Hailing from one of the harshest, coldest places on earth – Siberia – this cat is no ninny. Through the centuries, only the toughest cats made it to adulthood to breed. This strict selection process saw the development of a particularly hardy breed. Siberian Forest Cats have survived the severe conditions for centuries and have developed thick coats, but also have very sensible, resourceful natures.
Natural weather proofing
The Siberian Forest Cat’s coat consists of 3 natural layers:
- Long, thick and slightly oily guard hairs or outer coat.
- Awn hairs of medium length for insulation.
- Down hairs that form a dense undercoat.
Tufted paws and ears provide further protection against the cold and wind, and a large, well-muscled body stores enough energy.
They are said to be exceptional jumpers and have the ability to hunt in thick snow and along steep slopes. The exact origins of Siberia’s cats are unknown – although certainly shaped by its natural environment.
Probably centuries old, the breed was only recognised in the 1980s when breed standards were established in Russia. In 1990 the first Siberians were exported to the USA and today the breed is known in many countries, including South Africa.
The Siberian has an almost dog-like personality – she is very loyal and will come and greet you with a unique triple purr. They are friendly and get on well with other animals such as dogs. Siberians are also energetic and are fascinated with water.
Siberian Forest Cats reach sexual maturity sooner than other breeds and some females are ready to breed as early as five months old.
Siberian Forest Cat breeders claim that the breed produces lower levels of the allergens that normally cause an allergic reaction in some people. Female cats (of all breeds) normally produce even less allergens than the males, so people suffering from a pet allergy should always get a female cat rather than a male.
- Show cats require frequent grooming.
- Pet cats may be groomed once or twice a week with a bristle brush.
- If your cat is allowed outside, it is advisable to check her coat regularly for branches, thorns and twigs.
- During the spring moult, you’ll have to brush her more regularly with a common wire brush.
Text: Gina Hartoog. Photography: Svetograf and vvvita
For the full story, get the July 2014 issue of Animaltalk magazine. Subscription details at Coolmags.com