Wawura Dover

The Siberian Breed

The Siberian cat only arrived in the UK in the year 2002! And 6 years later we were the proud owner of one so we have really experienced the evolution of this breed here at Wawura Siberians

While the standard varies slightly between the cat registries, the Siberians are fully accepted by TICA, GCCF, FIFe and the WCF

History

Siberian is the name given to Russia’s native semi-longhaired cat. There is a lack of historical information about Siberian cats so many stories have developed over time to explain the breed’s origin. Siberian cats were apparently first documented in the year 1000 though they were not a pedigreed breed at this stage, but rather were the mouse catchers in the streets and homes throughout Russia. 

The Siberian cat was considered to be a large, solid cat with a waterproof coat and thick undercoat. Due to their appearance these cats could survive in the cold, severe climate. The cats were seen in a wide variety of colours.

The modern Siberian as we know it, is the result of the development of a written “breed standard” for the cat and of the hard work and time of many breeders and judges. In the late 1980’s the first imported cat breeds started to appear in Russia and the first cat shows were held there. It was decided that a breed standard should be developed to distinguish these large, fluffy Russian cats from the other long haired cat breeds. The President of the Kotofei club, Olga Mironva developed the first Siberian breed description. A brown tabby and white Siberian stud Roman, born in 1987 was used as the basis for this first written standard. He appears in many pedigrees (including our Indiana’s) and was one of the foundation cats for the breed. The WCF was the first international cat registry to accept the Siberian Cat. In 1988 judges from abroad began to visit Russian shows and this sparked an international interest in the Siberian cat.

For a more detailed account of the history of the Siberian Cat Breed please follow this link to a history written by Dr. Irina Sadovnikova, WCF judge and Russian breeder of Siberian Cats: Siberian Cat History 

Appearance

The Siberian cat is a large, hefty cat with males being somewhat larger than the females. They are slow growing, taking up to 5 years to reach their full size. They are semi-long haired with a triple coat including a dense soft undercoat, and an outercoat of thick, shiny “guard hairs” which gives the coat a waterproof quality. Their first full adult coat usually comes in the winter after their first birthday including a beautiful ruff around their head, making them look like little lions! They also have tufts of fur between their paw pads and brushes of fur coming out from their ears equipping them for snowy weather and beautiful “lynx tips” on their ears which helps to give them their wild look. 

The cat registries’ Siberian breed standards go into more detail about exactly how a Siberian cat should look. As we show our cats in both TICA and GCCF these are the standards we aim for in our kittens. Click on the following links to see the standards:

The Siberian cat comes in a many different colours including brown, red, blue, cream, gold, silver, smoke, tortie, white, and colour point. Here at Wawura, our cats have the genes to produce black/brown, silver, golden, corbie, and red. As previously mentioned we do not breed colourpoint kittens out of choice. Some will be with white and others without. Most of our kittens will have a beautiful mackerel tabby (striped), classic tabby (blotched), spotted or shaded tabby pattern and beautiful green or gold and green eyes.

Temperament

Siberian cats are often described as having a “dog-like” personality. They are loyal, affectionate, playful and want to be your best friend. Our cats greet us at the door when we come home, follow us from room to room wanting to hang out where ever we are and help with what ever we are doing! It was quite annoying during the lockdowns in 2020 & 2021 as we could not have a single Teams meeting without one of the cats wandering in and stealing the show!

They are very intelligent cats and will quickly work out how to open doors (We’ve had to utilise child locks in the past) and how to get their favourite toy from its hiding spot! They mix easily with other animals including dogs and because they are a gentle, loving cat they are also a great breed for families with small children.

Some Siberians are lap cats and will loving nothing better than snuggling on your lap, others are sightly more independent and prefer to sit next to you on the sofa rather than right on your lap. Either way, they love to interact with you and often will play with you for as long as you have the stamina! Many of them want to be involved with your every day activities whether you want them or not.

Lifespan

A typical lifespan for a Siberian cat is between 10 and 18 years. Our beloved Maisie is still going strong and she is now 15.6 years old! She has lived in three different countries and flown halfway across the world! Keep in mind that your kitten will be more likely to live a long live if it is fed a healthy raw diet, given good vet care, plenty of exercise and kept away from the dangers of the outdoors. A outdoor cat typically has a shorter lifespan however indoor-only cats can also succumb to disease due to inactivity and diet, lack of access to direct, unfiltered sunshine and lack of access to grass used to optimise digestion. It is a balancing act and access to exercise, good diet and sunshine should be considered prior to purchasing your pet. If possible – having an outdoor catio is a great way of letting your cat experience the outside in a controlled way.

When considering buying a kitten you should be prepared to give it a loving home for the next decade or so. Buying a kitten is not something to be done on a whim; it is a commitment for the lifetime of the animal and should only be done after much consideration. Sadly, all pets will pass away at some point and we cannot predict when this will be or what they will pass from. We therefore require you to understand and accept this risk and take out pet insurance in order to cover replacement cost and any potential veterinary or non-veterinary fees for any accident, injury, illness, loss by theft or straying or death.

Health

The Siberian cat is one of the 3 breeds of “forest” cats, and is one of the oldest “natural” breeds of cats, meaning they are not a human developed breed created by crossing various other breeds. As a result, they are a robust breed able to survive in harsh winters and with relatively few health problems. 

In recent years the following testable genetic diseases have appeared in the breed: Polycystic Kidney Disease(PKD) and Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK Deficiency). Our breeding cats have all had their DNA tested (September 2023) and are confirmed negative for the genes responsible for these diseases. 

Heart disease including HCM can occur in all breeds of cat and domestic (non-purebred) cat. Despite research on the topic, there has not been a gene identified for HCM or other heart disease in Siberians. DNA tests for heart disease exist for the Maine Coon and Ragdoll breeds however these tests are not valid for testing Siberians. Performing an echocardiogram (ultrasound) on Siberian cats, is the only way of truly testing for heart troubles. As such, all of our our breeding cats undergo annual echocardiograms by a specialist in veterinary cardiology . If a cat does have a negative scan they would immediately be removed from our breeding program. This testing cannot show if they will develop illness in the future and as such, we cannot make any guarantees around heart health and we require you to understand and accept this risk and purchase insurance for your kitten in order to cover for this or any other health issues if troubles are encountered in the future.

Like all living things, Siberian cats can become injured and develop/contract illnesses. Some illness and injuries can be prevented and we give you instructions on these prior to taking your kitten home, but others are unpredictable, even with the best tests that modern science can provide. As such, we require you to understand and accept this risk and take out insurance to cover yourself for this risk, prior to purchasing/taking home your kitten.

Why choose a Siberian?

Siberians are smart, loyal, agile, interactive, affectionate, playful and ever so entertaining! They are great with children and other pets, can be tolerated by many cat allergy sufferers and are real characters to live with. As well as being a fantastic pet we think you will also agree they are a gorgeous looking cat! They will quickly capture your heart and after adopting a Siberian you will wonder how you ever lived without one! If you adopted just one, I am sure that I will hear from you within 6 months to request a second- Siberian cats are addictive!¬†We’ve got the receipts!