About the Siberian Forest Cat Breed
Popular in Europe for centuries, the Siberian Forest Cat is known for its large build, loyal and affectionate personality and skills as a mouser.
Siberian Forest Physical Characteristics
You will first notice how massive the cat is, usually weighing between 17 and 26 pounds, with the male being generally larger than the female. Much bigger and heavier than most cats, it is both powerful and strong.
The breed can be seen in a wide variety of solid colors or patterns.
The Siberian’s coat is long and heavy, with a tight undercoat which becomes thicker to adapt to the cold weather. Its coat is also oily and water resistant.
Siberian Forest Personality and Temperament
The Siberian is affectionate and intelligent, and rarely unable to solve its own problems. The cat is also attracted to water, occasionally throwing toys in it or playing around it.
Things to Consider
Despite the cat’s size, the Siberian is quite agile–not to mention fearless–and can easily jump onto bookcases or on top of cupboards to get what it wants.
Siberian Forest Care
Ideal Living Conditions
Personable without being too intrusive, Siberians make generally calm, quiet and affectionate companions. They can do well with children and other pets, including dogs, if introduced properly.
Though the breed’s coat is long, it is relatively easy to groom and isn’t prone to matting or tangling the way other longhaired breeds are. And although it has not been proven, some people believe the Siberian to be an ideal choice for allergy sufferers as it may have a lower than average occurrence of FelD1, a common allergen, in its saliva.
Siberian Forest Health
Siberian Forest Cats may be prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a common form of heart disease in cats which can cause a thickening of the heart muscle.
Siberian Forest History and Background
Though new to the United States, this breed is far from new to the Asian and European continents. The exact time and place of their first appearance in Siberia is unknown, but it is thought they emigrated along with the first Russian immigrants. Generations of living in the harsh climate of Siberia brought about the evolution of a highly instinctual, hardy, and strong cat.
It is also uncertain when the Siberian was introduced to Europe, but the breed was written about in Harrison Weir’s late nineteenth century book, Our Cats and All About Them, as one of the three longhairs represented at the first cat show, held in England in the 1700s.
Elizabeth Terrell, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana breeder, is responsible for bringing these cats to America. Primarily a Himalayan breeder, she discovered through a 1988 trade journal article that a Russian Cat Fanciers association was looking to import (and establish) the breed into Russia. Terrell traded four Himalayans to Nelli Sachuk, a member of St. Petersburg’s Kotofei cat club, in exchange for three Siberians in 1990 – one male (Kaliostro Vasenjkovich) and two females (Ofelia Romanova and Naina Romanova).
She devoted both time and money to a breeding program, later basing the American Standard – an abstract aesthetic ideal for the animal type – on the Russian Standards. Concerned with establishing a purebred Siberian, she subsequently founded an inter-registry breed club, which she named Taiga.
Though the Siberian is a rare breed, it is gaining interest and on its way to recognition and fame.