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The Siberian cat is the symbol of a natural breed. The medium-sized cats with the strong stature are said to have originated in their native Russia without any human influence. They have only been specifically bred since the 1980s. What impresses lovers most is the appearance of the forest cats, known as “Sibirskaja koschka” in their country of origin, Russia, and their uncomplicated character. The lush fur of the natural breed is prepared for the bitterly cold winters and hot summers of Siberia. It warms the cat during the cold season and is light enough for the sunny summer months.

History of the Breed

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The Siberian cat has only been systematically bred since the 1980s and has been delighting cat lovers in America since 1990. The name “Sibirskaja koschka” (“Siberian cat”) was mainly a collective term for muscular domestic cats with lush, plush fur in their home country Russia. Long-haired animals are found in all parts of Russia and Siberia, although not as common as short-haired animals.

It is not clear when long-haired has been so widespread in the Russian cat population. While some scientists assume an independent mutation, others rely on crossings with long-haired animals from the Orient. The exact origin of the Siberian cats in their homeland is also controversial. It has long been assumed that Caucasian wildcats are close relatives of Siberian cats. These clearly differ in body structure and coat properties from the African falcon, which is considered to be the ancestral mother of all domestic cats. However, the latest research contradicts this theory. A team of researchers from the University of Oxford found out that all domestic cats found on the five continents are descended from the black cat.

The Siberian Cat in Europe

Long-haired cats were a rarity in Europe until the 19th century. The long-haired animals of Russia, therefore, caught the eye of traders and travelers from an early age. The Siberian cats were described as early as 1864 in an issue of “Brems Tierleben”. After that, they appeared sporadically in European publications. Long-haired cats from Russia were also part of the first cat show in London’s Crystal Palace in 1871. Due to the recessive inheritance of long-haired cats, kittens with long fur can suddenly appear in a litter of short-haired cat parents. These animals later formed the basis for breeding Siberian cats.

After the first exhibition at the Crystal Palace, the breed fell into oblivion. Pedigree cat breeding was still in its infancy at this point in time. Long-haired animals were a rarity and were crossed among themselves to produce long-haired offspring. The Siberian cat got lost in the gene pool of Persians and Co. and gave way to better known and more popular cat breeds. The political situation in Soviet Russia did one more thing to make Russia disappear from the history of cat breeding for the time being.

A Fresh Start for the Siberian Cat

Long-haired domestic cats from Russia appeared in the GDR in the 1980s as “line cats”. Experimental breeding was established there in 1985. From 1986 the resulting cats were exhibited. Then it happened in quick succession. From 1987 the breed called “Siberian Forest Cat” was officially recognized as a cat breed. The first litter of the new breed was born on May 12th, 1988 in the GDR. As early as 1987 the first pair of Russian forest cats with an emigrant family had come to the Federal Republic of Germany and led to the first registered litter in 1989. From then on, the breed, then known as the “Siberian forest cat”, found more and more admirers.

At around the same time, the systematic breeding of the “Sibirskaja Koschka” began in Russia. However, every cat breeding association supports a different breed standard, so that the appearance of the Siberian cat was still not uniform. The first copies were also exported from Russia to the USA. In 1990 the first Siberian cat moved into an American household. However, the high cost of importing from Russia ensured that the population of Russian long-haired cats in the states remained relatively small.

Today the Siberian cat is bred around the world. Its name was changed in 1991 from “Siberian Forest Cat” to “Siberian Cat”. The change was made to better distinguish it from the “Norwegian Forest Cat”. In 1992 the breed was officially recognized by the World Cat Federation and in 1998 by the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe). In English, the cat breed is called “Siberian Forest Cat”, “Siberian” or “Siberian Cat”.

Appearance

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Siberian Forest Cat Size and Weight

Siberian cats convey the flair of a wild cat in a small format. Their semi-long fur with robust outer hair and thick undercoat gives the fur nose a resemblance to the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat. However, it is smaller than the Maine Coon and longer-legged than the forest cats from Norway. Siberian cats can reach a length of up to 120cm and a shoulder height of 30 to 35cm. The medium-sized cats are muscular and relatively heavy, weighing up to nine kilograms. That’s why they didn’t grow up until they were around three years old.

The Siberian cat cannot deny its country of origin, Siberia. Their fur, which is double-layered in winter, is water-repellent and keeps the cat warm with a particularly thick, fine undercoat. The lush collar around the neck and chest is also special. In summer, on the other hand, the Siberian cat loses its undercoat, which means that the summer fur is significantly shorter and lighter and perfect for the warm summer months of northern Siberia. The breed’s plump tail is said to remain bushy even during the warm summer months. The tufts of fur between the toes are also retained if the cat loses its winter fur. Tufts of hair on the ears are also welcome. The Siberian cat has a rather rounded skull with a rounded forehead, large eyes, and medium-sized, wide ears. The eye color should be uniform and match the color of the coat. All shades from yellow / gold to green are allowed, for animals with white or bicolor fur also blue or unequal eyes (“odd-eyed”).

Siberian Cat Colors

As with many cat breeds, the different breeding organizations have their own requirements when it comes to the appearance of the Siberian cat. Depending on the association, the standard of the international breeders association to which his association is affiliated applies to the breeder. This is particularly evident when it comes to desired coat colors. At the umbrella organization TICA, the Siberian cat is allowed to wear “all traditional colors”. However, she is on her own, most breeding organizations exclude the colors cinnamon, fawn, chocolate, and lilac. The English technical terms from the breeders’ language denote reddish and brownish coat colors as well as their respective “dilutions”, a weakened variant of the color:

The red color variant of the Siberian cat is called “Cinnamon”. The English term “fawn” describes the dilution of the red color variant “Cinnamon”. Siberian cats of the color “fawn” appear red-beige. “Chocolate” is the breeding term for a brown base color. If the brown color is diluted, it appears as “lilac”.

Apart from that, all colors and patterns as well as any proportion of white are allowed. As the only forest cat breed, the Siberian cat can also use the “Point” color drawing. Siberian cats with point drawings were even given their own breed name: Neva Masquerade. The Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) leads the Neva Masquarade as an independent breed. According to the breed standard, blue eyes are also allowed for cats with point markings – the darker the better!

Siberian Forest Cat Attitude and Temperament

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Not only the appearance of the Siberian cat is original, but it also pleases with a very uncomplicated character and good instincts. Siberian cats are considered to be excellent hunters, they like to jump and climb for a lifetime. Due to their joy of movement, they are not the ideal animals for pure housing. A secured garden suits the nature of the forest cats here. The cats are anything but squeamish and insist on their freedom of movement in wind and weather. Siberian cats love water, a rain shower doesn’t stop them from going out into the countryside any more than a snowstorm.

Siberian cats are extremely curious and know what they want. They are considered intelligent and adventurous. For example, many Siberians learn to use doorknobs at a young age! But Siberian cats have their own mind. A good education is essential here so that your little wildcat doesn’t dance around on your head (or the table) soon! Despite everything, Siberian cats fully attach themselves to their human. Many lovers of this breed report real “conversations” with their fur noses.

All in all, Siberian cats are sincere, outbred, and robust. That goes for their original appearance and temperament!

Care Tips

Siberian cats are nature boys. The moving animals like to jump, run and hunt for their lives and are therefore only suitable to a limited extent for being kept alone in the house. Going outdoors in a secured garden is ideal, they like to use smaller and larger trees as climbing and scratching opportunities, prefer to roam through the undergrowth, and hunt mice and birds.

The long fur of the Siberian cat can easily stick together and knot due to the dense undercoat. Especially in winter and during the change of coat, the animals, therefore, need a little help with grooming. If the cat got used to the comb and cat brush early on, grooming is usually not a problem. Every few days, brush the coat thoroughly, removing any dead hair and small tangles. When the warm season approaches, the Siberian longhair cat loses most of its undercoat. The administration of malt paste and the offering of cat grass can facilitate the natural shedding of swallowed hair. During the summer months, Siberian cats tend to groom their shorter, thinner fur themselves.

Nutrition

Aside from grooming, a species-appropriate diet is essential for your Siberian cat to enjoy a long, healthy, and active cat life. As carnivores, the animals need food with a lot of healthy protein – they can only use a small proportion of carbohydrates. The annual visit to the vet also helps to identify possible health problems early on and to clarify questions about the care and nutrition of the animals.

Siberian Cat Breed

Siberian cats are original animals. Since the breed of robust cats is still very young, there are hardly any hereditary diseases typical of the breed. Crossbreeding with foreign races and line-breeding can of course lead to the occurrence of hereditary diseases in individual cases.

The best antidote is a well-designed, professional breed that avoids inbreeding and values ​​a healthy breeding goal. Breeders of the Siberian cat have just as much a responsibility as buyers to protect the nature boys from hereditary diseases in the future!

Keep Your Distance From Supposed Bargains

For you, as a buyer, it is particularly important that you only buy your animals from a professional breeder. Classified ads that promise “pedigree animals at a low price” may be irritating, but are often ticked with a big hook. In most cases, the welfare of the animals is not in the foreground. Cat breeding is an expensive hobby. Anyone who wants to make a profit by selling their animals usually saves on food, keeping, provisions, and the well-thought-out mating of their animals.

A breeder who takes responsibility for his animals and their offspring spares no expense or effort. Regular visits to the vet and tests for known hereditary diseases such as HCM and kidney cysts are standard for him. He can present you with the corresponding test results.

He excludes sick animals from breeding and mediates them if necessary. Breeding clubs don’t just issue papers. They also monitor the breed standard. Anyone who breeds seriously is therefore also a member of one of the countless cat breeding associations.

Until the kittens are ready to move into their new home, they must stay with their mother and siblings for at least twelve weeks. In this important development phase, the kittens learn everything that will prepare them for a long, healthy cat life! The breeder accompanies his animals around the clock and provides them with everything they need to grow up. He is at the side of the buyers of his kittens with words and deeds – even after the mediation!

Siberian Cat Costs

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Of course, all of this costs money. In order to cover his costs, a professional breeder has to estimate a certain purchase price per animal. Siberian cats from a registered breed can cost between 800 and 1,600 dollars per animal. Especially when you don’t want to keep your fur nose alone, the future cat owners will of course have to pay immense costs. Ideally, however, they will receive a well-socialized, healthy animal with whom they will enjoy many beautiful years.

A visit to the animal shelter is an alternative. Many cats are waiting for a good home here. Some of them also include long-haired pedigree animals!

We wish you a wonderful time with your Siberian cat!

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