Siberian introduction into Australia
My first introduction to this magnificent cat was via Russian judge Yanina Melnikova who was visiting our country in July 2001.
Whilst sharing a meal with her she showed us some photographs depicting how shows were done in her country and amongst her photos, she proceeded to show me several photos of the most beautiful Siberian’s, and that was it I was hooked the more I looked at them the more I was impressed, I don’t think I had ever seen anything so pretty.
We discussed the breed for quite a while and I have to admit I was so impressed to learn that this was a strong healthy breed that appears to have no known genetic problems that we see in some of the other breeds.
So off I went to the web to find out where I could get a Siberian, but to my dismay, we were not even allowed to import from the originating country of Russia. Australia does not allow any imports from Russia, we have no provision to import from there to date.
So I then turned to the United States and Europe I was so impressed with the cats I saw on different sites in the U.S. that I decided that this was where I would go. To import to here from the U.S. the procedure is a long 150 days quarantine in the country of birth, and then another 30 days once they arrive here. My closest port in the country is Sydney over 1000 kilometres away, I will be able to visit and get to see them once they arrive and then will fly to collect them when they are due to come home. Along the way to trying to find my new cats, I came across several breeders who were of great assistance to me and ended up accepting an offer of a beautiful black silver tabby male who we have named Sibano Czar of the Rings.
The next Siberian breeder I happened to meet was Judy Chiappetta, who happened to be here judging at a show in our country. I arranged to meet with her when we went to the U.S. in July this year. When we were there we found a tortie/tabby Van Cooncreole Veronika and this was to be my first mate for Sibano Czar of the Ring.
Being a new breed into our country I realised that I needed a gene pool as quickly as possible and so once again Jonathan and Kris came to my rescue. They have so kindly entrusted to me, Katusha of Sibano (Tink), a young adult girl of theirs that has been a great Mum for them. So we are hoping she will be carrying the foundation stock with her when she leaves the country in February 2003. Without the assistance of Jonathan and Kristine Hirst, I would have been quite a way off being able to get this breed off to the ground here in Australia and for their assistance and genuine interest in establishing the breed here in Australia, I am most grateful.
We can now add to this that both Veronika and Tink are in kitten and our very first Siberians will be born in this country at the beginning of April, this will be such an exciting time for us here. So from 2001 to 2003, we have finally accomplished what I thought was going to be a simple procedure and they are here to join me in my dream of owning one of these cats and instead of one I have three! triple the fun.
I hope that 2003 will be an exciting time for us here, and we will look forward to promoting this wonderful breed as much as we can. To have the breed recognised here with our cat controls is my next major step. I hope that within the next year that this will be able to be done and the Siberian will put its paw print up there with the rest of the breeds we now see here in our country.
The Siberian is a large, strong cat, which can take up to five years to mature. The females being smaller than the males as in all breeds. They are noted for being very agile and can leap great distances.
Their muscles are outstanding and powerful. The back is long and very slightly curved but appears horizontal in motion. The compact rounded belly develops with age. The hind-leg of the Siberian is slightly longer than the front legs, with large and powerful firm rounded paws. The overall appearance should be a cat of great strength and size with an excellent physical tone. The facial expression is alert but sweet. The general impression of the cat is one of circles and roundness rather than angular as in some of the other breeds.
The tail of the Siberian is medium in length wide at the base with a blunt tip and the end which is evenly and thickly covered with fur from the base of the tail to the tip of the tail.
The head of the Siberian is a modified wedge of medium size with rounded contours broader at the skull and narrowing slightly to a full rounded muzzle with a well-rounded chin. The cheekbones are neither high set nor prominent there should be a good distance between the ears and the eyes. The forehead is flat and the nose has a slight curvature before the tip the neck is medium in length and round and well-muscled.
The ears on the Siberian are medium to large wide and set as much on the sides of the head as on the top the tips are rounded and the ear tilts forward.
The eyes of the Siberian are large almost round set wide apart with the outer corner slightly angled toward the base of the ear. There is no relationship between eye colour to coat colour, however, the typical colour seen is yellow-green.
The coat is the Siberian’s crowning glory, this is a moderate to long-haired coat with the fur on the lower chest and shoulder blades being slightly shorter. There should be an abundant ruff around the neck setting off the large impressive head. There is a tight undercoat, which becomes thicker in colder weather. The coat gives the impression of lacquer and oil when un-groomed. The hair may thicken and curl on the belly and britches, but this is not a feature of the cat. The skin may also appear to have a bluish cast. Clear strong colours and patterns are desirable but are secondary to type.
Colour varieties of the Siberian vary and all colours are genetically possible, such as tabby, solid colours tortoiseshell colours and colour point varieties.
There is some dispute as to the origins of the colour points in the breed but as long as records have been kept in Russia colour points have been noted to have been produced. The Russian believe that the feral pointed cats mated with the other colours along the Neva River region in Leningrad (which is now named St Petersburg) in the 1960s. Soon Russian breeders were including this pattern into their breeding programs and created the nickname for them “Neva-Masquerade”. Neva for the river, and masquerade, for the mask. These are not a separate class of the Siberian but another colour. Some countries still do not accept the colour pointed version in the breed acceptance standard. No outcrosses are permitted for this breed.
The Siberian has a very dog-like temperament and is very affectionate. They come out to greet the visitors in the house and are not shy. Siberians have a triple purr and unlike other breeds have a chirping sound they use when they come to greet you.
When they are around water they appear to be fascinated with it and will drop toys into it and play in sinks with water left in.
The Siberian makes the ideal lap cat and will live quite happily indoors with you.