Siberian cats, also called Siberian Forest Cats, are quite popular throughout the world of cat fancy. Originally from Russia, these cats are sweet, loving, and loyal. They also make excellent pets for families with children and other animals, as they get along with almost everyone. In addition, they are low-allergen (though not truly hypoallergenic), so many people who are allergic to most cats may be able to tolerate a Siberian cat. However, the unique origins of this breed have led to some common health problems such as heart and kidney issues that the potential owner should be aware of before purchasing a Siberian Forest Cat.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
Recent research has shown that FLUTD is present in most lines of Siberian cats as a heredity disease. Though there has been a call to remove cats with FLUTD from breeding programs, this has not yet been done. The good news is that FLUTD, which covers a range of problems from urinary tract infections, blockages, and kidney stones, is often not fatal. A qualified veterinarian can treat most of the problems associated with FLUTD.
Over the years, many different breeds have been used to stabilize the Siberian Forest Cat, including the Persian, Maine Coon Cat, and Himalayan. Unfortunately, these breeds are all prone to gum disease, and the Siberian cat has inherited this problem. Most of the time, this disease requires the complete removal of all teeth for the comfort of the cat. However, after this has been done, the cat can lead a fairly normal life (though they’ll need soft cat food). It is only in rare cases that gum disease is fatal for Siberian cats.
It is never easy to learn that the breed you’ve fallen in love with is prone to cancer. The good news is heredity cancer has only been documented in some lines of solid white Siberian cats in the United States. Cancer has not been reported in cats that are not white, and not all white cats have been diagnosed with cancer. In truth, there have only been a few cats in each generation who have died of cancer. But heredity cancer is still a valid concern for many breeders.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
HCM, a heart muscle disease, is one of the most common problems encountered in most purebred cats, specifically the Siberian cat. Almost all Siberian cats will exhibit the symptoms of HCM at some time during their life as it seems to be heredity. Fortunately, it can be managed with the assistance of an experienced veterinarian. Before purchasing a Siberian Forest Cat, interview vets in the area to find one who can help you treat your Siberian cat. In many cases, this disease is fatal, killing cats sometimes as young as one year of age.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
A heredity condition affecting most Siberian cats, PKD does not usually begin to present until after seven years of age. It can, however, be anticipated. Cats affected by PKD will have cysts which were formed at birth or early in life and will usually have enlarged kidneys. They may even have kidney problems throughout their entire lives. At the onset of true PKD, your cat may begin to manifest symptoms such as reduced appetite, excessive thirst, and frequent urination. A quick loss of weight with no explanation may also occur immediately before diagnosis. PKD can be managed with the help of your veterinarian. However, the end of this disease is always kidney failure.
Even though Siberians are prone to several genetic diseases, they can still make excellent pets. With regular veterinary care and prompt treatment, most Siberians can lead full and healthy lives. Proper care and a healthy diet are still the best and most effective ways to manage health problems, regardless of breed.