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The national cat of Russia, the Siberian was first imported to the US, in 1990. It is still relatively rare, with long waiting lists for kittens. This is an agile, friendly and loyal cat, with a personality often described as “dog-like”. This cat will frequently attach itself to self-professed “dog-people”, meeting its owner at the door and following him/her around the house.
The Siberian is touted as a “hypoallergenic” cat but there is no clinical evidence, to prove this. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people who are normally allergic to cats have no problems, with the Siberian. Purportedly, the Siberian either lacks or has a low level of the FEL D-1 protein, in its saliva and fur and sheds no dander.
Siberian Cats – Breed History
The recorded history of the Siberian dates back at least 1000 years. Oral tradition states that the Siberians began migrating toward herdsmen, for food scraps and the warmth of a fire.
The domestic Siberian bears a strong resemblance to the Middle Eastern subspecies of wildcat felis silvestris caucasica and may be descended from these. There are representations of the Siberian, in Russian paintings, dating back several hundred years.
In the West, the Siberian was first mentioned in 1871, in a book about one of England’s earliest cat shows. In 1987, the first cat shows were held in Leningrad and the modern history of the breed begins there. The Siberian was first imported to the US, in 1990 and was accepted for registry by the CFA in 2000. The Siberian is now accepted by all of the registries.
Siberian Cats – Description
The Siberian is a medium to large cat, taking approximately 5 years to mature. Adult males typically weigh 15-20 pounds and females 10-15.
This cat is characterized by roundness: the head and eyes are almost round, it has a deep barrel chest and large round paws. The Siberian is a semi-longhair, with a triple coat, which comes in all colors.
Pointed Siberians are sometimes referred to as “Neva Masquerades”. These have not yet been accepted as a separate breed, however. Siberian temperament is athletic, playful and affectionate.
Other than the usual feline diseases, the Siberian does not appear to be prone to any genetic health problems. Their dense coats do require at least a weekly brushing but are not prone to mats. The coat thickens up, during cold weather, so a bit of extra brushing may be in order then.
Cat pictures on this page, courtesy of SIBERIKOS Cattery.
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