Norwegian Forest Cats are known as the “big cats of the North.” They are a hearty breed that can thrive in cold climates. Siberians, on the other hand, are bred for their long, thick fur coats that keep them warm in cold climates.
The Siberian and Norwegian Forest Cats are both breeds of domestic cat. They are both considered to be large cat breeds, with the Norwegian being a little bit larger. They share a number of similar features, including their long fur coats, which can help them stay warm in cold climates. However, there are some key differences between these two breeds as well.
The Siberian Forest Cat is a native of Russia and is one of the oldest known domesticated cat breeds. They are known for being very friendly and good with children. They are also very adaptable to different climates, which is why they are often found in colder areas.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed that originated in Norway. They are known for being very independent and sometimes aloof. They are also good climbers and have a thick coat of fur that helps keep them warm in cold climates.
Siberian Vs Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Origins
Let’s start by looking at the history’s of these two magnificent large cats.
Siberian Cat History
An ancient long-haired breed now popular in the United States is far from new to the Asian continent and Europe. This breed was thought to be a combination of all modern long-haired cats including both the Angora and the Persian. The Siberian Forest Cat is sometimes referred to as simply the “Siberian Cat” or the “Siberia”.
In Germany it is known as the “Sibirische Katze”. Siberians were common cats roaming the Russian markets and the countryside of their homeland of Siberia. Russian immigrants were said to have carried this breed with them as they journeyed to cold Moscow and St. Petersburg leaving the cold inhospitable climate of the North.
The breed continued to survive the harsh winters and climate and developed a thick fur and waterproof, oily coat. During this time no one bothered to develop the Siberian into a pedigreed cat. Russia did not allow citizens to own any kind of household pet, pedigreed or otherwise, because of the food shortage.
Norwegian Forest Cat History
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed of domestic cat native to Northern Europe, and adapted to a very cold climate. In Norway they are known as Skogkatter or more properly, the Norsk Skogkatt (literally, Norwegian Forest Cat).
The breed is a very old one which occurred as a natural adaptation to the cold climate of the region, but it was not regarded as anything other than a standard house-cat until the late 1930s, when a small number of ‘Skaukatts’ were shown in Germany and received very favourably by the judges. World War II brought an abrupt end to the fledgling Norwegian show cat industry, and the breed was forgotten until the 1970s. The cats are now being bred and shown in several countries including the United States. The first international association to accept the breed was FIFe, in 1977.
They are rumoured to be the early ancestors of the Maine Coon and the long-haired Manx.
Siberian Vs Norwegian Forest Cat Physical Differences
The Siberian is a medium-large cat. Males weigh between 5 and 8 kg and females between 3.5 kg and 5.5 kg
The Norwegian is a larger cat. Males are around 6-9 kg and females are 4-6 kg.
Siberian Cat Appearance
The Siberian is a large, strong cat, which can take up to five years to mature. The females being smaller than the males as in all breeds. They are noted for being very agile and can leap great distances. Their muscles are outstanding and powerful. The back is long and very slightly curved but appears horizontal in motion. The compact rounded belly develops with age. The hind-leg of the Siberian is slightly longer than the front legs, with large and powerful firm rounded paws. The overall appearance should be a cat of great strength and size with an excellent physical tone. The facial expression is alert but sweet. The general impression of the cat is one of circles and roundness rather than angular as in some of the other breeds.
The head of the Siberian is a modified wedge of medium size with rounded contours broader at the skull and narrowing slightly to a full rounded muzzle with well-rounded chin. The cheek bones are neither high set or prominent there should be a good distance between the ears and the eyes. The forehead being flat and the nose has a slight curvature before the tip the neck is medium in length and round and well muscled.
The tail of the Siberian is medium in length wide at the base with a blunt tip and the end which is evenly and thickly covered with fur from the base of the tail to the tip of the tail.
The ears on the Siberian are medium to large wide and set as much on the sides of the head as on the top the tips are rounded and the ear tilts forward.
The eyes of the Siberian are large almost round eyes set wide apart with the outer corner slightly angled toward the base of the ear. There is no relationship of eye colour to coat colour however the typical colour seen is yellow- green.
The coat is the Siberians crowning glory, this is a moderately to long haired coat with the fur on the lower chest and shoulder blades being slightly shorter. There should be an abundant ruff around the neck setting off the large impressive head. There is a tight undercoat, which becomes thicker in colder weather. The coat gives the impression of lacquer and oil when un-groomed. The hair may thicken and curl on the belly and britches, but this is not a feature of the cat. The skin may also appear to have a bluish cast. Clear strong colours and patterns are desirable but are secondary to type.
Colour varieties of the Siberian vary and all colours are genetically possible, such as tabby, solid colours, tortoiseshell colours and colour point varieties.
Norwegian Forest Cat Appearance
Norwegian Forest Cats (NFC’s) are a large breed of cat with weights of full grown males averaging around 7-8 kgs , with females weighing a little less at 4-5kgs. As a slow-maturing breed they may take 3-4 years to ‘fill out’. They are semi-long haired, with a double coat. This comprises a woolly undercoat, topped with longer waterproof guard hairs. this helps insulate them in their natural environment, keeping them warm and dry in the snow of Norway.
As a natural breed, they have altered little since they wandered out of the forests, and in their full winter coat are a magnificent looking cat. Adding to the grandeur of a fully coated cat are the ruff, mane, fluffy knickerbockers and beautiful long fluffy tail which should extend back to at least the shoulders in a cat of good ‘type’.
They also have hairy tufts between their toes (to protect feet from the cold) and well-furnished ears with ‘lynx like’ tufts. In summer, the cat loses a lot of the bulk of its winter coat in a seasonal moult. They are a strong boned cat with a distinctive triangular head, with the ears following the line of the triangle from the chin. In profile, they have a straight appearance, with no nose break, and are very distinctive. The eyes should be slightly almond shaped, and angled up to the base of the ear. Altogether, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a very handsome animal.
Siberian Vs Norwegian Forest Cat Behaviour
Siberian Cat Temperament
The Siberian has a very dog like temperament and are very affectionate.
They come out to greet the visitors in the house and are not shy. They are very intelligent and very quick learners. They also have a triple purr and unlike other breeds have a chirping sound they use when they come to greet you. When they are around water they appear to be fascinated with it and will drop toys into it and play in sinks with water left in. The Siberian makes the ideal lap cat and will live quite happily indoors with you.
Norwegian Forest Cat Temperament
Here is where the NFC excels, as the perfect companion to humans, other cats and even dogs. They are friendly, intelligent, loyal, energetic animals who will return any love offered ten-fold!! Because of their fearless nature, many breeders recommend that they be kept indoors (for their own safety) or in a safe cat garden.
They love to climb and hunt, and for a large cat, can exhibit an incredible turn of speed. The NFC is playful and inquisitive even into adult life, and craves company, but on its terms. They like to be boss, and will quickly take over any household.