Siberian Cats Vs Norwegian Forest Cats: Siberian Cats and Norwegian Forest Cats are prized for their large frames and awesome personalities. They may look similar, but they’re definitely not the same. What are the main differences between these two furry beauties? And how can you identify them?
Let’s find out!
Siberian Cats Vs Norwegian Forest Cats
About Siberians And Norwegian
Both Siberians and Norwegian Forest Cats are ancient. These cats adapted to their harsh and cold climates, so they developed impressive furs.
These breeds have been around for God knows how long, but there is a difference regarding their origin. The Norwegian Forest Cat comes from the dense Norwegian Forests.
Norweign Forests Featured In Vikings, Legends And Poems
Norwegian forests are so old that they’ve been featured in Vikings, legends and poems. Norwegian Forest Cats, or Wegies, were first prized as mousers. Later, they gained recognition, and Norwegian people started to appreciate them as companions.
Siberian Was Not Truly Appreciated In Its Home Country
On the other hand, the Siberian comes from Siberia in Russia. The history of Siberians is not as bright as the one of the Norwegians. In the 1900s, cats resembling Siberians were shown at international competitions. This stopped after the foundation of the Soviet Union.
Back then, people were discouraged from owning animals as pets, so these cats went unnoticed. Luckily, some American breeders joined their efforts, brought Siberian to the United States, and developed the breed.
So unlike the Norwegian Forest Cat, the Siberian was not truly appreciated in its home country.
How They Compare In Terms Of Size?
Both of these breeds are larger than the average. As such, these cats take up to 4 or 5 years to fully reach their size. The Norwegian Forest weighs between 8 and 18 pounds, while the Siberian weighs between 8 and 17 pounds.
However, it’s more common for Norwegian Forest Cats to reach higher weights, so typically, Siberians weigh less than Norwegians.
It’s worth mentioning that Siberians living in the Russian Forrest used to be heftier than the pedigreed ones.
Some key Differences Between Them
Norwegian cats have a long, double-layered, and soft coat. It’s water repellent and glossy. On the other hand, Siberians have medium to long fur, so their coats can be shorter. The texture of the Siberian’s coats can be either soft or coarse.
Another trait that sets them apart is their fur layers – Siberians have a triple coat. It may be an adaptation to Siberia’s gruesome winters. Even if Norway is closer to the North Pole than most of Siberia, it usually has higher temperatures.
Both of these breeds are medium in length. The bodies of Siberians, though, are rounder and barrel-shaped.
I admit it’s hard to see the Norwegian’s shape through all that fur. Also, a belly pouch is allowed on Siberians.
What About Their Fur Colors?
Well, both of these breeds come in many colors and patterns. The most common colors in Norwegians are black and white or brown and white, while for Siberians, it’s brown tabby.
Lavender and chocolate are not allowed in any breed; still, there’s a big difference.
Siberians can be color-pointed, and this variety is called Neva Masquerade. But the colorpoint pattern is not allowed in Norwegians. So if you’re into color-pointed cats, look for Siberians.
How To Differenciate Between Siberians And Norwegians Forest Cat?
Their ears are pretty similar in size – both of them have medium to large ones. Norwegians, though, can have slightly larger ears. But their eyes are different – Norwegians have almond-shaped eyes, while Siberians eyes are almost round.
However, Norwegians’ eyes look pretty round when the cat’s alert, so try to look at them when the cat is relaxed. Also, the eyes of Siberians are a bit smaller.
One Difference That’s Easier To Spot
Even if these are traits pretty hard to notice, there’s one difference that’s easier to spot: their eye gap. When it comes down to Siberians, these cats have eyes that are farther set apart. The minimum distance between them is the length of one eye.
Norwegians’ eyes, on the other hand, are closer. Make sure to pay attention to their eyes when trying to differentiate them.
But this isn’t all.
You can try to tell them apart by observing their tails! Norwegian Forest Cats have longer tails that are about the same length as their bodies.
Siberians’ tails are slightly shorter than their body length, but both of these breeds have thick and hairy tails.
We’ve learned by now some differences regarding their appearance (body shape, colorations, eyes, and tails).
The Easiest Way To Identify Them?
Now I’ll talk about what’s probably the easiest way to identify them: their heads and faces.
Just remember: easiest doesn’t mean easy! The face of the Norwegian Forest looks like an almost perfect triangle. The Siberians’ face, however, is somewhat rounder and not as elongated. There is one more aspect to look for i.e their profiles.
The chins of both of these breeds are slightly rounded. There is a notable difference, though: in Norwegian cats, you can almost draw a straight line from their foreheads to their chins.
In Siberians, there is an abrupt dip from their foreheads to the base of their noses.
Look for these ones when trying to identify them. I know it’s not a straightforward process, but you can do it if you pay attention!
What About Their Personalities?
Which one would make a better choice for you? Before I talk about their temperaments, there are two more things to consider: their prices and availability.
All pedigreed cats are relatively expensive – but it’s actually expected, considering all the money and effort the breeders put in.
From my research, pet quality Siberian kittens cost between 1000$ and 2000$, while Norwegians are priced between 900$ to 1500$.
Still, the prices can vary according to each kitten and cattery. If you’re a breeder, let us know if these numbers are correct!
Either way, be prepared to be put on a waiting list! Or you can opt to adopt instead and visit your local shelter.
Their availability is another aspect to consider. If you live in the US, you’re more likely to find a Siberian, judging by the number of registered catteries. If you’re from Europe, Norwegians should be pretty easy to come by, but I don’t know about Siberians.
Their health is another major factor when choosing between these two breeds. The good news is that both breeds are naturally occurring and healthy ones.
Even if HCM can affect them both, it seems that Siberians are prone to fewer health issues than Norwegians.
If this topic it’s one of high importance to you, I would suggest getting a Siberian.
The matter of their personalities is the last part I want to discuss. It’s certainly a matter of great importance to every cat owner.
Fortunately, both Norwegians and Siberians are deemed as gentle cats. They’re alert, active, even dog-like! These cats are curious, love climbing, and adore playing. Even when adults, they keep their goofy side.
However, they’re not independent cats, requiring your daily attention. Being bigger, they require more space than an average cat.
These cats are intelligent and can be taught tricks, but it’s also harder to keep things away from them. Their fur needs attention too, and from my research, it seems it’s less time-consuming to take care of a Norwegian.
However, Siberians are a low allergenic breed, making them more suited for people allergic to cats. Overall, Norwegians and Siberians are great cats with wonderful temperaments.
Of course, each cat is an individual and cannot act precisely by the book. However, the standard is a great way to get a general idea about the cat’s personality.