Cindy DeWolfe – California

About Siberian Cats

The history of the cat fancy in Russian has been controversial, there has always been cats in homes and strays in the streets, but they had only really been thought of as mouse catchers. Before 1917 there are isolated facts testifying cats being thought of as a breeding animal. There were some catteries but no breed clubs existed. In the memoirs of an old Muscovite there is an episode describing the merchants in Moscow having competitions for the cats and the fattest cat was the winner! Siberians first appeared in documented history in the year 1000.

During the war in 1941-1945, the city suffered a 900 day siege, and the citizens died of hunger and cold, there is no wonder there were no cats left in the city, after the siege the rats invaded the city and to fight them thousands of cats were brought in from different regions in the USSR and brought to Leningrad by train. This fact is documented and as a result cats of all possible phenotypes mixed in the streets. Thus when the cats started to breed one could find very different phenotypes.


Earlier every large fluffy cat had been called “Siberian” not because they came from Siberia the North Eastern part of Russia but because their appearance was associated with the cold and severe climate there. In the cold humid and windy climate of St Petersburg, a large sturdy cat with a waterproof coat and dense undercoat had a better chance of surviving the climate, which is why so many of the cats of this phenotype was seen amongst the strays. One of these was the well known Roman who was used in the first description of the Siberian, and the basis of the first standard written by the President of the Kotofey club Olga Mironva and assisted by Irina Katzer.

The years between 1917 and the late 1980 there was a large gap. In the late 1980’s the first imported breeds appeared, these were mainly Persians and the interest in cats started to grow. The very first cat shows were held in Riga, Moscow and St Petersburg, these shows drew huge public interest.


When breeders first had access to the large European shows after the lifting of the Iron Curtain they saw many other semi-long hairs and decided the new breed had to be developed and become more distinct.

Between 1988 and 1990 the new breed attracted attention in other countries. Judges visiting shows in St Petersburg developed an interest in the Siberian and quite a lot of first and second generation Siberians were exported. This was the beginning of the acceptance of this breed.



Most people who are allergic to other cats, have little or no reaction to this breed. They have a 3 layer coat that is semi- long haired. The Siberian is known to be hypoallergenic. Scientists have named the protein in the feline saliva, FEL D1. When the cat cleans itself, the protein dries on the fur leaving dander. The dander particles are small and air filters can not remove them from the air. The Siberian is void of the FEL D1 protein, therefore, there is no dander. However, if the allergic person suffers from the lgE late trigger antibody reaction, their chances of compatibility of owning a Siberian are lowered

Their personalities are often referred to as dog like; they are very loyal. Siberians are not extremely vocal cats, they express themselves with a triple purr, or soft chirping and body language. They are very intelligent cats who learn quickly and are often “problem solvers” in order to get what they want. They are known to like water and often will be found playing with their toys in the water. They are the best of both worlds, being an active cat and yet love to cuddle and be petted.

They are a slow maturing cat, not reaching maturity until 5 years old. They have a 3 layer coat that is semi- long haired. They are a powerful cat with longer hind legs than their front, enabling them to jump and leap They come in many colors and patterns.  Females are around 8-12 lbs and Males 12-15 lbs. They require minimum grooming as they shed only twice a year and are very clean cats.