Siberian – The National Cat of Russia

The Siberian cat is a native from the taiga of Siberia. It is a variety of domestic cat that’s present in Russia for centuries. Its longer name is Siberian Forest Cat, but it is usually referred to as the Siberian or the Siberian cat. Aside from that, it is also called the Moscow Semi-Longhair. It is an ancient breed of cat that is now believed to be ancestral to all modern longhaired cats. The Siberian cat is a natural breed of Siberia and it is the national cat of Russia. Let us know more about its history and characteristics.


The Siberian cat originated from the taiga of Siberia which was a forested area with a subarctic climate. This contributed to the cat’s long, thick, and protective coat. This cat breed has been known in Russia for about 1,000 years and it is often a figure in Russian folktales. They were prized for their hunting ability by householders and shopkeepers. They were good in keeping mice and rats away from stores of grain and other foods.

The Siberian cat was first mentioned in Harrison Wier’s book which included information of the earliest cat shows in 1871 that was held in England. In 1987, one of the earliest written Siberian standards was publicized by the Kotofei Cat Club in St. Petersburg. Each cat club devises its own cat standards in the Russian cat fancy.

It was in 1990 when Siberian cats first arrived in the United States. They were part of a trade deal between the Russian breeder and Elizabeth Terrell who exchanged some Himalayans for the Siberian cats. However, there was much confusion in the United States and other countries when the first Siberians arrived because a lot of them appeared quite different from each other, depending on what part of Russia they came from since each cat club in Russia has their own cat standards. Even though they were gaining popularity, the expense of importing the Siberian cats from Russia keeps the breed relatively rare outside of Europe.

In 1996, The International Cat Association recognized the breed. In 1999, it was accepted by The American Cat Fanciers Association followed by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2006. The Siberian cat breed is becoming more popular because it has the reputation of being hypoallergenic.

Characteristics of a Siberian Cat

Average weight: 8 – 17 pounds

Life span: 11 – 15 years

Hypoallergenic: Yes

The Siberian is a powerfully built cat that has strong hindquarters and large, well-rounded paws and as well as an equally large full tail. It has a barreled chest, medium-sized ears, large eyes, and a broad forehead. It has a stockier build compared to other cat breeds. Its large eyes give a sweet expression to its face. It also has a slight arch to its back because its hind legs are a little longer than its front legs which give it incredible agility and athleticism.

Siberian cats have three natural types of feline fur which are guard hairs, awn hairs, and down. These are the layers that protect it from the extreme weather in Russia, and as well as provide a hardy, easy to care for coats in the present time. The color varieties of Siberian cats vary and all colors are genetically possible. They also do not have any unusual, distinct, or unique fur patterns or colorations. It can take up to five years for a Siberian cat to reach its full size and coat.

Siberians are loving and affectionate pets. They love people and they want to be near them all the time and sitting in your lap while you comb their furs is probably the highlight of their day. They are also great hosts if you have guests at home because they are not shy in the presence of strangers. They are also attentive, active, and playful cats. You can play fetch with them and any item can become a plaything for this clever cat.

The heritage of Siberian cats is forest dwellers which mean, they also love to play with water because their ancestors used to go fishing for their supper. So, don’t be surprised if you find your pet splashing in your tub or drinking from a fountain or faucet. They are also highly athletic and you may find them balancing atop a doorway or jumping up the highest point in your home. They are also not bothered by activity and noise and their calm nature makes them the potential to be therapy cats. They will be glad to snuggle with you when you are sick.

Since the Siberian cat has a bold temperament, it is an excellent choice for a family with kids. It can also live happily with other cats and cat-friendly dogs, as long as they recognize that he is in charge.

Caring for a Siberian Cat

The Siberian cat has a thick, water-resistant triple coat but despite its length and thickness, it is relatively easy to groom because it does not tend to mat or tangle. This means that a weekly brushing will keep its coat in good shape. But during the spring and fall “molt”, its coat with mat and shed in a large clump, so during this time, brush its coat daily to remove dead hair and prevent knots from forming. Baths are not needed frequently unless you plan to show your cat.

The rest of the grooming needed is basic care. You should trim your pet’s nails as needed, check the ears weekly, and brush its teeth frequently using a vet-approved toothpaste. Always keep your cat’s litter box clean to help keep its long coat clean as well. Siberian cats are better to be kept indoors to prevent them from being attacked by other dogs and animals, or from being hit by a car. You can simply build your Siberian cat a large outdoor enclosure where you can let it play, jump, and climb safely.

The Siberian cat’s growth mostly occurs in its first year and a half of life and while it’s still a kitten, it’s important to feed it kitten food to make sure it gets enough nourishment. You can also visit your local vet to know more about the appropriate diet for Siberian cats.

Siberian cats are truly gentle giants that enjoy the company of people, making them great pets for families with children, first-time cat owners, and in active households as well.