The Russian Blue is robust, marked by strong sinews, a velvety fur and fine outlines. This breed is closely related to 3 other cat breeds, namely the British Blue (or the British Shorthair), the French Chartreux and Thailand Korat because they share the same hue and have short hair, but the similarity ends there. Each of the aforementioned blue breeds have their own fun personality and coat characteristics.
You’ll be immediately drawn to the Russian Blue’s shining green eyes and the silver-like, smooth coat. While majority of the coat is colored bright blue, the foot may sometimes have a lavender base that darkens as it travels upwards to the guard hair tips, which is the cat’s protective topcoat. The ends of each strand of fur sparkles with silver, often resembling the tips of spears when the light catches it.
Aside from the remarkable coat, these cats have large, enticing eyes that are wide-set and are coloured emerald green. Russian Blues are often labeled as “Doberman Pinschers of Cats” because of their fine coat and the elegantly outlined yet powerful feline physique. The body has a double coating of thick fur that’s rich and plush. Breeders and experts often compare the silky coat to a beaver’s or a seal’s.
Playful owners can literally draw gently on the dense coat using their fingers. Owners can trace patterns on the 45-degree angled hairs and it will remain in place until the cat brushes the fur on a surface or until you smooth your hand over it.
One of the most enigmatic feature of the Russian Blue is its smile. The cat appears to have an upturned mouth, giving it the similarity of the famous Mona Lisa smile!
History of the Russian Blue
This cat breed has a very interesting history. Sometimes referred to as Archangel Blues, the cats are believed to have originated in the Archangel Isles, located in Northern Russia, and may have been pets of Russian czars long time past. They’re considered a natural breed and not sprung from interbreeding programmes. The thick, warm coat is due to the cat needing something to keep warm against the frozen tundras and the cold, harsh winters of the country.
Historians and cat lovers in Scandinavia and England worked tirelessly to map out a bloodline foundation for the cat breed. Records show that the first Archangel Blue appeared in 1875 to compete against similar blue breeds at the London Crystal Palace. One newspaper said that the Archangel was “particularly furry”, “very handsome” and “has similarities to that of the wild grey rabbit”. Before long, word was spreading around about the Russian Blue.
In 1912 the Foreign Blue, one of the breed’s early names, warranted their own class and finally got separated from the blue cats variety. Progress of the cat’s popularity was halted, with the breed coming dangerously close to extinction during the onset of World War II. Breeders tried to revive the line by crossing the Russian Blue to Bluepoint Siamese and British Blues. Scandinavian breeders tried the same using Finland blue cats and Siamese blues.
In 1965 British breed experts expressed disapproval over the change of the Russian Blue’s features and thought to revive the original Foreign Blue. They used Scandinavian cats because of their emerald-eye colors and head type, and British Blues because of the powerful, compact body and silver blue coating, and found success.
The Russian Blue found its way into the U.S. in the 19th century, but it wasn’t recognized by breed authorities until after the war reached its conclusion. In 1949, the CFA, or Cat Fanciers Association finally registered the cat as a unique breed of its own.
Careful ancestral registration and selective breeding has kept the Foreign Blue’s distinct personality and physical attributes mostly intact. Currently, Foreign Blues are much sought after as pets and as curious specimens of the feline kingdom.
Size of the Russian Blue
The Russian Blue is bigger than it looks because of the double coating. Males can range anywhere from 10 to 12 lbs., while the females are somewhere around 7 to 10 lbs.
The CFA describes the Foreign Blue as “having a medium-sized, smooth wedge for a head with a muzzle that’s short and blunt.” The flatness of the head and its wedge-shaped appearance can be likened to that of a cobra. At the head protrudes wide ears having a pointed tip. The eyes are wide-set and has a bright green tint. Overall, the eyes give the Foreign Blue a sweet expression that perfectly matches the breed’s outstandingly gentle temperament.
The neck and shoulder blades have thick fur covering, making it appear shorter than it really is. When the Foreign Blue is on its side and stretched out, you can see that the neck is long and supported by arching shoulder blades. The body is muscular and firm, not too stocky nor too thin.
Foreign Blues are categorized in the semi-foreign physique, which means this cat breed is somewhere between Siamese and Persian cat types. The legs are long and the paws are slightly rounded, which gives the cat the ability to run at high speeds if necessary.
Personality of the Russian Blue
Don’t let the powerful, sleek features of the Foreign Blue fool you. This breed is generally shy, quiet and very gentle by nature. It’s more reserved than playful but that doesn’t mean the breed enjoys a good romp every now and then. The Russian Blue is intelligent and leans towards games that have a “throw and catch” mechanism. You’ll soon find yourself playing an endless game of fetch if you’re not careful! They are also attracted by sunbeams, laser pointers and love to go chase their favorite toys.
The reserved nature of the Foreign Blue means that strangers will have to acquaint themselves first before the cat can play with them. Guests will be more than likely regarded coolly and at a safe distance, with the cat not presenting himself until after a while. You may see these cats up high and perched on their safe spot, casually watching as the scene unfolds before deciding to jump in.
When the Russian Blue cat sees his favorite family member, though, it’s a whole different matter. This cat will follow the individual around the whole house and can sometimes hitch a ride on that person’s shoulder. The Foreign Blue greets the owner at the door and is sensitive to your mood, i.e., with playtime or just by settling down next to you. Owners rarely hear the cat’s voice unless it’s mealtime. Some of the things an Archangel Blue appreciates are a hearty game of fetch, a window with a great outdoor view and pats on the head.
This breed doesn’t move about and knock things to the ground; rather, he walks silently and with the grace of a professional ballerina. Their dexterity and sense of humor can be fun to watch sometimes.
Keep in mind that the Foreign Blue is somewhat nervous and can be easily startled by moving things and strange new environment. They are shy and reserved around strangers, and quick-footed (presumed to be so in order to escape their hunters).
Russian Blue Kittens
The average Russian Blue litter is at 3 kittens. Breeders will usually let these kittens grow to approximately between 3 to 4 months in order to be properly inoculated, vaccinated and to have the kittens play and be with their mothers.
Pure Russians will have yellow eyes at the start, which will turn to have a bright green border right around the pupils by 4 months’ time. As the Russian grows the eyes will soon turn bright and vivid emerald in time with the deepening of the blue and silver tip fur.
Russian Blue kittens may exhibit “ghost stripes”, or lighter-shaded stripes that will disappear once they turn into full-fledged adults.
The best way to get yourself acquainted with a Foreign Blue kitten is to play games with it. Quickly find out an interesting toy to capture a kitten’s attention and start playing. Once you lure them out invest in great amounts of time to build a relationship.
Getting a Russian Blue cat is no light matter if you’re serious about having one in the house. The best breeders are the ones that are the most established in their region; they won’t easily give you a Foreign Blue until they know that you’re a good candidate for it. For starters, it will be best to meet the kitten’s mom and dad and check for pedigree and overall health and well-being. Allow the breeder to ask you several questions to make sure you and the cat breed will be compatible living together.
It’s best to wait until 3 or 4 month’s time before choosing a Foreign Blue kitten. During this period the kitten you’ve had an eye on will most likely be vaccinated, inoculated and is ready to meet you and become friends with you. The waiting period will be well worth it!
Russian Blue Health
The breed in itself is hardy and generally sound because of the natural variety. A healthy Russian Blue cat won’t have any specific health issues whatsoever. One thing you’ll need to focus on when you get a Foreign Blue or Archangel is feeding its huge appetite.
It’s a well-known fact that Foreign Blues are hearty eaters. This cat breed will devour what you put in front of them and ask for seconds! If left alone, the sleek Russian Blue will turn fat and the target of weight-related conditions in no time. You can counter this dilemma by giving food only on specific periods and telling family members not to spoil the cat too much.
Renal Failure. It’s been shown that this kind of cat is predominantly at risk to get renal failure, or urolithiasis, than any other cat breed. Urolithiasis is a painful condition in which your cat could get stones in his ureter, kidneys or bladder.
Care of the Russian Blue
Russian Blue cats can take care of and amuse themselves when their owners are away or preoccupied, but they do expect a lot of “me” time and play when you or your family members get home. Moreover, this breed doesn’t like to be ignored and demands equal affection from the one he or she gives. The cat can become overly anxious, stressed or fearful if you don’t pay attention for long periods of time.
These intelligent animals will require substantial amounts of physical and mental activity. Keep toys lying around the house at all times. When they feel the need to “hunt”, a ball of string or a toy fish should capture their attention for hours. Keep in mind that these types of toys require human supervision as the contents could be chewed up, which can be harmful for your cat’s health.
Because they are easily startled, it’s best to keep equipment and devices that make loud noises, i.e., vacuum cleaners, blenders and such tucked away in a storage or a corner spot in the house. When this happens, scoop up your cat, place them in a quiet, safe spot and reassure him. Allocate a quiet space for your cat as sort of “sanctuary” so they can retreat as needed.
Russian Blues are quite sensitive when it comes to change of environments, and as such they won’t be a good fit for frequent travelers and movers. Provide an adequate scratching post and keep your cat indoors where there are toys and lots of attention. When healthy, Foreign Blues can accompany you for 20 or so years.
Litter Box Training
Russian Blues are royal and they demand to be treated that way, especially when it comes to the litter box.
The litter box should always be clean at all times and placed in an optimal location. Scoop out the waste daily and change the litter box twice a week or more if you have the time. Place the litter box in a low foot traffic area and not anywhere near where you feed him. If you’re not too fond on litter boxes you can train your Foreign Blue to use a spare toilet, which is as good as any litter box in the market.
If your cat refuses to use the litter box suddenly, then it may be time for a trip to the vet in order to see if there’s a health condition or urinary tract infection that needs to be treated.
Russian Blue Nutrition
Cats don’t like changes, and the Archangel Blue is no exception. They prefer things predictable and uniform, even when it comes to food. These cats are creatures of habit and they follow feeding schedules quite nicely.
Give your Foreign Blue an adequate diet in the form of premium, dry cat food. You can spoil your cat from time to time and give him canned food that’s rich in protein. As they get older, dietary requirements may change, so it’s best to consult with a veterinarian for recommendations. When it’s time to change food, remember to add the new food gradually and mix it in the old one in the span of a few weeks or so. Make the transition too fast and your cat may get an upset tummy.
Drinking water should always be clean and topped up at all times. It should be easily accessible and available no matter the time of day or night.
At first glance the Russian Blue looks grayish in color, but the CFA has labeled the coat as “bright blue, tinged with silver tips”, giving it a fine, lustrous appearance.
It’s perfectly acceptable for Foreign Blue kittens to exhibit ghost stripes during infancy. These stripes will disappear the more the fur gets the blue tinge. Fully mature, their coats should have a deep blue coating with silver highlights.
Cat fanciers may think that Russian Blues only have blue coating, but this isn’t always the case. In other cat associations such as New Zealand and Australia, the term “Russians” can be applied to black and white varieties, alongside the traditional blues. Even the U.S. Cat Fanciers Association and TICA allows black-colored Russians or Russian Whites into play in provisional cases.
Russian Blue Grooming
Grooming the Archangel Blue is easier as compared to other short-haired varieties. The dense, silky coat won’t shed as much and owners can enjoy the plush feel of the Foreign Blue. This breed is generally easy to maintain in terms of grooming and health. You will need to prepare several essentials, such as a cat-safe toothpaste, a toothbrush and other creature comforts. These items are available to purchase online or at the local pet store. For brushing the coat, you’ll need a medium toothed comb to keep the coat luxurious and smooth.
During the summertime, a quick bath can prevent excessive shedding. Regular brushing staves away periodontal diseases. Vets recommend brushing your cat’s teeth at least once a day. Using a cat-safe nail clippers, trim your pet’s claws at least once every few weeks or so. Don’t forget to pay attention to the ears and the eyes at least once a week. Brush at least once per week to get rid of loose hair and to lessen the chances of fur balls getting stuck inside your cat’s stomach.
Map out a regular routine for when you can do all of these things on a constant basis. Remember that the Russian Blue loves a good routine and will much more likely accept the treatment. Don’t forget to include playtime and petting to keep them happy. Your cat shouldn’t give you any problems during the grooming routine because they love to be combed, brushed and petted. In fact, the more time you spend with a Foreign Blue, the better!
Children and Other Pets
The Russian Blue is a good all-around choice for owners who may have allergies or families who may have sensitive members. This breed doesn’t shed as much, and they produce much lower glycoproteins and other known allergens as compared to other cat varieties.
The physical appearance of the Archangel is so appealing that you, family members and guests will be drawn to the feline right away. The silver-tinged blue coat, accompanied by intelligent, slightly sloped green eyes add elegance and ambiance to any room. Once you get to know your cat and the Foreign Blue accepts, then it becomes evident that they make the perfect pets. Their intelligent and playful nature will go a long way towards a fulfilling relationship in any household.
Russian Blues are fiercely loyal and they bond strongly when given enough care and attention. It’s understandable that these cats may be wary of strangers and new guests and show aloofness, but it’s their nature. They are very sociable and are great companions for young children. Moreover, the Foreign Blue is very patient and tolerant towards the younger ones who should treat them with utmost kindness and respect. The cat can put up with a few clumsy pats on the head from infants, but too much of it and they’ll most likely slink away or climb up to a safer spot.
Interaction between your pet and children should always be supervised to prevent rough treatment or a crying child, but all in all the Foreign Blue makes for an excellent house cat. This breed tends to choose one family member and make it his or her life’s mission to follow that person around and give constant attention to. But this doesn’t mean that they won’t show affection to other household members, particularly to those who need it. These loving cats are known to calm crying babies by clowning around and even patting your face when you feel down.
The Russian Blue is a good complement to other pets in the house, including dogs of all shapes and sizes. The breed works especially well with laid-back, gentle dog types, and will tend to shy away from active ones who give chase. When introducing a new pet in the house, make sure that it’s done gradually, with great care and careful supervision.