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The Siberian Cat

by Pamela Martin

Owning a cat can be very pleasurable, but owning a Siberian cat is a very rewarding, life changing experience. Although the Siberian cat is a very old breed, it is fairly new to the states, being here just over 12 years.

Siberians are a natural breed. They are Russia's native cats and come from the unforgiving climate of Siberia. Siberian Cats first appeared in recorded history around the year 1000. Russian farmers and trades people were the primary people who cared for the Siberians. Siberian Cats were needed to protect grain and other products from small varmints, as Russia was an agricultural country. Shopkeepers in Moscow were known to compete with each other over whose cat was the biggest and thickest. Russian people like cats and most children in Russia grew up with a kitten and the favorite cats were the Siberian cats. Siberian cats even existed in Russian Fairy tales.

Siberian Cats are very personable and want to be near their owners. They will meet you at the door when you come home and explain their day to you. They love to sit in your lap and be groomed. A favorite pastime of one of mine is to find something and bring it to me for me to throw so they can play fetch. All types of toys intrigue them and they will play with just about anything. Another thing that mine are intrigued with is the moving cursor on the computer screen. You will need to shut the door of your computer room if you want to get any typing done. If you own a Siberian you will never be alone. They will watch TV with you, go to the restroom with you, try to take a shower or bath with you, and then go to bed with you. And if you are trying to do something, they will insist on helping. Reading a newspaper, book, or magazine is next to impossible. In some ways they are like Gypsies, if they like something, they will take it and play with it and in the process, it will be lost. I am still missing some jewelry that one of the cats decided was pretty. You can find toys and stolen items under every piece of furniture in my home.

The Siberian cat is also known for being hypoallergenic to many people. Although it has not been proven medically or scientifically, many people adamantly believe that the Siberian is hypoallergenic. They believe this because they are living proof. After living decades of being allergic to cats, I have seen adults cry because these loving cats have climbed all over them and they had no allergic reactions. Most Siberians have a low occurrence of the FELd1 enzyme in their salvia. This is what causes people to be allergic to cats. Many people that are allergic to cats have found that they can tolerate the Siberian and have little or no reaction to them. This is a cat-by-cat, person-by-person concept. If you are allergic to cats and want to try to see if you are allergic to Siberians, it is best to find someone near you with a Siberian or two so that you can spend a few hours with one and find out how you react. Personally, I have had very good luck with placing Siberians in allergy homes. About 75 percent of the people that come out to test have little or no reaction. Of these that have gotten a kitten from me, no one has had a problem having a Siberian or two in their home. There are no guarantees, but there is hope for allergy sufferers.

The Siberian is a medium-large cat with the overall appearance of excellent physical condition, strength, power and alertness, modified by a sweet facial expression. The general impression of the body is one of circles and roundness rather than rectangles and triangles, and taking as long as 5 years to reach full maturity. Females are considerable smaller than males. Their coat is semi-long, very dense and come in all colors. Their eyes vary in color from gold to green and all shades in-between. Siberians also come in colorpoints and these will have blue eyes.

The Siberian cat was one of the three longhairs represented at the first cat shows held in England in the 1700's. The first cat show in the city of Leningrad, Russia was in 1987. Two cat clubs Kotofei and Kis organized it. This is the actual date of the beginning of breeding of Siberians in St. Petersburg. The Soviet Felinological Association registered the Siberian breed. It included both the traditional colors and the Siberian color point (Neva Masquerade).

An entry about Siberian cats was found in a book that was originally published in 1900 by Helen M. Winslow entitled "Concerning Cats," "Mrs. Frederick Monroe of Riverside Ill. owns a remarkable specimen of a genuine Russian cat, a perfect blue of extraordinary size. The Russian long-haired pet is much less common even than the Persian and Angora."

The first breeding Siberians were introduced in the United States in 1990. Elizabeth Terrell imported the initial kittens. They arrived on June 28, 1990. Their names were KALIOSTRO VASENJKOVICH OF STARPOINT, OFELIA ROMANOVA OF STARPOINT and NAINA ROMANOVA OF STARPOINT.

The Siberians are fully accepted for championship in all registries except CFA.

If you are considering a cat as a lifelong companion, the Siberian cat will give you years of happiness with its loving personality. Some consider its personality 'dog like' in its loyalty. Others purchase them for the hypoallergenic qualities it has with the owners. So for whatever reason you want one of these cats, the Siberian is a worthy first choice, and you will be forever pleased.

Neva or No Neva Controversy:

We are often questioned regarding whether the Neva colouring (colourpoint) is actually a true colour of the Siberian Breed. Yes, it is! The Neva or colourpoint siberian is recognized by most cat fancier's associations worldwide as a Siberian colour variation. Although there are a few breeders who attempt to dismiss the colourpoint as having out-crossed lines and say they are not a true Siberian, we in fact argue this stance.

Below I am posting a link that has been shared from Keitta Siberians website and written by Jan and Pat Johnson of Keitta Siberians. I believe they provide a very accurate synopsis on the topic of the Neva Siberian. I recommend reading this wonderfully written article before deciding where you stand. Neva or No-Neva?

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