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Taking care of a Siberian cat means so much more than giving them a home, giving them something to eat, and the occasional grooming. It also means providing them with the opportunity to grow into the best kind of cat they can be. 


This means enough space to move around, enough exercise, enough mental and physical stimulation, and plenty of play. Siberians were originally hunters and predators living in the wild, and while your cuddly Siberian makes a good case for the modern life by lounging around 


and sleeping all the time, neither you nor your Siberian can argue with the peculiar needs of his body and mind - which have been honed by years of development, evolution, and natural selection. He may not spend his life as his ancestors did - chasing mice around the farm. But you do want him to be healthy and fit so that if he wants to, he could. 


Image by Petrebels

The good news is that Siberian cats are adaptable enough that they can thrive indoors just as easily as they can outdoors. They do not need to go oudoors, and it is actually advisable that they not be let outdoors at all - certainly not unsupervised. They may be incredible hunters and capable of surviving in harsh climate and conditions, but this is a far cry from the dangers that the human world can pose for an unsuspecting Siberian. 


In fact, statistics show that cats who live outdoors have comparatively short lifespans compared to cats who are kept indoors. Dangers abound outdoors for all cats - from cars and vehicles plying the roads, various food lying around that may be poisonous to your cat, or even people who can demonstrate either cruelty or greed as they catnap expensive-looking outdoor cats. Its best not to risk it. 


That said, you might think that the danger for cats kept indoors is the lack of healthy exercise and the possibility of becoming obese - not the mention the questionable health of cats who are never exposed to the outside air and sunlight. But this need not be true. Siberians can make great lapcats, but if you can provide them with enough running space inside the house and a wide range of toys and accessories to play with and to challenge them, they can actually thrive indoors. Some indoor Siberian cats have been known to live for as long as 20+ years!


Toys you can try include lasers, teasers, balls, catnip toys, a good scratching post and high perch, rattles, and mouse toys, among others. Or something as simple as a cardboard box, crumpled pieces of paper, or other simple household items can serve well enough to distract your Siberian cat for a long hour of play. You likely won't have to spend much on toys. But you might want to have a good range available as cats have a penchant of losing interest in something quickly and it would be helpful if there is something else they can turn their attention to. 


Of course, it is important that you also spend enough time with your cat - whether in playing, training, or simply cuddling. Cats are affectionate and loyal pets, and Siberian cats more so - some have described them as having dog-like personalities that make them attached to their human families. Create a nurturing environment for them, and make them feel part of the family. They will be living with you for a great many years still, after all. 

Exploring Outdoors

One other option you can have is to walk your cat. Yes, there are cat owners out there who walk their cats -particularly medium to large-sized cats like the Siberian for whom some outlet to expend their energies is necessary. Get them used to the feel of a collar, leash and harness early on, and take them out for short, periodic walks to begin with. Always keep in mind that it you are responsible for the welfare of your cat once you are outside. For one thing, they have to be on top of their vaccinations so that they don't catch anything from the other cats. Allow them to explore the world and to satisfy their curiosity, but make sure that he does not chew or swallow anything dangerous, that he is not exposed to violent dogs, and that he doesn't get loose from his leash. In fact, you might want to microchip him early on in case he does get loose. Needless to say, you should pay close attention if your cat is a female in heat as she'll likely be attracting more attention from the local toms than you'll find yourself comfortable with. You'll probably want to keep her indoors during this time.

Image by Ayelt van Veen
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