The Siberian originates as the name suggests from Siberia in the cold northern part of Russia. Its history as a breed is a bit difficult to accurately describe, as what were probably variations of the Siberian naturally existed as far back as 1000 years, being frequently mentioned in Russian folk tales.
These precursors to the modern Siberian Cat breed were living as stray cats in the streets of Leningrad (known today as St. Petersburg) and other cities throughout Russia. These cats were taken in by families and adopted as was quite normal in Russia at the time.
The breed we know today, however, is relatively young, officially being recognized in the 1980´s even though breeding started on a small scale in Moscow in the 1960´s. The first breed standard was created by 1987 and registration of the breed began in Leningrad under the Kotofei Cat Club. Shortly after the Fauna Club of Moscow also began registering the breed.
We see the Siberian mentioned in Harrison Wiers book `Our Cats and All About Them´ from 1871, where the author describes his encounter with this mysterious and beautiful feline for the first time.  Naturally, since this was long before the official registration and breeding of what is today´s modern Siberian Cat breed, this must have been one of the aforementioned stray cats that would eventually become the Siberian cat breed.
The breed made its way to the US in 1990 even though the breed was still rare to see outside of its native Russia. The breed was officially recognized and included as a new breed in TICA and CFA in 1992 and 2000 (opened for registration) respectively. The breed gained championship status in TICA in 1996 and achieved championship status in CFA in 2006.
Today, the Siberian is growing in popularity in the west as more and more people have become aware of this Russian beauty.
From Russia With Love
If you want to look at more cats that hail from Russia, be sure to check out the Russian Blue Breed profile.
he thick, water resistant triple coat that keeps the Siberian warm is adorned by an abundant, full collar ruff around the neck as well as britches on the posterior legs. The body is medium in length, supported by medium-sized, sturdy legs where the hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs.
All colors and combinations are accepted in the breed.
The Siberian is a medium to large cat, with an often imposing and impressive physique and appearance. Males are much larger than females. According to the breed standards, the Siberian is slow to mature, taking up to 5 years to reach full maturity.
The Siberian may seem imposing to those who do not know its true nature. However, as one spends time with this sweet feline, they will find an affectionate and trusting friend who wants nothing more than to love and be loved by its owner.
The Siberian is a social cat that gets along well with everyone, making him a perfect family cat. So it should not be a problem if you have or plan to have kids. Similarliy dogs or other cats in the household should also be fine (allthough this can vary based on the disposition of the individual cat).
Despite its size, the Siberian is an agile cat that loves to jump and play. Their impressive intellect contributes to this curiosity but also requires that they are stimulated enough throughout the day. Be sure to entertain and stimulate him by playing with interactive toys or play other games like fetch that can both stimulate him mentally and physically at the same time.
Because of his love for heights, climbing and jumping buying or constructing a tall cat tree from where he can monitor his territory is a good idea. If you live in an apartment, it is essential that you make use of any vertical space you may have for your cat, especially since the square feet/meters may be limited.
Grooming Your Siberian
Coat:The Siberian sports a medium to longhair triple coat that comes in all traditional and pointed colors and combinations with or without white. This thick coat does require some maintenance even though it does not tend to tangle or mat easily. Brushing it once or twice per week is therefore sufficient.
Ears:It is a good idea to go over the ears and clean them weekly with a soft, damp cloth to remove any puss and to avoid infections. Ask your vet for a recommended solution to use when cleaning the ears. Do not use cotton swabs as these can damage the interior of the ear.
Eyes: Keep an eye on your Siberians eyes and remove any discharge if you spot it, with a soft, damp cloth.
Teeth: Brushing your Siberian’s teeth daily is recommended to prevent periodontal disease, but if time scarce commodity, you can do it on a weekly basis.
Nails: Trim weekly with your favorite cat nail clipper (this link opens our buying guide on the best nail clippers for cats).
What Makes the Siberian Different?
Are Siberian Cats Hypoallergenic?
The Siberian is sometimes referred to as a “Hypoallergenic” cat breed, and websites like PetMD claim that the breed produces less of the Fel-d1 protein, a known feline allergen.
To answer the question whether the Siberian can be called hypoallergenic, we should clarify what we mean when we say hypoallergenic. Some people confuse the term hypoallergenic to mean “non-allergenic” and as such expect a hypoallergenic cat to be completely allergy free – this is not the case.
“Hypo” is the same as saying less, and therefore “Hypoallergenic” simply means less allergenic. It is worth to note that no cat breed is completely allergy free.
Knowing this, it is a good idea to look at what we are asking here. Is the Siberian less allergenic than other breeds?
To answer the first question, we looked for studies to help us understand if the breed actually produces less Fel-d1. One study from 2017 from the University of Turin, Italy attempted to answer these questions by analyzing blood samples from 35 non-Siberian cats and 4 Siberians to compare their Fel-d1 levels to see if there was a conclusive difference.
What they found is that some of the Siberians seemed to produce less Fel-d1 due to genetic mutations of the CH1 and CH2 genes, which in layman’s terms have coding in them that affects the production of the Fel-d1 protein in the cat.
They concluded that further studies are needed to understand whether these genetic mutations that they observed are common and in anyway isolated to the Siberian breed as a whole.
This is not enough data to conclude that the breed in its entirety produces fewer allergens and is therefore hypoallergenic as a breed, but it does suggest that some Siberians can produce fewer allergens and are therefore better for allergy sufferers.
Because of this, the only way you can know if the Siberian you want to get is allergy friendly to you as an allergic is to meet the cat beforehand and spend some time with it, and see if you get any allergic reactions.
Beware that even if the Siberian in question produces fewer allergens, you may still get an allergic reaction, and if there are other cats in the environment, the allergens may be present in the air as cat dander, and as such provoke allergic reactions.
Therefore, meet your prospective Siberian in an environment where it is separated from other cats to be as sure as possible that you do not react to it. Ask a breeder if you can take your kitten or cat home for a test period and if you can return it if you were to have adverse reactions. If this is not possible, many serious Siberian breeders offer “samples” from their kittens so that you can see if you react badly to them before making a purchasing decision.
We recommend consulting with your doctor before getting a cat if you are prone to or have a history of severe allergic and asthmatic reactions to cats, as these in the worst cases can be life-threatening.
- There are a number of steps you can take to minimize allergic reactions, such as thoroughly cleaning your home environment, reduce or remove carpets, curtains or other surfaces where cat hair and dander can attach.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) occurs in the breed. HCM is the most common cardiovascular disease in cats. It is a condition in where the walls of the heart become progressively thicker. This thickening of the heart mainly affects the chamber that pumps blood through the aorta to the rest of the body (The left ventricle). Furthermore, the lower part of the septum is often affected, which is the part that separates the left ventricle from the right ventricle.
When the left ventricle thickens the chamber becomes smaller and the muscle becomes very stiff. This makes it harder to fill it with blood as well as making it more difficult to pump blood out from the left ventricle through to the aorta. For further information about this disease and how you can help to ensure that HCM screenings become more widespread and cost-effective visit http://www.hairlesshearts.org/index.php/what-is-hcm/hcm-defined.
Buying a Siberian Cat
Choosing the right breeder
Choosing a reputable and good breeder is very important if you are looking to buy a Siberian. Never buy a Siberian from a pet shop or an unauthorized breeder (such as on Craigslist etc.)!
These sellers are either complete scams that do not even deliver a kitten, or a so called kitten mill where kittens are churned out irresponsibility for short term profit without regard to proper health and safety of the kittens. These kitten mills also tend to care little for adhering to the breed standard.
If they offer a purebred Siberian kitten under a $1000 and offer a short or no health guarantee, you have the right to be very sceptical. You should also ensure that your kitten and its parents have been tested for HCM
How much does a Siberian cost?
The price of a Siberian cat as with any breed cat depends on the “quality” of the prospective cat. Quality in this context means if it a show quality cat that adheres closely to the ideal set in the breed standard and that the cat is, therefore, suitable to enter cat shows. Another factor in determining the price is the pedigree of the Siberian cat.
If the kitten in question has parents that have been champions, be prepared to pay more. If you do not care as much about the pedigree or do not plan to enter your Siberian in cat shows a “pet quality” Siberian is probably the right choice for you and is easier on your wallet.
We compared the pricing of 13 TICA registered breeders in the US and Canada that chose to display their pricing publicly and it breaks down as follows:
Pet Quality Siberian: $1200 – $1800 with an average price of $1569.
Show Quality Siberian: $2500+
Champion Quality Siberian: We did not find any public pricing information. This part will be updated once we have gotten the required data from breeders.
If you want to breed with your Siberian be prepared to pay a premium for those breeding rights.
Insuring your Siberian
Since Siberians are fairly expensive breed cats it might be a good idea to insure your new family member. We have compared pricing from different insurance companies by getting a quote for ”Mr Frosty”, a fictitious 1 year old male Siberian that has been neutered and is up to date on vaccinations and has no medical problems.
Our winner, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation offered us a unlimited coverage plan with a $250 deductible for $21.26 where they reimburse 80% of the veterinary bills. They also offer a plan with the same deductible but 90% reimbursement for $24.91.
Adopting a Siberian Cat
if you want to adopt a Siberian, your best bet is to check out resources like the Fanciers Breeder Referral list or the Petfinder listings and websites like Adoptapet.com. You can also enquire in shelters near you if they have a Siberian in need of a new home. You can also check out our friends at Specialty Purebred Rescue to see if there are any Siberian cats in need of a home!