The Siberian Cat Breed, Personality And Grooming

siberian cat personalityPrivyet! Let me introduce you to the fluffy warrior that is the Siberian Cat! With such a friendly and loyal companion, exile to Siberia doesn’t seem so bad. They are big and fuzzy and friendly. One might be ready to be part of your family.

History of the Breed

The origins of the Siberian cat are shrouded in mystery. It’s believed that the wild forest cats of Siberia interbred with cats brought by Vologda merchants. The result was a hefty cat with a triple thick coat of fur and wild, tufty ears like a lynx. They found niches as watch-cats for Russian monasteries and vermin chasers in market stalls.

In 1871 the Siberian Cat was one of only five breeds competing in the first cat shows in England. However, records and registration for the breed were not kept until the 80’s. The national cat of Russia did not become common in the American cat population until after the end of the Cold War and are still relatively scarce.

Siberian cat Personality and Temperament

Siberian cats love their family, even children and dogs. Though not usually aggressive, siberian does want to be treated with respect and her fierce sense of loyalty may entice her to attack even larger animals if pushed. Though mostly quiet cats, they are natural mousers.

Siberians are watch-cats who will be suspicious of strangers, but once you have her loyalty, you’ll have it for life!  She likes to play fetch and finds water fascinating, and may not mind getting damp. (Make sure all that thick fur gets good and dry afterwards.)

Though loyal and companionable, the Siberian is an independent cat who wants to be respected as a friend. Treat her with the dignity she deserves and she will defend you to the moon and back.

Siberians are fearless and playful cats, but they are calm, rarely on edge unless confronted with a genuine concern. She is gentle, with gentle people with a deep sense of empathy not often associated with cats. Though independent, Olga knows when she’s needed and is there to jump in a lap and give moral support but she will never be intrusive.

She may even come if you call her name. For this, Siberians are often thought of as the dogs of the feline world. They’re like little Russian soldiers that fight hard and play hard. Where most cats just get fat and lethargic if not exercised, Olga’s idle paws will do the devil’s work if she isn’t getting enough exercise. If you live in an apartment, the Siberian will need a weekly walk.

How Friendly Are They?

The Siberian cat is slow to warm up to strangers, but once you have her, you have her! As long as they, their family and territory are treated respectfully, they will return that respect. They have been known to attack larger animals that overstepped their bounds, but for the most part, Olga just wants friends and playmates.

She will be a faithful and loyal companion as long as she’s treated right. When Siberian cats have kittens, they will be devoted parents. Even the males make good fathers, seeing to it that his mate and children are comfortable and safe.

Siberian cat – hypoallergenic?

A lot of conflicting info here. It’s not a particular coat type that causes allergies but dander, something shed by all cats. The scientific evidence that any breed is more or less allergenic is at best anecdotal.

However, it is known that Siberian cats, particularly females, produce less of the allergen Fel d1 than other cats. If you have allergies, spend a little time with Olga before you commit to anything permanent and monitor what happens.

Size and Appearance

Olga is a hefty cat weighing in at 10 to 15 pounds. Her brother Ivan is even bigger, tipping the scales at a massive (for a cat) 15 to 20 or even as much as 25 pounds if Ivan is neutered. The Siberian has a cute face framed by fluffy fur and topped with long, fuzzy ears with tufts like a lynx. The ears lean forward a bit and are rounded though the tufts can make them appear pointed.

The short and stocky body is barrel-shaped, round and smooth, reaching maturity at age 5 years. The eyes are large, round and tend to be gold or green in color, though blue is not unusual. The hind legs tend to be a bit longer than the front ones and the paws are sizable with fur in between the toes.

As you would expect from something bred for the harsh winters of Siberia, the coat is thick with a double underfur, a bushy tail and a sizable ruff. Siberian cat fur generally comes in brown tabby patterns but they not only come in all color combinations but their coloring tends to be very striking and dramatic.

Grooming

An adult Siberian needs to be combed several times a week and bathed once every 6 months. Use smooth movements in the direction the fur grows. Paring the nails will not be necessary if Olga has a scratching mat. The long ears must be regularly examined and cleaned with a cotton ball soaked in paraffinic oil as needed. Do not use water or other liquids on Olga’s ears but you may occasionally need antiseptic powder.

The long, lustrous fur of a Siberian does not easily mat or tangle and can usually do with a twice a week brushing and combing. Warm weather may cause extreme shedding, with fur coming out in clumps. Groom daily as this happens.

This is the optimal time for Olga to have her biannual bath. Sunlight can also fade and thin Olga’s fur, so don’t let her overindulge in sunbathing. Like all cats the Siberian is an obligate carnivore who needs a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

Resources:

  • About the Siberian The Cat Fanciers’ Association
  • Do hypoallergenic cats exist? — Determination of major cat allergen Fel d 1 production in normal and hypoallergenic cat breeds Julia Satorina,corresponding author Krisztina Szalai, Anna Willensdorfer, Nadine Mothes-Luksch, Anna Lukschal, and Erika Jensen-Jarolim Clin Transl Allergy. 2014; 4(Suppl 2): P11.
    Published online 2014 Mar 17. doi:  10.1186/2045-7022-4-S2-P11
  • February 17, 2018
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.