Quite distinguished from the traditional Siberian cat is the Neva Masquerade, which is typically all white except for several “points” of black, grey or brown on its paws, face and ears. This type of coloring is referred to as “colorpoint” in the cat world. Its blue eyes are also a distinguishing characteristic as most traditional Siberians have green or yellow eyes.
Where did the Neva Masquerade Come From?
The fascinating history of the Neva Masquerade breed of cats is a testament to the ingenuity and passion of Russian cat breeders in the 1980s. These beautiful felines are the result of a carefully crafted cross-breeding program that combined the best traits of Siamese and Siberian cats to produce a unique and strikingly handsome cat.
The name “Neva Masquerade” is derived from the fact that these cats were first bred along the banks of the Neva River, which flows through the city of St. Petersburg in Russia. The area around the Neva River was famous for its masquerade parties, which were a popular form of entertainment among the aristocracy during the 18th and 19th centuries. The cats’ black and gray facial coloring is reminiscent of the masks worn by attendees of these glamorous events.
However, the origins of the Neva Masquerade breed are shrouded in some mystery. While it is widely accepted that the breed was the result of cross-breeding between Siamese and Siberian cats, some sources suggest that other breeds, such as Birman, Himalayan, and Balinese cats, were also used in the breeding process. The exact details of the breed’s development remain unclear, but what is certain is that the resulting cats are a unique and remarkable breed that has captured the hearts of cat lovers all over the world.
The Beauty of the Neva Masquerade
Indeed the Neva Masquerade is a gorgeous cat, and some breeders will exclusively breed this cat due to the high demand for its unique appearance. Perhaps the initial crossbreeding with Siamese by the Russians held this same intention; to capture the fine coat and physique of the Siberian and the blue eyes and colorpoint of the Siamese.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev owned a well-known Neva Masquerade named Dorofei, who was crowned the title of “First Pet” in 2008.
Neva Masquerades have even been given as diplomatic gifts by Russian officials. Vladamir Putin was reported gifting one to a Japanese governor, and Dmitry Medvedev giving one to the former Finnish President.
Unique in Appearance
The Neva Masquerade cat is a fascinating breed that has captured the hearts of cat lovers around the world. While they share many of the same characteristics as traditional Siberian cats, they have a few unique attributes that make them stand out from the crowd.
One of the most striking features of the Neva Masquerade is their white body, which is the result of a genetic mutation that affects the production of the pigment melanin. Specifically, these cats lack the enzyme tyrosinase, which is responsible for the production of melanin. This results in their distinctive white coat, which is a rarity among cat breeds.
In addition to their white coat, Neva Masquerades also have a unique colorpoint pattern that sets them apart from other Siberian cats. While some cats may have black, gray, or brown paws as part of their colorpoint pattern, others may have white paws in spite of their dark face and ears. This distinctive pattern adds to the cat’s overall beauty and charm, making them a popular choice among cat fanciers.
Despite their unique physical characteristics, Neva Masquerades share many of the same personality traits as traditional Siberian cats. They are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, as well as their intelligence and playfulness. They are also highly adaptable, making them an ideal pet for families with children or other pets.
Controversy About the Breed
Because Neva Masquerades are a cross-breed there is some dissension as to whether they are true Siberian cats or their own breed. Some of the largest cat shows present them as a color variety of Siberians, while other organizations claim they’re a separate breed and even a threat to the purity of the Siberian breed.
This argument stems from the fact that colorpoint is not present in the oldest and purest Siberian lines, which were free from human manipulation and observed in wild Siberians just a few decades ago.
Are Neva Masquerades Bred with Traditional Siberians?
Some breeders insist on only mating Neva Masquerades together to retain their distinguishing colorpoint, while others will breed one with a traditional Siberian to create more unique patterning and coloring.
Are They Still Hypoallergenic?
If you’re a cat lover who also happens to suffer from allergies, you may be wondering if the Neva Masquerade breed of cats is a good choice for you. While these cats are known for their stunning good looks and friendly personalities, many people are concerned about their potential to trigger allergic reactions due to their Siberian heritage.
The truth is, like all cats, the Neva Masquerade can differ in their Fel-d1 levels, which is the protein that’s responsible for allergies in humans. While it’s logical to assume that the breed would have higher allergens due to being a crossbreed, this isn’t always the case. In fact, some Neva Masquerades that have been tested have shown extremely low levels of Fel-d1, while others have shown high levels.
It’s important to note that each cat is unique, and the Fel-d1 levels can vary depending on a number of factors, including genetics, age, and environment. Some Neva Masquerades may be hypoallergenic and cause fewer allergies in humans, while others may be more allergenic and cause more reactions. It’s also worth mentioning that allergies to cats are complex and can be influenced by a number of factors beyond Fel-d1, such as dander and saliva.
Types of Coloring
- Seal Point & Seal Lynx Point: A cream/white body with dark brown or black points and can have white paws.
- Silver Blue Lynx Point: Off-white/white body with blueish/grey points with stripes and can have white paws.
- Blue Point & Blue Lynx Point: Cream body with blueish/grey points and can have white paws.
- Seal Tabby Golden Shaded: Cream/apricot body with beige/brown points.