Move over Siberian Husky – the Siberian Cat is here to strut its fluff! Learn all about this large cat’s history, health, trainability, and more. Does your Siberian need some top-tier care? With Mad Paws, you can find Cat Minders in Newcastle, Bendigo, and all across this great land!
Weight – 4.5 – 9.1kg
Lifespan – Up to 18 years
Country of Origin: Russia
Best breed for:
- First-time Cat Owners
- Families who want an active, playful cat
- Owners with mild cat allergies
Siberian Cat Breed History ♜
Most histories that you’ll find of the Siberian Cat are brief. That’s due, in part, to the fact that there are no records of when the cats arrived in Russia or where they came from. All we know is that they have been mentioned in fairy tales and children’s stories for up to 1,000 years.
In one popular folk tale, a clever and mischievous cat is abandoned in the Siberian Forest by his fed-up Owner. Although smaller than most animals in the forest, the cat is determined not to become prey. With some wit and a bit of luck, the Siberian Cat manages to partner with a fox. From there, he scares a wolf and bear into believing he’s the new governor of the animals.
And the story fits this cat’s unique ability to survive in the harsh climate of Siberia. Droughts and famines were common during the first half of the 20th century, which meant that cats like the Siberian had to fend for themselves. In fact, Owners had virtually no hand in their breeding, so their personalities and physical appearances developed in tandem with their survival needs. Smart, tough, and water-proof – these were the only real requirements for the Siberian Cat.
Towards the 1980s and 90s, cat clubs and shows became more popular in major cities in Russia, and the Siberian Cat wasn’t overlooked. When these cats were first shared with the rest of the world in 1990, they would instantly win international fame. By 2006, they had gained recognition from all of the major cat associations around the world.
Today, the Siberian Cat is a popular breed for families. As we’ll explore, this cat has a wonderful personality to match their striking looks. You might never know that they came from anywhere other than the lap of luxury.
Siberian Cat Personality Traits ★
After hundreds of years of living in the proximity of humans but never as pets, you’d be surprised at how affectionate and affable this breed is.
One of the key quirks of Siberian Cats is their friendly personalities. They’re social, curious, and welcoming kitties, looking for love from everyone in the family as well as strangers. This is a cat that always wants to be around their favourite humans, and they’ll gladly play the role of snuggle cat if you ask them.
This breed is also confident and bold. They love exploring new territories and inventing fun new games to keep themselves – and their two-legged friends – engaged. Many even enjoy water. Some Owners have to actively keep their cat out of the bathroom while they’re showering or enjoying a bath! These felines will jump right in!
The Siberian Cat is slow to mature, taking up to 5 years to reach their full size. That means that they hold onto their kitten-like playfulness for longer than some other cat breeds. Sometimes this can be a bit off-putting to Cat Owners who are used to having a cat that sleeps most of the day. While the Siberian Cat loves a good nap, this is definitely a lively feline.
If you have guests over, your Siberian Cat will be the star of the show. Don’t be surprised if your friends make jokes about taking your beloved fur baby home with them! Not to worry, though, the Siberian Cat is loyal to their inner circle. While they will easily adapt to their time at a friendly Pet Sitter’s house, they’ll also welcome you back with loving meows and head butts.
This is a cat who gets along well with other animals and children. They’re not particularly vocal, and when they do make noises, it’s usually in the form of soft chirps and trills.
Siberian Cat Trainability and Exercise Needs
As an energetic and large cat, Owners do have to put in some extra work when it comes to training and exercise. Without politeness training and directed playtime, they will get themselves into all kinds of mischief.
Luckily, this cat is very smart and easy to train. Clicker training is successful with this breed, especially as a form of positive reinforcement training. Make sure to train early and often so that they become used to following commands and get the chance for some mental stimulation as they get older.
Because of their curiosity and confidence, this is the perfect cat to try harness training with. They’ll love exploring the outdoors with their beloved Owners, and the exercise will be wonderful for them. Wearing a harness may take a little bit of practice. Whether you start as an adult or a kitten, though the Siberian Cat should come around in no time.
Inside the house, it’s a good idea to teach this cat a few boundaries. In particular, because they’re so agile and people oriented, you’ll find that their tendency to be around you can quickly become unsafe. For example, it can be dangerous for them to be around you when you’re cooking. And if you’re not careful, they’re likely to get tangled in your feet as you walk around the house.
To lower the risk of accidents, you might try training your Siberian Cat to stay in a specific area at your command. If your cat is particularly demanding when you’re trying to feed them, for instance, you can teach your furbaby to sit and wait on their favourite pillow or cat perch. The same goes for when you’re cooking. If possible, you might set up a perch where your kitty can sit and watch you work.
When you’re not training, make sure that your Siberian has access to games and toys. Some of these silly floofers inherently know how to play fetch, so always keep some small felt toys around that they can easily retrieve. They also love games that will encourage them to jump and show off their flying skills. Those powerful legs make them excellent hunters.
Living Conditions ⌂
Always adventurous, the Siberian Cat loves to climb. If you don’t provide them with plenty of ledges and cat perches, they’ll find a way to get a bird’s eye view for themselves. That means you might have to be careful with valuables on shelves and anything that isn’t bolted down. While Siberians tend to be pretty graceful, accidents do happen. And since they’re not smallest cats around, anything from picture frames to televisions are liable to fall in the presence of a Siberian Cat.
It might also be appropriate to swap out fabric curtains for a sturdier design. Or, simply ensure that there’s a cat tree or perch in the window to save your nice curtains from a climbing kitty.
The Siberian Cat’s intelligence and agility makes this cat one great hunter, so it’s important that they remain inside or on a leash when exploring the outdoors. Not only is this safer for local wildlife, but it’s the best thing for your feline friend who will stop at nothing to catch their prey, including running into busy streets or neighbouring backyards.
One last thing to keep in mind is that unlike the majority of cats who are afraid of water, this is a cat who loves to splash around. Keep them safe by always putting the toilet lid down and placing a lid on any fish tank or other body of water in and around your home. This might not be something that your dedicated Pet Sitter would consider, so make sure to let them know if your Siberian actively seeks out water.
Siberian Cat Health +
The Siberian Cat is generally pretty healthy with very few hereditary conditions to worry about. Yet, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with some of the common risks associated with all pedigree cats:
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. This is a heart condition in which the walls of the heart are thicker than they should be. Instead of benefiting from a stronger heart, this condition makes it more difficult for the cat to pump blood to the rest of the body
- Kidney Disease
- Gum Disease. Many Cat Owners overlook the importance of dental hygiene in their furbabies, but with this breed, regular teeth brushing is crucial
- Bladder Stones or Urinary Tract Disease
Many of these conditions are preventable and treatable as long as you keep a close eye on your cat’s behaviour and take them regularly to the vet. Always feed a Siberian Cat a nutritious diet and manage their weight with plenty of exercise. After all, it can be difficult to realise when this breed has gained weight because of that long coat. If you notice your cat starting to put on some extra fluff, revisit our article on How Can I Help My Cat Lose Weight?
Another common health concern for this breed is injury. In general, these cats will astound you with their gravity-defying acrobatics. They jump much higher and more willingly than many other breeds, and the majority of the time, they hit their mark. Having said that, falls can happen. Changes to the living space, such as more ledges and perhaps floor rugs and other cushioned mats around their favourite climbing areas can be a big help.
With all that fur, you might assume that this is a high maintenance cat when it comes to grooming. But compared to other long-haired cats, Siberians are pretty easy to maintain.
The Siberian Cat has a coat with three layers and three lengths. The layers consist of an outer coat, a middle coat, and a downy underfluff. The extra floof not only protects these cats in freezing temperatures but also makes them virtually waterproof. Their coats are naturally oily, as well, to further keep moisture out of their fur.
According to the breed standard, the Siberian Cat has three different fur lengths. The shorter fur is around the head and face, the standard length is along the body and back, and the really thick fur coats the mane area, belly, and britches. These cats really were made for trekking in the snow – they’ve got built-in snow pants.
The Siberian Cat doesn’t always don a full snow outfit. During the warmer months, they shed their winter fur in favour of a lighter coat. You can expect two intense shedding periods during the year, but other than that, this breed doesn’t shed as much as other long hairs.
When it comes to regular grooming, you’d be surprised to find that even with all that fur, these cats are not likely to have matted or tangled fur. They’re very clean and can take care of much of the work themselves. That said, hairballs may be more likely with this breed, so you’ll want to brush them yourself about once or twice per week.
Bathing isn’t recommended for this breed so as not to disturb their natural oil production. However, you can wipe down their faces and keep their ears clean with some pet-safe wipes. We also recommend regular nail trimming and teeth cleaning.
Fun Fact ♥
Is it possible that a cat with this much fur could be hypoallergenic? That’s what some Siberian Cat enthusiasts say!
The truth is, no cat is 100% hypoallergenic, not even the hairless Sphynx. However, cats like the Siberian produce less of the allergen Fel D1 than most cats. That means that some people with mild allergies to cats may be able to tolerate having a Siberian Cat around, even with the long fur and seasonal shedding.
There are also a few things that Cat Owners with allergies can do to lower their discomfort. These range from more frequent grooming sessions to a more rigorous cleaning routine. Anyone thinking about bringing home a so-called hypoallergenic cat should spend some time around this breed first just to gauge whether they can tolerate it.
Final Thoughts on the Siberian Cat
The Siberian Cat is the true family cat. Affectionate, playful, and gentle with everyone, this feline will be right at home in any setting. They’ll welcome your guests, entertain your kids, and even get along with your other pets. And at the end of the day, they’ll have plenty of cuddles left over for you.
And with low grooming needs and good health, you might take for granted just how low-maintenance this breed really is. Other than a few accomodations you might make around the house to foster their curiosity and athleticism, you’ll feel like this cat gives so much more than they ask for. You’ll enjoy your many years with the very special Siberian Cat.