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.
WHAT IS A SIBERIAN CAT?
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.
There is some dispute as to the origins of the colour points in the breed but as long as records have been kept in Russia colour points have been noted to have been produced. The Russian believe that the feral pointed cats mated with the other colours along the Neva River region in Leningrad (which is now named St Petersburg) in the 1960’s.Soon Russian breeders were including this pattern into their breeding programs and created the nickname for them “Neva-Masquerade”.
Neva for the river, and masquerade, for the mask. These are not a separate class of the Siberian but another colour. Some countries still do not accept the colour pointed version in the breed acceptance standard. No outcrosses are permitted for this breed.
Personality Plus. 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.