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Siberian & Neva Masquerade

The Siberian Forest Cat has existed in Russia since at least 1000AD. This natural breed is believed to have originated in the Siberian Taiga where domestic cats mated with wild cats. 

The modern Siberian breed was developed after the Second World War from free-ranging cats from Leningrad(St Petersburg) and Moscow. The colourpointed variety appears to have originated during the 1960s through matings with colourpointed feral cats in the Neva River region in Leningrad.

Siberians were unknown outside of Russia until borders with Westen Europe began to open up. During the 1980s, Russia developed its own cat fancy and the Siberian was recognised by the Kotofei Cat Club in Moscow in 1987. 

Siberians and Neva Masquerades arrived in the USA during the 1990s. Siberians were recognised by FIFe in 1997. Unlike the better known Maine Coon, the Siberian’s dense, triple coat is not shaggy. Its coat is more dense in the winter. Its body is shorter than either the Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat. The protective seasonal coat and no extremes of conformation indicate a cat that evolved to survive in a harsh climate. 

Females may be considerably smaller than males. Although they may take 4-5 years to mature physically, Siberians reach maturity relatively early. The females often bond closely to only a single mate who may take an interest in rearing the kittens.Almost all colours and patterns occur, including colourpointed varieties. Some registries recognise those colourpointed cats separately as Neva Masquerade (“masked cats from Neva”). 

It is claimed that Siberians are hypoallergenic due to producing less of the Fel d1 allergen in their saliva than other breeds. Scientific studies between 1999 and 2010 found that only around half of the Siberians surveyed produced less Fel d1 allergen, while others produced high levels of the allergen. With such great variation between individuals, the breed cannot be considered completely allergen-free. 

For a complete guide to the unique Siberian Forest Cat, see this article on thehappycatsite.

Siberian Breed Standard

Head

Head short and broad with low set wide cheek bones, rounded muzzle and chin, forehead slightly curved, gently rounded contours and slightly curved profile. Nose of even width from bridge to nose leather.

Eyes

Large, slightly oval shaped with rounded lower line, set slightly oblique and wide apart. Eye color to be uniform and harmonizing with coat color. Any shade from yellow/gold to green is accepted. In whites and vans the eye color may also be blue or odd-eyed. In pointed cats the eye color is blue on principle, the deeper the blue the better.

Ears

Medium-large, wide at base with slightly rounded tips. Set wide apart and tilted slightly forward.

Body

Medium sized to large cat, well-muscled and heavily built. Neck short and substantial, legs also muscular and of medium length; feet big, compact, round and well tufted. Tail as long as to reach the shoulder blade, slightly tapering, furnished bushy.

Tail

Medium length, thicker at the base, slightly tapering to the tip.

Coat

Medium long. Guard hairs are solid, glossy. On the flanks fur is softer, lightly-lying, very dense. Undercoat is double, but its grade of expressiveness depends on season. The decorative coat is long and dense around the back of the neck, a complete ruff and frill. Fluffy "britches" and the tail excellently trimmed with fur.