Living with a cat can be very pleasurable, but living with a Siberian cat is a very rewarding, life changing experience. The Siberian will become your best friend, confidante, problem-solver, and house clown. Siberians are one of the most ancient breeds and began as the Russian forest cat. We have images of them roaming the Siberian Taiga (forestland) even today and they are reported to be in large numbers in the wild Siberian outlying territories. However, another story unfolds in Russia. Siberian cats are now prized house cats and many Russian families relay fond tales of their Siberian cats and their amazing loyalty and personalities. In 1990, when communism fell and free trade opened up, the importation of the Siberian cat to the United States began.
The Siberian is a medium-large cat with the overall appearance of excellent physical condition, massive strength, power and alertness, modified by a sweet facial expression. The general impression of the body is one of circles and roundness rather than rectangles and triangles indicative of the other forest cat breeds. Females are considerably smaller than males. Eye color varies from gold to green and all shades in-between. They also come in colorpoints and these will have blue eyes. They have a very dense, water resistant triple coat, which is medium to long in length. They have a full dense coat in the winter while the summer coat is somewhat shorter and less dense. The hair is shorter on the shoulders. There is a ruff at the neck, full fluffy britches and a bushy tail that is carried up with pride. Siberian owners often email pictures to each other bragging about ‘the fluff on that tail!’ Ear tipping is desired and full ear furnishings are required. This means that the tops of the ears can have hair which makes the ears look pointed when in fact they are rounded and that the inside of the ear has hair that protects it from the elements.
Siberian Cats are very personable and want to be near their owners. They will meet you at the door when you come home and explain their day to you. They are a quiet breed that has melodic ways of expressing themselves using sweet mews, trills, chirps and lots of purring. They love to sit in your lap and be groomed. A favorite pastime of theirs is to find something and bring it back so it can be thrown and fetched. All types of toys intrigue them and they will play with just about anything. Another thing that intrigues them is moving the cursor on the computer screen. You will need to shut the door of your computer room if you want to get any typing done. Some Siberians learn to stay off the keyboard at an early age but others will insist on adding indecipherable letters to your most crucial correspondence. Others will sit in the cubbyholes of your computer desk and watch entranced as you type, periodically extending a paw of support.
If you share your home with a Siberian, you will never be alone. They will watch TV with you, go to the restroom with you and then go to bed with you. If you are trying to do something, they will insist on helping. Reading a newspaper, book, or magazine is next to impossible. If they like something, they will take it and play with it and in the process it will be lost.
Siberians also enjoy the company of dogs, other animals, and children. They are fearless and easygoing. Not much disturbs their natural calm and equanimity. Many parents affirm that their Siberian will always sleep with the children at the foot of their bed as a sentinel.
Some Siberians become the nurse in the family, spending time with the sick person who needs the support. They have a high level of intuition and know when they are needed for psychological and moral support. They get out of your way when you are tense and too busy to deal with them. However, there are those who are under foot no matter what. Through all the hard times in life, Siberians have given support if only for a headache.
The acrobatic nature of the Siberian is well known among owners. They will play hard, often executing amazing somersaults in pursuit of a feather toy. Some balance on clothing racks and seem to be executing an uneven parallel bar routine rivaled only by Olympic athletes.
Others balance carefully on lampshades as they watch their owners read. Many times an over enthusiastic kitten has to be rescued while attempting to climb the bricks on the fireplace or jump to the top of a bookshelf that they cannot reach. Nevertheless, Siberians are always happy to be helped. They stay playful throughout their lives and are rarely mistaken for a couch potato.
Text by Members of The Siberian Cat Club, CFA Siberian Breed Committee
and TAIGA (International Siberian Breed Club)