For centuries, the Siberian Forest cat was just another landrace variety of a domestic cat in Russia. Ever since the 1980s, however, these mystical cats have developed into a formal breed with the declared standards. Siberian Forest is considered an ancient cat, believed to be one of the possible ancestors of all modern long-haired cats.

Main features

The Siberian Forest  Cat is a large, strong and powerful cat. They usually weigh between 17 and 26 pounds. The males being much bigger and heavier than females. These cats have strong hind paws and large, rounded paws, which makes them exceptional jumpers. The hind legs are a tad longer than his front legs, thus giving them a slight arch in their back. They have broad heads, large eyes and ears.

Siberian Forests are famous for its luxurious, dense and long coat. They express three natural types of fur: guard hair, awn hair and down hair. Down hair is the undercoat and it’s composed of short, flat hairs. Awn hairs are the intermediate hairs in the coat and they’re typically shorter than guard hairs and longer than down hairs. They create insulation and protect the undercoat.

Guard hair is the longest of the three and form the outer layer of the coat. The distal ends of the guard hairs form the visible layer of the coat. The coat patterns can vary from tabby, solid, tortoiseshell and color-point.

Siberian forest cat orange tabby long haired standing on a stone in the garden

Origins

The first mention of the Siberian Forest cat appeared in the book by Harrison Wier in 1871. These cats are native to Russia, and for a long time, they were just another landrace variety of a domestic cat in their native country. A landrace is a domesticate, locally adapted variety of an animal (or plant) that has naturally developed over time.

The breed was officially recognized in the 1980s. One of the earliest available written standards were publicized by the Kotofei Cat Club in St. Petersburg in 1987. Siberians first made their way to the US in the 1990s. Despite the fast-growing popularity of the breed, it remains relatively rare outside Europe and it is largely imported from Russia. Together with the Turkish Angora and Persian breeds, these cats are considered to be possible ancestors of all modern long-haired domestic cats.

Siberian forest cat beige and gray tabby with blue eyes

Personality

The Siberian Forest makes for one of the most pawsome companion animals we could only dream of. This cat is very affectionate and friendly and loves spending time with children and other pets. They are brave and curious, brightening every room they walk into.

Did you know that some people claim that the Siberian Forest can sense if you’re in a need for moral support and will keep you company to cheer you up? How thoughtful! These playful and intelligent kitties will enjoy every moment with you – whether it’s to play together, train, snuggle or engage in everyday activities.

Health and care

All cats face a certain risk of developing some health issues that may be inherited. However, there are currently no known conditions tightly associated with this particular breed. There are claims that Siberian cats may be at a higher risk from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), polycystic kidney disease (PKD), hereditary cancer, feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) and periodontal disease.

Siberian forest cat white pointed with blue eyes

Luscious facts about the Russian National Animal

1. Siberian Forests may be less likely to cause allergic reactions.

Siberiants are often considered a hypoallergenic breed because they produce less FelD1 in their saliva. FelD1 is the primary cat allergen (out of 5) thought to cause allergic reactions in people. You can learn more about the cat allergens and cat allergies here.

It is important to remember that hypoallergenic breeds such as the Siberian Forest are simply cat breeds which are more likely to have cats that won’t cause allergic reactions. The large majority of these cats will still have the potential to cause allergic reactions.

2. They are quite massive but agile.

Usually weighing between 17 and 26 pounds, Siberian Forest cats are generally bigger and heavier than most cat breeds. Despite their powerful built and large size, they remain highly energetic and extraordinary jumpers. Their thick, fluffy and waterproof coat can make them look even stockier than they actually are.

via GIPHY

3. These cats are surprisingly attached to their hoomans.

Siberian Forest cat is large, intelligent and strong. But, don’t let their appearance and intelligence fool you! They are surprisingly affectionate and they absolutely LOVE the attention. Siberians typically crave the companionship of their people and they often require our help to solve problems.

4. Siberians are sensational stars and muses.

As one of the oldest cat breeds out there, they were commonly portrayed in Russian paintings and writings from hundreds of years ago. They continue to retain their status of popular muses in modern culture to this day.

Siberians starred as a cat called Kotofej Ivanovich in a popular Russian folktale known as “The Cat Who Became Head Forester” collected by Alexander Afanasyev. They were also featured in “Enterprise the First Adventure” (Pocket Books, 1986) by Vonda N. McIntyre, the 2016 film “Nine Lives” and the webcomic “Heatlia: Axis Powers”.

5. They love water.

The Siberian Forest cat has a majestic fur which not only offers great insulation but is also waterproof. This may be the reason why these cats love water! You will often catch them playing with faucets, water fountains or water bowls. Don’t get scared if they hop into your shower too!

6. While known for being extraordinary jumpers and great hunters, the Siberian Forest cats are also great parents.

The females typically prefer mating with only one partner, and males take an unusually big part in parenting.

Siberian forest cat buff tabby with green eyes

Siberian Forest Cats, together with Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats, are one of the largest cat breeds out there. Funnily enough, just like the other two breeds mentioned, Siberian cats are highly affectionate, loving and friendly. These darling life companions will cherish every home they paw their way into.

Do you have a lovely Siberian Forest too? Share your photos with us!