People often forget that cats, just like dogs, can have their personality shaped by breed, or can have breeds with interesting histories. People also think that they can’t open their home and heart to a cat if they have a cat allergy. Russian blues disprove these myths: they are a hypoallergenic and unique cat breed with a celebrated history. Both inside and outside Russia, many swear by the Russian Blue cat breed as their feline companion of choice.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association, the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats, says that the history of the Russian Blue is somewhat murky. However, the legends they report are fascinating. The breed was first exhibited outside of Russia in 1875 in London, where it was called the “Archangel Cat,” due to its believed origin in the port city of Arkhangelsk. If it did come from Arkhangelsk, it most likely came to Great Britain on ships in the 1860's.
Features and Hypoallergenic Qualities
The Russian Blue is famed and named for its plush and silky blueish gray coat, which doesn’t constantly shed unlike many other pets, as well as their green eyes. This coat makes the Russian Blue one of the first cats brought up when someone mentions they are allergic to cats but they or a family member would still like a feline companion. According to PetMD, hypoallergenic breeds (including the Russian Blue) aren’t technically non-allergenic- the lessened amount of cat dander and other allergens they produce isn’t enough to activate allergies to a noticeable level in most people. The glycoprotein Fel d1 which is produced by all cats, is not as present in the Russian Blue breed like it is in most other cats. This means that the cat allergen from cat dander or cat fur won't be as harmful to your allergies as other breeds. In any case, if you suffer from a cat allergy and are interested in getting a Russian Blue, you should check to make sure the cat won’t aggravate your allergies.
Russian Blue Imposters
Another reason to make sure the particular cat wouldn’t aggravate your allergies is that many cats are often mistaken or passed off for Russian Blues. The “Is My Cat a Russian Blue?” guide at RussianBlue.info provides some of the most common ways to identify if your blue-gray cat really is a Russian Blue. Here are some of the most common physical characteristics:
- Their paw pads are mauve as opposed to most other domestic cat breeds, which have grey paw pads.
- Their green eyes.
- Having a thick double coat, consisting of both the shorter plush coat Russian Blues are known for as well as a longer coat of “guard hairs.”
- Solid blue coat (with no other markings) with a unique sheen from the tips of the guard hairs being silver. Other domestic blue cats won’t have this.
If you want to know for sure whether Mr. Snuggles is really a Russian blue, then you can consult the Cat Fanciers’ Association Breed Standard, and see how he scores. He could be immediately disqualified by a kinked tail, white “locket” mark on the neck, the wrong number of toes, or a non-blue or long coat. If he’s still standing you can see how many many points he gets on the breed standard.
Other Cat Breeds with Low Allergens
While all cats have allergens, some other domestic cats like the Siamese cat or the Oriental shorthair have a lower chance of causing allergies. On the other hand, cats like the British shorthair have a higher chance. This is due to the greater presence of Fel d1 glycoproteins that the cat produces.
Russian Blue Cat Personality
The Cat Fanciers’ Association also provides some information about the genuine Russian Blue’s personality. According to them, Blues are playful and intelligent cats. They can even fetch toys for their owners. They may be bombastic, but typically aren’t terrors, as they are relatively quiet.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever had a Russian Blue (or thought you did until now) and what their personality was really like. Are you allergic to cats and thinking about getting a hypoallergenic cat or have a Russian Blue?
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- ASPCA. Fun Facts About Russian Blue Cats. https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/russian-blue-cat-facts/
- CFA. About Russian Blues. https://cfa.org/russian-blue/
- Russian Blue. What Makes that Cat a Russian Blue. http://www.russianblue.info/is_it_a_rb.htm
- AACI Journal. An Update on Molecular Cat Allergens: Fe d1 and What Else? https://aacijournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13223-018-0239-8