Neva Masquerade cats – blue eyes magic
About the breed
The Siberian Neva Masquerade cat is one of the largest cats, it’s less only than Maine Coon. The adult male can be 8-10 kg. The females are much less and more elegant than the males. Neva cat is slow to mature, sometimes taking 5 years to reach full maturity. They are massive, heavy-boned and well-muscled, their neck is short and strong, their legs are mighty and medium sized, the paws are also strong with dense lock of hair between the fingers. The tail as long as to reach the shoulder blade, evenly and thickly furnished, wide and strong at the base, blunt and rounded at the tip.
The head is short and broad with wide cheek, it’s reminiscent of an irregular trapezium. The top of the head is flat. The nose is medium sized, wide, straight, not snub-nosed. The chin is mighty, wide, well-marked, strong, but not forwarded.
The eyes are large, slightly oval or round shaped, set wide apart, sky-blue color, evenly colored.
The ears are medium sized, wide at base with slightly rounded tips with tassels. The external part of the ear is vertical. The external border of the ear base is slightly higher/above of the eyes level, there is a lock of long hair from inner side of the ear. The ears tilted slightly forward.
The coat is of medium length, dense, waterproof, with coarse flowing top coat, making “fox” collar and trousers. Regardless of its richness, a coat of Neva Masquerade doesn’t require any particularly grooming because the coat doesn’t get rolled up and Neva cats are great cleanie, especially females.
It’s considered that Siberian cats both classic pattern and color pointed are hypoallergenic cats. Despite wide-spread opinion, fur is not the source of allergy. The real reason of allergy is a protein Felis domesticus allergen 1 in the sebaceous humour called Fel d 1. Fel d1 is appears on skin first and then is transferred to fur.
There are several theories on hyppoallegic phenomen of Siberian breed, but no one of them is official. The most spread opinion is that the Siberian Cat is either void or produces very low levels of the Fel d 1 protein ompared with other breeds of cat. According to another version, waterproof coat and dense undercoat; isolate skin, which reduce effect of Fel d 1 spreading. Most people, who exhibit allergies to other cats, have little or no reaction to the Siberian.
Very beautiful color pointed variation became a real advantage of Siberian breed. Particularly charm is provided by so-called points: a mask, socks, ears and a tail. Range of color is wide: they can be black-brown (seal), blue, red or cream color. Also the combination of dark-brown and red spots is possible (tortie-point). People say that such bright “tortoises” bring happiness.
In the group of tabby pattern there are the same colors, the only distinction is a tabby muzzle, legs and a tail, also there are slightly lighter stripes on a body. Much rarer you can find tabby with dots on a body – so-called lynx. “Color pointed lynxes” look very impressive.
A silver pattern is very rare and new, distinguishing from general color pointed patterns by the effect of silver coating, it’s created by coloration only of the tip of the hair. There are seal-silver-point, blue-silver-point and red-silver-point.
Very nice Neva Masquerade bicolor cats (with white) are the owners of white sock and white spots on the muzzle and stomach. White on the points is possible in any color, and the situation, form, size and symmetry of white spots are not regulated by the Standard.
Neva Masquerade has calm, balanced temper. Their owners have no problems with bad behavior of their pets: good manners are “in blood” of Neva cats and fixed at the genetic level. Kindly, friendly, very social cats like to talk “about life” with their owners, but never become obtrusive, they are self-respectful. As partners, they very like when people communicate with them as equals and value their extraordinary intellect. The females love liberty more and more independent, the males’ temper is softer and more flexible.
Neva cats are very unpretentious to conditions of living, easy adapt, get accustomed to the owner, not to the place: they can move with you from one place to another one if only favorite owner was with them. They have excellent immunity, very good health and long duration of life.
According to the breed standard with TICA (http://www.siberian-cat-breeder.com/siberian-breed-history.html), rating the breed on a scale of one to ten the Siberian rates the following:
Activity level – 6
Affection toward its owner – 7
Intelligence - 8
Playfulness – 8
Vocalism – 3
Independence - 6
Need for attention – 5
Docility – 3
Healthiness & hardiness - 9
Need for grooming – 3
Compatibility with children – 8
Compatibility with other pets – 8
There is a dispute about Neva Masquerade origin: nobody knows how the Siberians have got the color gene. According to the first version, it has appeared as a result of some crossing with color pointed cats such as Siamese, Balinese or Himalayan. Probably, this color is a consequence of ancestral recessive albinism.
The first Siberian color pointed cats were found in Leningrad in 1960. They were taken to homes from the streets and were considered as pets, but particular charm and noble appearance put the idea of the breed selection into someone’s head. Later on in the cat club “Kotofey” under Olga Mironova’s guidelines a selection of these cats began. In an honor of the nice city at the river Neva, which was famous for rich balls and masquerades, Siberian owners of fancy masks and luxury dresses were named “Neva Masquerade”. This poetic name was very successful and became naturalized quickly.
In 1987 the first cat show in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), organized by cat clubs “Kotofey” and “Kis”, took place: the first time Siberian cats were presented officially. Soon the purposeful breeding of Siberian color-points, started in Leningrad, was continued in Moscow, where it became the most popular.
In August 1990 the world social organization “Soviet Felinological Federation” (SFF) registered the Siberian breed with assignment of the code “SIB”. In the same time color pointed Siberian cats were recognized under the name “Neva Masquerade”. The official history of Neva cats has begun since this registration.
In 1992 WCF (World Cat Federation) recognized this breed; it was noted that Neva Masquerade are the color pointed cats.
Today, besides WCF, Neva Masquerade is recognized by TICA (The International Cat Association), ACFA (American Cat Fancier’s Association), GCCF (The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy), TCA (The Traditional Cat Association), CFF (Cat Fanciers Federation), MFA (World Felinological Association). CFA (Cat Fancier’s Association) admits Siberian color pointed cats to participate in cat shows only in so-called Miscellaneous class, where points for Championship are not awarded. Generally Neva Masquerade cats are considered as a pointed variation of Siberian cats. Unfortunately, not all international felinological organizations recognize the color pointed Siberian cats, unlike the traditional one. The standard of Neva Masquerade is been considering by FIFe (Fédération Internationale Féline), probably it will be accepted in the near future. But it can’t stop the true fanciers of Neva Masquerade in their love to these cats and in purposeful breeding.
Outside Russia the first Siberian color-points appeared in Germany in the end of 80s in the home of German breeders Hans and Betty Schulz. In Czech Republic Neva Masquerade cat was brought in by Jarmila Markova in 1992. To United States Siberian color pointed cats were presented by Dana Osborn in February 1997 and just in a year later the first Masquerade kittens appeared. Today Siberian color pointed cats are most popular in these countries; there is even monobreed clubs in Germany.
In Great Britain Neva Masquerade cats appeared only in 2001; there was even information about this event in newspapers. In 2003 the first cattery of Siberian color-point arose in South Korea, a great interest to our native breeds is shown by Republic of South Africa. “Triumph procession” of Neva cats in the World is continuing: if previously there were a few foreign Siberian catteries, now they appear by tens every year. Neva Masquerade cats take particular respect and are bought gladly by tempt foreign breeders. Today Siberian cats are the most exported cats from Russia, and the major part of them is color pointed cats.
In Russia Neva Masquerade is the most popular in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Unfortunately, in other big cities of Russia the catteries of Neva Masquerade are a rare phenomenon. As a rule, you can find solitary catteries in the European part of Russia: Smolensk, Obninsk, Kostroma, Perm, Yekaterinburg. In Siberia Neva Masquerade is almost unknown, there are catteries only in Novosibirsk and Omsk.
In Novosibirsk the first Neva Masquerade cat Taisia Valenor (a breeder Levchenko, Moscow) appeared in December 2003. She became an ancestor of the first and today only cattery of Siberian Neva Masquerade cats in Novosibirsk – “Ellbrante”.