Breed-related disease: Siberian cat

The Siberian is a centuries-old landrace (natural variety) of domestic cat in Russia, and recently developed as a formal breed with standards promulgated the world over since the late 1980s.

As befits a cat from northern Russia, the Siberian wears a magnificent fur coat that not only protects him from the elements but also gives him a glamorous appearance that belies his gentle good nature. At first glance, the Siberian resembles the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat, but he is differentiated by having a more rounded body and head. He also stands out for his large yellow-green eyes, tufted ears and neck ruff. The Siberian coat comes in many colors and patterns, but brown tabbies seem to be most popular.

The Siberian cat is highly affectionate with family and playful when they want to be. However, their exercise needs aren’t overly demanding, and they’re just as happy to snuggle up with their humans as they are to chase a laser toy–maybe even happier.

In Russia, the phrase Siberian health is associated with vitality, longevity, and ability to stay healthy despite the frigid climate of the Siberian region. This saying is very true when it comes to Siberian cats. Siberians tend to be sturdy, healthy and, while being purebred cats, do not present the owner with too many health issues.

However, there are some health problems typical for cats in general, and for Siberians in particular. If you own a Siberian cat or kitten or are only planning to adopt one, it’s best to know ahead what types of health issues you may encounter, and how to help your cat overcome them.

  1. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy : This is a heart condition in which the walls of the heart are thicker than they should be. Instead of benefiting from a stronger heart, this condition makes it more difficult for the cat to pump blood to the rest of the body.
  2. Kidney Disease (PKD): It is a genetic mutation that leads to the development of benign cysts in the cat’s kidneys and other organs. It is a hereditary disease that’s fairly common for Siberian cats.
  3. Gum Disease: Many Cat Owners overlook the importance of dental hygiene in their furbabies, but with this breed, regular teeth brushing is crucial.
  4. Hereditary Cancer: Cancer is by far most common in the white Siberian Forest Cats, and can be linked to a specific pedigree lineage of “Gesha Olenya Krasa” and “Dolka Olenya Krasa”. Cats of this descent are known to have cancer-causing genes , known as oncogenes. However, as in most other animals with oncogenes, the presence of the gene doesn’t necessarily guarantee the presence of cancer, and other factors may help prevent its manifestation such as a healthy diet and regular checkups.
  5. Urinary Tract Disease: Also referred to as Urinary Crystals, the condition involves the formation of stone-like minerals, crystals and organic matter and reside in the cat’s urinary tract. This covers anything from kidney stones to blockages to infections of the kidney. Although it’s not completely known whether it’s completely hereditary, it’s very common in the Siberian Cat.

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