THE FIGG&PROWLE WAY

Siberian cat FAQ

Thank you so much for wanting to learn more! Please read through our guide, and let us know if you have any other questions.

Frequently asked questions

Be it cat knowledge, help with food or behavior, or any other reason, we urge you to reach us using our contact form, or email us at wotcher at figgandprowle dot com. In the meantime, here’s a list of questions we are frequently asked, with some helpful answers.

ABOUT SIBERIAN CATS
What are Siberians like?

They’re fantastic – but are they the best choice for you?

Siberians are truly unique. We didn’t quite believe it either, before they arrived, but they really are as different from the typical American “pet cat” as one breed of dog is different from another.

They are fluffy and gorgeous, but more than that they’re confident, easygoing, and sociable. When one of our dogs runs into the room, our rescue cats jump for the corners and the cat trees; our Siberian cats open one eye and purr a little louder.

Siberians adore people, especially kids, but are never obnoxious and demanding. They love to be touching you, but they’d rather walk beside you (and probably encourage you to head toward the treat jar) than be carried. They’re incredibly clever; they can open doors and even drawers, but once they’ve got the drawers open they tend to just luxuriously snuggle in them rather than cause any trouble.

They change their clothes for summer and winter. The winter coat is the one you’ve probably seen in pictures – a wide thick ruff, full tail, and lots of hair everywhere. In the spring, they shed that coat almost completely. The summer coat is only medium-long; in some cats it can almost look like they’re short-haired. Then in the fall the warm clothes come out again.

They adore toys and will do amazing acrobatics and flips for wands and teasers.

If you dream of a soft, round, reading-on-the-window-seat cat who comes alive when the toys are brought out, the Siberian may be the perfect fit.

Are Siberians hypoallergenic?

This is a tough question to answer – the most accurate statement is “maybe.”

Siberians as a breed have somewhat lower Fel d 1 levels than other breeds. Fel d 1 is one of the major allergens that make people get itchy and sneezy, so for some people a Siberian can trigger fewer allergic reactions.

However, even the lowest-allergen Siberian will have more than enough to trigger reactions in those who are really sensitive, and the allergen levels in each cat go up and down based on diet, stress, hormones, etc.

If you have mild cat allergies, Siberians may be a perfect answer for your family. If you have major allergies, or have ever had a life-threatening reaction to a cat, you will probably still react to a Siberian, and we’d honestly recommend that you not put yourself at risk by trying.

How big do Siberian cats get?

Siberians are heavy cats – when fully mature, you should expect 12-17 pounds for males; females will be around 8-13 pounds. They’re not supposed to be oversized or cartoonishly large like a Maine Coon, though – if Maine Coons are the Great Danes of the cat world, Siberians are the bullmastiffs.

Siberians are heavier than they look, with big solid bone, round heads and bellies, and a lot of muscle. They grow slowly and mature over a full four or five years. Males typically put on about a pound a month until they are a year old, and then add their last four or five pounds over the next few years. Females at their first birthday are usually under ten pounds, and still very much kittens. By three they have their full size, but continue to bulk up until age five.

Beware of breeders who guarantee a 20+ pound cat – a 20-pound Siberian is likely overweight, which is not healthy.

How should I introduce a new kitten to our home?

Our Siberian kittens are friendly and outgoing, but when they arrive to you they’ll be a bit like human four-year-olds – easily overstimulated, needing regular naps, and craving a healthy routine. It can be incredibly scary to be brought into a new home and expected to get to know everyone and everything all at once.

The right way to introduce a kitten is with a “soft quarantine” – a comfortable room that is just the kitten’s, with no other animals allowed, but with lots of human interaction. A bedroom with a door that can be closed, a basement family room, a home office, or similar is ideal. Let the kitten feel protected and safe, and let her explore this room at her own pace for at least a week. After this point you can open the door with a baby gate between the kitten and the rest of the house, so that existing cats, dogs, and visitors can meet her but not overwhelm her. Once she is asking for the gate to be open, do so for short periods. Before you know it, she’ll have the run of the house and be the confident, social little creature she has the potential to be.

We will always be available to support any issues if they arise.

What kind of grooming do Siberian cats and kittens need?

Siberians don’t require extensive grooming, but they’ll get mats and tangles if their coats are neglected.

If you buy a kitten from us, he or she will have been groomed regularly and won’t panic when combs and brushes come out, but any cat can decide that grooming isn’t their favorite activity.

You should plan on buying a smooth-toothed comb and a polished-tine slicker brush, and comb every inch of your cat about once a week. Nails should also be clipped every week or two.

If you find that schedule to be too overwhelming, or your cat hates it and makes you very stressed about grooming, there’s nothing wrong with using a professional groomer for a bath and a deep grooming once a month or so. It’s not a luxury or an indulgence to outsource that particular chore!

ABOUT FIGG & PROWLE
How do I reserve a kitten?

Almost all of our young prospects are reserved before they are born. If you (or your young witch or wizard) see a litter you are interested in, please send us a message through our contact us form below, or email us directly.

We reserve four kittens per litter for new families; if there is not a kitten available in the litter, you will automatically move to the next litter. If you think we may be a good fit for your family, the next step is to fill out an application contract. Approved families will then be allowed to give a non-refundable deposit ($500), which is considered a first payment toward the kitten’s purchase price.

The remaining payments are due before the kitten is delivered to your family; unfortunately, we cannot offer payment plans that extend after the delivery date.

How does my new kitten come home?

You will be responsible for the cost of taking custody of your kitten. You are welcome to fly in to a New England airport (Boston Logan, Manchester NH, or Portland ME) and pick up your new family member. We will gladly meet you at the airport or at a location convenient to both of us.

If you would prefer to have your kitten couriered to you, we can arrange the services of a trusted pet nanny.

For many years, we successfully and safely shipped via air cargo. Air cargo is not cruel or dangerous, and most young animals just sleep through the whole thing. Unfortunately, with the changes in airline animal shipping rules, the expense and regulatory layers to ship via cargo have made it impossible for most families. Courier services are the best compromise that we’ve found.

Every kitten will be individually health checked no more than ten days before traveling, and will receive a veterinary health certificate.

What’s included in the purchase fee?

We’re committed to making sure you bring home an affectionate, socialized pet that has been well-cared for and prepared for a wonderful life with you.

Veterinary physical exam and age-appropriate vaccinations and treatments.
Before they leave for your new home, every cat is given a minimum of two FVRCP vaccinations and an initial rabies vaccination. All cats over 6 months are tested for FIV/FeLV. Regular worming has been done, all kittens are treated preventively for coccidia and giardia, and we give an initial anti-flea treatment even though we do not have fleas in our home.

Spay/Neuter.
We offer free spay/neuter at the preference of the new owners. If new owners choose not to take advantage of this free surgery, they must spay or neuter their kitten before the age of sexual maturity. No discount is associated with refusing the surgery.

Microchip and ID tags.
All kittens will be microchipped and the new owners given registration information.

TICA registration
Kittens who have been spayed or neutered will be sent home with TICA registration. Those whose owners alter them will receive TICA registration after proof of spay/neuter.

Two-year inherited condition health warranty
If your kitten is diagnosed before its second birthday with an inherited condition that will substantially shorten its life, we will replace the kitten.

Our support for life
If your cat or kitten ever needs a home, or if you need advice or help, we’re here.

Prices for Figg & Prowle Siberian cats

Retired breeding cats under three years of age: $1000

Retired breeding cats three years and up: $500

Kittens up to one year old: $1700

Our health warranty
  • We warranty every kitten against inherited disorders for 24 months from birth.
  • If your kitten is diagnosed with an inherited disorder (defined as a disorder with a known heritability index equal to or greater than 0.5) that in the opinion of a vet will result in a substantially shortened lifespan (defined as less than half a normal lifespan, which we assume to be age 15) before he or she turns two, we will replace the kitten, no questions asked.
  • You must submit a written report from your veterinarian, which we will discuss with our veterinarian. At our discretion, we may request that you get a second opinion from a veterinarian teaching hospital (usually your closest veterinary university).
  • The replacement kitten will be completely free and will be of a quality equal to or greater than the original kitten. You do not have to return the first kitten (now cat) to us. You do not have to make any treatment decision that you do not feel comfortable with. The first cat remains yours, and the replacement will be yours also. You will be responsible only for shipping expenses, if necessary, for the replacement kitten to arrive to you.
  • In addition, we will replace any kitten with the following conditions:
    – A disease that we told you we vaccinated for, if it shows up within a week or so of bringing the cat home and IF you quarantined perfectly (quarantine procedures will be explained to you when you buy your kitten).
    – A heavy worm load that is dangerous to the kitten, showing no/poor worming practices
    – Any falsified paperwork or falsified DNA testing
What is not covered by the warranty?

Contagious conditions:

  • A positive fecal (kitten has some worms) that is not dangerous. We use a rigorous worming schedule based on best practices from veterinary research, but no worming kills absolutely everything.
  • Positive test for coccidia – it’s normal in every kitten’s intestines. Stress brings the symptoms out. Breeders can’t control the stress of you bringing the kitten to a new home. We preventively treat every kitten for coccidia, but once the kitten is in your home it may flare. Giardia is similar – whether you know it or not, you have giardia around your house. Guaranteed. If your dog brings mud or puddle water inside the house, the cat walks through it and licks his paws, the cat is going to get giardia. Most cats can handle it without major symptoms, but stress and travel will make it flare.
  • Ringworm – again, like coccidia, some fungus on the skin is normal; breakouts are stress. Never accept a kitten from any breeder – including us – without looking it over thoroughly and being content with the condition of your new baby. If you did so and did not see any signs of ringworm, and the kitten has always looked healthy at her house, the stress of the move probably made it happen. Be prepared to deal with it.
  • Tritrichomonas – this tiny parasite (which looks a lot like giardia and may be misdiagnosed as giardia) is very difficult to control in cat breeder situations. It’s incredibly contagious and very difficult to treat effectively. We use raised litterboxes and treat every incoming cat for tritrichomonas, but it would be almost impossible to guarantee that there is none of it here. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to hurt cats – the major effect is a distinctive nasty odor to the litterbox until the cat clears the infection on its own. That makes it unpleasant but not dangerous. If your kitten from us has symptoms, we will discuss treatment with your vet and will help you get through the process.
  • Any contagious disease that comes weeks or months after bringing the kitten home, long after we or any breeder could have anything to do with it.

Non-contagious conditions:

  • FIP – NOBODY can predict or perfectly control FIP. As breeders, we’d move heaven and earth if we could prevent FIP. We can’t. FIP is a random and unpredictable mutation of the harmless coronavirus. No one knows why it mutates in some cats and not in others. Sometimes it appears to cluster, with multiple cats diagnosed, but that’s more a function of bad luck than science. FIP most commonly shows up in teenager cats, between four and twelve months. Because we understand that having a cat diagnosed with FIP is incredibly heartbreaking, we will replace any kitten diagnosed within a few months of purchase, even though we do not believe FIP is preventable.
  • HCM – We have done our absolute best to prevent HCM in the kittens we sell. Every parent cat is DNA tested for all known HCM mutations, and every breeding cat is heart-scanned as an adult. However, feline heart disease is a common disorder in all cats – not just purebreds and not just Siberians. There’s no evidence, honestly, that even our heart scans actually prevent the disease from being passed on. Because we understand that HCM is a big deal, we will replace any kitten diagnosed via echocardiogram with moderate to severe HCM before its first birthday, even though we do not believe all HCM is preventable.

Congenital or other conditions that are not inherited and which we could not have prevented or diagnosed:

  • We health test our cats, do our absolute best to breed healthy kittens, and we have every kitten checked by a vet at least twice. We work hard to make sure that we’ve given you the absolute best chance at a long and thriving life. However, cats are living things. We can’t guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen or that there’s nothing that will ever change your cat’s life. We ask that you understand that we can’t stop every bad thing that could possibly happen. What we can promise is that if something unpredictable happens we’ll be there with you and for you and your cat every step of the way – we’re happy to talk with your vet, refer you to specialists, help with treatment plans, and be a friend and partner.

 

What does your name mean?

Thank you for asking! Figg and Prowle is what we imagined a familiar cat shop would be named in Diagon Alley – because we’re serious Potter fans and because it allows us to protect our privacy online.

We post as Jocasta Prowle and Artemis Figg because the online world can be somewhat unfriendly, especially to those with disabilities.

But we are really Siberian cat breeders and we really are TICA members. All the photos of our cats are really photos of our actual cats (or kittens).

Don’t worry; with our owners and potential owners we are very transparent, and of course our contracts are valid and legal.

Thank you for understanding a choice that lets us meet the needs of our special-needs family members who may otherwise be vulnerable.

How old will my kitten be when it comes home?

We never want to let a kitten go before it is ready. They generally need their moms for a full eight weeks, and then they benefit greatly from being with their siblings and our older cats for another few weeks.

We spay or neuter and give their rabies shots at twelve weeks; once they are completely healed from surgery, generally 1-2 weeks later, they’re ready to join your family.

Do you socialize your Siberian kittens?

The difference between a scared or skittish Siberian kitten and a stable, social one is socialization.

Kittens raised alone in a room, no matter how pleasant or entertaining that room is, will be scared and startled when they hear or see something unfamiliar. Socialization means exposing the kitten – gently and steadily – to many new things, new sounds, new people, and new situations so that they welcome new experiences and are not scared of them.

We invest many, many hours over the weeks your kitten is here ensuring that they have positive exposure during their most formative weeks. We raise them with many other animals, small and big cats, smells and sounds, and humans from young to old.

Can I come visit and hang out with your cats?

After some unfortunate experiences we are not open to the public anymore. For many years, we’ve welcomed families to meet kittens, and then ran around after them with mop buckets and disinfectants. However, we no longer believe having prospective families here willy-nilly is safe or a good idea. Your shoes, clothes, and even hands are sources of viruses, giardia, coccidia, and bacterial infections, and no amount of bleaching and care can keep our kittens safe.

If we don’t have unvaccinated kittens here at the house, we will be happy to have you meet older litters and adults. If we have new kittens, however, we simply can’t. You’ll of course be able to meet the litter at eight weeks to make your deposit pick, and you’ll meet us in person to accept your kitten when it is ready to come to your home.

What health care will my kitten receive while at your house?

We applaud you for asking – this is such an important question.

We begin with daily checks and charting of weights and development in the newborn days; the kittens are born with supervision and are monitored 24/7. We supplement any kitten who is not gaining well, and we handle them many times a day. We begin a veterinarian-approved worming program at a few weeks of age, and we wean to raw food and then kitten kibble at the appropriate age. Your kitten will get a health check (heart, eyes, ears, skin, etc.) when first vaccines are given at eight weeks. They get another check when they are spayed or neutered at 12 weeks, and a final comprehensive exam with veterinarian-signed health certificate before they travel to you. We never skimp on care – we know how important it is for you to come home with a healthy kitten. All kittens will be microchipped before going to their new homes.

ABOUT BUYING A KITTEN FROM US
Do you have kittens ready to go right now?

We breed carefully and only occasionally, so we may not have anything ready to go into new homes. If we do, we’ll announce it on the front page of the site.

If you’re sure you want to get a kitten from us, a deposit is the best way to secure your spot and make sure that the next litter has a kitten for you.

How do I get on the waiting list?

Send in an application. If we approve your application, we’ll invite you to make a deposit on the next available litter. Once you’re on the list we’ll keep you updated every step of the way – through the breeding, pregnancy, kittening, and growth.

Why is the deposit nonrefundable?

A deposit reserves a slot in a litter for you and you alone. When a pick order is reserved for you, it is taken off the market, so to speak. You are going to get a kitten – you’re just waiting for the litter finish nursing and learning all necessary life skills from their mom, and get ready for his or her new home. If others call and are interested in that litter, I tell them that all the picks are reserved and that they will not be getting a kitten from that litter.

The reason deposits are nonrefundable is that canceling actually costs us quite a bit of money. We do not sell kittens lightly, so we will now spend a huge amount of time not only advertising the kitten (photographing, publishing, etc.) but in new communication with a new possible families. The kitten may also drop in value, if several weeks have gone past.

Our deposit is $500 and may be paid at any point, before or after the litter is born. We take no more than four reservations for any litter before it is born. Most of the time we are reserving one kitten for ourselves, so that means three slots are open. After our pick, first deposit gets first pick of kittens. If you are special-needs homes – that is, a home with disabled, senior, or specific circumstances, we’d encourage you to leave a deposit sooner, so that we can be watching for the particular combination of qualities that would be a good match for your home.

The kitten I want says it is reserved already. What do I do?

It’s always worth sending us a quick note – sometimes the website hasn’t been updated recently and that kitten has become available. If not, we can let you know when we next expect a litter that will be similar in terms of color and appearance.

How much are your Siberian kittens?
  • Health exams
  • Fully immunized
  • FeLV/FIV guaranteed negative
  • Fully wormed, free from parasites
  • Spayed or neutered at your choice
  • Microchipped
  • Pedigreed and registered
  • Two-year inherited condition warranty

 

Our kittens start at $1700, which includes all of the above.

Prices of Siberian kittens vary a great deal across the country and around the world. Some of the difference reflects veterinary costs – highest in the American Northeast, lowest in the South. Much of it is simply where breeders feel comfortable and what kind of buyers they want to attract.

We do not make a profit on our kittens; every penny goes into making the cats’ lives great. But when we say that, we want you to understand that great care is very, very expensive. All too often, we’ve seen breeders make the mistake of charging low prices because they feel awkward or guilty about asking even as much as they put in to the cats.

Every breeder is caring for more than just their actively breeding cats – there are rescues, retirees, special needs, and beloved pets who all need vetting and feeding and housing and love. As a result, when breeders keep their prices “affordable,” they’re constantly forced to cut corners in the way they care for their cats. We’ve been to breeder homes and seen fifty thousand dollars worth of cats eating Big Lots food and nursing gorgeous kittens in breeding cages made of old fencing and half a piano.

We live quite simply ourselves, in a small house in New England. But our cats (and dogs) get the best, and only the best. From clean and comfortable housing to food and enrichment and a rotation of new toys and treats, we make sure their lives are interesting, healthy, fun, and enjoyable.

We also donate generously, from every kitten sale, to cat-related causes. We support charities including St. Francis in South Africa and other in-need spay/neuter programs.

When is the purchase price due?

Most families split the payment into three portions:

Deposit: $500 nonrefundable, which keeps your order in terms of picking a kitten from the litter of your choice.

Payment after picking your kitten: at 8-9 weeks old, half of the remaining amount plus any transport fees is due. You’ll also fill out and sign our contract at this point. This payment will be refunded if for any reason we can’t supply your kitten (which has never happened, but we want to protect you in that rare case).

The final payment is due shortly before transport or personal pickup. The final bill of sale is signed by both of us when you meet us or our courier. You will also receive a Health Certificate with your kitten.

Should I buy one or two kittens?

Our advice with kittens is very different from our advice with puppies. Two puppies at the same time is a terrible idea, but two kittens is a wonderful one.

Unfortunately, your existing cat or cats are often not suitable companions for kittens. Older cats rarely welcome a kitten right away; they need weeks or months to get used to the new addition. Having a brother or sister makes the transition to a new home easier, and can blunt some of the constant energy and pesky behavior that make kittens difficult for older cats to handle.

If you are going to bring home one, be prepared to fill that kitten’s hours with activity and to protect your older cat(s) from being pestered. If you bring home two, we recommend a boy and a girl or two boys. If you prefer two girls, we’d encourage you to talk with us about adopting a girl kitten and her mother. That is the pairing that tends to get along best over the long term.

Should I buy a girl kitten or a boy kitten?

The answer is: Yes!

We think the best answer is one of each – as we explain in the question about whether to get one or two kittens.

If you prefer one kitten, then the choice between male and female is not something you should worry about overly. The differences between kittens, and which personality appeals to you, is much more important than the difference between male and female.

In general, males are going to be much bigger than females, though they’re all nice big stocky cats. Females are loving, sweet, and seek out attention; they’re soft and extremely pretty. Males are a little more physical, vocal, and like to keep track of everybody in the house – they don’t like closed doors and will spend a lot of time (and meowing!) convincing you that doors should be open.

You really can’t go wrong with either one, so take home the one that grabs your heart.

What should I buy for my new kitten?
  • First and foremost, every prospective owner will be responsible for sending a cat carrier to us in order to bring their kitten home safely. We ask that this carrier be crash tested, and we recommend Sleepypod Mobiles. We use the Sleepypod Mobile bottom halves as kitten beds during the last week before your kitten comes home, so they will journey in a familiar, comforting space with no stress.
  • Cat toilet or litter box. Your kitten will have been raised with a non-clumping clay litter for its first weeks of life, and then switched to a pad-type system. We recommend whatever system you’ll find easiest to keep clean and sanitary, changing frequently.
  • Food and bowls: We feed Pro Plan dry. Extremely young kittens are started on Royal Canin mousse, and then switched to Pro Plan canned. We’ll give you a generous supply to take home, as well as coupons for your next purchases. You are welcome to switch foods carefully and slowly, but we request that you stick to a research-based company that produces a tested food. Most “boutique” brands are not trustworthy.
  • It can be tempting to buy adorable bowl sets – and of course we want you to have a good time shopping! – but we recommend that you buy rather plain bowls that can be cleaned and sanitized and rotated daily. Stainless pet bowls may look industrial, but they are practical and encourage frequent changes.
  • Cat fountains are great as long as they are cleaned regularly and filters are changed frequently.
  • Scratching post/pad: Cardboard scratchers are inexpensive and easy to replace. Larger carpet scratchers may last longer, but not all cats and kittens like them. Make sure you have at least one option in each room. The more scratchers you have, the less likely your couch or wall will be chosen to experiment with.
  • Shampoo: Your kitten will be accustomed to regular baths, and we believe grooming is crucial to good health. We use and prefer Chris Christensen products: Clean Start and Spectrum One.
  • Brushes and combs: Siberian cats shed absolute buckets twice a year, when they change from summer to winter coats and back again. We recommend that at minimum you have a smooth-toothed comb (often called a buttercomb or greyhound comb) and a polished-pin slicker brush for releasing tangles.
  • Nail trimmer: An absolute must. Scissor-type trimmers are suitable for cats.
  • Toys: Remember that your kitten is a little child! They should have plenty to play with, and rotating toys so that they get a “new” or unfamiliar toy every few days is a great idea. Siberian kittens are very instinctive hunters – they love wands and bird toys and mice, and will play with rolling balls for many minutes at a time.

With a good care of a kitten you will get not only a pet in the house, but also a happy friend ready to share its love and affection with you and your family!

Do I have to get my kitten spayed or neutered?

YES, without question – every kitten who leaves here will either be spayed or neutered before they leave or must be altered before nine months of age.

Most of our owners choose to take advantage of our free spay/neuter at 12 weeks. Some owners, however, prefer to wait until their kittens are more mature. We support that choice, and in that case we request that you alter your cat before he or she reaches sexual maturity. Females come into season as young as six months, and males can breed as young as nine or ten months, so plan accordingly.