Since I was a child I have always had dogs and cats rescued from kennels and catteries but as a married I had to give up the company of felines because her husband is very allergic to it. Just a few cat hairs on you, your eyes are red, breathing becomes difficult and soon you have to resort to antihistamines. Then it happens that a year ago a veterinarian friend of mine informed me of the existence of some cat breeds considered hypoallergenic. Among these, the Siberian cat is very striking and so I start looking for a farm in my region. Destiny wanted that on January 7, 2020, 72 km away, the one who would become a new member of the family was born. Logan (name inspired by the superhero character Wolverine).
Guide to the Siberian cat
In this article I thought I’d share everything I’m learning by living with a Siberian Neva Masquerade colorpoint blue tabby cat. You will discover the history of this breed, their personality, their temperament, how to take care of them, why they are considered hypoallergenic cats and for what reasons they may or may not be your ideal choice as a new four-legged friend.
History of the Siberian cat
The Siberian forest cat (Sibirskaya lesnaya koshka), better known as the Siberian cat (Sibirskiy kot), is a breed originating from Siberia born from the natural selection between the wildcat of the woods and the Siberian domestic cat. They are called forest cats because in nature they tend to be wild and used to wandering among the subarctic coniferous forests of Siberia. The first news dates back to the 1700s when they first appeared in a feline exhibition. To get to know him in Italy, it will be necessary to wait for the end of the 80s and only in 1991 the international standard of the breed was officially accepted. In addition to being considered a national breed of Russia, its main peculiarity is linked to its almost inability to produce Fel D1 protein. That particular protein responsible for allergic reactions in humans. For this reason it is considered hypoallergenic cat.
Due to the very harsh climatic conditions of which they originate, the typical Siberian cat specimens are mainly characterized by medium-long, water-repellent fur, robust build, massive dimensions and particularly thick skin that makes them very strong and resistant felines. Due to their considerable size, giant cats such as the Main Coon and the Norwegian Forest cat are also considered. An entire adult male can weigh up to 10 kg and the female up to 6 kg. In summary, the physical characteristics to pay attention to to recognize it are:
- Head slightly longer than wide. Slightly rounded with well developed cheekbones.
- Medium-sized ears. Well spaced and wide at the base. Rounded tips and long tufts that come out from the inside as in the lynx.
- Big eyes. Slightly oblique and rounded at the bottom. They can take on different shades but in most of the species they vary from green to amber. Blues in the colorpoints.
- Mane around the neck. The Siberian cat also stands out for having the hair around its neck which forms a longer mane similar to that of lions.
- Muscular and compact body. Long back and arched back. Rounded chest and belly.
- Large and robust legs. Round with longer tufts of fur that come out between the fingers (they are used not to sink into the snow and as thermal insulation from the ground). The front ones are of medium height while the rear ones are slightly longer.
- Thick and thick tail. Thick and rounded it reaches the shoulder blade. Wide at the base it gradually tapers towards the tip.
- Medium long fur. Very thick, dense and with water-repellent undercoat.
- Wide range of colors. All colors are recognized except chocolate, cinnamon, fawn and lilac. They can also have white marks and be color points like Siamese cats.
Personality and temperament of Siberian cats
The character of the Siberian cat can be well defined as sweet, affectionate and gentle with a wary and proud demeanor.
Very curious and predisposed to learn from man, it is not uncommon to hear cases in which he has learned the carryover or to do his own needs in the toilet by giving up the litter box.
With a fearless and adventurous temperament that accompanies him throughout his life, he is also a lovable playful man capable of surprising for his agility with acrobatic jumps.
In family life he is very present and he chooses his favorite “pack leader” to whom he reserves special attention.
He is also very empathetic and several owners have said that he seems to understand when they need moral support most.
Patient, friendly and discreet, it is perfect for children and other pets whose habits and ways they respect.
Excellent hunter and often a lover of water.
The only flaw, if we can say so, is that it tends to suffer from loneliness and for this reason it can be a little “sticky” for those used to more independent and haughty cats.
Health and average life span
The average life expectancy of a healthy Siberian cat is around 12-15 years. Obviously it depends on several factors such as lifestyle, diet, environment, genetics and how we take care of them. As for health, being very strong, robust and resistant they tend to be less prone to get sick. Having said that, they can still suffer from some diseases common to different breeds of domestic cats such as heart, kidney, gum, urinary and cancer.
How to take care of a Siberian cat
As with any pet, we must take care of all its needs by keeping it happy, strong and healthy with the right nutrition, physical activity and body care. Being a long-haired cat, it needs to be brushed at least 1 or 2 times a week, to be intensified in the spring and autumn when it changes losing more. The ears should be checked regularly to prevent signs of infection and when dirty they should be cleaned gently with a damp cotton ball. Finally, the teeth must also be checked and cleaned to avoid dental or gum problems. They are all small non-invasive grooming operations and if we get our cat used to being manipulated immediately we will have no problem making them perceive them as pampering.
The Siberian cat is carnivorous exactly like all other cats. He therefore needs a diet with quality animal proteins that help him grow, maintain muscle mass, produce antibodies, enzymes and hormones. In addition, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and DHA are essential. They absolutely don’t need carbohydrates and studies show that these only contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health problems. Most breeders and veterinarians recommend an almost total supply of food in kibble and occasionally cans. The latter are better if natural. Finally, never ever give our cat the food we eat.
Are Siberian cats really hypoallergenic?
First of all, it is necessary to clarify what the allergy comes from. In fact, contrary to what is commonly thought, it is not the cat’s hair that triggers allergic reactions. But, in most cases, it is the Fel D1 protein present in saliva, tears, skin and perianal glands.
Being distributed over all the fur during their usual cleaning operations suggests that the allergy is due to the hair.
In the Siberian cat the production of Fel D1 is very reduced, in some specimens even zero and when sterilized the level produced is further lowered. There are no guarantees but Siberian cats are less likely to trigger allergies than other breeds.
However if we decide to adopt a Siberian cat because hypoallergenic each serious breeding will organize meetings in which we will be in contact with the specimen, testing its effective compatibility with our possible allergy.
Where to find a breeding of Siberian cats
The first step is to find a serious farm by asking our trusted veterinarian, doing an online search or asking a pet store.
Afterwards it is important to know if we want it with pet pedigree, exhibition or reproduction. This involves a price difference and in the first case the pedigree will be delivered only when we give the breeder the cat sterilization certificate.
It is also recommended to make sure that the breeder has and produces pure Siberian cats in excellent health and belonging to good bloodlines. A visit to the farm, for example, can be a good way to see the conditions in which the cat and his parents live.
Siberian cat puppies are generally available between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Sold with veterinary booklet, first vaccination of trivalent and negative stool test.
Breeding siberian cats neva masquerade in Italy
In Italy, of course, I recommend the farm where I took Logan. The breeder is professional, kind and helpful. The cats are kept in the house, all tested negative for Fin, Felv, Fip, regularly recognized and registered with pedigree with the AFI association belonging to the WCF with regular rent “Royal Siberian Neva“. It is located in Tuscany, Pisa easily accessible from all parts of Italy. I confirm that I could not have wished for better.
Pros and cons of having a Siberian cat
Adding a new member to the family carries great long-term responsibilities. It is important to find the right cat more inclined to our needs and habits but we must always remember that it is a living being, it is not a toy and it will be part of our life 365 days a year 24/7. It has feelings and suffers exactly like we humans will treat it badly or end up abandoning it. Therefore if we are not sure that we can, and want to, fulfill the task of taking excellent care of him, we should not adopt any type of pet.
That said, the pros and cons of a Siberian cat can be summarized in the following points:
- Gentle, affectionate and playful.
- It gets along well with other animals and children.
- Low allergen levels.
- Resistant breed with rare hereditary health problems.
- Become a very large cat.
- Brush at least once or twice a week.
- Maintenance costs (food, change of bedding about once a month, veterinarian at least once a year).
- Excessive fur loss during the change of season 2 times a year.
Checklist for the arrival of a cat in the house
Is the new family member about to arrive? To make him feel at ease immediately, you need to get organized early and let him find everything you need right away.
- Scratching Post.
- Bed. (If not already present in the scratching post.)
- Bowl for food.
- Bowl for water.
My personal experience with a Siberian cat
As for my personal experience I want to clarify that every Siberian cat will not necessarily behave in the same way. Obviously it affects the genealogy of the parents, the personal character of the cat, how we educate it and take care of it.
To date, my Logan has never created problems or done any kind of damage in the house. To get his nails he uses only his scratching post and has never turned aggressively.
It is very silent, only meows when we leave the house or if I move from one room to another without him noticing and starting to call me. The name has learned in a very short time and yes, he obeys arriving immediately.
Baby food is managed independently. The bowl is always full at his disposal, he is not greedy so I think he naturally adjusts according to his instinct.
He is present, attentive, curious and plays with anything that happens to him.
Cuddly beyond belief, if he does not climb into his arms he still remains close looking for a minimum of physical contact with the owner.
He has infinite patience with both my son and the dog. Quietly respect their characters, spaces and ways of doing without batting an eyelid.
Finally, I confirm the characteristic of empathy. One day I wasn’t feeling very well and he didn’t give up on me for a second simply by staying close to me.
Basically I can only say that it is definitely a great cat above my expectations. If this is the Siberian cat, I highly recommend it to everyone. Husband is doing very well and has never had any typical symptoms of his allergy to Fel D1.
5 curiosities about the Siberian cat
Hoping to have been helpful in sharing everything there is to know about the Siberian cat, if there are further questions, write me and I will be happy to answer you, I conclude with some more curiosity.
- Slow breed in development. The Siberian cat takes about 5 years to reach its complete muscle development.
- Among the first cats in the world with long fur. Russian and German researchers claimed that the Siberian cat was one of the first long-haired cats. Breeders of breeds such as the Maine Coon, the Norwegian, the Turkish Van and the angora.
- Actor. The most recent cinematographic appearance dates back to 2016 in the comedy film “A cat’s life”. This breed was chosen because the director Barry Sonnenfeld is allergic to cats.
- Consider yourself as the dogs of the feline world. Being so friendly, intelligent and affectionate has led them to be often considered as dogs that can purr.
- Chirping. Being very silent and rarely meowing loudly when they come to meet you or want to tell you something they emit a slight verse more similar to a chirping than to a meow.