The Neva Masquerade
The Neva Masquerade is a semi-long haired offshoot of the Siberian cat breed, a native of Russia. As expected this cat has or should have a triple coat to cope with cold weather. But unlike a Persian it can keep its own coat in shape, although it does appreciate a little help.
Why is this cat placed here under Siamese cat-related breeds?
Simply because breeders have bred the cat with pointed coats: you can now buy a robust cat with the colors we so adore in our Siamese.
Nobody is putting their hand up to admit direct crossing of a Siamese with a Siberian cat. They imply that native ferals around the Neva River near St Petersburg carried the pointing gene and these mated with the Siberian.
Whether this is true or not, back in the 18th century, German zoologist and botanist Peter Pallas (1741-1811) did mention seeing some cats that would appear to match what we know to be dark sealpoints in Russia. Of course these may have simply been imported or traded via ships visiting Asia. Or perhaps they are just a spontaneous mutation.
The feral story may be true – or perhaps breeders helped nature along a bit… We may never know, but the outcome is a striking cat – big-boned, strong, with a big fur coat, and built for hardiness.
And you should see the kittens – real calendar pin-up material, the result of generations of natural selection and the survival of the fittest.
There are some breeders of the Siberian cat breed that object to the introduction of Siamese cat genes into their traditional Russian cat strain. They say that it dilutes the very hardiness and special triple coat that distinguishes their breed from others. Also it has to be said that the Neva Masquerade also runs off with the prizes at the expense of the native cat.
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