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'In the West sometimes they think that Siberia is snow and nothing else. But there is such life and energy here!'
dancer Sergei Polunin

Siberian farmer's cats become an unexpected Internet sensation

By Anna Liesowska
13 March 2015

Alla loves nothing more than taking pictures of her beloved pets – and it seems the world can't get enough of them either.

Alla's hobby is taking photographs of her pets, which have a distinctive look, perhaps as a result of their in-breeding. Picture: Alla Lebedeva

Siberian farmer Alla Lebedeva loves seeing pictures of her pet cats, but it seems the world does too.

Unbeknown to her, photographs she has taken of her litter have been reproduced on social media websites with some turned into humorous jokes.

'A couple of years ago I noticed that my pictures had gone viral,' said Alla. 'At first I spotted my photos on some website about Norwegian cats - they used my pics twice, without any credit – and now they are going around the world as ‘Norwegian cats’.'

Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats

They have raised cats for more than a decade, with their first pet, Babushka, becoming the ancestress for the rest of the ever-growing litter. Pictures: Alla Lebedeva

Alla lives with her husband Sergey on a farm in the settlement of Prigorodny, on the outskirts of Barnaul in western Siberia.

They have raised cats for more than a decade, with their first pet, Babushka, becoming the ancestress for the rest of the ever-growing litter. She gave birth to five ginger kittens in 2004 and now the couple’s home is overrun with their furry friends.

Even Alla, 59, herself jokes that they live in a Koshlandia (land of cats). She said: 'How many do we have now? To such a question I usually answer ‘a million, maybe more’.

'They live in the henhouse, and sleep on the polati, and they have three 'little bedrooms' there where can they sleep according to how they feel. Our cats protect the chickens and rabbits from rats and mice.'

Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats

'All our animals seem to live in peace and they have rather good relations with our dog Rikki, the chickens and even with the cockerels.' Pictures: Alla Lebedeva

Her hobby is taking photographs of her pets, which have a distinctive look, perhaps as a result of their in-breeding. But it is clear the world also loves nothing more than seeing her animals, with many of the images doctored and used in an unusual way on the Internet.

Some show them wearing Russian hats, others have been mocked up to look like characters from the TV series Game of Thrones, and one was even used to joke about dieting.

Another photograph was commandeered by the Norwegian Forest Cats online community, with some people assuming the long-haired cats are from Norway, rather than Siberia.

Alla said the cats are divided into two groups with one that goes hunting and does not come home for months in summer, and the other that stays close to home.

She said: 'Our cats move about freely. In general, all rustic cats are unusual and differ from cats living in apartments, just like a rabbit differs from a hare. They are wild and independent.

Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats

A couple of years ago I noticed that my pictures had gone viral,' said Alla. 'At first I spotted my photos on some website about Norwegian cats - they used my pics twice, without any credit – and now they are going around the world as ‘Norwegian cats’.' Pictures: Alla Lebedeva, reddit.com

'In the summer our cats divide into two groups. Some of them go hunting somewhere and don't come home for months, among them Ryzhik, Rych and Ludwig.

'Pukh, Lapych and Tema stay home and don’t go far away. All the female cats are always neat and sit at home. Here we have also noticed that they have their own hierarchy. Pukh is a kind of alpha male, an emperor. His deputy is Lapych, while Tema is just very calm.'

She added: 'They recognise me as the head of their 'pride', and they all obey me. Among the other family members, they have good relations with my granddaughter, Maria, and allow her to hold them. Her favourite cat is Nochka. 

'All our animals seem to live in peace and they have rather good relations with our dog Rikki, the chickens and even with the cockerels.'

Alla and Sergey have three sons: architects Dmitry, who lives in Barnaul, and Alexander, who moved to Norilsk, and Ivan, who is an artist and designer currently living in Moscow.

'Our cats move about freely. In general, all rustic cats are unusual and differ from cats living in apartments, just like a rabbit differs from a hare. They are wild and independent.' Pictures: Alla Lebedeva

Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats


Alla Lebedeva's cats

Alla Lebedeva's cats

Alla Lebedeva's cats

Alla Lebedeva's cats

Comments (26)

I wanna be there! Really wanna be there more than i wanna go to Disneyland or else. That's a real heaven! And those cats are so extremely beautiful! Wow...
Yustinus Priyambodo, Semarang/Indonesia
20/01/2018 19:45
2
0
I want one!
Kathryn Bowen, United States
19/12/2017 14:42
0
0
I am in love with these tough beauties!!!! Are there any of them indoor/outdoor pets? I do believe that some neutering would be a very wise decision for the long-term health of all.
Robin Woodard, Kent Island, USA
17/12/2017 19:39
2
0
I loved seeing these stunning cats in the wild as they were probably for many years before we intervened I hope they continue their love of this amazing cat for many years to come
Marie mahoney, Brisbane Australia
22/07/2017 09:04
3
0
Love the photos of your cats and dog. The dogs a great sport. Where do you post your photos? Do you have Facebook, Instagram or Russian versions I can see your photos on? Thanks for being so kind to your animals and sharing photos with the world!
Dylan, California is sorry about Trump he's a moron
01/06/2017 04:29
4
1
Have a mixed Siberian Tabby cat and they are very attentive. Received him as a 6 week old rescue kitten 25 October 2005. Best thing that ever happen to share our lives with. My mother suffered a stroke shortly before I came home from work back in October 2007. Called for the EMTs to come and take her to the hospital and very protective with my mother in which I had to put him in the bathroom so that the EMTs could do their work

On the way to the hospital is when my mother was mentioning to the cat to go away since he made sure she was alert. Had an EMT told me that he saved her life. Came home later from the hospital and at 57 years of age. I picked him up and cried like a kid for his above and beyond the call of duty. we hear so much about how pets saved people's lives and mine saved my mothers. Mom later passed in March 2008 age 90. God Bless them.
Arthur Boyko, Lakeport MI USA
18/05/2016 22:20
12
0
Wow your cats are just amazing!
Anik Blanchjard, Canada Quebec
18/03/2016 02:04
7
0
I have 5 siberian cats and they look just like this cats. ❤❤
Elin, Norway
16/03/2016 15:21
11
0
Beautiful cats and stunning photography!
Rebecca Hengen, Biloxi, MS USA
24/01/2016 22:15
8
0
The cats are gorgeous, but do consider de-sexing at least a percentage of the population before there is an excess population. Feline fecundity is such that they can over-breed, even in an extreme environment.
Kim Rogers Bartlett, Clinton WA USA
23/01/2016 10:42
9
3
Beautiful cats and photography. Keep it up.
Maggie Owen, Oak Ridge/Tennessee
23/01/2016 05:12
5
0
Dear Alla, it's hard to find enough appropriate words for such beautiful photos of your magnificant cats living in their natural environment . One of my two cats is smart fluffy boy from your homeland. Bye!
Danijela, Croatia
08/08/2015 13:25
9
0
Beautiful cats. ! ! ! ! !
Christian Meland, Leksvik, Norway
05/05/2015 06:02
7
0
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And they look so smart.
Lois Kantor, Austin, Texas
02/05/2015 20:05
11
2
Beautiful cats. I love to watch your films.I like to look like cats, chickens i rabbits are together :)
Andrew, Łódż - Poland
03/04/2015 17:42
8
0
12

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