fur could very well be the highlight of your Siberian’s entire day. And, when you arrive home after work at the end of the day, your Siberian cat may not greet you with a martini, however, he or she will always always be happy telling you all about his kitty-day in sweet, soft, pleasant chirps and trills followed by some purrs and meows. Your houseguests will also find your Siberian to be the most genial of hosts and welcoming to all strangers who come to visit because he’s definitely not even a little bit shy
Other Purely Siberian Traits
Although Siberians are considered to be a semi-long-haired breed, their coats vary with the seasons. They’re available in a wide range of colors and patterns. This includes rich patterns and some deeply intense colors that make them stand out dramatically from everyday cats. They also have a powerful musculature with rounded contours that resemble a barrel. Their heads are rounded with gentle contours and they give the overall impression of perfect balance. Their coats are accented by a ruff around their necks, as well as a bushy tail, and full fluffy britches. They carry themselves with pride as if they’re well aware that they are a very special breed. Their ears are actually rounded but the hair that grows at the tops of them make them look pointed.
Toys & Games
Besides the fact that Siberian cats are attentive and very loving, they’re also quite playful and active. They love instigating games of fetch, just like a dog, by bringing their favorite toy to you so that you can throw it. In fact, just about anything could become this very clever cat’s plaything. That’s why it’s so important to keep enticing things, like jewelry, or other items out of sight. Teaching your Siberian lots of tricks can be an easy and fun way of challenging his or her amazingly agile brain. Siberian cats also love to learn tricks and play with puzzle toys.
Since Siberian cats are intrigued by all kinds of toys, some can actually learn to play fetch, while still other cats are simply fascinated by a moving cursor on your computer screen or just sitting and watching you, mesmerized by your typing. Siberian cats are quite acrobatic and love playing hard. They can often be seen executing seemingly impossible somersaults while pursuing a feather toy. Some overly enthusiastic kittens end up having to be rescued when they jump onto the top shelf of a bookshelf or try climbing the bricks on your fireplace. The best news of all is that Siberians remain really playful throughout their entire lives.
Getting a Siberian Kitten
Although this particular breed isn’t commonly found, checking your local shelters might help you find one who in need of a good home. If you decide, however, on contacting a breeder, you should be aware of the existence of kitten mills. Be sure to inspect the breeder’s facility, as well as any other kittens and older cats there for the purpose of observing whether they’re all receiving proper care. Also, ask the breeder about any available hypertrophic cardiomyopathy screening results. Simple echocardiograms can confirm whether the condition is present or not.
When you’re selecting your Siberian kitten, take into consideration all of the characteristics that are important to you. Discussing them with the breeder who knows the kittens best, can help with matching you to the right one. Kittens are generally available when they’re 12 to 16 weeks old. By that time, they should have their basic inoculations and have had a chance to develop some social and physical stability that is necessary for going to a new environment. Keeping your beautiful new Siberian kitten inside, as well as spaying or neutering him or her, are very important choices.
When you’re just beginning your special relationship with your new Siberian kitten, you’re sure to find that your days are filled with lots of fun and plenty of affection. When you start off on the right foot, your adjustment period and his or her will be much less rocky. Here are a few hints for doing just that:
- Going slowly at first- Your new kitten might require seven to fourteen days for becoming relaxed and confident in her new environment.
- A Safe Place- Offering her a safe place for hiding while she’s getting her bearings can be helpful. She’ll want the opportunity to watch her new family as they go about their daily routine from a small, fairly dark spot or one that’s located high above all of the action.
- Veterinary Care- Taking your new kitten to a good, caring veterinarian for her wellness exam within a week after adopting her is a must.
- Diet- Providing exactly the same diet that she was eating before you got her at least for a week or two is important. If you decide upon switching her to some new brand or flavor, make the change slowly over a period of at least one or two weeks. Start with a one-quarter portion of her new food and mix it in with her old favorite. From there, you can increase the ratio of new food to old food by approximately ten percent per day.
- Litter Box- Put her litter box in a nice area that is low-traffic. And, if you’re not quite sure about what kind of litter to use, be advised that most cats have a preference for fine-grain clumping litter. In addition, non-clumping litter is the recommended variety to try for kittens when they’re less than ten weeks old.
- Scratching Posts- All cats need to scratch, so providing your kitten with a sturdy scratching post is necessary for saving considerable wear and tear on your furnishings. And, a manicure every ten to fourteen days also goes a long way toward reducing damage.
- Cat-proofing- To kitten-proof, your home before you give her the run of the house is extremely important. Much as you would for baby-proofing, put away any harsh cleaning products, and poisonous materials, as well as human medications. Find a new place for any poisonous houseplants, too. And, locking away any breakables plus remembering to keep your toilet lid down are also necessities.
- Toys- Once your kitten settles in, he or she will want to play. So, stocking up on all kinds of interactive toys like feather wands for engaging her attention and directing all of that excess energy toward positive pursuits is a must.
- Cat Perch- Find your kitten a nice comfy cat perch in the sun on a window sill.
Siberian Cats’ Main Attributes
They’re really agile in spite of the fact that they’re also quite stocky. Their powerfully strong hind legs make them skilled jumpers, as well as amazing athletes. They bear a marked resemblance to both Norwegian Forest cats and Maine Coons only with much larger paws and rounder heads. In addition, they have distinctly rounded eyes that are typically gold or green, giving their faces a noticeably friendly expression. From their neck ruffs to their bushy tails and cute tufted ears, Siberian cats are truly remarkable. Perhaps their most amazing attribute is their super-thick three-layered coats. Their coats are actually made up of thin and wavy awn hairs, and both straight and coarse guard hairs, as well as an undercoat of wooly down. They are available in a wide range of colors like solid, color point, and even tortoiseshell.
Since they possess high intelligence levels and superior athletic ability, it’s not surprising that Siberian cats have become adventurous and energetic little problem solvers. They delight in getting to climb and leap everywhere in your home. You might find them in some of the strangest places like hanging on a door, sitting on top of the refrigerator, or maybe even swinging from a chandelier. They’re also very devoted but never clingy and have a tendency toward following you from room to room and patiently waiting for you to have time for some cuddling. They’re less bothered by strangers or noises than the majority of cats. In fact, when properly introduced, they’re more than happy to be cohabitating with anyone who lives in your home or comes for a visit, including kids and even dogs.
Name Ideas for Siberian Cats
This can be a really big job, especially since he or she will be an important member of your family and because Siberians are really well-known for their big personalities. So, here are a few big ideas for names that come straight from their homeland:
Siberian Lakes and Rivers-
- Obie (for the River Ob)
Names from Siberian Cat History-
- Lizzie- the woman who brought them from Siberia to the U.S., Elizabeth Terrel
- Naina- One of Terrel’s first Siberian cats
Famous explorers who shared their adventurous spirit:
Siberian Cat Fun Facts
Besides having adventurous and lovable personalities, Siberian cats also have a few fun facts as well. Here are some favorites:
- National Cat- The Siberian cat is actually Russia’s national cat.
- Serous Parents- Siberian cats are very serious about parenting. In fact, mother cats will often have only one mate for life. The cat dads are very nurturing, playing a huge part in the care of their kittens.
- Molting- The Siberian cat’s molting habits are quite different from the majority of other cats. It isn’t triggered by temperature changes but is actually caused by changes in daylight hours that come and go with the seasons.
- Water-repellent Coats- Siberian cats’ coats are actually water-repellant and, since Siberians love water, they sometimes join their owners in the shower.
- Siberian Cat Movie- There was a 2016 movie starring Kevin Spacey and entitled “Nine Lives”. In it, Spacey is a workaholic dad whose brain somehow ends up getting stuck inside of a Siberian cat belonging to his young daughter.
Coming to America
Following the end of the Cold War, Siberian cats started being exported to America. The first three Siberians were imported by Elizabeth Terrell in 1990. The breed was initially registered in 1992 with the International Cat Association (TICA). Then in 2000, it was registered with the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Then in 1996, TICA awarded the breed championship status. And, in 2006, Siberians were also given the same championship recognition worldwide.
A woman named Dana Osborn imported the first male and female three-color-pointed Siberian cats to America in 1997. Their names were Ustin El Magrib of Willowbrook, who was a seal lynx point male, and Roksana Babyan of Willowbrook, who was a seal tortie point female. In 1998, the very first American colorpoint litter came into this world.
Siberian Vital Statistics
The Siberian cat’s average height is 13 inches. Their average weight is approximately 10 to 20 pounds. Actually, however, some male Siberian cats can weigh as much as 25 pounds. They have a life expectancy of about 15-years and are very muscular cats.
Members of this cat breed are known for shedding their thick coats in the summertime. This means that daily brushings are a must while they’re shedding. His or her coat will have a tendency toward being thick and dense during the winter months.
Early Books & Photos
There are a number of books that mention the Siberian breed, including:
- Our Cats written by Harrison Weir (1889)
- Domestic & Fancy Cats written by John Jennings (1898)
- Concerning Cats written by Helen Winslow (1900)
- The very first photo of a Siberian cat was in 1900 in Helen Winslow’s book, “Concerning Cats”.