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Pet Health

Siberian cat - breed information and advice

The Siberian, a fluffy long-haired breed is the national cat of Russia and originated as an outdoor cat. It has a fairly solid build and a rounded head. The Siberian is very energetic with an amazing jumping ability, and some say its character is almost dog-like: it will wait at the door for you to come home, stay near you in the house and has particularly expressive eyes.

To ensure your Siberian cat is protected in the case of an emergency, take a look at our cat insurance policies.

Click on the hotspots below for illnesses seen in a
Siberian

Siberian

Essentials

Colour: The Siberian can come in any number of colours (including brown, red and white) and patterns (such as colour-pointed, tabby and tortoiseshell).

Coat: A semi long-haired cat, its hair needs regular grooming at least three times a week, and more when it is moulting.

Life span: Siberians only reach maturity at five, and usually live to 12-15 years.

Mouth and gum disease

Like most breeds, Siberians may suffer from gum and dental disease during their lifetime. Gum disease occurs when some (or all) of a tooth’s deep supporting structures become inflamed. This begins when food, bacteria and minerals accumulate along the gum line, leading to the build-up of a brown scale known as tartar. When this undermines the gum the condition is called gingivitis. Eventually, small spaces can form between the gums and the teeth creating pockets of space for bacteria to grow, resulting in what is known as periodontal disease. The bacteria from infected gums can spread around the body and damage the liver and kidneys. This condition can be prevented with basic routine care such as feeding cats dry food and brushing their teeth, helping them to lead a normal, pain-free life.

Fact

Periodontal disease is the second most common mouth problem in Siberians

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Respiratory tract disorders

The respiratory tract is divided into the upper (the nose, nasal passages and windpipe) and lower (small airways and lungs) sections. Like all cats, Siberians can suffer from cat flu, which affects the upper respiratory tract and causes sneezing and a nasal discharge. It is an incurable viral condition, but it is easily prevented by vaccination and the symptoms can be managed. Siberians can also be affected by a lower respiratory tract problem known as feline asthma, which occurs when allergies and irritants cause the lower airways (bronchi) and lungs to become inflamed and sensitive. Symptoms include coughing and wheezing. While many respiratory tract disorders are not curable, they can be managed with various long-term medications, including tablets, injections and even inhalers.

Fact

Respiratory system disorders are the third most common illnesses we see in Siberians

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Heart disease

Heart disease in cats refers to when the heart’s structures aren’t working as they should be. There are two categories of heart disease: congenital (meaning the cat is born with it) and acquired (meaning the disease develops later in life). Congenital heart diseases include defects in the wall of the heart, abnormal valves and blood vessels. Siberians are prone to a disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure. Whilst this condition is not curable, it can be treated with lifelong medication.

Fact

Heart disorders are the fourth most common illnesses we see in Siberians

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Gastrointestinal tract disorders

The Siberian, like all cats, can suffer from problems affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is a long, winding tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, with various twists and turns along the way. Conditions such as gastroenteritis caused by infections (like feline enteritis), poisoning or an obstruction within the bowel (due to the cat eating string for example) commonly cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Treatment depends on the exact cause, but prompt intervention usually results in a full recovery.

Fact

In our experience, Siberians are most likely to need treatment for gastrointestional
disorders

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Kidney disease

Kidney disease is caused by infections, toxins (especially licking anti-freeze) as well as age related changes. Although many signs of kidney disease are the same as those for any problem with the urinary tract (frequent, painful attempts to urinate, and blood in the urine for example), there may be some differences. Siberians are prone to a condition of the kidneys where multiple cysts form within the organ, which compromises kidney function. Medication and special diets can be used to treat most kidney problems although surgery may be required for cysts.

Fact

We paid £3,934 to treat Dusty the cat for a kidney disorder in 2015

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