Whether your cat is a purebred Siberian, or a Siberian mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health.
Siberians are typically playful, friendly and affectionate cats that tend to get along with other animals and children — do these traits ring true to your pet? If so, those insights may not have surprised you, but the rest of our research just might.
Siberian cats, otherwise known as the Siberian Forest cat or Moscow Longhair, originally came from Siberia. “The Siberian cat is thought to have originated from the forests of Siberia before they were domesticated for being mousers [aka an animal used to catch mice] inside stores, monasteries and farms,” Dr. McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, says. “They were brought to the United Kingdom in the late 19th century and eventually to the United States in 1990.”
According to Dr. McCullough, Siberian cats are typically 17 to 25 inches long and weigh an average of 15 to 20 pounds. It usually takes Siberian cats 5 years to reach their full maturity. While your Siberian cat is growing, it's important to find a diet that will support them — talk to your veterinarian to find the right diet plan for your pet.
From tortoiseshell to tabby to color point (where their fur is darker on their face, ears, tails and paws), Siberian cats can vary in color.
“The Siberian cat’s fur is three layers thick and of semi-long length,” Dr. McCullough says. “It is dense but easy to maintain.”
A Siberian cat’s tail is bushy, too. Cat parents can prevent matting and remove loose fur by brushing their pet one to two times per week. Siberian cats typically shed a lot during the winter and summer and may need to be brushed more regularly during those seasons.
“There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat or dog,” Dr. McCullough says. “People with allergies can still react to allergens in Siberian’s skin, saliva and dander.”
And, although allergic reactions can stem from different triggers, Dr. McCullough notes that Siberian cats (their fur specifically) don’t seem to trigger as many allergic reactions as other cat breeds.
Siberian cats can have any eye color, including green, blue, copper, gold or different colors in each eye.
Not only is this cat breed typically affectionate, friendly and compatible with humans and other animals — they’re often adventurous, too. Siberians will likely enjoy toys, puzzles or learning tricks, Dr. McCullough says.
“Siberian cats like to climb, so aside from cat-proofing the home, pet parents should also invest in tall cat trees to support this natural behavior,” Dr. McCullough explains. “Siberians are reported to be highly intelligent and athletic.”
Don’t be surprised if you notice a Siberian cat playing with water. “Siberian cats seem to love and play in the water and even have a water repellent coat. This may be because of their origins of living in harsh environments,” Dr. McCullough explains.
This cat breed will likely talk to people or animals around them, too. Dr. McCullough says they’re a vocal breed and express themselves through vocalizations like chirps, mews (a cat is likely asking for something if you hear this sound), thrills (it means a cat is happy) and purrs.
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Siberians commonly struggle with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which affects the heart muscle. “HCM is a progressive condition that cannot be cured but can be managed with heart medications,” she adds.
Unfortunately, HCM can’t be prevented, but Dr. McCullough says veterinarians may recommend screening tests like blood work or an ultrasound of their hearts to detect it early.
Are you interested in adopting a Siberian, Siberian mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners. If you have other cats, be sure to read our article about safely introducing new cats to your cats at home.
The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.
Photos by Piotr Musioł on Unsplash, evrymmnt on Shutterstock and BRAIN STORM on Shutterstock