The Norwegian Forest cat vs Siberian cat have so many similarities that some suspect they are distantly related. Both breeds come from cold climates with lots of snow, so they each have very long, dense coats. While both cats do well with children and are friendly to people, the Siberian does better with other household pets and has more of a playful streak. However, the Siberian can grow to be much larger than the Norwegian Forest cat. If size is an issue, that is something to consider.
They are also considered to be natural breeds, meaning they were not bred by man. And while the Norwegian Forest cat is said to be one of the top five most popular cats in France, the Siberian cat holds ranks as Russia’s national cat! Both are generally healthy breeds, but the Norwegian Forest cat is prone to more hereditary illnesses than his Siberian cousins.
Which Cat Is Bigger?
Perhaps one of the most notable differences between the Norwegian Forest cat and the Siberian cat is size. Both breeds are large breeds, but if you put these two cats side-by-side, you will usually find that the Siberian cat is noticeably larger.
The Norwegian Forest cat can weigh anywhere from 9 to 16 pounds, with males being a bit larger and females being a bit smaller on the scale. However, the Siberian cat can weigh anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds!
Still, both breeds grow up rather slowly. In fact, both Norwegian Forest cats and the Siberian cats can be nearly five-years-old before either one reaches their full size and weight!
Coats and Care
Since both the Siberian and the Norwegian Forest cat have similar coats on the surface, it is easy to overlook the variances they have.
If you suffer from allergies, the Siberian might be a good pick for you. While he is not truly hypoallergenic, it does look like he produces less Fel-D1 than most other cats. Fel-D1 is a compound in the cat’s saliva that triggers our allergies when it dries on dander and shed fur.
Luckily, both the Siberian cat and the Norwegian Forest cat require only moderate grooming, especially when equated to other long-haired cats. A grooming session a couple times a week should keep both the Siberian and the Norwegian Forest cat looking their best.
Norwegian Forest cat vs Siberian Cat Health
Like all cat breeds, the Norwegian Forest cat and the Siberian are prone to health issues.
Even though the Siberian cat is primarily a healthy breed due to the fact there has been very little inbreeding throughout his history, he still faces the most common illnesses of most cats, including heart disease, kidney disease, and hereditary cancers.
The Norwegian Forest cat is also rather healthy, although he is prone to more health issues than his Siberian counterpart. Illnesses you should look out for in the Norwegian Forest cat include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, and glycogen storage disease IV.
Differences between Siberian vs Norwegian Forest cat Temperament?
The Siberian is still considered a rare breed of cat, especially in the United States. Despite being the national cat of Russia, this large cat wasn’t introduced into America until the 1990’s. Still, don’t let that deter you from this friendly, affectionate feline.
He is growing in popularity all around the world thanks not only to his massive size but also his playful, infectious disposition. He does excellently in homes full of people and children, and even makes fast friends with dogs and cats!
How Does Siberian Cat Personality Compare?
While for the most part mellow, the Siberian has a playful streak and will need to be played with daily to stay happy. But playing with him won’t be boring, as he is prone to flipping and cartwheeling as he chases his toys around the home.
The Norwegian Forest cat is also said to be chock-full of pizazz! While he can be a bit more laid back than the Siberian, he enjoys being around his humans and will follow you from room to room, snoozing near your feet or on the back of your chair.
This is an intelligent cat, known for learning tricks and even partaking in intellectual kitty games such as puzzles! He does very well with family members of all ages and makes a wonderful cat for gentle children.
One thing to keep in mind with the Norwegian Forest cat is he has some very thick, very long, and very sharp claws that he uses to scale trees backward and forwards. He’s an excellent climber and enjoys being outside, and this privilege shouldn’t be taken away from him.
I have a Siberian, hes roughly 15lbs. They dont get as heavy as 25lbs, those are Maine Coons, which is a different breed again. Siberian makes typically sit between 10-17lbs. But nevertheless, my big baby is awesome. He comes when I call and we go for walks together in the forest, hes pretty much the coolest. I would highly suggest a Siberian 🙂
I had a Siberian female and she weighed 22pounds. Her name was Sweetie and that she was, sweet! Wonderful personality and liked to climb. My sweet Sweetie passed away due to cancer. She was a wonderful cat.
pat murphy says
We adopted Tavi, a Norwegian forest cat 6 years ago, as she was left by some one who had simply moved away. Groomer sees hip and thigh area discomfort while grooming her. She is older and cannot climb and jump the fenced in yard area any longer. The thing we enjoy most is the cat sitting in her own lawn chair by the fire pit in the evenings. Oregon seems to be a great environment for her. She also has a heated shed with a cat tree handed down to her by our 3 indoor cats…The purring is exceptionally loud in this cat. Her weight is stable at about 25 1/2 pounds. Feeding time brings on a chorus of chirping and wailing, as if she hasn’t been fed in days! But she is otherwise quiet and always following wherever we go around the land.
We adopted a kitten from a family member who said he was part Maine Coon. Soon the beautiful black tips on his ears went away and the hair began to grow with thick undercoat. He is now 1 1/2 years old and weighs 16 lbs. He looks more like the Norwegian Forest cat or the Siberian Forest cat. And he looks more like a pure breed to me. He is a joy and the ruler of the house with his girl roomies. Is there a genetic test out there that can tell the true Breed?
Yes, there are DNA blood tests for cats that can tell you what breed(s) your cat is. Ask your vet. They’re a bit pricey but, if you just have to know, I guess they’re worth the cost. 🙂
I have two Siberian cats and they are beautiful, smart, and I have no allergic reaction to them.
Shelley Crowley says
I love my 22 pound Siberian – he was a rescue, who was too big and energetic for his previous human. He fit in perfectly here, and made friends immediately with my other two cats – I was a bit anxious because my other two were 3 year old males, and the new fellow was 8 months. They are all the best of friends, and Master Pippin is intelligent, friendly, extremely playful, and affectionate. He is an extremely determined lap cat, and this always requires much maneuvering, since he is so large he doesn’t really fit on my lap… he must be cradled. Which of course I do. He is really incredibly sweet-natured – my big galoot. ❤️
Kate Mac says
I adopted an older calico but also decided to adopt the big grey cat that had bonded with her in the shelter. The big guy hide for the first four months but is starting to become friendlier any very playful. He has a unique look and after searching online, I’m 100% sure he is a Norwegian Forest Cat. He definitely cartwheels and flips while playing.
Carol Mullaney says
Have a Siberian, Norwegian Forest and a Maine Coon. I think that it is easy to see the differences in the three breeds. The Norwegian is the eldest at 15 years, Siberian is a year and the Maine Coon will not be seeing his fifth birthday as he has heart disease. The Norwegian has never been more than 8 pounds however as he is, due to the breeder severely interbreeding her cats-her one and only male to his daughters,sisters etc, He is literally the very last of his entire family, has supposedly been on death’s door fairly often due to this interbreeding and has tried to follow in his dam’s footsteps and attempted to starve himself to death at least twice, He is my miracle kitten- very sensitive, fragile and a real diva.I call him my mini cat. The Siberian is amazing. He is a very good size, 12 pounds and growing and has my daughter’s Oriental Short-hair as his running buddy. He is very affectionate, playful and highly intelligent. The Maine Coon is 18 pounds and rather large. He is the sweetest, friendliest and most playful. And even knowing now that according to his cardiologist that the heart disease is inherited and most likely known to his breeder since his birth,especially since it turns out that 8 other of her cats died of heart disease, I would gladly go through all this again. Last March he was given 3-6 months. He yet still goes on playing, eating and being a big Teddy Bear/Big Brother to all the other cats, confounding his cardiologist. And I was afraid prior to the heart disease being diagnosed that he would have another health issue of the Maine Coon-hip dysplasia. No, just a heart condition. I realize it sounds as if I am blaming the breeders and maybe I am to a certain extent. The Norwegian Forest Cat’s breeder lost her license and had a major lawsuit brought against her by owners. The Maine Coon’s breeder was fantastic UNTIL I sent her the cardiologist’s report and then she slammed down any and all communication after claiming it was what I had feed him. You know, her recommended cat food. I suppose she thought I was accusing her of withholding information or even possibly suing her. No, just wanted her to know that it was possibly in her line’s blood. Thought she might want to know. Later found out she already had been told over 10 times. The Siberian’s breeder was a real love. She has encouraged me to keep in touch and keep her aware of any and all health issues which have been none. When we had our Manx, his breeder was fantastic as was the Japanese Bobtail breeder. So, I suppose it depends.
Who is the Siberian breeder?
Deborah Henson says
I also would love to have the Siberian breeders email. I live in Key West, FL and would love a kotteb♥️♥️
We love our Siberian! She is only 11 pounds and has pretty much leveled off at that weight for a few years now, she’s 6 now. Thick muscular arms and a furry head that gets thicker in the winter. They’re a short breed of cats too, which is so cute. Such a joy to have around. They truly do cartwheel for you when you play and throw toys around. So endearing. Definitely need people around, or maybe other cats at least to prevent loneliness. She is very social. Highly recommend Siberian’s!
Danielle Mecham says
I have a Siberian cat. My ex-husband bought her for me/us when we were married. When we divorced, I took her because he didn’t really want her. He had talked about getting rid of her when we looked into moving before the divorce and wondered what to do with her. Anyway, she is 11 years old and a great cat. She is maybe 15 lbs. She is smart and we have to be careful to make sure the front door is shut. She can pull it open with her paw if it is not closed tight. She responds to her name though doesn’t always come when called. She is patient with my kids but is becoming less tolerant of my 7 yr old. Lately she has been squeezing the cat and grabbing her all the time. She lives for food and meows for a breakfast treat, dinner and a nightly snack of whipped cream. She is still playful. She meows and “talks” to you. I would love to get another one but don’t know if I can afford one by myself.
Back in 2011, I rescued a Young Kitten and when I took it to the vet, I learned he was going to be a long hair and was a Norwegian Forest Cat! I had never rescued or raised a kitten and Rocky brought sheer joy, ongoing laughter and lots of love! He grew into such a SPECIAL Cat, he was SO smart, sweet, Loving, easy going, friendly, independent. His dr.s said he was “a dog in a cat’s body!” One of the sweetest cats they had ever treated! When he was 5 1/2, he was diagnosed with Hyper-cardio myopathy and he barely made it to his 6th birthday! As I was saying goodbye to Rocky, I whispered in his ear, “ Rocky, please send us someone because we are going to miss you so much!” We were deeply devastated losing Rocky and in 2019, by sheer “chance“, we rescued a 2 yr. old Norwegian Forest Cat named “Chance” and believe Rocky sent him to us not only because he looks so much like him, but he has all the wonderful traits as Rocky and we love him very much!! So far he has not shown any indications of having heart disease!! I highly recommend this breed for all their wonderful personality
traits as well as their beauty!!
Marianne Hickman says
My son and husband are allergic to cats so when ours passed I said no more cats. My son was telling me I was unfair to not get another cat. That night my aunt posted a picture of a stray kitten , I said well there’s our cat. Turns out she is a Siberian Forrest Cat. Who would dump a 1500.00 kitten in a field. She is the love of our life. Smart, playful,has to be in the same room with us. very routine oriented. They don’t like when you stray from their routine. They are very communicative. She talks a lot. I was diagnosed with Breast cancer and had 6 months of Chemotherapy and she laid with me every day on the couch like she new I was sick and needed her. I’ve had 9 rescue cats in my life. I will only have a Siberian. My husband and son have no allergy to her. She was like a gift from the Universe.
I bought a siberian cat she’s is a 4 month old female, she is beautiful and very social, she loves my toddler too, she doesn’t like being alone.
I have a half-Siberian and he is amazing. He follows me around and is always on my knee. He is a bit stupid (he doesn’t know how gravity works) and can be grumpy in the summer when he is too hot. He has a few health problems, but on the whole he is a lovely cat and fits in really well with our other cat, who likes to play with him a lot.
We inherited a stray kitten in Central Oregon (alpine desert. Cold sub-freezing Winters.) She was a runt of the litter. She was relatively petite (probably less than 10 lbs),but her hair was much like that of a Siberian. So. Much. Hair. And a big ruff around her neck. We called her the “Little Lion Cat.” Very sweet and loving but also full of mischief! And she loved the water. I have always wondered about her lineage because of her hair and face. Her dare-devil spirit. Pronounced cheeks and chin, and the hair…did I mention the hair? 😉