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Siberian breed information and advice
The Siberian cat originated in the wild forests of Siberia in northern Russia and is often referred to as the Siberian Forest cat. These cats love to be around people and will always be pleased to see you. They’re intelligent, playful and enjoy being trained. Which is probably why they’ve been described as the ‘dogs of the cat world’. Their laid-back personality means they’re good around children and makes them an ideal family pet. But before you welcome a Siberian into your home, here’s some key information you need to know.
|Grooming||requires a lot of grooming in spring and autumn|
|Temperament||affectionate, loyal, playful|
|Exercise||energetic and will always want to play|
Remember to factor in Siberian cat insurance when you’re thinking about buying. Although Siberians are a tough and robust breed, cat insurance will give you extra peace of mind. It’ll help cover unexpected and unwanted vet bills for medication, vet prescribed complementary treatment and surgery.
Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance
We can insure your Siberian from when they are a kitten all the way into their old age. You can take out a new policy as long as your cat is over 8 weeks and less than ten years old. Once you have cover in place with us, you can insure your cat up to any age as long as you keep renewing the policy without a break.
How to care for a Siberian
Siberian cats don’t need special care apart from regular grooming. As with any other cat, make sure that they have a balanced diet and lots of space for exercise – they’re an energetic breed. You should also check for any gum disease when you’re cleaning their teeth.
The Siberian can take up to 5 years to become fully mature and they should have a cat food that matches their age, size and activity level. Remember, if they develop any specific health conditions, they may need a special diet.
There are many excellent cat foods to choose from and your vet will be happy to help you pick the right one. Make sure you always read the label for guidance on how much to feed them. Measuring out their food will ensure they have enough energy while reducing their chances of becoming overweight.
Siberian cats are described as having a ‘semi-longhair, triple coat’ and they need grooming every day in spring and autumn. This is when they shed their winter or summer hair in preparation for the new season’s coat. Special cat combs are available from your vet that minimise discomfort when grooming. But for the rest of the year, a Siberian cat will only need brushing with a cat brush or grooming glove once a week.
They have a water-resistant coat and baths aren’t usually needed as they naturally keep themselves clean and tidy.
The Siberian coat comes in a variety of colours including chocolate, cinnamon and caramel. And patterns range from solid to tabbie and tortie – which means there are 124 possible colour combinations. Eye colour varies from coppers to greens, with blue in the Neva Masquerade varieties.
Siberian cats are energetic and love to play. They can be kept as indoor or outdoor cats, but if kept indoors, they’ll need lots of toys to keep them amused. They’ll also enjoy having a perch so they can climb. If they have access to a garden, they love to play outdoors. If you’re concerned about them wandering off, you can teach them to walk on a lead so you can enjoy going out together.
They also love water so whether it’s a running tap or a garden pond, you’ll often find your Siberian cat playing there.
Siberian cats are an intelligent breed. They love being trained and learning new tricks and should be quick to pick up toilet or litter training. They’re often described as having ‘dog-like’ traits and can be taught to play ‘fetch’. They’re very agile and are good at climbing and jumping.
Temperament and behaviour
A Siberian cat has a cheerful and playful personality. Their sweet nature makes them a good pet for children, but you shouldn’t leave young children unsupervised with any pet. Siberians will get on with other dogs and even other cats in the household. They’ll rush to greet you when you get home and will always be ready to play or get involved with whatever you’re doing. They’re also happy to curl up on your lap and have a cuddle.
Common health problems
While generally a healthy breed, Siberians can be affected by health conditions that can affect many other breeds of cats.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (commonly known as HCM) is a serious heart condition that can affect Siberian cats. In HCM, the heart muscle becomes thick which prevents the heart from working properly. This inherited condition has been identified in some Siberian lines.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a DNA test for Siberian HCM but research into this condition is ongoing. If recognised early enough, long-term medication and other measures can slow the disease down.
Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency is an inherited disorder that can affect certain breeds of cats including the Siberian. Affected cats may appear weak and tired, lack an appetite and lose weight. As it is caused by a genetic mutation, there is no treatment or cure. However, the episodes of anaemia can be managed.
Polycystic kidney disease is a common health problem in middle-aged and elderly cats. The disease is also known as autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease or AD-PKD. It can be inherited in certain cat breeds and has been seen in some Siberians.
The disease ultimately leads to kidney failure. Some treatments may help to improve the quality of life of an affected cat.
Dental problems can affect many cats and Siberians are no exception. Check your Siberian’s teeth regularly for any signs of gum disease. Bad breath and difficulty eating can also indicate dental problems. It’s recommended your cat has regular dental check-ups with your vet.
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a condition that covers bladder stones, cystitis and blockages. All these conditions can cause your Siberian cat pain and discomfort when emptying their bladder.
Making sure your Siberian drinks enough water and adjusting their diet can help prevent this unpleasant condition. But if your cat is unable to go to the toilet, emergency treatment may be needed.
So, is a Siberian right for you?
Siberian cats are fun and affectionate companions and will even win over the dog-lover in your family. If you want an energetic cat that can be trained to walk on a lead, this could be the breed for you. They’re also a good choice for people who suffer from cat allergies, although they are not entirely hypoallergenic.
Do Siberian cats shed?
Like most cats, Siberian cats do shed - but only a small amount in summer and winter. However, they will moult or shed more fur in the spring and autumn.
While no cat is completely hypoallergenic, Siberian cats are a good breed to have if you’re an allergy sufferer. They have a lower allergen level in their saliva than other breeds.
How much is a Siberian cat?
You can expect to pay between £500 and £600 for a Siberian kitten. This may seem like a lot of money. But if you buy your kitten from a reputable breeder, they should have had any necessary health checks done. So, you can be safe in the knowledge you’re buying a healthy kitten.
Where to buy a Siberian cat?
It is always best to buy from a trusted breeder. Check the Siberian Cat Club website for Siberian cat breeders in your area. Make sure that the kitten looks healthy (clear eyes and ears, shiny coat and clean bottom) and ask to see the kitten along with its mother, and if possible, the father too. It’s also worth asking if the breed lines have been tested for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; this will save a lot of heartache later down the line.
Are Siberian cats friendly?
Although they were once wild cats in Russia, Siberian cats are very friendly. They’re an easy-going breed and will get on with everyone including other pets in the household. They love a cuddle and will happily sit on your lap which makes them an ideal pet for all the family.
Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon
Karen Lawrence, Vetstream Ltd (online) Siberian. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/freeform/siberian
Serena Brownlie, Phil Fox, Philip K Nicholls, Penny Watson (online) Heart: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/heart-hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy.
Martha Cannon, Rachel Korman (online) Kidney: autosomal dominant polycystic disease. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/clinical-reference/felis/diseases/kidney-autosomal-dominant-polycystic-kidney-disease
Michael Day, Urs Giger (online) Pyruvate deficiency. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/pyruvate-kinase-deficiency