BELLA JOY SIBERIANS

"When Adoption Is NOT an Option, Choose Bella Joy Siberians!"

SIBERIAN CAT HISTORY

Recorded history shows that the Siberian breed has been around for at least one thousand years. They were first mentioned in Harrison Wier's book Our Cats and all About Them, which included information about one of the earliest cat shows held in England in 1871.
 
However, finding written information in Russia is fairly difficult. Despite the fact that the Siberian is a natural breed and is the national cat of Russia, its very ubiquity makes it taken for granted rather than worthy of note in Russian literature. Add to this the vast expanse of Russia which encompasses 13 time zones as well as a multitude of ethnic and cultural diversity and you have a cat that seems as difficult to standardize as the country which gave rise to it.
   
The Siberian was first imported in 1990. Despite it's popularity the Siberian is extremely rare in the United States. Most breeders have waiting lists for their kittens.
   
The Siberian, considered a semi longhair, has a rich full coat in the winter while the summer allows for a somewhat shorter less dense coat. The Siberian can come in just about every color of the rainbow but because of the rarity of the breed those colors may not be available in your neighborhood.

 CATS 101: Animal Planet Video

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 Animal Breed

 

The Siberian is a domestic cat breed that has been present in Russia for centuries. A longer name of the breed is Siberian Forest Cat, but it is usually referred to as the Siberian or the Siberian cat. Another name for it is the Moscow Semi-longhair. The cat is an ancient breed that is now believed to be ancestral to all modern long-haired cats. The cat has similarities with the Norwegian Forest Cat, to which it is likely closely related. It is a natural breed of Siberia and the national cat of Russia. While it began as a landrace, it is selectively bred and pedigreed today in at least seven major cat fancier and breeder organisations. The colorpoint variant of the breed is called the Neva Masquerade by some registries, including Feline Federation Europe (FFE).

There are claims that it is hypoallergenic and produces less Fel d1 than other cat breeds.

 

 

History

The cat was first mentioned in a book by Harrison Wier, which included information of the earliest cat shows in England in 1871. Siberians first arrived in the United States in 1990. Although gaining in popularity, the expense of importing the cats from Russia keeps the breed relatively rare outside of Europe.

In the Russian cat fancy, each cat club devises its own cat standards. This fact led to much confusion in the USA and other countries when the first Siberians were arriving and many appeared quite different from each other, depending on what area of Russia they originated from. One of the earliest written Siberian standards was publicized by the Kotofei cat club in St. Petersburg in 1987. A Siberian cat, Dorofei, is owned by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and another by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.  WBZ-AM talk radio host Steve LeVeille mentions his Siberian "Max" on his Boston-based program.

Body

Known to be an exceptionally agile jumper, the Siberian is a strong and powerfully built cat, with strong hindquarters and large, well rounded paws. They have barreled chests and medium sized ears, broad foreheads, and stockier builds than other cats. They also have a slight arch to their body.

Hypo-allergenic

Hypoallergenic qualities of the Siberian coat have been noted and commented on for almost ten years. While there is little scientific evidence, breeders and pet owners claim that Siberians can be safe for many allergy sufferers. Since females of all feline breeds produce lower levels of Fel d1, breeders often suggest that allergic families adopt female cats. Allergy sufferers are advised to check their reactivity directly with the parent cats from whom they plan to adopt a kitten. Many people believe that the breed produces less Fel d1, the primary allergen present on cats.

A not-for-profit association of breeders, (Siberian Research Inc), was founded in 2005 to study allergen levels and genetic diseases in the Siberian breed. As of March 2010, fur and saliva samples from over 300 Siberians have been submitted for analysis, many directly from a veterinarian. Salivary Fel d1 allergen levels in Siberians ranged from 0.08-27 µg per ml of saliva, while fur levels ranged from 5-1300 µg. The high-end of these ranges is consistent with results from prior studies, though the low end is below expected results.

All Siberians tested were found to produce some Fel d1.  About half of Siberians were found to have Fel d1 levels lower than other breeds, while under twenty percent would be considered very low. Within the low group, males and females had comparable allergen levels.

Fur

Siberians express the three natural types of feline fur: guard hairsawn hairs, and down. These three layers protect the cat from the Russian weather extremes, and provide a hardy, easy to care for coat today. The fur is textured but glossy, which decreases the occurrence of matting. A twice weekly combing is enough to keep the coat in good condition.

As with most other cat breeds, color varieties of the Siberian vary and all colors, such as tabby, solid, tortoiseshell and colorpoint are genetically possible. The Siberian cat breed does not have any unusual, distinct, or unique fur colorations or patterns.

Most breeders, enthusiasts, organizations, main registries such as TICA and the WCF, and countries accept the color point coloration as being natural. Color point Siberians are also known as "Neva-Masquerade": Neva for the river where they are said to have originated, and masquerade, for the mask-like coloration.

Siberian cats molt once or twice a year. The first molt is at the end of winter. The winter molt is instigated not by a change in temperature but by a change in day length. Many Siberians will experience a less intense "mini molt" at the end of the summer season, unlike other cats which will experience a "heavy molt" more than twice a year.

Reproduction

Siberian cats tend to come into reproductive readiness earlier than other breeds, sometimes as young as five months. It is thought that this is related to the breed's closeness to its natural wild state. Feral cats often die young due to harsher natural conditions. Achieving reproductive ability early and having large litters provides a biological balance to this. On average, a Siberian litter consists of five to six kittens, as compared to the average litter of three to four kittens in breeds who have been registered as pedigreed cats. However, Siberian litters may consist of as few as one and as many as nine kittens.

Siberian cats are excellent parents, with the fathers helping to care for kittens if they are allowed access to the nest. Parents are often strongly bonded and some mothers will only mate with one male. Atypical for cats, juvenile male Siberians have been seen cuddling and grooming their cousins and siblings. Siberians, due to their communal nature, often do better in pairs in captivity.

If a Siberian is not desexed, some queens (females) have been noted to have litters as late as nine or ten years. However, kitten mortality is generally lower when the queens are between 18 months and five or six years of age. This is due to several factors: physical and emotional maturation of the female, health and vitality of the queen, and a natural predisposition to healthier offspring from younger mothers.

Males can father kittens from as young as five months to over ten years. In regions where the breed is rare and expensive a long term breeding career for a pedigreed male can create a risk of Popular Sire Syndrome, in which one male has an overly large genetic influence on the breed. In Eastern Europe, where the breed is very common and less expensive, this issue is less likely to arise.

During the early 1990s, it was expensive and difficult to locate and import Siberians. Therefor inbreeding became common. Since the breed is new to registration and breed books are open, breeders are able to add foundation stock to the breed. This reduces the level of relatedness in the breed, and increases vigor and vitality in the cats.

In popular culture

The breed can be seen in Russian paintings and writings dating back hundreds of years. This sets them apart from breeds that are the result of fairly recent selective breeding.

Vonda N. McIntyre introduces a Siberian Forest Cat as the pet of Spock's cousin Stephen in Enterprise the First Adventure (Pocket Books, 1986).

Grooming Tips for Your Siberian!

 An important part of cat care is grooming.  Siberian cats tend to have longer hair than other cats since they have 3 coats of hair.  We hope this article will help you to groom your kitty.  The key is starting young!

Grooming a Cat with Long Hair Article

 

Also, here is a friendly reminder of poisons around your home that a cat could be harmed by: 

 

 

How Cats Display Affection

Whether or not your cat is affectionate depends on her personality, her breeding, and her upbringing. Some cats are aloof; some can't wait to shower affection upon you. When a cat chooses to express affection, she's more likely to show you than tell you, so understanding the feline lexicon of love requires that you understand feline body language and how they interact with fellow cats as well as humans.

 

Slow Eye Blinks

When cats encounter strangers or other cats, they usually greet them with an unblinking stare. Slow eye blinks - often called "Kitty Kisses" - are a sign of contentedness and affection. You can make a game of this by slowly blinking back at your cat and see how long the interchange can last.

Grooming

Grooming is not all about hygiene. Cats groom each other both as a stress-reliever and as a bonding mechanism. If your cat grooms you, it's a sign that she accepts you as part of her feline "family." It can also be a way of claiming "ownership" of you.

Head Rubbing and Butting

If your cat rubs her face on you, she is "marking" you as her property. There are glands on her face that secrete pheromones which act to mark territory as well as signal comfort and familiarity. Each cat's pheromone signature is unique, just as our fingerprints are. When she leaves behind this calling card, she's saying "MINE!"

 

Proximity

If your cat follows you from room to room and hangs out wherever you are, it's a sign that she's interested in you and wants to be where you are. Some cats who otherwise do not display affection can still express their love just by "being there for you."

Bringing You "Gifts"

As repugnant as it is to find that Fluffy has left a mutilated mole or dead bird on your doorstep, do not yell or hurt her when you find it. She has bestowed a cherished gift upon you and is hoping you'll be pleased with the offering, just as a child seeks approval from his parents. The best way to discourage this behavior is to keep her indoors.

Excitement at Your Return Home

You may not witness this, but your spouse or roommate might. Most cats who are bonded to their owners will respond with excitement when they hear your car in the driveway, or when you make distinctive sounds (like jingle of the key in the lock) when returning home. If they run for the door when you come through it, they've missed you and are relieved that you've returned safely home to them.

Belly Display

When your cat rolls over and exposes her belly to you, she is signaling that she trusts you and loves you. Exposing her belly exposes her vulnerability. If she did that in the wild, she'd be toast. She's comfortable enough with you to let down her guard.

Tail Position

Many cats use a question mark-shaped tail to greet someone they like. A tail in the full upright position also indicates familiarity, trust and affection.

Kneading

This instinctual gesture originates from birth, when your cat kneaded her mother to stimulate milk flow. In later life, kneading signifies contentment, pleasure and adoration, especially if accompanied by drooling. This is one of the greatest expressions of love that your cat can bestow upon you.

Cat Love Can be Subtle

Unlike dogs, cats usually won't shower you with sloppy kisses, but that doesn't mean they don't love you. In their own subtle way, cats will let you know where you stand, and petting a purring, head-butting cat in your lap is a quiet pleasure that can make your day.

 

Here's an article on why to keep your kitty INDOORS!

This article was not written by us at Bellla Joy Siberians, however we do agree with its premise.   

Never Declaw Your Cat!

If you are thinking of declawing a cat, or a veterinarian suggests declawing at the same time as neutering, before you make a decision for non-reversible surgery, please consider these reasons NOT to declaw. Your cat will live his remaining years with the result of your decision, one way or another.
Close-up Photo of Cat's Claws - Photo Credit: © iStock Photos - Melinda Fawver
Close-up of Cat's Claws. Photo Credit: © iStock Photos - Melinda Fawver

Declawing is NOT Just Nail Trimming

Nor is declawing only the removal of a portion of a claw. Instead, it is the surgical amputation of the first joint of the cat's toes. Whether this procedure is accomplished with a scalpel, a guillotine-type cutter or a laser, it is major surgery, and not to be undertaken lightly.

Declawing Does Nothing to Benefit the Cat

You will sometimes hear the disclaimer, "It's better than putting him to sleep." This is a fallacious argument, and usually offered only to soothe the owner's conscience. Only the cat's owner can make the decision to kill her cat because of scratching problems. He or she can also make the decision to let him keep his toes. Unlike neutering, which does benefit the cat, both healthwise and behavioralwise, declawing simply does nothing positive for the cat.

Declawing Robs a Cat of His Chief Weapon of Defense

A typical counter-argument is, "My cat is indoors-only." Even indoor cats sometimes manage to escape. A declawed cat does not stand a chance against a large dog, a bigger cat, or a predator. Although he still has teeth, by the time he gets in close enough to bite, it may be too late.

Declawing is Painful Surgery

Think of it as 10 amputations (if only the front feet are declawed). Pain meds may help initially, but phantom pain may last for weeks or months, as nerve endings heal. Dr. Nicholas Dodman describes the pain following surgery: "Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain."

Declawing May Lead to Litter Box Problems

Declawed cats often associate the pain when digging in litter with the litter box itself, and will avoid it, choosing softer carpeting instead.

Declawing Sometimes Leads to Biting Problems

When cats lose their ability to give a quick warning scratch, they will often resort to their second line of defense: a good, hard bite. The cat's owner may sometimes find himself the victim, just when he thinks his cat is enjoying a petting session.

Cats Need the Exercise Their Claws and Toes Provide

Watch a cat stretch, whether horizontally on a carpet or vertically with a tall scratching post. He will grab the carpet or sisal with his claws, using the resistance to pull and stretch his muscles. Cats' claws actually play a large and positive role in their amazing muscle tone and agility.

Altered Gait May Lead to Later Joint Problems

Domestic cats are digitigrade, meaning they walk on their toes. Walking with an altered gait because of the lack of the first digit of the toes can affect all the joints of the leg, resulting later in arthritis of the hip and other joints. Jean Hofve, DVM describes this joint deterioration more fully, in her article, "A Rational Look at Declawing."

Cats Need to Be Cats for Their Entire "Nine Lives"

Honestly, if a cat could speak human language, do you really think, given a choice, he'd say, "Sure thing. Cut off part of my toes?" His claws and toes are an integral part of making a cat a cat. Would you honestly want him to be anything less, especially since there are humane alternatives? It's your decision, but please take your cat's needs into serious consideration before making such a drastic and permanent choice.       

 

BELLA JOY SIBERIANS DOES NOT APPROVE OF DECLAWING.  DO NOT BUY FROM US IF YOU INTEND THIS FOR YOUR CAT!