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May 24, 2013 at 3:26 PMComments: 4 Faves: 0

The Siberian

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Feline 101 Blog Series

siberian cat stats


Cat of the Week: The Siberian


Siberian Cats

Siberian Cat


Fun Facts About Siberian Cats


  • While the Siberian, also referred to as the Siberian Forest Cat, may be new to the US, they are actually an ancient Russian breed thought to be around 1,000 years old.
  • Kot BayunLegends of the Siberian abound in Russia where local folklore states cats are both guides to the underworld and guardians of the home. Because of this, its a Russian tradition when you rent or buy a new home to let your cat in first. The first spot they lay should be the spot for your bed!
  • Kot Bayun, which allegedly translates either to Cat the Storyteller or Cat the Luller (Its a Russian play on words, actually. Bayukat means puts to sleep, while bayat means tell the stories.) is a legendary Russian cat who would cast a spell on you by singing and telling endless stories. According to legend, Kot Bayuns tales had the power to heal any illness if one could catch him, but if they failed, he would lull them to sleep and kill them. The character appears in many Russian folk stories and great Russian storytellers are sometimes referred to as Kot Bayuns.
  • While Siberian cats were historically kept to control the rodents in homes, shops, and farms, there was a long stretch of time in which the Russian government banned the ownership of pets because of housing and food shortages. Because of this, it wasnt until quite recently, in 1987 that a pedigreed cat association was created and breeding records (separating true Siberians from non-pedigreed mixes) started be kept through them.
  • Not long after the Russian laws banning pet ownership had been dropped, American cat enthusiasts took an interest in the native cat breeds. In exchange for four purebred Himalayans, Nelli Sachuk sent the three Siberian cats that would become the breeds foundation in the US - a male named Kaliostro, and two females, Ofelia and Naina.
  • The long thick fur of the Siberian not only protects these cats from the bitter cold of Russia, its made them more water-proof than most cats. As a result, these particular cats, much like last weeks Turkish Van, have an uncharacteristic feline fascination with water.
  • Siberians are second only to the Maine Coon in size. Because of this, they take longer to develop about 5 years till full maturity.
  • Cat allergies are caused by a chemical in cat saliva and dander called FelD1, and not by the cats fur as many people believe. However, most cats promoted as being good for people with cat allergies (no cat is completely hypoallergenic) do happen, coincidentally, to be mostly breeds with little to no fur. Siberian cats buck that trend! Like other lower-allergen cats, Siberians have lower than average levels FelD1 in their saliva. They are one of the only long-haired cat breeds recommended for people with cat allergies!

Siberian Cats

Siberian Cat


How to Spot a Siberian


Large, Barrel-Shaped/Stocky Body. As a long-furred cat and one of the largest cat breeds available, (Fully-grown females average between 13 and 17 lbs. Fully-grown males average between 17 and 26 lbs!) Siberian cats are easily confused with Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats. However, a closer inspection reveals differences, and probably the most noticeable of these, is the body shape. The Siberian has a rounder, stockier body compared with the Maine Coon or Norwegian.

Big Cat ComparrisonRounded Profile. The second easiest way to tell these big hardy cats apart is in the face. The Maine Coons profile is closer in appearance to the Siberians, but is longer, and has a more defined drop from the forehead to muzzle. The Norwegian, with its triangular head and straight profile that earned it the nick-name Wedgie, provides the most striking difference.

Oval-Shaped Eyes and Medium, Rounded Ears. The two last give-a-ways are the Siberians facial features their ears and their eyes. A Siberians eyes are large, nearly round and set at a medium width apart. Their ears tend to be moderate in size. In contrast, a Maine Coons eyes are also large and round, but tend to be slight slanted and are set wide apart, and a Norwegians eyes are almond-shaped. Maine Coons and Norwegian also tend to have very large ears.

Siberian Kittens

Siberian Kitten


What to Expect from a Siberian


A Smart Cat. Breeds that began as hunters, as the Siberians did, needed to be smart to catch their pray and survive. If they couldnt outwit a mouse, they didnt eat, and if they didnt eat, they didnt make more little Siberian cats. As a result, todays Siberians are very intelligent. Theyre better than the average cat at finding their way into things and they thrive when challenged with puzzle toys. A patient owner can even teach them tricks!

A Playful Cat. With above average energy, a quick mind, and an inquisitive nature, Siberians love to play! The CFA, Animal Planet, and Vet Street all agree this is a cat that loves to run around and jump from height to height throughout their home. Luckily, theyre agile as well as active, so theyll rarely break anything. As mentioned before, in addition to enjoying normal cat play laser pointers, small balls, and stuffed mice- Siberians also enjoy playing with water. Owners will often spot them playing in their water bowl and trying to swat at water coming from the faucet.

Independence and Affection. A very independent cat can leave some feeling a little neglected, but an extremely attached cat can become a nuisance to others. The Siberian belongs in neither of these categories; instead, theyre a good mix of both. They love the attention of their people and will likely stick close by them throughout the day, and yet they are content to entertain themselves when youre busy. A nearly perfect cat, some might say!

Siberian Cats

Siberian Cat


More Siberian Cats!!!


Siberian Cat

Siberian Kitten

Siberian Cat


VetStreet: Siberian

The Cat Fanciers Association: Siberian Breed Profile

Animal Planet: Cat Breed Directory: Siberian

Russian Women.Net: Russian Fairy Tales


YouTube: Siberian Kitten 7 Months Old

YouTube: Siberian Cat Neiko 5 Months Old

YouTube: Siberian Cat on Top of Door


The Cat Fanciers Association

Sharon Foster@etsy

K. Kendall@flickr

Mikael Altemark@flickr



Theen Moy@flickr





Rachel Ford James@flickr

More from Erin Froehlich Others Are Reading


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  • Cat's are easier to handle, and cat's are good at reading body language.

  • I have a black/gray Siberian mix - 5 years old, and finally maturing!! I had pneumonia a couple of years ago, and my lovely cat wouldn't leave my side! He took to sleeping right beside my pillow, where he could swat my cheek (without using his claws) until I woke up if my breathing changed. Then he'd sit leaning on me while I used my puffer and my breathing calmed. He started bringing his toy mice and leaving them all over the bedroom floor. He still sleeps by my pillow - its habit now. I've never had a cat like him - and I wouldn't want any other!!

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