|Our Siberian Cat with her favorite toy - a tinfoil ball|
Since we have now owned our cat for over 5 years and had a little experience with her parents as well, I thought I'd address some of these claims and sort them out as myths or truths.
Siberian cats were guards in Russian castles and towers:
The rumor is that these cats were used as sentinels and watch cats. They would warn their masters when trouble was afoot and fight off predators. This is an exciting story and it's well told in the "history of the breed." But I think it's a myth.
Owning our cat has proved that Siberians are just as skittish and "scaredy cat" as any other breed. Our cat does meow often, and loudly, so it's possible that cats were allowed to hang out near the towers and gates in order to catch vermin and may have "sounded the alarm" with loud meows or raced through town on a tear when something scared them.
Siberian cats beat a team of trained sled dogs
This is my favorite story. A team of 200 Siberian cats beat the trained dogs by an hour in the 300 mile Atta Boy race. There is a picture to prove it and it's as cute as can be to see 200 cats out pulling a sled.
I can't imagine cats being cooperative and pulling a sled, but this is a very large and strong breed of cats.
The trouble is - I have not seen any legitimate news sites reporting on the race and it's pretty slim picking on google as it is. This is huge news. If cats beat dogs, you'd think somebody would have wanted to talk about it. It would have made Siberian cats famous for something besides allergies. Maybe it's true but I have to think it is a myth.
Siberian dogs play like dogs, act like dogs, and are smart like dogs
Our cat will play fetch and will bring the toy back. She will come to her name when called and we even toilet trained her (for awhile...)
They are definitely smart and they can be trained to play "dog-like" games. But they also play all the cat games too. In behavior, they are 99% cat.
My cat's parents were unbelievably loving to strangers and friends. If you came in the house, they wanted you to notice them. They would crawl up on your lap and snuggle. They were dog cats.
My cat is a cat cat. She does not greet strangers. She does not like to snuggle and she will only climb into your lap when she feels like it and she only feels like it if you are sitting in the sun.
Like a dog, my cat knows when the kids come home from school and she waits for them by the door. She misses us when we are gone, but unlike a dog that comes and wants to play when you walk in the door - she yells at us (meows) and doesn't stop until she feels like we understand how angry she was that we left.
This story is both truth and myth. There are some Siberians that are very dog like in their lovingness and they do play dog games. But the rest are 100% cat.
Siberian cats are big and strong
Siberian cats are much bigger than regular cats. We got the runt of the litter, so she's tiny for her breed, but she's over 10 pounds and she's not obese.
She can run amazingly fast and can jump up to the tallest cabinets in our home (10 feet). This claim is truth.
Siberian Cats are hypoallergenic
This is both myth and truth. They are less allergenic than other cats but they are not allergy free. If you want more detail on this, then I urge you to check out these posts:
The Truth about Siberian cats and Living with a Siberian cat for 4 years