In the United States, a large, furry breed of cat called the Maine Coon is considered the pinnacle of the big domestic cat hierarchy. But the Maine Coon looks like a kitten next to the majestic Siberian cat, an ancient breed whose members dwarf the housecat sitting at your feet right now.
Where else would Siberian cats thrive but in the far reaches of Asia near Barnaul, Siberia, where Alla and Sergey Lebedeva have turned their farm over to what is probably hundreds of cats. Calling the farm “Catland,” the couple expect the residents to earn their keep by hunting mice and rats and protecting the other farm animals.
How It Started
The Lebedevas started their haven for cats more than a decade ago, when their Siberian cat – named, what else, Babushka – had a litter of five kittens. Over time, the collection of creatures has grown exponentially, to what Alla Lebedeva now calls a “million” cats and I’m sure it probably feels that way.
About Siberian Cats
The breed has been present in Russia for more than a thousand years and is distinguishable by members’ long fur and lion-like appearance. They have huge tufts of hair and fur around their neck and chest as well as fluffy tails. All in all, their coat allows them to be warm even outside in the coldest, snowiest Siberian winter.
Despite their large size, they are agile hunters and, like most felines, enjoy perching on fences and in trees to survey their domain below them. It can take Siberian cats up to five years to reach their full size, and some healthy males have weighed in at 25 pounds.
What Are Siberian Cats Like?
Despite their preference for the outdoors, these cats are very friendly with people and children. They are known for their intelligence and hunting prowess. They even like playing in the water!
As pets they do well, living happily with families and not being overly needy. Siberian cats require more than the average amount of grooming because of their long fur, but the Lebedevas leave that task to the cats themselves since they stay outdoors all the time.
Living life on a farm no doubt keeps this critter collection in healthy shape. One of the common health problems in the breed is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes enlarged heart muscles.
How They Live
On the Lebedevas’ farm, the cats can find refuge from the snow in part of the henhouse, where Alla Lebedeva says there are three little rooms for them. Otherwise, they are comfortable out in the subarctic climate, protecting the rabbits and hens on the property from raids by mice, rats, and other vermin.
The cats also serve as willing subjects for Alla Lebedeva’s photography, which she posts online for the world to see. Her images portray the cats as majestic and stalwart, even when covered in falling snow or packed by the dozen onto the roof of an outbuilding. They’ve earned themselves quite a following on the internet because people are fascinated by the giant, furry critters who live in “Catland” in Siberia.
The source for the Catland pictures can be found here.