Today is Love Your Pet Day! As if us pet parents need an excuse to spoil the furry kids! In honor of the day, I thought I would tell you about the amazing Siberian cat. Both of our cats are Siberians and we love them to pieces!
The Siberian Forest Cat (Neva Masquerade) is a natural breed of Siberia and the national cat of Russia. The Siberia is believed to be the common ancestor of all long-haired cats. They are large, stocky cats and talented jumpers. It is most-known for being the “hypo-allergenic cat.”
Are They Really Hypo-Allergenic?
Though there is no solid scientific evidence of it, there are a very large number of anecdotal stories that are numerous enough to be convincing. It appears that the Siberian cat produces less Fel d 1 than other breeds. Fel d 1 is the primary cause of feline allergies. Siberian Research Inc. was founded in 2005 with the intention to study these allergen levels. All Siberians tested were found to produce some Fel d1, with the highest levels being found in Siberians that have silver colored fur. 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.
My Own Experiences
I originally discovered the breed through a search on the internet. Ross and I had just made the decision to buy a house together and I was excited with the prospect of finally owning a cat. In my opinion, no home is complete without a cat! My niece, Nevaeh, has severe pet allergies and eczema. I wanted her to be able to enjoy my home without suffering. My search for “cats safe for allergies” brought up a few breeds… most of which without hair. When I came across the first picture of a Siberian, I fell in love!
With much research, searching, and letters written, we finally found our first Siberian. It can be a long process, because the breed is relatively rare in the US and carefully bred. Our new addition was a bit of a special case. When browsing through kittens for adoption, I couldn’t resist her story. Helps that she was gorgeous, too! She had to be born by c-section and lost the tip of her tail in the process. She was fed by her “aunts” because her mother was unable to while recovering from surgery. They dubbed this tough little kitten “Victory.” She was to be her mother’s one and only kitten.
Victory is now known as Pandora. She joined our home when she was three months old. Originally we had named her Princess Buttercup after the Princess Bride character. When her fiery personality began to show very early on, we knew a name change was necessary… this little firecracker was no Buttercup! Her unique beginning left her a bit different from typical Siberians. She has the familiar thick, long fur and stocky face of a Siberian, but she is a bit frail in stature. She makes up for it with attitude! She can be a little cuddle bug as long as it’s on her terms, When she’s done cuddling… back off, buster!
So, how did it go with Nevaeh? Let’s just say that she could cuddle with Pandora without so much as a sniffle! The bigger issue was that Pandora wasn’t very used to young kids at that time. She has gotten much better with our son around now… it just took her time to warm up to the new invader. Other friends and family members also find it much easier to be in our home than in other pet owners homes.
We loved our Pandora so much that we thought she needed a feline companion. At this point, the breeder we had purchased Pandora through had closed her doors. She directed us to Keitta Siberians. Hands down the best referral I have ever received from anyone! They are wonderful! They breed some of the most beautiful Siberians that I have seen while remaining the most responsible I’ve come across. The decision of which kitten was really tough! There were a few similar kittens and we decided on the one with one grey and one orange ear.
Pat and Jan, the sisters that own Keitta, updated us frequently with new pictures and stories about our little kitten. They even asked what name we were thinking of using so that they could begin getting her used to it. We decided on the name Selune. It is from Dungeons and Dragons… the name of a goddess of the Moon. She was turning out to be a playful. affectionate, and very adorable little thing!
Selune came home at three months old, as well. Like most reliable breeders, Keitta keeps kittens to three months old so they are fully weaned, have all their shots, and are at the age best for kittens to part with their mothers for ensuring long life and good health. She is definitely the more affectionate and easy-going of our two Siberians. Endlessly curious and always into everything. Even at several years old, she is still very much a kitten!
I know many people will criticize us for buying kittens from a breeder when thousands of cats are in shelters, but we did what we felt was best for our family. At the time I was looking for a Siberian, there were none available in rescues within areasonable distance. As I mentioned before, Siberians are well-protected. Typically, if a family can no longer keep their pet, they are under contract to return the cat to the breeder for re-homing. I do my part to support and encourage programs to reduce animal populations and care for unwanted animals.
Want To Know More?
I recommend visiting my favorite breeders at Keitta. They have lots of great information about the breed on their site as well as pictures of past litters that will have you saying “awwwwwww!” For more technical information, try Wikipedia. They have a great article as well as numerous sources to explore.