Druzh magazine №5 2003

The scope of the discussion that unfolded around the Neva masquerade cat, for me personally, is unexpected. In my opinion, each of the points of view has a right to exist. It is only a pity that a few years ago, when one of the first standards of this breed was adopted, Siberian breeders did not quite imagine the consequences of this decision. Even then, I expressed the opinion that the “exotic” appearance of the nevaks will allow them to gain more popularity than the modestly painted Siberians. Indeed, this happened: for a person unfamiliar with the standards and rules of breeding, the Siberian cat is “simple, it runs around the streets full of them”; Why buy kittens “what can you catch”? As for the appearance of Neva cats – “it’s immediately obvious that the cat is thoroughbred”, according to the same ordinary visitors to the exhibitions. And hardly Mary Ivanna or Uncle Petya will believe,What was about to happen happened – smart, large, fluffy cats of a rare color with blue eyes became more in demand than modest striped, but truly indigenous.I want to make a reservation right away, I love all cats – thoroughbred and not purebred – and I think that any healthy well-groomed cat is beautiful.

The conversation is not about that I am against the breeding of new breeds. I am for! But I – for competent breeding, for a professional, reasonable approach to breeding, in which other breeds would not be infringed, their gene pool would not be eroded and the pedigree fund would not be reduced.Once I was very skeptical of the Don Sphynxes, it was worth seeing how breeding was conducted in some hlubbs – with cats of this experimental breed all cats were bred, with any type of bone, with any shape of the head. The question “why?” Probably did not arise. To the credit of the leading clubs and breeders, the current state of the Don Sphynx breed does not inspire such fears: mating began to be selected correctly, the type was fixed, the animals became more of the same type.

Unfortunately, this cannot be said about the Siberians, it is time to write them in the Red Book – the breed is disappearing. Open catalogs of previous exhibitions – how many cats of Siberian breed were exhibited then! And they not only participated in the shows, they won at Bestax, they were promoted, they were loved by both judges and pubik. Now, alas, the breed is forgotten, units of enthusiasts work with Siberians, many nurseries with excellent producers stop working. In no case do I want to look for those responsible for this situation, but the Siberian breed needs protection – this is a fact.

It is especially unpleasant for me as a Russian person that in the debate we forgot about what had to be done a long time ago: to notify all felinological associations that only the standard of Russian clubs (the question is, which one is true) can be legitimate, legal at all exhibitions and all systems. In the West, only the lazy do not write standards for Siberians: Italians, Germans, French … Siberians are exhibited from the pedigree of any clubs in Europe and any type, foreign experts do not always clearly understand the standard and requirements for Siberians.

Instead of telling the breeders of the whole world what the national Russian breed should be, teach them, bring them to our breeding plan, our breeders are proud of something else – their Siberian cat cattery is registered in America !!! Can you imagine a breeder of American Maine Coon who, for the sake of selling his kittens to Russia, registers his cattery in Russia? Of course not! Because they have self-esteem and national pride, and we? Okay, when Siberian cats are called Julieps and Jean Pierre, it’s even cooler: pedigree nasibiryachku – in English and on American letterhead. A shame!From the very first exhibitions in Russia, felinologists took up the formation of the Siberian breed. Initially, selection was conducted with unknown origin, breeders and experts determined the general features of the exterior in order to make an approximate standard of the Siberian breed on their basis. To our good fortune, experienced judges from Europe also helped us in this work, who knew and judged for a long time other native breeds of SEMI-LONG-haired cats, for example, Jean Paul Maas from Holland (his judicial experience in the breeds of this group is more than 25 years). A world-class expert, a journalist specializing in cat genetics, he explained to us the difference between “native” and “cultural” breeds. The former are formed on the basis of a population prevailing in a given country or locality, while cultural breeds are created artificially, with the surging blood of animals of other breeds, in order to fix any sign (color, type, etc.).

However, this fundamental provision is not taken into account by some breeders and experts.In many of my articles and speeches, I have repeatedly criticized (this is the task of an expert!) Persians for skull deformations, the Eastern group for the middle type, and Scottish folds for poorly pressed ears and inflexible tails. The breeders of these breeds, even if they didn’t agree, argued their position, realizing that the judge does not scold the breed, but indicates the disadvantages of breeding.Therefore, I want to emphasize again: the conversation is not about “like – not like”, “bad – good” breed. In my opinion, the problem is that there are certain differences between Siberian and Neva cats, and breeding between them does not benefit posterity.The history of the emergence of native and cultural breeds reflected on the principles of their breeding: the main thing in aborigines is to preserve the “natural” appearance of the animal, not to introduce features that are not characteristic of it.

No wonder the analogues of our Siberians – Norwegian Forest and Maine Coons – do not have point colors, lilac, chocolate and ticked. You can experiment with cultural breeds – crossing with Persians gave the British colorful colors, the addition of Rex blood gave the orientals a scheme of bicolors, mating burmese and chinchillas gave burmill, etc. Nevertheless, there is a steady tendency in the world to distinguish between point colors and basic colors: in the Persian breed, breeders try not to knit Persians with color points, In the USA, according to the rules of the Cat Fanciers Association (the largest American Association of Cat Lovers), Persians of color are selected in a separate breed – Himalayan. With the exact same standard (except for color), Siamese and Orientals are two different breeds.

As for the spread of the Siamese gene across the territory of Russia to imported cats (the famous cats of Obraztsov), this is unlikely. In addition to the often quoted Pallas (who allegedly saw a cat of this color in Russia in the 17th century), it seems that no one else saw or noticed this cat (these cats). No information about cats of Siamese color is found either in literature, or in folklore, or in painting, or in memoirs of that time. Only striped, gray, white, particolor, etc. In no case, not wanting to question the words of such a respected scientist, I venture to suggest that he was just very lucky, he saw a very rare color, not characteristic of the population of Russian cats. (Indeed, in science there is the concept of quantitative analysis and it is hardly possible to build hypotheses on isolated facts.)So, in my opinion, there is a difference in the origin of Siberian and Neva cats (Siberians are derived from the aboriginal population, Neva cats with the addition of old-type Persians of color in some cases and Thai cats in others). As a result, the types of these cats are so different (coat structure, skeleton, head shape, eye shape, etc.).

BUT this was indicated in their articles by breeders, so I will not repeat it.Why do we need to separate these two breeds? – This is a question that I am asked quite often. It seems to me that the separation of Siberian cats and Neva cats will allow breeders to better unleash the potential inherent in both, and the types of animals will not mix with each other, which does not improve either one or the other. Siberian breeders will be able to improve the type of their cats, separating them into a separate breed will give them the opportunity to participate more in exhibitions and at Bestax. On the other hand, breeders of Neva cats will fix those signs that are the most interesting and promising in this breed.

In May 2002, the International Felinological Association held an exhibition of a new format – Best in Show, not in four groups of breeds, but in all breeds presented at the exhibition separately (for more information on the IPA website and in N ~ 11 of the Friend magazine for 2002 g.). We were very pleased that excellent Siberian cats were present and defeated at the exhibition. The MFA will continue to hold exhibitions according to such rules, and in the spring of 200Z we hope to see a greater number of our dear Siberians who will no doubt decorate any exhibition. We also invite Neva cat breeders – according to IPA rules they will be presented as a separate breed with a Best in Show separate from the Siberians.

A great opportunity for breeders to show all the beauty and charm of their wards.IFA expert – Elena SHEVCHENKOPS An article by E. Shevchenko, “Again About Siberians and Nevaks,” offered to our readers in this issue of the magazine, we end the discussion between supporters and opponents of separating Neva masquerade cats into a separate breed.