Among the oldest of cat breeds, the Siberian is a natural cat and has resided for over a thousand years in the Siberian expanse of Russia. Even though it was brought from the wilderness to chief Russian cities a long time ago, the cat was only introduced in the United States within the last 3 decades. This recent arrival coupled with its attractive profile has meant that Siberians are still quite rare in the United States and acquiring them is a matter of some patience and expense.
Siberian cats are big. And, they are quite distinct looking with their rounded ears, longer neck ruffs, large slanted eyes, and plumed tails.
Males weigh between fifteen to twenty pounds and females are generally between ten to fifteen pounds in weight. The only cats that are bigger are Maine Coon Cats and Norwegian Forest Cats (who are similar genetically to the Siberian).
Other unique features of the Siberian cat is their ability to jump great distances and their ultra thick coat of fur. These animals were born to survive in the frozen tundra wilderness and have developed, through long years of evolution, a double thick coat of fur. They have both an outer and an inner coat of fur which makes these cats virtually impervious to cold weather, they had to be in the deep, dark woods of the Siberian wild.
Siberians come in a variety of colors with tabby being the most common pattern. They have a triple coat with a thick fur, prominent ruff and bushy tail. This is an evolutionary adaptation to withstand the harsh Siberian winters. They are well muscled felines with a stocky physique. Hind legs are slightly longer than front legs. Paws are big and round, possibly to aid the cat in its movement on snow in its native lands. Head is triangular in shape with a rounded muzzle and a cute face.
This breed is known to be exceptionally high jumpers, with strong hindquarters and large stomachs. The males typically weigh in at 15 to 20 lbs, and females weigh in at 10 to 15 lbs. Even though they are similar in weight to Main Coon and Norwegian Forest Cats, they are shorter and stockier. It takes the Siberian Cat over 5 years to reach their full adult size.
Siberian fur is medium-long and plush, with a thick insulating under coat and a waterproof top coat. This fur has a tendency to mat, so it needs to be groomed frequently. Brown tabby is the most common color, however, a wide range of other tabby colors are available along with tortie, especially among those bred in America. Russian breeders are intent on keeping this breeds wild look, so they only accept brown and red-based coat colors.
Some breeders and pet owners claim the Siberian cats fur is hypoallergenic, however there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Yet this breed does produce less of the primary allergen present on cats.