Welcome to Berstuk, My name is Caitlin Esparza. I got into Siberians as many people do. My late husband was allergic to cats, and as a cat person it tore me apart. After 5 years without a cat I had given up hope i'd ever have another. Luckily for me, my late husband decided to look into Hypo-Allergenic cats for my sake. That is when we learned about Siberians and their low allergen counts. From our research we learned some people have little to no reaction to Siberians.
Not trying to get our hopes up we requested fur samples from a breeder. I never thought I would be asking my husband to smell,pet and rub cat hair all over his body! But to our surprise he did not have a reaction. I had been involved with dog & horse breeding/showing, and knew this is where I would be headed. I wanted to spread the word that their was hope for cat allergy sufferers. But getting into breeding takes a lot of work especially for other breeders to trust you with the lines they have dedicated their lives too.
Luckily after a year of searching we were blessed with Radagast. Radagast was my test dummy into the cat show world. Thankfully he could not have been a better cat, and as they say the rest is history.
Berstuk pronounced (Bear-Stook) is the name of a Russian forest god. Berstuk is the chief forest spirit in Slavic mythology ,and protector of the forest. We thought it only fitting to name our forest cat cattery after him. Berstuk is proudly registered with CFA and TICA. Our goal in breeding is to produce healthy cats with great confirmation and temperament. All of our breeding cats are tested for the most common health problems associated with the breed. All of our cats results are published on The Siberian Cat Health Tracker and their pedigrees are published to Pawpeds.
We do not keep our cats caged in our cattery, we believe our cats are most happy as part of our family. Keeping our cattery cage free also helps our cats adjust to their retired life as a pet. Our cats are kept indoors only, they are only allowed outdoors inside one of our catios or on a harness. It is very important to us our retired cats are well adjusted for their retired life as a pet.Our cats are frequently taken to shows & pet stores to socialize them. They are also exposed from a young age to small animals. Siberians have a high prey drive, we want to ensure they see their families pets as friends not food.
All of our cats at Berstuk are fed primarily a raw diet. I believe strongly that many health problems in cats can be prevented with proper nutrition. We have put a lot of research & time to prepare their meals to make sure they are balanced nutritionally. Their are many benefits to feeding your cats raw if you choose to do so. We find our cats do not shed as much as Siberians normally do, which reduces the allergen load in our home. They also have beautiful coats & teeth, we also have do not have problems with hair balls or vomiting. Best of all our litter boxes do not stink! If you would like more information about raw feeding we recommend reading the info on Catinfo.org. The recipe provided on that site is from a veterinarian & feline nutritionist. Another great source of information is some of the raw Facebook groups such as Completely Raw & Proud.
I strive for genetic diversity in our cats. Which means I have spent hundreds of hours studying pedigrees. I feel you can breed quality show cats without having to resort to line breeding. To ensure I am breeding to the Siberian breed standard, we show our cats as well. Showing our breed gets helps judges become more experienced with the breed. But also allows spectators visiting the show, to learn about them as well. I am also a board member Topeka Cat Fanciers club. Being part of clubs keeps us in the loop of what is going on in the cat fancy.