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Siberian Forest Cat History
© July 2006 - Diana Fineran & Marion Susan Majdiak  

Photos Courtesy of the
Siberian Forest Cat Group
in Russia

Click on Photos to Enlarge


The Siberian Forest Cat (AKA Siberian Cat) is the national cat of Russia. It is an aboriginal breed with unknown origin. This natural breed has existed there for hundreds, if not thousands of years. There is documented history of Siberian as early as the year 1000. It is a cat from which many fairy tales have been derived. The Siberian cat is an ancient medium-long haired breed believed to be the ancestor from which all modern day long-haired cats have evolved. After living in the cold Russian climate for many generations, over time it has developed a hardy constitution. In order to survive harsh conditions it developed a dense triple fur coat that is water resistant. Siberians are not true shedders, nor does their fur mat easily. Siberians are a muscular cat that like high places and are powerful leapers. Having a sharp wit along with their robust athletic bodies enable them to be good hunters. Their natural beauty, gentle nature and being excellent mousers helped them to become popular in Russia. People would take their Siberian Cats with them when they moved. This helped to spread the breed throughout Asia.

The first cat show in the USSR was in 1987. At this show among the expected cat breeds was the Siberian! Some brave enthusiasts stepped forward to prove that those animals are worthy of respect and love. After that show, clubs started to form, other exhibitions started to take place and experts were invited.

As early as the 1990's there were already set standards for Siberian breed. They had determined precise differences of the this new breed from Norwegians and Maine Coons. They laid the fundament of breeding, breeding with other races is prohibited, important characteristics of the exterior of the breed are noted in the standard. Forbidding out crossing was to keep the breed natural and uncultivated by man. The Siberians received nominations; the press was writing about them, catching the attentions of new people thus creating interest in the breed world wide. Popularity for the breed sky rocketed and almost half of the cats represented in the shows were Siberians!

“Neva-Masquerade” is the colorpoint Siberian. Given a festive name due to the more decorative coats. The Neva originates in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and along the Neva River. When other cats breeds were imported to this area the Siberian was mixed with pointed cats such as Balinese, Siamese, Persians, Himalayans, etc., this created offspring with a – fluffy coat with pointed color. Some claim this mix was natural, why others claim intentional.  

In 1990 Elizabeth Terrell  from "Starpoint Cattery" of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was the first person to import Siberian Cats into America. Three Siberian kittens were sent to her as part of a cultural exchange program between Terrell and Nellie Sachuk, a member of Leningrad's Kotofei cat club.

David Boehm of Hackensack, New Jersey, was the second person to Import Siberian Cats into America. Around the same time the first 3 Siberians arrived at Starpoint Cattery, Boehn had flown to Russia and returned with 15 Siberians. He was the second to import the cats, but he the first to have Siberian kittens born on American soil. The kittens were delivered at 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday October 10 by a black female named Mary, purchased, from a member of Moscow's Fauna cat club.

At that time there were two cat clubs in the Soviet Union, that issued registration papers for Siberian cats: the Fauna club in Moscow and the Kotofei club in Leningrad.  

On February 28, 1997,  a seal lynx point with white male kitten and a seal tortie point female kitten from St Petersburg, Russia, were imported by Dana Osburn of Wilowbrook Siberians in California. They are the first colorpoint Siberians to come to the United States.

The Siberian Cat has come a long way, they are found around the world and have achieved championship status in all major cat registries.


Siberian cats have gentle, loving nature and well rounded personality. They adore children, readily accept the other household pets and get along great with the whole family. Giving them the ability to blend in and adapt to almost any family situation.

Siberians have a Dog-like devotion and personality. They are referred to as "the cat for dog people". Siberians enjoy being with their human companions.  It is not in their nature to be a standoffish or aloof with their families. Coming when called, following the household members around and some more social cats even greet guests. Because they are a social cat, if left alone too often they can become quite lonely. An animal companion, such as another cat or a friendly dog can help relieve the loneliness and curb undesirable activities.

It is a slow to develop breed, retaining their kitten personalities their whole life. Possessing a hardy constitution with no known genetic defects. They like high places and are powerful leapers. Their sharp wit and muscular bodies enable them to be good hunters and excellent mousers. They can be easily trained to do simple tricks such as how to stay off tables, off counters, play fetch, and be leash trained.  Without regular physical and mental stimulus they can become bored and mischievous. 

If not given cause to fear water, they love fresh running water and will drink from a running faucet, preferring it to drinking out of a water bowl. Occasionally not only supervising  your bath or shower, but actually joining you.


In order to survive harsh conditions it developed a triple fur coat that is water resistant. Siberians are not true shedders, nor does their fur mat easily. Because they don't readily shed, they will drop their coats twice yearly at the season change. They do not require extensive grooming, an occasional brushing 1-2 times weekly is sufficient.

They have a soft voice, known as the big cats with the tiny voice.


No known genetic defects.


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© by John & Diana Fineran - Aug 1999- 2024.  
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