Siberian Cat: Cat Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

A Siberian Cat

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If you are looking for a medium-sized, semi-longhaired cat that is both breathtaking to behold and an affectionate pet, look no further than the Siberian cat. The Siberian cat is a forest cat native to snowy Russia, where it needed its luxurious triple coat to protect against cold. The breed’s solid, well-muscled body with substantial bone development holds up to the harsh environment.

This Siberian cat has a delightful personality—outgoing, affectionate, friendly and energetic—making it an exceptional feline companion. It will greet you at the door and follow you all over the house. Although Siberian cats are relatively quiet cats, they do like to vocalize via sweet and melodic mews, trills, and chirps. They enjoy the company of other cats and even dogs and are good with gentle, respectful children.

Breed Overview

Weight: 10 to 20 pounds

Length: 17 to 25 inches

Coat: Varies from coarse to soft; moderately long to longhaired triple coat with a full collar ruff

Coat Color: Any color combination or pattern

Eye Color: All colors

Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 years

Characteristics of the Siberian Cat

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness High
Energy Level Medium
Intelligence High
Tendency to Vocalize Low
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Siberian Cat

Siberian cats hail from Russia, where they are cherished as a national treasure. It’s hard to say just how long Siberian cats have existed in Russia, but based on Russian fairy tales and children’s books, they have likely been around for hundreds of years and maybe as long as 1,000 years. Siberian cats were described in a book called "Our Cats and All About Them" by Harrison Weir, which was originally published in 1889. The United States got their first glimpse of the Siberian cat after the Cold War thawed in the 1990s, and it was love at first sight. The Siberian cat is recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association and The International Cat Association.

The Siberian cat’s trademark sweet expression comes from its modified wedge head with rounded contours, moderately short muzzle with slight curvature, and medium to large, almost round eyes, which come in shades of green, gold, green-gold, or copper (white cats may have blue eyes or “odd eyes”—eyes that are two different colors).

Siberian Cat Care

The Siberian cat is intelligent and exceptionally playful. The breed is known to be slow to mature, taking as long as five years to graduate from kitten-like antics. This means the Siberian cat is a lot of fun to have around.

This breed loves to climb, explore, and play. To keep your Siberian cat mentally stimulated and physically enriched, expose it to a variety of fun toys and play lots of games.

Trim its nails regularly and inspect its ears for dirt and debris. Wipe the ears out with a cotton ball and gentle ear cleanser (never stick a cotton swab or anything else down into the ear canal). If the ears look red or excessively dirty, schedule a checkup with your veterinarian.

The Siberian cat’s luxurious, thick, full coat may come in any color or pattern, with or without white markings. The triple coat is made up of three layers: a shorter, dense undercoat of downy hair (the hair closest to the skin); a layer of slightly longer “awn hair” in the middle, and an even longer outer coat layer (called “guard hair”).

In warm weather, the Siberian cat will shed the heavy coat in favor of a shorter, thinner summer coat. In winter, the coat will be at its thickest and longest. Despite its thickness and length, the Siberian cat’s coat tends to resist matting, so it only requires occasional brushing (more during the seasonal heavy shed).

Occasional baths will help loose hair come out and remove dust and dander from the coat.

Even with its thick, long coat, some consider the Siberian cat to be hypoallergenic. Although no scientific studies prove it, some allergy sufferers say that they can live successfully with a Siberian cat. As it turns out, cat dander—not necessarily cat hair itself—is the main culprit for allergies. Most cat-allergic people are sensitive to a protein called Fel D1, which is found in cats’ skin cells (as well as dried remnants of saliva and urine that coat the cat’s fur). It seems that some cat breeds, including Siberian cats, produce less dander than other cats.

For mild allergy sufferers, this might mean that Siberian cats elicit little or no allergic reaction. However, all cats and all people are different. If you suffer from allergies and are interested in finding out if you will react to a Siberian cat, find a local breeder who will allow you to visit their adult cats to test the theory.

Common Health Problems

The Siberian cat is a generally healthy breed, but a known genetically linked disorder occurs in some Siberians: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that causes thickening of the heart muscle.

Responsible breeders screen their cats for this disease to avoid breeding affected cats and passing it along to future generations.

Diet and Nutrition

Work with your veterinarian to choose the best food for your Siberian cat. Although dry food is convenient, canned food contains fewer carbs and has a lot of extra moisture. Most cats don’t drink enough water, which can affect their overall health, including their kidney health. Feed measured amounts of food at scheduled times, two to three times a day. Don’t leave food out all day, as this can contribute to an overweight cat.

Pros

  • Potentially hypoallergenic for some allergy sufferers

  • Affectionate, playful, and energetic; gets along well with children and other animals

  • Can handle colder weather and likes water play

Cons

  • Long hair requires more grooming than other cats; sheds winter coat in warmer months

  • A little noisemaker that likes to mew, chirp, and trill a lot

Where to Adopt or Buy a Siberian Cat

You may be able to find a purebred Siberian cat through a breeder in your area, but if you'd rather adopt from a rescue organization, check out:

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

If you’re intrigued by the Siberian cat and want to learn more, check out the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s Cat Breeder Referral Search to try to find a Siberian breeder near you so you can ask more questions and meet some cats in person. You can also visit Cat Shows U.S. to find a cat show in your area. Cat shows are a great way to meet many different breeds and talk to breed aficionados to learn more.

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There are many cat breeds out there. With a little research, you can find the right one to bring home.