Unofficially the national cat of Russia, the Siberian has been in existence for over 1,000 years. The breed is referenced in ancient fairy tales as a magical cat that protected children from harm and led them to wonderful, unseen worlds. The Siberian is well adapted for the cold climes of its native Siberia with its dense triple coat and thick paws. Featuring in a book by Harrison Weir from the late 19th century, it is uncertain when exactly the Siberian first emerged, although it was initially spotted in 1871 at a cat show in England. From here, it made its way to the United States in the 1990s where it was first shown in New York. The Siberian is recognised by the International Cat Association.
A stocky and muscular breed with strong legs, a broad head and rounded features, the Siberian is built for survival in the snowy ranges of its homeland. Boasting a powerful body structure and nimble legs, the Siberian is both swift and adept at climbing, using its strong paws to negotiate great heights. The coat type is semi-longhaired and is observed in an array of colours and patternings. Depending on the season, a Siberian’s coat will change, moulting up to twice a year when the day lengthens after winter and begins to shorten with autumn. The appearance of the Siberian is very often likened to that of the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon.
Never unduly shy or aggressive, the Siberian is perfectly suited to relaxed domestic living, providing it is kept both mentally and physically stimulated throughout the day. This curious and intelligent cat likes to apply itself to tasks around the home and is independent-minded enough to not demand too much attention. Possessing a gentle and affectionate nature, the Siberian is compatible with children and other house pets and is quietly accepting of strangers. It has keen instincts and is capable of climbing to great heights, making it on top of your wardrobe with ease. Generally speaking, a healthy adult Siberian will weigh 8-15 pounds, with a typical life expectancy of 15 years.
The Siberian is generally healthy, although cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a common heart disease) are documented in the breed.