The Siberian cat is a charming, large cat who can make a great addition to many homes. Although their ancestors are likely to have roamed Siberia for thousands of years, the domestic breed has only been relatively recently recognised. Since their introduction, Siberian cats have quickly gained popularity around the world for their striking looks and affable personality.
Boo, our very own Siberian cat is a playful, affectionate soul. We joined her, by the windowsill to enjoy some cuddles and a chat to ask her some questions about her breed. If you’d like to know more about Siberian cats or are considering if they might be the right cat for you, hopefully her answers will help.
So, Boo what is the history of Siberian cats?
Our origin is something of a Cinderella story, and like all good fairy tails we’re not sure of the exact year we bought our charms to Siberia – it’s said we’ve existed for at least 1,000 years. We quickly became indispensable to the humans because of our talent for catching rats and mice, working hard in shops and farms to help by hunting rodents. That is until we were scouted by people who appreciated the Siberian cats’ regal appearance when we started to star in cat shows and competitions. It wasn’t just about our wizardly looks, though; we eventually became internationally famed for our funny, friendly nature and we made our first appearance in the UK in 2002. We’ve only been bred since the 1980s, so what you see when you look at a Sibirskaya koshka (that’s our name in our native Russian tongue) is all natural and has been shaped by the cruel winters and hot summers of Siberia. You might have seen us take the lead role in a Hollywood movie – I’m sure the Siberian cat actor did all her own stunts – and we feature in Russian folklore stories.
How big are Siberian cats?
You won’t find out our full size until we’re five years old, but once fully-grown Siberian’s are large cats. Females can weigh from 3.5 to 6kg and males 5.5 to 8kg and sometimes even larger. Siberian cats are normally about 30cm tall and have big round paws with tufts of fur between our toes and a muscly, sturdy build. Our thick, luxurious coat comes in almost every different colour. Mine is a dashing mackerel tabby but it’s common to find us in red, gold, white, and silver and we have a regal ruff around our necks. All the better for our famous fluffy cuddles!
How long do Siberian cats live?
The life span of a Siberian cat is around 10 to 18 years, but some of us live into our 20s. You can help keep us healthy by feeding us a high quality, complete, balanced, animal protein rich diet like Scrumbles to ensure we stay at a healthy weight. We naturally have a nice big belly, which is usually white like our chests and legs, but you shouldn’t be able to feel rolls of fat when tickling our tummies.
Speaking of food, what do you like to eat?
I have a fondness for fishier things so I like to munch on Scrumbles Salmon although when Smudge isn’t looking I do tend to wander over to her bowl and grab a few biscuits. The high meat content and salmon oil keeps my coat glossy. I also like to crunch down on a dried jack spratt. Fishy heaven!
Do Siberian cats need grooming?
We have a naturally oily coat which protects us from the freezing temperatures of the tundra and the beating sun in the summer months. Siberian cats are triple coated! Luckily our luscious locks don’t tend to matt or tangle, probably because you have to be quite low maintenance living in the snow forests of Siberia. Even if you try to bathe us, our fur is water repellent and it takes around fifteen minutes to wet the coat – then even longer to wash out any shampoo you’ve used. If you don’t rinse it out, we can get dandruff so it’s best to just brush us every day or at least once a week. We’re devoted to our pet pawrents and love the time you take to groom us. Our extra fluffy ears need to be kept clean too with cotton wool or a soft, clean damp cloth.
Are Siberian cats hypoallergenic?
Siberian cats are believed to produce less of the protein that typically affects people with allergies, plus the fact that we only shed twice a year means we can often be a more suitable companion for those with allergies. For example, my pet parent Aneisha suffers with cat allergies and she isn’t really affected by me. We can’t call ourselves officially hypoallergenic, but anecdotally people who have allergy symptoms around cats tend to get along just fine with us. Also, worth noting that girl cats tend to produce less of the protein than male cats too, so a factor to consider.
Do Siberian cats shed?
Siberian cats typically shed just twice yearly: in spring to lose our winter coats and in autumn to lose the light summer covering and grow in a thick furmidable one for the cold weather. If you don’t brush us at these times we can ingest a lot of the hair we shed and suffer from those dreaded furballs.
Are Siberian cats healthy?
As cats we can be affected by the usual feline problems, but we tend to be a strong, healthy breed. Unfortunately, many Siberian cats carry the hereditary condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes swelling of the heart and is the most common heart disease in kitties. You can talk to your vet about early screening of cats’ hearts with an ultrasound and using anti-coagulants like aspirin to thin the blood.
Are Siberian cats’ indoor cats?
We’re very happy being indoor cats as long as there’s lots to entertain us and access to the outdoors for mental stimulation – there are some great catios which keep us safe and give us a taste of the outdoors. I like to go outdoors for a stretch in the morning and evening but spend the rest of my time lazing indoors with my sister, Smudge. Siberian cats are known as a dog-like breeds (unlike some of our fellow cats we don’t see this as a bad thing) and we need to release our energy through play and exploration. Some of us can be taken for walks on a harness every meow and then; we prefer cat harnesses over collars and it’s best to get us used to wearing this as early as possible. We adore chasing things and playing fetch so if there’s room to run around we’ll have a happy life inside your home.
Are Siberian cats friendly and cuddly?
Absolutely! We are very playful, affectionate and love spending time with our family, including children, following you around and greeting you when you come home. Siberian cats have a cute soft meow and if we’re not purring happily we’ll be trilling and chirping away – we can hold our own in conversations. We know when you need time to yourself but we’re always ready for a game or a chat. We couldn’t be further from the idea of the “aloof cat” and we think it’s pawsome to jump on your lap for cuddles. Humans say we tend to notice if they’re having a bad day or feeling sad and we devote extra attention to them. Us Siberian cats have been described as gentle giants and we have a calm demeanour despite our cheeky feline frolics.
Do Siberian cats get along with dogs?
S: We get along purrfectly with everyone! Siberian cats are playful and curious, and we love interacting with other cats, dogs and children – we’re very patient. We just really enjoy forming close relationships with our family, whether they’re the human or fluffy kind. Us Siberian cats don’t really get bothered by noise or strangers like some other cats do. We’re just too friendly for that! Although, we do still have that strong hunting instinct, so a hamster or mouse might be best kept in a cage around us… Nobody’s perfect.
Are Siberian cats vocal?
We purr a lot and like to make adorable little meows and cute cat sounds to let you know what’s going on, but we’re not known as a particularly vocal cat. If you’ve been out all day though it’s likely us Siberian cats will have a lot to say to you when you get home and will be very excited to hear about what you’ve been up to. As we’re not known for being loud, if you notice excessive vocalisation it could mean we are in pain or anxious about something. Remember that we stay cute kitty cats for the first five years of our lives, and kittens are known for being chattier. Our purrs and chirrups soon become the welcome soundtrack to family life.
Can you train Siberian cats?
Us Siberian cats are intelligent problem solvers and it’s common for us to teach ourselves how to open a door if we think our purrents are on the other side. We will often instigate a game of fetch and anything can be a toy to us so don’t leave out items you don’t want us putting in our mouths or batting about with our paws as we wouldn’t want to break something you like. We can usually be trained to walk on leashes and use scratching posts. If you look at videos online, you will see many examples of our relatives doing impressive tricks. If you’ll be bringing a little kitty home, you can help us trust and feel safe with you by preparing for our arrival; we long for close bonds and will enjoy trying out training and learning tricks if it means spending quality time with our family.
Do Siberian cats like water?
Water – where? We love water! All varieties of water bring us great joy to play with, as our ancestors used to stay out in all types of extreme weather playing in the rain, sleet, and thick snow that blanketed the forest floors. Our triple coated fur is designed to handle wet conditions, so it doesn’t bother us as much as other cats. They don’t know what they’re missing. Don’t be surprised if we join you in shower or bathtub… Can we get some more water in here please?
Who would make a perfect pet pawrent for a Siberian cat?
Somebody who will love us, play with us, and adore us as much as we do them. We may be glamorous – we are the national cat of Russia, after all – but we are incredibly affectionate and thrive in a social environment. We don’t just want to be admired from afar. Our purrfect pet pawrent would want a companion who will be there for them and not the sort of cat who comes and goes every few days. Our pawrent should be a great conversationalist with a talent for brushing hair. It would be terrible if they got annoyed when they find us Siberian cats hanging from the chandeliers or making ourselves comfortable on their laptop or the book they’re reading. We would be happy joining a big boisterous family with children or delighting a single human or couple who have other pets with our clown-like antics. Anybody who is kind and caring and wants to build and cherish a true bond with their pet is going to make a great pawrent for us.
Now, to sum up in Russian: Sibirskaya koshka mozhet proiskhodit’ iz kholodnogo klimata, no u neye teploye, obozhayushcheye serdtse – ne mogli by vy dat’ nam vsyu lyubov’, v kotoroy my nuzhdayemsya?
Thanks Boo! And in English?
Of course. The Siberian cat may come from cold climes, but it has a warm, adoring heart – could you give us all the love we need?
It’s hard not to be won over by the Siberian cat’s stunning looks and affectionate, friendly nature. If you have any questions for Boo about her breed let us know in the comments and sign up to our newsletter for more cat facts and doggy delights.