READ HERE TO LEARN RUSSIAN BLUE CAT TRAITS
Thanks to a request from a reader, your cantankerous cat lady is giving you information in this post about the Russian blue cat breed.
In early days, the Russian blue cat lived in the wilderness of Russia. Due to their thick double coat, they do well in a cool climate. Long ago, before they became popular and then were recognized as a breed, they were hunted for a time because of their dense fur. It is said that even today wild grey cats still live in Russia’s wilderness.
Some stories tell us that the Russian blue cats of today are descendants of royal felines kept by the Russian tsars. Other sources say that the cat actually originated in Northern Russia’s Archangel Isles.
THE CATS LEARN TO SAIL
In the early 1800s these cats were picked up by sailors to accompany them on their sailing ships. These sailors brought the grey cats to Great Britain and Northern Europe in the 1860s. The sailors came to Europe from Arkhangelsk, one of the most important ports in the Russian Empire.
Being from the Archangel Isles, the animal gained the nickname of the Archangel Cat. Other early names included the Maltese and the foreign blue.
CAT SHOW FAME COMES THEIR WAY
In 1875, the breed was shown at the world’s first cat show in the Crystal Palace in London. Then, in Britain in 1912, the cat was recognized as a distinct breed. During World War II, the number of these cats dwindled. However, after the war ended, breeders in several countries saved the Russian blues by crossbreeding them with other cats.
Today, the Russian blue’s appearance in different parts of Europe varies. Scandinavians mated the cat with the Siamese, which produced a longer, more angular look. In Britain, crossbreeding a bluepoint Siamese and a British blue developed a shorter, stockier-built cat.
This feline first arrived in America in the 1900s, but it was much later before people in the United States began breeding the animal in earnest. Russian blues imported from Scandinavia or England were bred with their American cousins, combining features to produce the blue-furred, green-eyed cat that is today’s Russian Blue.
A POSSIBLE CAT FOR YOU IF YOU HAVE ALLERGIES
If you are prone to allergies, the Russian blue might be just the cat for you. Evidence found shows that this cat produces less of the glycoprotein, Fel d 1, which is one of the most common allergens of cats.
This Fel d 1 is the protein in cat saliva and in skin secretions that can start you itching and sneezing. The cat does, however, still produce dander, which will not help your allergies.
These cats shed a little, but since they are shorthaired, their shedding is less extreme than with many other breeds.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BREED
To tell if your cat is a Russian blue, look for some common traits, shown below.
They have a short, dense coat. It is a uniform grey color (or blue, as it is called.) A silvery sheen lends to the cat’s blue appearance. A diluted version of the gene causing black hair produces the silvery coat seen on the Russian blue.
Some Russian blue kittens are born with “ghost stripes,” faint tabby marks that disappear as the kitten matures.
Their double-layered coat is very silky. Some Russian Blues also have a soft undercoat of white hair.
The true Russian blue has bright green eyes. Without these characteristics. the cat is probably a domestic shorthair. If paired with a confirmed Russian blue, the cat should have Russian blue kittens. If mated with a shorthair, the kittens’ coats could possibly have a variety of colors.
The double-layered coat is very dense. If you trace patterns on the coat with your fingers, the designs you create will stay in the fur until you smooth the coat over again.
The cat’s body is lean, fine-boned, and muscular. It was once named the “Doberman Pinscher of Cats” at a cat show by a judge, because of the cat’s long, muscular body, both elegant and athletic. The head is triangle-shaped. It has pointed ears and wide, round eyes.
The Russian blue’s mouth turns up naturally, and because of this mouth shape, tie animal seems to be smiling. This smile has been compared to that of the Mona Lisa.
BEHAVIOR TO EXPECT
Do keep that litter box clean, as these cats are very fussy. If the box is not spotless, they may find another spot that they think is cleaner.
Establish a routine of mealtimes and stick to it. Russian blues love to eat. It is a creature of habit and expects meals to be on time. However, don’t let that opportunist cat convince you that it needs more to eat. Just feed the allotted serving. Check with your vet to get a recommendation as to how much to feed and how often, and then stick to it. Don’t succumb to that insistent “I’m still hungry” cry. If the cat has had the proper portion, it just needs to learn that begging for more is not going to work.
Your Russian blue loves to play and is especially fond of playing “fetch.” You may need to install locks on cabinet doors as your nosy cat will open them to check the contents. However, once you cat-proof your house, your fur baby will be fine with being alone for the day. This cat is very independent, and handles being alone very well.
This cat is curious but calm, affectionate but not clingy, and very smart. Though shy at first, once the cat is comfortable with you, it is playful and loving.
The Russian blue tends to bond one-on-one, with one special person. Once you become bonded, your Russian blue will be very sensitive to your emotions. They might even pat your face to cheer you up if you are sad.
If you are sick, the cat might stay close by and send you healing vibes, along with that wonderful purr. If you are watching a movie, the cat loves to snuggle by your side. This feline moves with the grace of a Russian dancer, and might dance through your house whenever the mood strikes, day or night. It also loves high places, where it can sit and watch the activity in the house for hours.
There are always folklore stories about the earth’s creatures. One story about the Russian blue is that if it is kept in a newborn’s bedroom, it will chase away evil spirits.
Though she may ignore guests, she is very loyal to family members. If you are her favorite, she may follow you everywhere, or jump up on your shoulder for a ride.
REFERENCES FOR THIS STORY
I used references for this article, including the following: mentalfloss.com, ASPCA,and “Catster” magazine. If you have more questions regarding this breed, please ask and I will try to find you an answer. Also, comments after you read the story are much appreciated.