Siberian Cats: Characteristics and Traits of This Gorgeous Breed

This breed stands out for its love of people, and enjoys playtime, cuddle time, and all the time with you in between.

Updated April 25, 2023
Siberian Cat Relaxing on the Floor Indoors

Siberian cats are a popular, long-haired breed with an affectionate temperament. They are similar in size to a Maine Coon Cat and are one of the two largest cat breeds available. This breed is a gentle giant with a playful side. They're perfect for a family that not only enjoys cuddling but also enjoys a cat with a wild streak.

History of the Siberian Cat Breed

The Siberian cat is from Russia. Although there are mentions of cats who may have been ancestors to the breed as early as 1,000 AD, its exact beginnings are not known. The first cat show that the Siberian appeared in was in the 1870s in England, and the breed was later appeared in the United States in 1889. Other than brief mentions of the breed, there is little known about it from that period and even less documentation. There is some speculation that the breed is related to a Forest cat.

Fast Fact

The earliest written reference to the Siberian occurred in 1889, in Harrison Weir's book "Our Cats and All About Them."

Siberian Cats Imported to Control Rodents

This house cat was imported to large cities in the Soviet Union in the 1940s to keep the rodent populations down. In 1987, the Kotofei Cat Club in St. Petersburg started to register Siberian cats as a breed. The cats were exported and became increasingly popular because of their affectionate temperament and sweet nature.

Personality of the Siberian Breed

Siberians have a number of almost dog-like characteristics. They are very intelligent and have excellent problem-solving skills. These agile animals are able to leap quite high and yet are graceful enough to walk around obstacles without hitting or breaking them.

Playful and Doglike

The Siberian is a very playful cat that may even play fetch with their owner. They are more social than many other felines and will greet their beloved people at the door with a chirping sound. This breed will play with a dog or spend hours dropping toys in the water dish and then fishing them out. This is an can who will amuse themselves and anyone else who is watching.

Woman And Her Siberian Cat Relaxing On Sofa

Affection Level

Siberian cats love to cuddle with adults and children alike, but sometimes prefer their independence. You may notice this breed being more playful than cuddly, though. They don't fully mature until they're about 5 years old, so they may go into a play session in the middle of cuddling on the couch.

Need to Know

This breed seems to understand when their pet parent needs emotional support. Siberians are highly empathetic and in tune with their owners.

Physical Characteristics of Siberian Cats

Siberian cats have a variety of unique characteristics. These are beautiful cats with long, thick coats and piercing eyes. Siberians are muscular, and their large eyes give them an intense look.


Females are smaller, weighing from 9 to 13 pounds, versus males, who weigh in at 13 to 22 pounds. They have a long back that's slightly curved, with a rounded belly. Their hind-legs are slightly longer than their front legs. Siberians' claws are large and round, and equipped to handle the terrain from their place of origin. They often have large, round eyes, as they're nearly always on alert.

Siberian Cat Fur

Siberian cats have three types of fur:

  • Guard hair
  • Awn hair
  • Down

These layers of fur initially protected the Siberian from the harsh Russian winters. The fur is glossy and textured so it does not mat even though it is long. Brushing your cat once or twice a week is usually enough to keep her fur in good shape.

Siberians molt once or twice a year, usually always at the end of the winter season and then again at the end of summer. This is brought about by a change in the length of the daylight hours, rather than the change in temperatures.


The Siberian is considered a hypoallergenic breed. It is thought to produce less Fel d 1, the substance on a cat that causes most allergies. This does not mean a Siberian is unable to cause allergies. If you do have an allergy to cats, it is always good to spend time around the hypoallergenic breed, and especially the cat you plan on buying or adopting. This way, you can gauge your reaction.

Color of Siberian Cats

Siberian cats come in a variety of colors. These colors include:

  • Color point
  • Nearly any solid color available
  • Tabby
  • Tortoiseshell
White kitten looking up from the white railing

Some breeders and registries do not recognize the color point as being a natural pattern for Siberian cats. Other breeders specialize in this unique pattern. Color points are also known as Neva-Masquerade. There are several types of color point descriptions, including:

  • Flame Point - Similar to a marmalade, or ginger tabby
  • Seal point - Similar in look to a Siamese
  • Seal lynx point - Mask is similar to the gray tabby
  • Tortie point - Mask is like a calico or tortoiseshell

Siberians Are a Friendly Breed

Siberian cats may be the breed for you if you want a friendly cat who gets along well with other pets as well as children. These cats are quite rare in the United States, so expect to spend some time on a waiting list before getting your cat. You can also plan on paying $1,200 or more for purebred Siberian cats. Some catteries sell cats that they have removed, so consider every possibility.

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Siberian Cats: Characteristics and Traits of This Gorgeous Breed