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September 27, 2021 |0 min read

Russian Blue Cat Breed: Everything You Need to Know

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

From the snowy ports of Russia to the cozy corners of your home, Russian Blue cats can be found pouncing and purring across the world. These regal Russian felines are unmatched pets for any household, with the perfect mix of intelligence, affection, and cool demeanors to match their icy gray coats.

So what is there to know about these famed felines?

Quite a bit, actually. We’ll take you through the complete guide of the Russian Blue cat breed—from their physical traits to their preferred diets—so you’ll have all the info necessary when considering adding a new four-legged friend to your home. 

In the case that you’ve already brought your Russian Blue kitten home, don’t worry—we’ll get you up to speed faster than you can say, “Saint Petersburg.”

History of The Russian Blue

Why their origins might be obvious, the cat breed Russian Blue has made its way from its transcontinental homeland and spread around the world for more than 100 years.

Mystery surrounds Russian Blue, as there’s very little information about the breed from before the mid-1850s. Perhaps this is why legends about the breed's connection to Russian royalty have never been disproven.

The Archangel Cat

The Russian Blue is thought to be a naturally occurring breed, having adapted to the Russian climate and evolved over many generations prior to it gaining notoriety. 

The breed made its way to England in the late 1800s and immediately made a splash in 1875 at London’s Crystal Palace. When first shown outside of Russia, the Russian Blue was referred to as the Archangel Cat, getting its name from Arkhangelsk, a Russian port city. 

It was in London where the Russian Blue first competed against other cats, first in the category of “Blue” cats, then, years later, in its own specific category.

Russian Blues In Scandinavia

There were several Russian Blue breeders in countries like:

  • Sweden 
  • Finland
  • Denmark

Some bred Russian Blues with Siamese cats to create a jaw-droppingly angular mix-breed. While these cats were popular for some time after World War II, they’ve never usurped the classic Russian Blues in terms of popularity. 

Today, we see fewer of these cross-breeds compared to the traditional Russian Blues—it’s hard to go wrong with a classic.

The Russian Blue In America

Making its way to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century, Russian Blues didn’t immediately become popular house pets.

After World War II, North American breeders worked to perfect the stunning Russian Blue features like:

  • Plush double coats
  • Unmistakably green eyes
  • Unique mauve colored paws

By the 1960s, Russian Blues began to see a rise in popularity and since then, they continued to be a highly beloved and sought-after breed.

Physical Qualities of Russian Blues

Russian Blues are more than just gray cats. Their name is derived from the shiny blue undertones within their coat and the shade might call to mind the hazy cerulean effect of the sun poking through a cloudy sky.

With big ears, a straight nose, and a large forehead, a Russian Blue is easily picked out of a lineup thanks to their noble good looks.

If you’re wondering about the unique physical qualities of Russian Blues you might be interested to know the following:

  • They’re Smaller Than You Think – While male Russian Blues weigh between 10 and 12 pounds and females 7 to 10, they typically look even larger due to their fur. A soft double coat to keep them warm through the cold Russian winter makes the Russian Blue appear a little bigger than your standard medium-size cat. 
  • They’re Stronger Than You Think – That gray coat not only implies a larger size, it obscures these highly muscular cats’ overall body shape. If you were to shave a Russian Blue (please don’t) you’d see a slim and svelte cat with the strength of a lion—well, almost.
  • Stare Into Those Bright Green Eyes – Like two brilliant emeralds, Russian Blues’ eyes add another dash of color to their feline spectrum. Their eyes are widely admired and highly recognizable for their luminous quality. Sometimes it’s hard not to get lost staring into the eyes of a Russian Blue, especially when those eyes seem to be saying “take me home.”

Are Russian Blues Good for Allergies? A Note To Those With Allergies 

Find yourself sneezing around cats but still determined to find a feline friend to add to your family? Cat allergies are fairly common, and while there are medications and treatments available, sometimes it’s still hard to live with certain breeds of cats.

While Russian Blues are not considered “non-allergenic” they are hypoallergenic. That means:

  • Low dander levels
  • Low allergen levels
  • Little shedding

Typically, this means Russian Blue’s dander is below the threshold that would cause an allergic reaction. It’s probably wise to check with your doctor if you suffer from allergies and are considering getting a cat. However, if you’re looking for a companion who won’t leave you sneezing, a Russian Blue might be your best option.

Personalities and Behaviors

There’s more to Russian Blues than their stunning good looks—they have sparkling personalities to match. Russian Blues are famous for their even temperaments and good behavior. Maybe that’s why they were rumored to be the chosen pets of Russian Czars. 

Regardless, if this little myth is true, Russian Blues are a frequent choice for cat owners looking for a cool-headed and kind pet.

Generally, Russian Blues are considered:

  • Playful – When you walk through your door after a long day at work, you can look forward to a Russian Blue standing in the doorway, ready for an evening of fun. Russian Blues love toys, cat food puzzles, and the occasional game of fetch. They’re high-energy cats, so keep them occupied and two of you will both wind up content and enjoying a catnap.
  • Smart – There’s unique wisdom behind those thoughtful green eyes. Russian Blues are known for their intelligence, especially emotional intelligence. They are known to be sensitive to the moods of their owners, so when you’ve had a rough day, they’re ready to give you a big purr in your ear and a lot of snuggles.
  • Okay Alone – Affectionate but not anxious, Russian Blues are okay on their own. If you’re out of the house for long periods of time, your Russian Blue might miss you, but they won’t be fretting away with separation anxiety. Sometimes they don’t mind a little space.
  • Occasionally Reserved – Russian Blues aren’t always ready to party. When it comes to strangers or big groups, they’re known to keep to themselves. Think of them as your low-key friend—much better in small groups than standing among a crowd. It can make your relationship with your Russian Blue feel even more special.

It’s important to remember that a purebred Russian Blues cat takes on the personality qualities of their owners due to their emotional sensitivity. Try to keep things light and loving around your Blue, and they’ll return the favor by being the kind companion they’re meant to be.

Fun Facts About Russian Blues

These gorgeous cats have a rich history, wonderful personalities, and some important care needs. Here’s what you might not have known about Russian Blues: 

  • Protectors – A few purrs of your Russian Blue and you’ll feel like all your personal demons have been chased away. According to folklore, Russian Blues are particularly well-equipped for banishing this kind of negative energy. In fact, some cultures would keep Russian Blues in nurseries to protect newborns from evil spirits.
  • A Kitten That Can Change Its Stripes – If you get your Russian Blue as a kitten, take a close look at their fur—you might see faint little stripes. These are called “ghost stripes,” or faint tabby-like markings that some Russian Blue kittens have. Enjoy them while you can—your little Blue will grow out of those kitty stripes and into their lush, opulent, thick coat.
  • A Cartoon Legacy – If you grew up a fan of classic cartoons, chances are you know of a famous Russian Blue—Tom, from Tom & Jerry!

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Domestic Cat Care Tips For Russian Blues

The Russian Blue breed isn’t particularly needy. They like a window, a nice pat, and a little alone time once in a while. Their generally easy-going demeanor is just one of the reasons they come so highly recommended.

Besides regular meals, lots of water, and a clean litter box, you might not know exactly what all goes into caring for a cat. Consider taking the following steps to keep your Blue feeling purfect well into old age:

  • Neuter or Spay – If you’re not a reputable breeder, it’s essential that you spay or neuter your Russian Blue. Not only is it important to help against overpopulation and bad behavior, it leads to a longer life for your cat by virtually eliminating the possibility of contracting a variety of cancers. There’s nothing cruel about spaying or neutering your pet, in fact, it’s the ethical choice.
  • The Secret Life of an Indoor Cat – They’re called “housecats” for a reason. Keeping your cat indoors can greatly increase their lifespans by keeping them away from predators, possible diseases, and dangerous situations like traffic. We know some Russian Blues are born to be wild but the more domesticated your cat is, the longer you’ll have with them.
  • Give Them Something To Scratch – Unless you’re not too fond of your furniture, we suggested building or purchasing a designated scratching station for your Russian Blue. Blue’s especially love to stretch their legs, so consider something climbable that they can leap to and from. Your Blue will appreciate it and your couch will too.
  • Provide A Healthy Diet– Excess weight is linked to a number of illnesses within cats and is fully preventable with a healthy diet and regular activity. By keeping your Russian Blue’s weight at a healthy level you’re protecting them against diabetes, arthritis, and several other life-threatening diseases. Keep your Russian Blue spry and healthy with quality food in pre-measured portions.
  • Take Care Of Their Teeth – You brush daily, so why shouldn’t you’re Russian Blue. While daily might be overkill, it’s important to help protect your cat from gingivitis and tooth decay with regular home brushings and the occasional professional cleanings. Your Blue lacks the dexterity to keep up with their own dental health—that means, as their owner and protector, it’s your job.

Genetic Predispositions & Early Signs of Illness

Cats, like humans, are frequently at the whim of their genetics. There’s not much you can do about DNA, but being knowledgeable of genetic predispositions can help you notice a problem before it becomes too serious.

Luckily, Russian Blues are actually known for their generally good health and low risk for inherited disease. Still, there are a few things, general and specific, to keep an eye out for including:

  • Heart Disease – Disease of the heart muscle, known as cardiomyopathy, can usually be identified by a poor appetite, lethargy, or labored breathing. If your Blue is acting a little worn-out when it seems like they shouldn’t be, this could be a sign to bring them into a vet.
  • Kidney Disease – Kidney disease or renal failure occurs when the kidneys are no longer functioning correctly to filter the blood. Kidney defects can be inherited genetically but in these cases, it will usually be obvious when your Blue is still a kitten. Vets can screen for kidney problems at a young age, which is a great way to eliminate the risk early.
  • Allergies – No, not your allergies—you’re Russian Blue could be susceptible to mold, dust, or any other number of allergens in your home. These allergies usually manifest as itchy and irritated skin, which leads to over-grooming in these affected areas. Cats with allergies typically begin displaying symptoms between age 1 and 3, so keep an eye on your Blue’s grooming habits, especially when they’re young.

The best way to keep your cat healthy is through preventative measures. That’s why we recommend regular veterinary checkups for your Russian Blue, typically twice a year. Treatment is always improved when the problem is detected early, so don’t be afraid to go to the vet—they’re the biggest animal lovers out there.

Keep Your Russian Blue Happy With Pretty Litter

Now that you know just about everything there is to know about Russian Blue cats, are you ready to take the next step and bring one into your home? If so, you’re going to want to give them a litter experience good enough for a Czar.

Let your Russian Blue experience the caviar of litter with Pretty Litter.

Our odor-trapping, highly-scoopable formula, makes litter as simple as it should be, and with free monthly shipping, there’s no scrambling when the litter gets low. Not only is Pretty Litter easy, it’s designed with your cat’s health in mind—with a color-changing formula that alerts you to what’s happening in your Blue’s body. Who would’ve thought litter could be so scientific?

Try Pretty Litter today, and see why we think it’s the cat’s meow.

Sources: 

Fetch WebMD. Reasons to spay and neuter your petshttps://pets.webmd.com/reasons-spay-neuter-pet#1 

Cat Fanciers Association. About the Russian Blue. https://cfa.org/russian-blue/ 

Animal Health Center NH. Russian Blue. https://animalhealthcenternh.com/client-resources/breed-info/russian-blue/ 

ASPCA. Russian Blue Cat Facts. https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/russian-blue-cat-facts/

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Sharilyn is a proud cat owner, long time storyteller and researcher. Her work spans beloved podcasts, television shows, media outlets, and independent documentaries. She likes to strike a balance between education and comedy, which you can hopefully tell when you read her articles!

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