The Siberian Forest Cat is a friendly, cuddly giant.

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Mr. Rebel in a Santa hat holds a white Siberian forest cat

This large cat originates from Russia, Siberia to be specific. An area known for its cold winters. To withstand this difficult environment, the Siberian Forest Cat is equipped with a wonderfully thick, weather-resistant coat. But that is not the only special characteristic of this breed of cat. Want to know more? Read on!

Origin and history of the Siberian Forest Cat

Little is known about the exact origin of this Russian icon. Descriptions of the Siberian appeared in old Russian fairy tales and children’s books. Some even say that this breed is at least 1000 years old. Because of the long history of this cat in combination with its very hard fur and gentle temperament, this cat has become the national cat of Russia. Only after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 90s, this breed was exported all over the world. It was only in February 2000 that the Siberian Forest Cat was recognised by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).

Siberian forest cat in living room

The special appearance of the Siberian

This natural mouse hunter has a medium to large build with excellent athletic ability. Very strong legs and a muscular body were important for this cat to survive in the Siberian landscape.

But not only a strong body is important for survival. One of the most characteristic features of this beautiful breed of cat is its beautiful coat. This coat is not just for show, as it has many practical properties. This three-layer coat provides protection against extremely cold temperatures and strong winds. To ward off the cold Siberian rain, this coat is also water repellent. But a thick coat does not come without compromises, as this cat sheds twice a year. If you like brushing, then look no further!

Another superpower: the coat is generally considered hypoallergenic. Many people with cat allergies claim that they do not get sick in the presence of this breed. Of course, this is not true for everyone, so always do your own research when adopting a cat. This breed comes in many different colour combinations. The Neva Masquerade is one of them. Read more about it on this website

Forest cat versus forest cat

The Siberian Forest Cat is often confused with the Norwegian Forest Cat. However, there are some differences between these two northern cats. Usually, Siberians have a round head and Norwegians a triangular one. Both breeds often have lynx-like floss on the end of the ears (as with Maine Coons), only Siberians have slightly smaller and rounder ears. Norwegian Forest Cats have a two-part coat while Siberian Forest Cats have a three-part coat. They also have a different personality: usually Norwegians are more independent and need less attention than Siberians. Of course, this can vary from one cat to another.

Difference between Norwegian Forest Cat and Siberian Forest Cat
Left: Siberian Forest Cat – Right: Norwegian Forest Cat

Character traits of the Siberian Forest Cat

Because of its athletic body, this cat loves to climb and jump. This active hunter loves to be outside and to jump around. Where other cats often take shelter when it rains, this cat likes to explore the outside world in extreme weather conditions. Their excellent coat protects them from it. But don’t worry, this breed is generally less active than for example the Bengal.

But this cat also has a calm side. His heart is as warm as his home is cold. Siberians are very social and bond very well with their owners. That does not mean that they leave it at that; they often do well with children, dogs and visitors. Many owners describe this breed as affectionate without being clingy.

They are also very curious and quickly take an interest in toys. Siberian Forest Cats are very smart and with some patience can learn a lot of tricks.

Care of a Forest Cat

A long coat means a lot of combing. Three times a week is recommended, but more often is always possible. They shed twice a year, so make sure you have a good hoover! Cats don’t need bathing very often, but because of their excellent coat, this breed will need bathing even less than the average cat. That’s not to say they won’t voluntarily jump in the shower with you, they love water!

As with any cat, you should make sure its nails are trimmed and its teeth are in good condition. Also, one visit to the vet a year is a must. As long as you do this, plus give them enough stimulation and attention, nothing can go wrong.

Mr rebel and siberian forest cats in the lookout 198 scratching post

Diseases and disorders

Like many cats, this breed is at risk of HCM, a disease that causes the heart muscle to thicken. Read more about it on the Cornell website.

Good breeders scan all their cats for health problems, so if you want to adopt a pedigree cat, always adopt it from a certified breeder.

Facts and Figures

1.            The Siberian Forest Cat is one of the few hypoallergenic breed cats

2.            This is the national cat of Russia

3.            Of all cat breeds, the Siberian is the most cold-resistant

4.            In the centre of the town of Tyumen there is a square dedicated to Siberian cats.

Buying a Siberian Forest Cat

It is logical that you do not buy a cat from a bread breeder. These breeders breed for profit, and not for health, welfare and love of the breed. Buying a cat on Ebay is often not a good idea either. Look for a licensed cattery, certified breeder, or a good shelter. Although it is tempting to take home the first cute cat you come across, it is wise to inform yourself before you adopt.


Petrebels is not a vet or a behaviourist: all content, information and tips on this blog are meant to inspire you and are of an informative nature. Does your cat have complaints or problems? Or do you have doubts about your cat’s health? Always go to the vet or a behaviourist.

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