Section 2 – SEMI LONGHAIR – Group 3
The majestic Siberian is a strong, powerfully built cat with strong hindquarters helping them jump exceptionally high. They are a slow-maturing breeding reaching full magnificence at about five years of age. Siberians are large cats with a substantial rounded body reminiscent of a barrel and heavily boned legs to support the substantial body structure. Their paws would do a heavyweight boxer proud!
However, for all their powerful strength, these are gentle cats that enjoy playing and clowning around with their families. Siberian cats have a sweet chirruping voice and an impressive purr.
Siberian cats have existed for a long time. The earliest known reference is from 1000 AD. In the 1870s they first appeared at cat shows and we also find a reference to Siberian cats at the 1884 show in Madison Square Gardens. It was not until 2002 that the first Siberians put their paws on British soil. Since then the number of breeders in the UK has increased very quickly as word spreads about this wonderful breed.
The Siberian is classed as semi-longhaired and has a distinctive coat that changes with the seasons and is unique to the breed. The topcoat consists of a layer of long waterproof guard hairs beneath which is very dense, soft undercoat. The coat is considerably longer and thicker in winter; complete with a full ruff, fluffy breeches and a big bushy tail to tackle those cold Siberian winds! Other examples of this cat’s wild heritage can be seen in their tufted paw pads and the lynx tips on their ears. The Siberian comes in a huge variety of colours and patterns. Recognised colours are brown, black (with its dilute version which is blue), red, (with the dilute version of cream) and white. Patterns are solid, tabby and tortie. The silver gene can be present which also gives smoke and shaded patterns. Colourpointed cats are allowed in all colour variants and all colours and patterns are recognised both with and without white. Amazingly, this gives a total count of 124 possible colour variations! A Siberian’s bright eyes greatly contribute to its alert, intelligent expression; they are large, slightly oval in shape but with a rounded lower line, set wide apart and slightly oblique. Eye colour ranges from copper to green, with blue being permitted only in the Neva Masquerade (colourpointed) varieties.
Siberian cats are real fun-loving felines. They are energetic and always ready to play a game with you – but they never let you win! They are particularly fascinated by water and often you will find them enthralled by a dripping tap or nonchalantly strolling in soaking wet after they fell in the fish pond! Being intelligent and, like most felines, incredibly inquisitive they like to get involved in all aspects of the household – helping dig holes in the garden, sitting on the newspaper you are trying to read or just fooling around with the bubbles in the washing up bowl – they are always around to lend a paw and make you laugh!! This breed is often described as having many ‘dog-like’ traits (just never let your cat catch you saying that!) so can be a good alternative for those couples where one is a ‘cat person’ and the other is a ‘dog person’. They are extremely loyal to their owners; a real best friend who will be there to greet you when you get home, play with you when you are happy and hug you when you are down. Quick to learn, they can be taught to walk on a lead (great for those who do not have a secure outdoor space from them to play in) and some of them even like to play fetch! Despite having huge reserves of energy, Siberians are caring, gentle souls who never have a bad word to say about anyone. This combination of playfulness and patience makes them the ideal choice for families with young children. It has also been found that they mix well with other animals, including dogs.
Siberian cats need to be groomed on a regular basis or their thick fur will become matted. You can avoid this problem by thoroughly but gently combing their fur with a steel comb a few times a week. In preparation for their summer coat, Siberian cats shed their heavy winter coat in the spring. The next shedding season is autumn, when they shed their shorter and lighter summer coat to prepare for their thick, warm winter coat. You may need to comb or brush your Siberian cat daily during this period of heavy shedding. Males weigh between 17 and 26 lbs and females range in weight from 13 to 17 lbs. The Siberian cat breed is very healthy and can live 12 to 15 years or more.
Some lines may be prone to a heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency has also been identified in the breed.