Siberian cats are large, furry beauties who may be an ancestor to most house cats today. The ancient breed, also known as the Siberian Forest Cat or the Moscow Semi-Longhair cat, are well-suited to environments with harsh weather conditions. Siberian cats appear in Russian paintings from hundreds of years ago, proving they've got a long history as a well-loved breed!
Siberian Origins as an Ancient Forest Cat
Siberian cats are originally from the frozen taiga in Siberia. The breed's beautiful, thick long-haired coat is perfect for the harsh environment. Due to their long history, they are sometimes the stars of Russian folktales, like The Cat and The Fox. For over 1,000 years, owners have used them for pest control as they are amazing hunters, closer to their wild roots than most domestic pets. Even though Russians have appreciated their beauty and usefulness for over a millennium, it wasn't until the 90s that they came over to the United States.
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Are Siberian Cats Hypoallergenic?
Many believe these playful cats to be hypoallergenic. However, it's important to remember that no cat is completely allergen free. The thing that cat-allergic people actually react to is a certain protein in the saliva called Fel-D1. Many think it is fur that causes allergies, but that's because cats lick themselves clean quite frequently and leave this protein all over their fur. Siberian Cats don't make as much of this protein in their saliva, making them better suited for people with mild feline allergies. The only way to find out if it will work for you and your allergy is to try being around a Siberian cat for a period of time.
Siberian Cats' Personality
Siberian cats have an absolutely delightful personality. They love their humans and tend to follow them around the house. They enjoy meeting new people and won't often run away when you have company. Siberians like knowing what you are doing and are somewhat talkative compared to other breeds. Because these cats were once forest residents, they love water and may join you in your bath, or chirp and purr until you turn on the faucet.
For as lovable as they are, they are also intelligent and playful. They can learn tricks, like fetch, and love to show off their athleticism by perching on unlikely items or getting into just about everything. Make sure to put sparkly items, like jewelry, away because they can easily become a toy for a Siberian cat!
How to Care for Your Siberian Cat's 3-Part Coat
This breed has beautiful long hair - the result of a 3-part coat that can withstand even the harshest Siberian winter. Because of the thick fur, it is imperative to brush your cat at least once a week. They need even more brushing during transitional seasons when they shed heavily. The coat is very water-resistant so trying to give your cat a bath is often a futile endeavor. Luckily, Siberians are good at cleaning themselves so it is rarely necessary.
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Siberian Cat Health Concerns
This Russian breed is usually very hearty. They survive in the wilderness, after all! But they are prone to one serious condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart muscle that weakens it. Taking your cat for their usual vet checks should be enough to catch this condition, but watch for any significant changes. Otherwise, these large house cats can grow up to 17 pounds, so prepare yourself for a large furry friend!
Siberian cats are a stunning breed that brings a bit of playful wildness into your home, with all the benefits of a domestic cat.