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Siberian Forest

Siberian Forest

One of the world’s oldest cat breeds, Siberian Forest cats are known for their cuddly nature and lovable playfulness. Learn more about this charming feline breed.

Native to a forested region of Siberia, where its triple coat protected it from harsh winters, this Russian treasure is a colossal sight to behold. The Siberian Forest cat breed is also known by the names Moscow Semi-Longhair and, more commonly, Siberian Cat.

The first notable feature of a Siberian forest cat is its plump body wrapped in a fluffy coat. A landrace breed, its features are the results of adapting to its environment. Hence, the rich, cushiony coat – to help it survive Siberia’s cruel weather.

Don’t let their size intimidate you – Siberian forest cats are a softie at heart. They are friendly and affectionate and love playing around. If you’re looking for a pet who’ll snuggle down with you on your bad days and always entertain you, this giant baby might be your answer.

Physical Characteristics 
Height9-11 inches
Weight8-13 pounds (female) 12-17 pounds (male)
Lifespan10-18 years
ColorsAll colors and patterns include solid white, silver, black, red, and blue. Patterns include color point, calico, smoke, tortoiseshell, bi-color, and tabby.
Suitable ForBig families with enough people to care for and entertain the cats.
TemperamentPlayful, loving, friendly, smart

Which Homes Are Best For Siberian Forest’s

With a bulky size and sporting nature, Siberians are suitable for homes that are spacious enough to let them carry out their playful pursuits. Big families where there’s always someone to run around with the cat, give them toys and lots of attention – are the best fit for cats of this breed.

They are a wonderful addition to homes with well-behaved children who will give them enough time and comfort.


The average life expectancy of Siberian cats ranges from 10 to 18 years. However, rare cases of Siberians over 20 years and under 10 years old have been recorded. Nonetheless, their lifespan is influenced by several factors such as diet, genetics, health, etc.

Average Size

Siberian kittens take up to five years before becoming fully grown adults.

They are medium-to-big sized. Adult females of this breed weigh around 8 to 13 pounds, while the males weigh slightly more – 12 to 17 pounds.

The body length of an adult Siberian forest cat ranges from 15-18 inches, and height-wise, it’s around 9-11 inches tall.

Breed Origin

Siberian Forest cats get their name from their homeland – dense Siberian forests. They adapted to the subarctic climate of their original habitat before seeking shelter in nearby indoor areas to escape the cold. Being good hunters of rodents meant that they were easily accepted as pets by the local shopkeepers, farmers, and residents.

This 1,000-year-old Russian breed was formally recognized as a breed by the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. They were brought to the U.S. in 1990 following the end of the Cold War. Purebred Siberians are still rare outside of Russia.

Original Gene Pool

Siberians are natural breeds, often regarded as the ancestors of present-day long-haired feline breeds. Their survival features of longer hair, coat-fit for every season, sturdier bodies, etc., evolved naturally through mutation or mating with other local cats.

Breed Founder

Enchanted by its beauty, a Himalayan cat breeder Elizabeth Terrell exchanged four of her own Himalayans with the Russians for three Siberian forest cats. One was a male cat (Kaliostro Vasenjkovich) and two were females (Ofelia Romanova and Naina Romanova).

Terell spent a hefty amount of money and lots of time in bringing in more Siberians to the U.S. and validating it as a breed in North America.

Following her feats at obtaining Siberian cats, American breeder David Boehm flew to Russia and came back with his own collection of Siberian forest cats. His cats gave birth to the first Siberian kittens in North America, furthering the expansion of this breed’s gene pool.


A character in Russian fairy tales, Siberian Forest cats, is elegant. With their powerful built, multilayered furry coat, and brightly colored round eyes, they’ll capture your heart in no time.


A Siberian’s muscular physique is softened by its friendly facial expression, adding warmth to its beauty. The softness in their looks is attributable to their well-defined round eyes, which come in the shades of gold, green, copper, and blue. Some even have two different colored eyes.

Their main defining feature, the three-layered coat, is played up with a neck ruff and a fluffy tail. The coat comprises a water-resistant topcoat with long, straight, bristly hairs, a slightly shorter-and-wavy-haired middle layer, and a dense insulating undercoat.

This luxurious coat can have different colors, from solid white, silver, black, to red and blue. The beautiful felines are marked in varying patterns such as color point, calico, smoke, tortoiseshell, bi-color, and the tabby, the most common one.

These cats have incredible jumping abilities, thanks to the arch created by their strong rear legs’ being a bit longer than the front legs.


Siberian cats are friendly and affectionate fluffballs and will light up not only your house but your life too. They are active and intelligent, calm and well-behaved kitties. Even though they thrive on human affection and attention, they aren’t annoyingly clingy.

Indoors or Outdoors

Having originated in the wilderness, Siberian cats love lurking outdoors, although they are comfortable indoors too. So, make sure you expose your Siberian cat to the outside air every once in a while – it’s good for the cat’s mental well-being.

They like hanging out in the sun and playing with water, so bonus points for you if your home has a poolside area. If not, maybe take it out on walks sometimes – with a harness on for safety.

However, the danger of being stolen, lost, hurt, and getting into trouble with other cats outside always persists, so don’t leave your cat alone in the streets.

When indoors, they don’t sit still for long hours. They jump, run, play around- flaunting their athletic finesse in front of their owners.


The size these furbabies come in doesn’t quite go with their gentle and quiet temperament. They rarely make growling and crying sounds, but mostly you’ll get soft, tiny purrs and chitters as their attempt to express love for you.


As mentioned earlier, they appear aloof in front of strangers, but that problem can be easily solved with some bribing. Once you become a favorite face, they’ll go overboard trying to shower you with all the love packed in their giant bodies.

They always crave the attention and affection of their human friend. But instead of fighting for it, they will adorably follow you around and wait for your cuddles patiently.


Siberian cats are a highly intelligent feline breed. They love solving puzzles and exploring their surroundings. Their impeccable planning and executing skills stem from the survival needs in the harsh climates of Siberian forests.

These cats are also able to sense when their cat parents are sad and will even try to cheer them up.

They are not only good at understanding commands and questions but also at responding to them. With some training, you can easily make your Siberian open doors, switch on lights and answer your questions with suitable intonations.


This intelligent cat breed loves playing around, especially with water. With their waterproof furs, they’ll happily wallow under a fountain or jump and splash on puddles.

These athletic cats with great jumping skills will turn anything into a plaything- even the T.V. at your house or a piece of furniture. You can also keep them entertained for long hours with toys and puzzles to solve.

After tiring playful hours, they do like to retreat. That’s when they will crawl up beside you in the bed or on your lap and snuggle with you for some time.


These sociable babies get along with everyone, even though they are a little weirded out by strange faces at first. But once offered nice treats, they befriend strangers easily.


Siberian forest cats adore children, as children adore them. Well-behaved and slightly older children are more to their liking because younger ones are usually aggressive when playing with their thick fur coats, and that might be a little distressing to the cats.

Nonetheless, children of all ages enjoy the company of Siberian cats. Who wouldn’t fall in love with their cuddly looks and lovely personality?

Other Animals

These extroverted giant buddies aren’t only sociable around people but also other friendly animals. Once introduced properly under controlled conditions, they’ll befriend any other cats or pets you have and happily live with them under the same roof without complaints.

Breed-Predisposed Ailments

Siberian forest cats are generally healthy, given they are a natural breed. However, they do run the risk of having common heart disease in cats known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). It is a condition in which the heart muscles thicken, resulting in heart failure.

Breeders should conduct screening cats for HCM, so that affected cats aren’t bred, and the disease isn’t passed along to their babies.


You need to invest some time in grooming and caring for your Siberian forest cat. Besides having its teeth brushed weekly and nails clipped biweekly, its fluffy, long-haired coat requires some maintenance too. It’s not much, but it’s important.


The shiny furs on their three-layered coat need to be brushed no more than thrice a week – to prevent tangling and matting. They shed in winters and summers – excessively in winters and a little less in summers. So, during these seasons, you might want to brush your cat every day.

Bathe your cat and shampoo it occasionally, although the water resistance of the top coat makes it a hard process. It takes as long as 15 minutes to soak the coat in water, and washing off the shampoo takes even longer. But be patient with the process and dry out your cat’s skin completely to avoid the birth of dandruff.


Remember to conduct a weekly check of your cat’s ears for dirt and signs of ear infection – redness and foul smell. With a damp cotton ball, clean any dirt you find. And if the signs of infection do exist, contact your vet immediately.


Being a rare breed in America, Siberian forest cats come at a relatively high cost of both money and time. Besides the purchase price, there are other costs to consider, such as the cost of neutering, cost of healthcare, caring, etc. Be ready to spend a bit on these furry delights – and we promise that you won’t regret it.

Cost of Kittens

To purchase a Siberian kitten, you have to pay between $1,200 and $4,000. This price range is an indication of the breed’s rarity in the USA. Any cat sold below $1,200 as a Siberian cat isn’t a Siberian cat at all. The price depends largely on pedigree and breeder qualification.

Per month, you can expect an expenditure of $25 to $400 on your cat’s additional needs, such as food, toys, grooming, medication, insurance, entertainment, etc.

Pros & Cons


  • Gentle-natured and not noisy
  • Friendly and lovable – with children, adults, and other pets
  • Can withstand cold, harsh weather


  • Need grooming of long-haired coats that shed excessively

  • Bathing is difficult

Final Thoughts

Gentle and charming – a Siberian forest cat is a lovely pet to have. They make wonderful companions – for kids, adults, and other pets alike.

Sure, there are some cons, but do they outweigh your need for an affectionate and cuddly friend? If not, go ahead and bring one home – see how it brightens up your and your family’s mood by a million watts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I distinguish Siberian Forest cats from Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats?

The eyes of Siberian forest cats are more circular, and their bodies are more compact, while Norwegian forest cats and Maine Coons have long bodies with pointy eye-shape.
Their head shapes are another distinguishing factor. Norwegians have a triangular head with a flat forehead and nose in a straight line with the profile. Maine Coons have a wedge-shaped head, high cheekbones, and a curve formed by the nose in profile.
On the other hand, Siberians have a modified-wedge-shaped head with rounder corners than Maine Coons’. The head is wide at the top of the skull, and so the nose is wide between the eyes and becomes pointy at the tip, giving a concave curve when seen in profile.