The Siberian is a medium to large cat that can take anything up to 5 years to reach full maturity. It’s substantial bone structure, broad chest and big paws give a general appearance of substance and strength – definitely a cat with ‘heft’. Often likened to the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat; the Siberian Cat is easily distinguished by its more barrel shaped body and its broad, wedge shaped head, giving an overall impression of circles and rounded contours.
The Siberian Cat 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 Cat 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, 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. This gives a total count of 124 possible colour variations!
A Siberian Cat’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 coppers to greens, with blue being permitted only in the Neva Masquerade varieties.
The Siberian’s heart is as warm as his homeland is cold. He loves people and wants to be near them, so expect this affectionate cat to follow you around, including to the bathroom, and to “help” you with all of your reading, TV viewing, computer work and meal prep. Sitting in your lap while you comb his fur may well be the highlight of his day. When you come home from work, he might not have a martini waiting, but he will be pleased to tell you all about his day in quiet, pleasant trills and chirps, interspersed with a few meows and purrs. Guests will find him to be a genial host; this is not typically a cat who is shy in the presence of strangers.
Besides being loving and attentive, the Siberian is also active and playful. He will instigate games of fetch by bringing you a favorite toy to throw. Any item can become a plaything for this clever cat, so keep jewelry or other potentially intriguing items out of his sight. Teaching him tricks is a fun and easy way to challenge his agile brain.
Because of his heritage as a forest dweller, he likes playing with water—perhaps it’s a genetic memory of going fishing for his supper. Don’t be surprised if he enjoys splashing you in the tub, drinking from a fountain or faucet, or making puddles by batting his paw in his water dish. As befits a working and hunting cat, he’s highly athletic and you may find him balancing atop a doorway or propelling himself to the highest point in the room. In fact, Siberian coaches may well be the secret to the success of Russian gymnasts.
Activity and noise won’t bother him a bit. His calm nature gives him the potential to be a therapy cat. If nothing else, he will be happy to snuggle with you when you’re down with a cold or other illness. And although he loves attention, he’s not needy and will wait patiently until you have time to devote to him.
The Siberian has a bold temperament, and nothing much ruffles his composure. These characteristics make him an excellent choice for a family with kids. No nighttime monsters will get past the Siberian on guard at the foot of a child’s bed. He is happy to live with other cats and cat-friendly dogs, too, as long as they recognize that he’s in charge. Introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.