No, it’s not a fancy feline off to a party in Venice (although it does sound like it, doesn’t it?). There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of this curious kind of kitty before. But by the time you’ve finished this article, you’ll have learned all the things you never knew you needed to know.
If you’re a bit more up-to-date on your Siberian cat colors, there’s a chance the quirky name of this kitty is ringing bells, though. It’s a truly beautiful specimen, prized for its good looks and great temperament.
But don’t let me give it all away in the beginning — take a dive into this article on the Neva Masquerade cat and become an expert on them in no time.
9 Things to know about the Neva Masquerade Cat
1. A Bit of History
You’d think this was a breed that sat alongside the likes of the Rum Tum Tugger and Mr. Mistopheles, but no, T.S. Eliot isn’t responsible for cooking up this fancy feline. So where did this rare kitty come from, exactly?
The first ones were established around 1970 and were the result of cross-breeding Siberian cats with Siamese cats in Russia. The goal was to have the physique and fine long coat of the Siberian with the blue eyes and colorpoint of the Siamese. The breed is named after the Neva River near St. Petersburg, the area in Russia where it was first developed and, coincidentally, a lot of masquerade parties took place.
The black or grey coloring on the Neva Masquerade’s face was reminiscent of the masks worn by party-goers. As the breed was developed, Russian officials began to give them as diplomatic gifts due to their rarity.
Image by Castell3 from Pixabay
2. How Common Are Neva Masquerade Cats?
They’re pretty rare, especially outside of Russia. There are a few select breeders in the US, but they’re few and far between, so litters are less common. However, people do pay big bucks to have these pretty kitties imported if their heart is so set on having one.
If you’re determined to find one in America, you won’t see one of these pretties sitting in a shelter, so you’ll need to seek out a breeder with an established colorpoint in their dams and sires. Expect to have to put your name on a waiting list or three for a kitten with the right coloring to pop up.
Their price range is higher than that of a standard purebred cat, sitting between $800 – $1,200.
3. Controversy About the Breed
Some organizations don’t recognize the Neva Masquerade as a separate breed but rather as a sub-breed of Siberians because of their numerous similarities. The main differences are in the distinct pointed colorings that people love, so they’re often categorized as Siberians with different colorations.
On the other hand, there are some parties that are willing to accept it as a stand-alone breed. Whether you recognize it officially or not, it doesn’t change how much you’ll love your beautiful furry friend.
Just as Maine Coons coat patterns are what they’re prized for, Neva Masquerade cats are beloved for their unique colors.
These gorgeous rarities amongst felines typically have all-white bodies with several color points of brown, black, or blue-ish grey on their paws, face, and ears. Professionals discern these colors with proper terms such as seal, Tabby golden shaded, and silver blue lynx.
Image Kelian Ppleger from Pexels
Their eyes are always blue, thanks to the albino Siamese gene. They also lack the enzyme tyrosinase, which produces melanin, resulting in their white body fur. While they always have ear and face color points, there’s the possibility that your Neva Masquerade might have white paws instead of colored ones.
5. What is Their Temperament?
Neva Masquerade cats tend to have the personality of the Siberian breed and are described as “dog-like” with a canine’s devotion to their human. They’re playful, love to engage with people, and are super friendly. They’re a bit bigger than average, usually reaching 10 – 20 pounds.
They’re also pretty active cats, so if you can’t keep up with their energy you might have to invest in some engaging toys like a laser pointer to keep them entertained and engaged. They have a high intelligence level and are happy to learn tricks because they’re people-orientated.
They’ll even walk on a leash, too. Of course, the earlier you start training them, the better. Don’t forget that they can have a stubborn streak in them, so they might not always respond to training unless there’s something in it for them.
This breed is known for being a bit of an obnoxious loudmouth, though — they give zero fluffs about talking loudly and often. Hey, it can be pretty cute and it makes for some fun TikToks. But if you’re looking for a quiet, lazy lump that’ll lie happily in the sunshine all day on your couch, this isn’t the cat for you.
6. Are They Hypoallergenic?
The answer is that they can be. Levels of the Fel-d1 protein in our cute kitties are what’s responsible for the allergic response in humans, and while Siberians have low levels of this protein, Siamese cats don’t.
Image by Jasmine Pang from Pexels
This has resulted in a mix of hypoallergenic traits in Neva Masquerade cats. Some take after their Siberian ancestors and have tested with very low levels of Fel-d1, while others have tested with high levels.
So depending on the cat and which genetic component they’ve picked up, you may or may not end up with a hypoallergenic kitty. If both parents are hypoallergenic, though, there’s a higher chance the kittens will be too.
7. How Much Grooming Do They Need?
They’re a long-haired breed, so grooming will have to become a regular part of your (and their) life. They’re actually one of the few breeds whose coats change length through the seasons, which can make grooming a little complicated.
Their summer coats are shorter and often don’t require any extra attention. Their winter coat, on the other hand, is long and thick and needs to be brushed regularly to prevent matting. The downside is that, when they’re switching between seasonal coats, they shed a lot.
If they’re busy losing their thick winter coat, brushing them a bit more frequently to help remove the loose fur will help you keep it under control and shorten the shedding period.
8. Do Neva Masquerade Cats Have Health Concerns?
There aren’t any health concerns specific to the Neva Masquerade cat because it’s such a rare breed that there aren’t enough of them in the world to know. So the next best thing to do is look at their extremely close ancestors, Siberian cats, seeing as they are almost identical except for the coloring.
Image by Jonas from Pixabay
For the most part, it’s a healthy breed that lives for 8 – 10 years. The Siberian’s development as a breed was not interfered with by humans, for the most part, resulting in naturally healthy genetics and not many congenital problems.
That being said, on the rare occurrence they may develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but it’s the only serious condition they’ve been known to get. Otherwise the only other main things to worry about are common diseases that affect most cats, which vaccinations should cover.
9. Do They Get On with Other Pets?
If introduced at an early age, as a kitten they’re more likely to accept other pets in the home. If they’re older, though, they may react more fearfully and territorially and require a period of time to adjust to the new addition.
Wrap Up on the Neva Masquerade Cat
While a large part of coveting this cat is purely for its gorgeous and unique looks, if you plan to invest in one, be prepared for all the energy and love they’re going to shower you with. They can be difficult to find in the first place, but if you’re lucky enough to claim one as your own, you’ll enjoy years of devotion from an intelligent and beautiful breed.
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Are you on the lookout for an extra-special cat to call your own? Take a look at this article featuring 17 unique cat breeds so you can make the best choice for your next furever friend.