Thursday 26 May 2011

Siberian Cat

The Siberian cat, as the name suggests, is a native of Russia. It is still a moggie in Russia as well as a purebred cat in that country and around the world, primarily in the USA, UK and the rest of Europe. Like many cat breeds including the similar looking Norwegian Forest Cat this cat started life as a moggie - a random bred cat. At the time the cat fancy grew in size and scope this Siberian moggie was transformed and refined by selective breeding into an imposing purebred show cat of considerable size and stature with a sweet face.

Tabby Siberian cat
Photo copyright Helmi Flick

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It is believed that the Siberian cat has a long history going back to the 13th century. Well, let's say that the pre-cursor to this purebred cat goes back that far. There were no formally recognised purebred cats before the middle of the 18th century. In other words this pre-purebred cat was a semi-domestic cat in Siberia in the 13th century. The first purebred Siberian cats were produced in the 1980s - a relatively short history in contrast to many other breeds.

The Siberian cat was exported to the USA in 1990 and to the UK in 2002. It was granted championship status by the Cat Fanciers' Association in 2006 and is recognised by The International Cat Association (TICA) and the General Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF - UK registry). See Cat Associations.

As one would expect, the cold and sometimes inhospitable environment under which this cat developed as a moggie has coloured its appearance today. This is a large, sturdy, triple coated cat.

Although all colors of all divisions in the traditional category as allowed by the cat associations, it seems that the coat that we see most in the wild, the tabby coat is the most suitable for this breed. Coats such as the brown mackerel tabby, brown spotted tabby and white and classic tabbies look great for this cat. The other colours and patterns seem to render this cat breed more ordinary, almost reverting it back to a moggie. This though is a personal opinion.

There is a connection between the Maine Coon, Siberian and Norwegian Forest (NFC) cats. The Maine Coon may have been introduced to the USA by vikings from Norway. Norway is the home of the NFC and the Siberian comes from Russia, the neighbor of Norway. Cats don't observe country boundaries.

Siberian Forest Cat

This is sometimes (rarely?) used as an alternative name for this cat breed.  Although the Encyclopedia Of The Cat says there are no alternative names. Some people search for "Russian Siberian Cat". This is not an alternative name just a search term.

Siberian Cat Personality

Said to be "sensible and resourceful" (source: Dr Fogle Encyclopedia Of The Cat) and independent; not a lap cat but with dog-like devotion to their human companion (source: Legacy of the Cat).

Neva Masquerade

The pointed (colorpoint) Siberian cat is called a  Neva Masquerade. Neva is the name of a river where the cat was said to originate while 'masquerade" is a reference to the facial mask (pointed face). The Neva river runs through St. Petersburg, from where the breed began by cross breeding pointed cats such as the Himalayan (pointed Persian), with the Siberian.

"Amélie" Lynx pointed Neva Masquerade
Photo copyright Dani

Siberian Cat Rescue

I think we agree that the best way to adopt a cat, purebred or not, is to rescue one. Purebred cats are not often found in rescue centers but they do occasionally pop up. There are online purebred rescue resources too. I have a page on the subject. And there is also a website dedicated to the subject.

I think Yahoo Groups are a good networking resource. Through networking with other Siberian cat owners and breeders you are likely to bump into a cat that needs a home. In adopting that cat you are avoiding the bringing into the world of another cat. There are too many domestic cats on the planet that are killed due to overpopulation.

Click on the following link to see a good list of Siberian cat Yahoo Groups. The first on the list: SiberianCatList is probably the most active.

In the UK the Siberian Cat Club have a rehoming page - might get lucky. In the USA there is a Siberian rescue organisation.

Siberian Cat Health

I have a page on this subject; - Siberian cat health. This cat breed is not listed in what I consider a very good book on the subject of genetic diseases in purebred cats (Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Aspects of Purebred Cats Edited by Ross D Clark DVM). That must be a good indicator of good health but not conclusive as this is a breed that is not as well known as some others and perhaps the authors simply left it out or there was insufficient research on this breed at the time of publication (1992).

Siberian Cat Photos

The best cat photos are by Helmi Flick in my opinion. Here are two fine Siberian cat photos by Helmi Flick:

Siberian cat "Deema"
photo copyright Helmi Flick

Pointed Siberian cat - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

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All the photos and text on this page are protected by copyright © except where indicated. Violations of copyright are reported to (DMCA). See alternative sources of images that can be used without paying.

Siberian Cat Pictures

Here are some more gorgeous Siberian cat pictures:

Aleks - white Siberian cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick

Siberian cat "Venera" - copyright Helmi Flick
Grey tabby and white

Siberian Cat For Sale

This of course is all about finding a good cat breeder near to where you live. Many breeders ship by air but personally a visit to the breeder's facility is essential, I believe. Try and find on nearby. Shipping by air is OK but stressful for the cat and some don't make it.

I would start with the major players in the cat fancy as good resources (1) the cat associations sometimes run lists of breeders  (2) cat clubs always have lists of breeders and (3) the top cat breeders in a Google search are probably the most established.

The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) and USA cat association lists nine breeders. Click on the following link to  go to their breeder referral search page and follow the instructions: CFA Breeder Referral.

The International Cat Association (TICA) list 25 based in the USA. Click here to see the list.

In the UK the Siberian cat club lists 23. Click here to see the list.

I would also refer to Yahoo Groups again. The link above will take you to the list.

Siberian Cat Breeders

Well, I have covered this above!

Is the Siberian Cat Hypoallergenic?

Uhmmm....the whole issue of hypoallergenic cat breeds is a contentious one. Hypoallergenic by the way means less likely to cause an allergic reaction in people. There is anecdotal evidence and a bit more that suggests that this cat breed is indeed hypoallergenic. Breeders tend to promote this and I understand why. There are quite a lot of people who are allergic to cats but proportionally the number is quite small.

I actually cover this subject in more depth on this page. Kate Styker a cat breeder says they are hypoallergenic.

Neutered females are more prone to be hypoallergenic amongst all the cats, purebred and not. Fel D1 a protein in the cat's saliva is the allergen.

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