Dec 19, 2008

Black Smoke Siberian: Mission Accomplished!

My cat Lyric is a very unique cat in looks and personality. I know most people would say this about their pet, but anybody who knows Lyric knows it's especially true for him. I've been on a quest to pinpoint his breed ever since we got him. Not that I think he's a pure-bred show cat or anything (we got him through PetsMart Charities for $85), but he's unique enough that I've always been pretty sure that he has some pedigree blood in him. I haven't been searching diligently or anything, but for some time now, when I'd get bored with anything else I could do on the internet, I'd read about cat breeds and try to find something that sounded like him.

I had a breakthrough yesterday when I discovered that the cat fancier's term for fur like Lyric's (we've always called it "wolf fur") is "smoke". A smoke cat is a cat with hairs that are white on the inside and colored on the ends (like a natural blonde who dyed her hair darker a couple months ago and hasn't touched up her roots since). I normally refer to Lyric as a gray cat, but the proper term is "black smoke" because his real color is black, he's just missing pigment near the roots. (Cat trivia: cats come in red smoke, calico smoke, tabby smoke, etc. as well).

At this point, I read up on cats that come in black smoke and the description of Siberians jumped out immediately. He seemed to fit the description of the basics (like face shape and build), but when I got into specifics, he seems downright typey. The fur of a Siberian will get much thicker in the wintertime; we've definitely noticed Lyric getting fluffier the last month or so. Siberians are known to get along with other cats and unknown humas exceptionally well; Lyric has never had trouble with this (it took Julius a while to get used to Lyric when we first got him, but none of it was Lyric's fault). A Siberian cat will let you "hold him like a doll"; Lyric totally lets me do this (so much so that I've thought for a long time that he probably has some Ragdoll in him). The clincher for me was that several sites described Siberians as having a "dog-like personality". We've been saying this about Lyric for ages (he is a wolf cat in looks and personality). The only thing that didn't seem to fit: Siberians are supposed to be fairly quiet cats, and Lyric is one of the loudest cats of all time, but that seems minor, as the noise factor wasn't a major part of any Siberian descriptions I read.

I started looking at pictures the internet provided of black smoke Siberians (and compared them to other pictures of black smoke cats, because I'm a carfeul researcher like that), and there's no doubt in my mind that Lyric is very closely related to these (I wish I had a picture of Lyric himself, but I don't have a camera):

A very Lyric position:
A little browner than Lyric, but I bet he looked a lot like this as a kitten:
Santa Lyric:This one looks EXACTLY like Lyric (in the summer), If you told me this is a picture of him, I'd believe you:Old Lyric (especially if he continues his eating habits):
Lyric when he lets his ear hair grow out:

Most of the cats in the pictures above are pure-bred and would easily sell for $900+. Siberians are rare in the US (they weren't imported from Russia until after the Cold War) and the black smoke variety is particularly rare. I'm glad we got Lyric the way we did (saving a cat from euthanization > paying tons of money for a pet). I just love him.

Note: This post is essentially about how great Lyric is and I just want to mention that I love my other cat, Julius Caesar, just as much as I love Lyric. Let nobody accuse me of favoritism. And it may be one of the most common cat types, but isn't he an adorable domestic shorthair red mackerel tabby?(The picture is genuine Julius. Thank you MacKenna and facebook.)


Trapper said...

I like Julius more. Sorry.

BAK said...

Someone found a too-young kitten lying in a road on my birthday, Aug 29 (this year). She was rescued by others, and became mine. She looks exactly like your Lyric. Strange, huh?

Lessa N. Lessa said...

Yes! That picture of Lyric is SO much like my little moggie! He's got the black smoke effect all over his body, but he has a curly grey bib under his chin. His belly shows more of his grey fur, just like yours! So cool!