Cat Breed Spotlight: The Siberian

June 22, 2018

Cat Breed Spotlight: The Siberian

KYC: “Know Your Cat”

A glamorous native cat from the cold remote regions of northern Russia and built to tread the snowy forested area with a subarctic climate that no doubt contributed to this cat’s long, thick, protective coat that also gives him a glamorous appearance that belies his gentle good nature. The cats have been known in Russia for some 1,000 years and often featured in Russian folktales.

No wonder why a lot of Russian high officials are captivated by its beauty, such as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana Medvedeva with their pet Neva Masquerade (rare Siberian breed) Dorofei, and another by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.

When you look at it for the first time, Siberian may have similar traits and appearance to the Maine Coon, Nebulung and the Norwegian Forest Cat, but the big difference is by having a more stocky body and a much rounder head. It is also notable that Siberians have large lime-colored eyes, feathery ears and neck ruff.

The Siberian coat comes in many colors, gradients and patterns, but brown tabbies are the most popular ones. As in every culture, the cats were highly valued for their hunting skills by house owners, farmers and shopkeepers. They kept mice and rats well away from stores of grain and other foods.

Wonderful stories are passed on since antiquity and sometimes well documented about the ancestry of different cat breeds, so it is not surprising that there are also some lore about the Siberian Cats which are passed from generations to generations for thousands of years.

 For instance, some people say that they are the descendants of the wild forest cats in the snowy dense forests of the northern parts of Russia and during the Medieval period, these cats guarded the monasteries in Siberia against varmints terrorizing the monks' granary. Know your Cat's history to understand your cat's physical and mental neccesity, Visit Cat History Facts.

Where It All Began

 And it is no wonder - if the history of the Maine Coon can be traced back to their first inception in the late 1800's to that of the Norwegian Cat strain- since the 1930's, then the written history of the modern Siberian Cat appears later in that same century. But the name "Siberian Cat" has been used to describe these cats for more than history can tell.

Dog breeds were quite well known (if you ask any random person, he or she can give you around 5 or 8 breeds of dogs), while on the other hand, cat breeds are rather quite vague.

All cats of the Siamese coloration and pattern were called Siamese. They also spoke of the so-called wild cat (they may even mistake it for a snow leopard or something) - if the animal looks a bit exotic to them.

Other "terms" or names of breeds and other ideas about their character occurred in some areas. In some rural villages in northern Russia (around the Sayan and Stanovoy Mountains, west of Lake Baikal in south-central Siberia), all grey short-haired cats with stripes were called "растрескиватель" (rrastreskivatel, or rat-catchers) and even were picked according to their hunting skills, evidently connected with the color of their coat.

Most people around that region use the term "Bukhara" for these fluffy cats. Popular interpretation of the Siberian Cat are based on the notion of an animal able to withstand the extreme cold weather of the Siberian region, preferably than on its actual origin. "Сибирские морозы" (Sibirskiye morozy, or Siberian Frosts) is another word classification which has lost its direct connection with the territory.

The enigma, shrouding the truth about the origin of the Siberian Cat is mainly for the most part akin with the reality that speaking of its history, most people always tend to mix up the three different notions:

The modern Siberian Cat (recognized by The International Cat Association and the American Cat Fanciers Association)
    The "universal" notion "Siberian Cat" (probably called to any cat that thrive in the harsh winter conditions of Siberia and pretty much anywhere else)

    The endemic semi-longhair cat living on the territory of Northern Russia and parts of Siberia since antiquity.

      Speaking of the latter, the posible ways these cats got into Russia and moved further to the North (probably reaching East Europe) and the East (down to China and Nepal) are due to them following and thriving along the historical trade routes around the area (such as the Volga trade route and the Great Silk road).

      It is quite possible that the Angora, the Siberian and the Persian all have the same family tree and they are just an offshoot of a particular breed, It is also possible that sometimes they would cross with the forest cats of the same area (such as Manuls, Lynxes and the Far-Easter Wild Cat). But it is just a mere speculation .

      Documentary records about cats in Russia are meager and vague; they do not describe these animals. They mention colors of cats (usually they mention it as gray, white or ash-colored) but unfortunately not the texture (like fluffy ones). And later on, when naturalists made an expedition round this areas, they pay attention only to the colors.

      These records are not more than proofs of the existence of cats on the territory of Russia and presence of certain color genes in their gene pool, but not milestones in the history of the Siberian Cat.

      And if we trace it starting from the modern times, Siberians were first imported to the United States in 1990 and were recognized by The International Cat Association in 1996. The American Cat Fanciers Association accepted the breed in 1999, followed by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2006. The breed is gaining popularity because it has a reputation for being hypoallergenic (but still, it depends on the person being asked)

      Temperament and Personality

      Siberians are known for their warm-heartedness, despite being originated in one of the world's harshest and coldest regions. He loves his family but isn’t excessively demanding of attention.

      This is one of those cats who tends to get along with everyone, including kids, dogs and other cats, he will enjoy following you around when you are at home so expect this loving cat to follow you everywhere you go inside the house, including to the bathroom.

      Also, he will try to “help” (or should I say "intervene") you with all of your reading, TV viewing and computer work. Sitting in your lap while you stroke his fur may well be the best thing that can happen to him on that day. When you come home from work, he will be there waiting and is happy to tell you all about his day in quiet, pleasant trills and chirps, infused with a few meows and purrs.

      Guests will find him to be a jovial and welcoming host; this is not typically a cat who is shy in the presence of strangers, for they will sometimes voluntarily approach them and ask for back rubs.

      Because of his heritage as a forest dweller, compared to other cats, he likes playing with water—for possibly it is a genetic memory of going fishing for his supper. Don’t be surprised if he takes pleasure in splashing you in the tub, drinking from a fountain or faucet, or making puddles by batting his paw in his water dish.

      Since Siberian cats are natural hunters, he’s highly athletic and you may find him perching on top of doorways or jumping and launching himself to the highest point in the room (probably on top of floor lamps with lampshade or coat rack). Fortunately, his well-muscled body is not only powerful but also agile, and he doesn’t carelessly break things.

      Nonetheless, you might want to put favorite breakables in an especially safe place. Purchase a ceiling-height cat tree or a cat condo and place it where he can watch over his domain.

      Besides being loving and attentive, the Siberian are also known to be active and playful. they will bring about games, such as fetch, by bringing you their favorite cat toy to throw. Any item that he can lay his paws upon can become an improvised cat toy for this ingenious cat, so keep eye-catching and shiny objects (especially jewelry or marbles, for they might accidentally ingest those) or other potentially intriguing items out of his sight. Teaching him tricks is a fun activity for him, for it will help him exercise his mental acuity and physical prowess.

      Health

      Siberian cats will always stay healthy if you keep watch of its diet and conduct regular excercise for him by playing with him. But sometimes, diseases are inevitable and due a lot of uncontrolled factors. Diseases such as Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), and Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) very common in Siberian cats.

      Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of heart disease in cats. It causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle, resulting in poor relaxing and filling ability. The cause of HCM is unknown, although certain breeds of cats appear to be predisposed. Middle-aged male cats may be more commonly affected. Avoid breeders who claim to have HCM-free lines. No one can guarantee that their cats will never develop HCM. Siberians that will be bred should be screened for HCM, and cats identified with HCM should be removed from breeding programs. Do not buy a kitten whose parents have not been tested for this disease.

      PKD or Polycystic Kidney Disease is a disease that generally affects the Siberian forest cats in later life. The disease itself is a slow degenerative condition getting worse as your pet gets older. swollen and dysfunctional kidneys are a key indicator of PKDs presence. Typical problems include weight loss, reduced appetite, excessive thirst, increased instances of urination. It’s possible to diagnose this condition in your kitten from six months and above.

      There is a kind of cancer that only affect the pure white lines of the Siberian cat. Hereditary cancer is a common disease amongst the pure white lines descended from the parentage and pedigree of “ Геша Оленя Краса" (Gesha Olenya Krasa) and "Долка Оленя Краса” (Dolka Olenya Krasa). However greater scientific studies need to confirm if its presence is as established in other coat colours.

      The Siberian forest cat commonly suffers from Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease or FLUTD. This refers to a pool of health conditions in cats that generally affects their bladder and urethra. This health issue can be due to a wide array of possible causative factors, but cats normally exhibit similar, identifiable signs. Luckily this disease is treatable if detected early.

      Grooming

      You should always brush your Siberian cat's thick triple coat regularly (preferably once a day, if you can) to prevent falling hair from tangling all over his coat.

      Siberian's coat shed during springtime or fall, and in those times, you may need to groom him more frequently than the usual.

      Baths are optional, due to their coats are highly resistant to water (and sometimes it is very difficult to lather shampoo all over its coat). Although they don't mind being wet.

      Just like other cats, basic hygienic routines will also apply, such as brushing of your cat's teeth, clipping nails (or as I have mentioned on my other articles before , get one of those cat scratching post at activefelinesolutions.com.au so that your cat will keep their nails in check),

      Always clean their ears at least twice a week to avoid any infections, and also if your cat tend to tear excessively (I mean the tears in their eyes), you can simply wipe it off to avoid the accumulation of gun, which can also irritate their eyes if left unchecked.

      Siberians are awesome cats, in fact, they are one of the rarest ones out there (depending on where you live of course), If you want to feel like a Russian oligarch or a Mafia boss while stoking one, this cat is your fist choice.

      Just like the oligarchs and mafia bosses, you should always take care of your subordinates, what I mean by that is taking good care of your cat, ensuring his safeety and making sure that he lives a healthy and happy life. Visit Cat Breed for more information about your Siberian Cat.

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