Size: Small to medium
Coat Length: Short hair
Body Type: Foreign / Fine-boned
Appearance: The Russian Blue is a small to medium-sized cat with a muscular but elegant body. Adult males weigh between 3 and 5kg and females from 2 to 3.5kg. They have a short and dense coat in blue (blue-grey mixture). Blues have large ears with pointy tips and their eyes are in deep green colour.
Grooming Requirement: Once a week
Activity Level: Average
Affection: Very affectionate
Time Alone: 8 hours a day
Attention: Needs average attention
Temperament: The Russian blue is a kind and quiet animal some may say shy, and you may find it takes some time to form a strong bond with them. They are however both playful and energetic. This is not a cat that will turn your house into a big mess if you leave them alone. Blues are intelligent and curious but they’ll generally find nondestructive ways to entertain themselves while home alone.
Interesting Facts: If you’ve always wanted a cat but you suffer from an allergy, this might be your ideal choice. Russian Blues are one of the cat breeds that are considered to be hypoallergenic.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Kids: Like most pets if you treat the Blue nicely they will respond in kind. A toddler and a cat unsupervised might be problematic but Russian Blues generally behave well with smaller children. Other cats and dogs are usually not a problem. Of course you should always make effort to socialise new animals and teach your children how to interact with them.
Common Health Problems: Russian blues don’t have any major health issues. However they do have large appetite and this may turn into a problem if you don’t keep an eye on their diet.
Lifespan: Average 10 to 15 years.
The aristocratic Russian Blue’s lineage cannot be traced in exact detail, although stories regarding its background are abundant. Their moniker Archangel cats attributes their origin to the Russian port of Arkhangelsk on the White Sea, about 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle, and their warm dense coat also suggests they were accustomed to living in harsh cold climate. Russian Blues are believed to be a natural breed, which lived in the wild. Some theories suggest they were once hunted for their plush coat, others refer to them as the favourites of the Russian Czars, and in Russian folklore the Russian Blue is both a healing charm and a good luck charm. They were most probably introduced to Europe by British sailors who were fascinated by their elegant looks and mild disposition. The Russian Blue is related to three other shorthaired solid blue breeds: Thailand’s Korat, France’s Chartreux, and Britain’s British Blue (now called the British Shorthair).
Russian Blues made their public debut in 1875 at the Crystal Palace in London under the name Archangel Cats. They competed with other blue cats but often lost to the British Blue breed, which had caught the fancy of the people. By 1912, when it was officially recognised by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, the breed was well established and started competing in a class of its own.
The breed was almost entirely lost during and after WWII and breeders turned to other cats to help re-establish the bloodlines. English breeders outcrossed to British Shorthairs and Bluepoint Siamese, while Scandinavian breeders crossed blue cats from Finland with similarly coloured Siamese cats. In the 1960s, British breeders started crossing the British Russian Blues to the Scandinavian cats in an effort to restore the original shape and personality of the breed. The good head type and vivid green eye colour of the Scandinavian cats and the silvery plush coat and graceful body type of the British lines finally produced the beautiful feline with brilliant emerald eyes we know today.
Russian Blues were introduced to the United States in the early 1900s but it wasn’t until the 1960s that breeding programmes began. Russian Whites and Russian Blacks were created from crosses with domestic cats during the 1960s and are recognised by cat fanciers in Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The CFA in North America, however, doesn’t recognise either variation.
Russian Blues love food. If free-fed, they will pick at their food all day, which can make them finicky eaters and lead to weight and health problems. They need to have their feeding scheduled to two meals a day and their food intake monitored – it shouldn’t exceed 80 kcal per kg bodyweight. Premium quality food, free of grain fillers, may look more expensive, but it is more nutritious, which means owners will feed less and the cat will be healthier in the long run. Their diet can be supplemented with omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and hairball control treats. A bowl of fresh water has to be provided at all times. Feeding a mixed diet helps prevent health issues such as diabetes, constipation, dehydration and urinary infections. A tinned meal once a day will suffice and it can be varied with cooked chicken or rabbit and poached white fish. Russian Blues should not be fed any table leftovers and scraps, and treats should be given with moderation.
A naturally occurring breed, Russian Blues are sturdy cats with few problems. If buying a Russian Blue kitten, it is best to choose a breeder who can provide health clearance on hereditary issues. Russian Blues’ hearty appetite can be the most serious threat to their overall health. A well-balanced diet is essential to the prevention of serious issues such as diabetes, urinary infections, and bladder stones. Keeping their weight under control is one of the easiest ways to ensure a healthy long life.
Russian Blues are clean cats, nit-picky about bathroom hygiene, so their litter-box has to be kept meticulously clean. Their grooming is basic – brushing or combing once a week, and a bath when necessary. It is recommended that only high-quality cat shampoos, preferably containing essential oils, are used in order to prevent the skin from drying. Grooming is a great bonding opportunity and will be welcomed by the affectionate Russian Blues who are typically fond of their owners. Brushing the teeth may not be considered such fun activity but it is important in order to prevent mouth infections. Owners can purchase a soft toothbrush and a veterinary-approved toothpaste and brush gently for about 4 – 6 minutes at least once a week. The eyes and ears have to be cleaned with cotton balls, moistened with warm water or a pH-neutral solutions, or pet wipes. If the nails don’t shed themselves, they will require trimming with a sharp edged nail cutter. Extra caution is to be taken that the dead part, usually turned to yellow, is cut at a significant distance from the root.
Independent and reserved, the Russian Blue is also very playful and enjoys chasing feather toys, the red laser dot, or sunbeams. They can entertain themselves for hours, which sometimes may include exploring cabinets and drawers. They will, however, be very happy to see their owners when they come home. Russian Blues enjoy a good game of fetch and are known for actually appearing hurt when ignored, so they need enough time of interaction and fun activities. They’re especially fond of human company, and will even try to cheer people with pats on the face, or help calm a crying baby. Even though they bond greatly with their owners, Russian Blues can be shy and nervous around strangers.