Siberian cat's breed portrait

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Origin and breed history

The Siberian cat, is a strong, primordial semi-longhair cat. In the vast areas of northern Russia, it is said to be common even today as a normal domestic cat. There it is called Sibirskaja Koschka, which simply means Siberian cat, but actually means only the cats with the luxuriant and long fur. In zoological literature it is described very early. Already in 1864 it is mentioned in the first edition of Brehms Tierleben as a long-haired cat from Siberia, just to mention one example. Alfred Brehm should have known what he writes there, because he had traveled Siberia personally for his zoological studies.

Thus, the Siberian cat is one of the oldest domestic cat breeds at all. The Siberian cat descends, like all domestic cats, from the African wild cat or falcon cat, scientifically called "Felis silvestris lybica". Experts still argue how the long coat could spread in the population. In any case, it is very useful in cold weather and also looks very attractive. So it was clear that the friends of pedigree cats all over the world were interested in the Siberian cat.

However, it took a long time before it was bred according to the standard and pedigree book, which was quite good for its health. For several decades now this cat has been bred specifically. Since 1997 the Siberian cat is officially recognized by the Fédération Internationale Féline. It shares the same standard with the Neva Masquarade, recognized since 2011. This is the name given to the point variant of the Siberian cat, which was brought into existence by a purposefully bred-in defect gene.


The Siberian cat is a medium to large semi-longhair cat. It has a very dense coat. The woolly undercoat is covered by water-repellent topcoat. All colors are permitted according to the standard. Cats with point colors (see below) are called Neva Masquarade and since 2011 they are kept as a separate breed. The Siberian cat is often confused with the similar looking Maine Coon cat or the Norwegian Forest Cat. However, it is smaller than the American Maine Coon and less leggy than the Norwegian Forest Cat. The three breeds can also be easily distinguished by their heads.

Compared to the Maine Coon, the head of the Norwegian Forest Cat is much more triangular, while that of the Siberian is broader, shorter and rather round. One must always keep in mind that these differences in physical characteristics are not of natural origin, but have been deliberately bred out in the last decades.

The Siberian cat does not grow quite as large as the other two similar cat breeds. A male cat weighs between 6 and 9 kilograms, the female cat between 4 and 6. The point colors of the Neva Masquarade are produced by a mutation, a so-called partial albinism. As a result, the body fur is lightened, while on the cooler regions of the body, such as the face, ears, legs, tail, the so-called points are formed, which are darker in color. The puppies are born white and only darken later.

Character and temperament

Siberian cats are agile and self-confident. For a pedigree cat, it still has the temperament of the normal domestic cat. It has a comparatively high urge to move and should ideally also be allowed outside in a large, enclosed garden. There she moves with pleasure and skillfully. She climbs very well and is an accomplished hunter. However, this does not mean that she should only be kept as an outdoor cat. She can also be happy as an indoor-only cat.

Her urge to move should then be satisfied by playing games in the apartment. Here the trade offers professional aids. However, the best toys cannot replace the daily closeness to humans. She likes to have other animal roommates as buddies. If a Siberian cat is lovingly socialized from puppyhood, it will develop a very close relationship with its human. It is affectionate and sociable. The Siberian cat is friendly towards children as well as animal roommates coupled with its confident demeanor.


In principle, the Siberian cat is to be kept like a normal domestic cat. It has a relatively large urge to move. Ideal is a house with a large garden in which she can regularly sneak and climb around. During her excursions she will occasionally catch a bird or a mouse, because she is a good hunter by nature. Since she is clever and intelligent, observes her surroundings and her people closely, and is also extremely dexterous, she quickly learns to open doors, for example. You have to keep that in mind. Otherwise, she is undemanding and frugal with regard to her housing conditions. However, she needs a close relationship with her owners.


The Siberian cat can be trained very well. One must pay special attention to the fact that she has been carefully socialized from puppyhood, accustomed to people and ideally to other pets. Then she will be very oriented to people. If she comes from a reputable breeder who has taken good care of her parents and kittens, she will fit into the rules and habits of a family with ease and almost by herself. With a little guidance she will be housebroken quickly and easily.

Care and health

The coat of the Siberian cat should be brushed regularly and thoroughly. It changes its coat each winter and summer. Brushing is especially important in the period of coat change. With a little feeling and skill, brushing the coat can be turned into a ritual of social bonding, which is emotionally very good for both cat and human.

Diseases typical for the breed

The Siberian cat is quite a robust breed cat. Due to breeding as a pedigree cat for external characteristics, its population now partly suffers from inbreeding. It is not known how widespread in her the hereditary diseases otherwise common in pedigreed cats are.


The Siberian cat should be a trouble-free eater by feline standards.

Life expectancy

A Siberian cat, healthily bred, can live 12 to 15 or more years with luck.

Buying a Siberian cat

If you want to buy a Siberian cat, you can first look around in animal shelters. Here you can find - although rarely - cats, which correspond to the type and nature of the forest cat. At the breeder you should make sure that parents and puppies grow up in good conditions, especially with a close social connection to the human family. You should look at the pedigree. Here no ancestor should appear twice, in order to exclude too extreme inbreeding. Both parents should be tested negative for the hereditary diseases described above. Serious breeders indicate this in their advertisements. Of course the kittens should be vaccinated, dewormed and chipped several times. A serious bred puppy of the Siberian cat should cost around 700 Euro.

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