The Siberian cat, or the Neva Masquerade, is not only a physically imposing cat, but also very resistant to harsh climates such as the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat. A certain similarity exists between them though.
The Siberian is distinguished by its stocky appearance, its dense, medium-length hair, its usually smaller size and the shape of its head. Its softened triangle-shaped head is broad with rounded contours. The Norwegian is characterized by a triangular head shape and a straight nasal stop. Maine-Coon by the shape of its elongated muzzle.
History of the Siberian race
Coming from Russia, more precisely from Siberia as its name implies, the Neva Masquerade is a relatively recent breed whose history goes back to 1925. It appeared after the crossings of wild cats from the central plateau of Siberia and the Urals mountains, with domestic cats. The breed was introduced in Europe from the 80s and then, ten years later, it appeared in America. The standard of the breed was established in 1989.
Behavior and Neva Masquerade Character
The character of the Neva Masquerade cat is very close to the Norwegian cat. Although frequently described as a quiet force, it is a cat that shows great vitality, has a strong personality and a strong character. One of the particularities of Neva Masquerade is that it is hypoallergenic.
Although he is a descendant of rustic mountain cats, Siberian is an easy-going animal that gets along with children, other cats and even dogs. This sociable character explains its success. It is also a feline demonstrative, intelligent and very communicative. As he has very developed hunter instincts, he must be able to satisfy his needs, which entails the desire for freedom and independence. It is strongly recommended to put at his disposal a tree to cat so that it can let off steam.
The Siberian cat is no longer the rustic cat of the mountains that it once was. Now, it is a very sociable cat, able to get along with everyone (cats, dogs, children …) provided you do not rush it and be gentle with it. Very affectionate, demonstrative and communicative, he can even be exclusive with his master or a bit of glue.
Lively and intelligent, he has brilliant qualities as a hunter. He may sometimes have some desire for independence and freedom, but that does not prevent him from living in an apartment provided he can let off steam at his leisure with games, a cat tree and other sources of entertainment.
Neva Masquerade Personality and Temperaments
Thе Neva Masquerade реrѕоnаlіtу is dоg-lіkе, fun-loving, аmіаblе аnd lоvаblе. This is a remarkable cat that mаkеѕ a wonderful реt, еѕресіаllу fоr thоѕе whо want lоtѕ оf fun interaction.
Thе Neva Mаѕԛuеrаdе іѕ a bіg, lіvеlу cat thаt is аgіlе аnd athletic with lоtѕ оf еnеrgу. Thеу аrе affectionate and friendly tоwаrdѕ сhіldrеn, оthеr cats, dogs аnd hоrѕеѕ. Smаll аnіmаlѕ thаt аrе аlѕо fаmіlу mеmbеrѕ need tо bе introduced cautiously, bесаuѕе thе Nеvа Masquerade hаѕ a hеаlthу prey drіvе, оr kept safely ѕераrаtе.
That рrеу drive соmеѕ into ѕеrvісе whеn it’s time tо рlау thоugh, and these cats саn learn trісkѕ, рlау fеtсh and соmе runnіng whеn саllеd. A lіttlе patience is all it takes tо trаіn this brіght аnd еаgеr саtѕ, and you will be rewarded wіth a vеrу unique саt-оwnіng experience.
Nеvа Mаѕԛuеrаdеѕ аrе nоtоrіоuѕ fоr thеіr extensive vосаbulаrу of twіrlѕ, purrs, chortles аnd сhіrрѕ. Thеу аrе very vocal, but nоt lоud at all, busily mumblіng аѕ they gо about thеіr dау. This іѕ a vеrу affectionate аnd dеmоnѕtrаtіvе breeds, rеgulаrlу head-butting and buѕtlіng its fаmіlу members wіth lоvе, but they dеѕіrе interaction and аrе dеfіnіtеlу not a gооd сhоісе for еxtrа busy folks whо may bе аwау from home lоng hours.
It іѕ a relatively rаrе pure-bred оr “pedigreed” domestic cat brееd, аnd mау bе оnе оf the оldеѕt in the wоrld. Thіѕ is the national саt of Russia, аnd іѕ owned bу mаnу Ruѕѕіаn dіgnіtаrіеѕ.
It is a natural lоng-hаіrеd brееd with a trірlе-lауеrеd соаt оf extra-long guard hаіrѕ, a mіd-соаt, аnd a plush undеrсоаt which аddѕ uр to lots оf ѕhеddіng. Althоugh thе fur dоеѕ not uѕuаllу mat, rеgulаr grooming іѕ needed tо keep ѕhеddіng undеr соntrоl.
Thе Nеvа Masquerade produces lеѕѕ оf thе protein knоwn to cause аllеrgіс rеасtіоnѕ аnd has bееn fоund, dеѕріtе all thе hаіr, tо be lеѕѕ іrrіtаtіng to реорlе whо suffer саt allergies. Clоѕе hаndlіng оf the раrеnt саtѕ ѕhоuld gіvе a good indication оf іndіvіduаl rеасtіоnѕ.
Sее hypoallergenic cat brееdѕ for a mоrе соmрlеtе dіѕсuѕѕіоn оf аllеrgу іѕѕuеѕ.
Related article: Are Siberian and Neva Masquerade Cats Safe for Allergy?
(The article also lists other hypoallergenic cat breeds)
Thеѕе are powerful, large-sized cats thаt hаvе fеw brееd-rеlаtеd health іѕѕuеѕ. Because it іѕ асtіvе аnd dеѕіrеѕ interaction thе Neva Mаѕԛuеrаdе саt іѕ a great fаmіlу pet thаt does vеrу well with сhіldrеn, аnd hаѕ bееn knоwn tо bе very dog-friendly tоо.
Power and strength characterize the Siberian. This large cat has a silhouette in “barrel” as they say in the jargon. Clearly, it is massive and round, which does not mean that it is overweight. It’s just that he has developed muscles and bone structure. This cat can measure up to 35 cm and weigh 12 kg (although usually it weighs 6 to 7 kg). The Siberian has a broad, triangular head with rounded contours.
His skull is rather flat. His eyes are large, round and well-spaced with an intense yellow-green color. The ears are medium in size and round to the tips. Their ends end with a tuft like that found in lynx.
The Siberian has a long and dense coat that can be declined in all colors except fawn, cinnamon, amber, lilac and chocolate. There is a colorpoint variety of the breed you may have heard of, called Neva Masquerade, which differs from classic Siberians in its light, dark endings. See this article where I try to cover all the different colors you see on Neva Masquerade and Siberian cats.
Diet and main health problems of the Siberian
As it is already massive, the Siberian must have a balanced diet to watch to avoid being overweight. Excess carbohydrates and fats are not recommended. Even if he eats kibble, he must sometimes be given offal, meat, fish or eggs.
Good news: as far as health is concerned, Siberian is a model of robustness. No specific illness is attributed to him.
Related article: Good Food for Nevas and What They Should Avoid Eating
The Particularities of the Siberian Cat
There is a big difference in weight between Siberian cats and other cats. Siberian male cats can weigh from 6 to 10 kg and females that are much less massive are between 3.5 kg and 7 kg. In the spring, they lose their thick winter fur for the much less abundant summer fur. Siberian cats have a slow maturity and their growth only ends around the age of five.
The Siberian cat produced no or very little FEL D1 protein, as demonstrated by a laboratory analysis requested by Linda Tartof, Member of the TAIGA Association. It appears that whole males are more allergenic than females and females more than kittens. It is for this reason that one can be insensitive to a Siberian kitten, then have reactions appear when it reaches the age of 7 to 8 months. Sterilization is strongly recommended because it significantly reduces the production of FEL D1 protein.
The ideal cat
The Neva Masquerade cat is a cat with gigantic dimensions; male specimens can reach 12 kg (but are mostly 6 or 7 kg), while females weigh between 4 and 6 kg. They take about five years to reach these dimensions and once their development is complete, they have a strong and powerful look.
The body has a well-developed and heavy musculature. The head, of medium size and triangular shape, has rounded contours; the upper part is flat and the muzzle is surrounded by circular lines, with little protruding cheeks. The neck, very muscular and powerful, is of medium length. The ears, placed at the angles of the head and inclined forwards, are moderately large, broad at the base and rounded at the tip; on the back, the hair is short and thin and, around, at mid-height, it is provided and long.
In general, at the tip of the ears, the hair ends with a tuft (as in lynx). The eyes, very large, are almost round, inclined towards the outer base of the ears and well apart; the typical color that characterizes them is an intense yellow-green. The legs are large, round and very vigorous and end with giant and round feet; when they are strained, the hind legs are slightly longer than the anterior ones.
The back is arched and very long, and the belly is round and compact. The tail is broad at the base, moderately long and dull at the tip. The dress can be moderately long or long, very provided and impervious with an adherent under coat and scanty. The hair appears shorter on the shoulder blades and the collar should be absolutely abundant and vigorous.
Finally, the Neva Masquerade cat has little to do with his wild ancestors. He is a very sociable, intelligent, very affectionate cat who likes to communicate with his master, whom he is very attached to.