Russian Blue Cat Breed Guide
One of the feline world’s rarest and most beautiful members, the regal Russian Blue is also known as the Blue Russian, the Archangel Blue, and the Archangel Cat. Read on to learn more about the breed whose slightly up-turned mouth gives it the appearance of a perpetual friendly grin.
Russian Blue Cats: Physical Attributes
Long and slender, the Russian Blue has a triangle-shaped head and wide, pointed, large ears. The breed’s broad forehead and long, straight nose contribute to their sleek and elegant look. Though they look slender, the breed has a surprisingly strong, muscular body. That musculature has even earned them a nickname, “the Doberman Pinscher of cats.” The breed is physically impressive altogether, with long legs that enable them to run fast and move gracefully.
Height and Weight
- Height: About 10 inches tall
- Weight: 10 to 12 pounds (male cats), 7 to 10 pounds (female cats)
Coat and Coloring
Russian Blues have a short, straight, plush double coat. Its distinct bluish-grey coloring (with silver tips at the extremities) is perhaps the breed’s most familiar attribute. Some Russian Blue kittens have faint stripes across their bodies which will fade and disappear with age. The breed’s coat is often thick enough to make cats look larger than they really are. The flesh on a Russian Blue’s nose is the color of slate and their paw pads come in pink and various shades of purple.
Russian Blues have wide-set eyes that evolve from yellow with green rims to bright green as kittens age into adult cats. The striking color of the breed’s eyes is among its most distinctive features.
Healthy Russian Blues live between 10 and 15 years on average with some living as long as 20 years or more.
The History and Ancestry of Russian Blue Cats
The origins of the Russian Blue are mysterious, but the most popular theories place the breed’s birthplace in Northern Russia’s Archangel Islands. Some cat historians hold that the breed has royal blood, descending from the beloved pets of czars. Others suggest that the breed’s dense, beautiful coat would’ve made it a prized target of hunters out in the wild. That thick coat certainly supports the idea that the breed originated in a cold climate like Russia’s.
Though the breed shares some qualities with the Korat, the Chartreux, and the British Blue (also called the British Shorthair), experts do not believe that the breeds are related. All four breeds are old enough, however, that they may potentially share an ancient common ancestor.
What we now call the Russian Blue first met British cat lovers as the Archangel Cat. As a competitor in the nation’s very first cat show, the breed made an entrance befitting its regal air. The breed was rarely victorious in competitions against more popular short-haired blue cats like the British Blue. In 1912, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) officially recognized the breed and afforded it a classification all its own. Russian Blues are one of many breeds that nearly went extinct during World War II. Their popularity grew among American breeders and feline enthusiasts throughout the second half of the 20th century.
Russian Blue Cats: Personality and Temperament
Around strangers, Russian Blues are known as especially reserved and gentle cats. They are comparatively playful and affectionate around their human loved ones. Though they’re not clingy, they love spending quality time with the family, sometimes preferring one member of the household above all others. These sensitive cats can begin to feel anxious if they don’t feel their affection is being reciprocated. If they’re following you around the house or curling up beside you on the couch, don’t hesitate to show them some love.
Active and intelligent Russian Blues are more than capable of keeping themselves entertained. Chasing sunbeams across the floor, playing with puzzle toys, and exploring new places are all favorite pastimes of solitary cats. Though they’ll always welcome the company of a beloved family member, they certainly don’t mind time on their own.
Russian Blues are creatures of habit who insist on familiar routines and clean surroundings. Pet parents who aren’t diligent about cleaning out the litter box can quickly earn the ire of their kitty. Owners are encouraged to clean litter boxes twice a day and to avoid unexpected changes to their pets’ feeding and exercise routines.
Living With a Russian Blue
In addition to a love of play, Russian Blues have a strong hunting instinct. Make sure you cater to this by providing adequate stimulation and opportunities to explore. Keep in mind that you may need to “cat-proof” your house by hiding household objects and furnishings that could catch their eye and wind up in their mouth. Childproof locks can add an extra layer of security and keep cats from getting stuck in small spaces or ingesting something they shouldn’t.
Like all cats, Russian Blues are highly susceptible to oral and dental disease if they do not maintain healthy habits. Make sure to introduce your cat to brushing early. While they may never enjoy the experience, early exposure can teach them to accept it and discourage the growth of dangerous plaque. Your vet can educate you on the value of dental hygiene and help ensure you’re doing your part.
These cats are susceptible to obesity too if they’re regularly permitted to overeat. Any owner can attest to the fact that Russian Blues really love to eat and won’t hesitate to ask for seconds. Some will even literally “ask” by vocally requesting meals. Work with your veterinarian to develop an appropriate diet and familiarize your pet with the concept of portion control. High-quality food is essential for keeping any cat happy and healthy and discouraging them from developing chronic conditions as they age.
Where grooming needs are concerned, Russian Blues are a decidedly low-maintenance breed. Weekly brushing with a high-quality comb is typically sufficient to remove dead hairs and keep these cats’ coats looking as lustrous as possible. Several weekly brushing sessions may prove necessary during the spring shedding season to keep cats comfortable and looking their best.
Russian Blues are generally tolerant of children and other pets. So long as they’re treated with respect, they can even get along with toddlers and dogs. Take care to introduce kittens to new housemates carefully and prepare to intervene if conflict arises. While the breed is generally calm and friendly, no two pets have the exact same temperament.
Which Organizations Recognize the Russian Blue?
The following feline registries officially recognize the Russian Blue:
- American Cat Association (ACA)
- American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA)
- Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
- Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe)
- The International Cat Association (TICA)
- World Cat Federation (WCF)
Are Russian Blues Hypoallergenic?
No, but it’s a popular misconception for a reason. Cats cause allergic reactions like sneezing and runny noses in afflicted people thanks in part to a protein called Fel d 1 that’s found in the saliva and on the skin of most breeds. It’s true that Russian Blues produce less Fel d 1 than many other popular types of cats. They do, however, produce some, often enough to cause reactions. Russian Blue owners will also need to contend with a potential irritant in the form of dander.
How Much Do Russian Blues Cost?
Since they’re relatively uncommon, Russian Blue kittens and adult cats can come with a hefty price. Depending on where you live and who you consult, you should expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1200. Show-quality cats could cost even more depending on the details of their lineage.
Russian Blue Fun Facts
- Some fans of Tom and Jerry’s animated antics suspect that the unlucky feline is a Russian Blue. After all, he’s got bluish-grey fur and green eyes.
- The Russian Blue-inspired Nyan Cat is one of the internet’s most famous memes. Illustrator Chris Torres based the animated cross between a kitten and a pop-tart on his own cat, Marty.
- The breed’s unique coloration comes from a unique gene. It’s a diluted version of the same gene that’s responsible for black hair in other types of cats.
- According to Russian folklore, these cats were helpful for warding off evil spirits and bringing good luck.
- The “ghost stripes” seen on some kittens are a reminder of a genetic similarity between all types of cats. Whatever breed your cat calls their own, they’ve got at least some of the genetic material that causes tabby markings.
Names for a Russian Blue
Need a name for your new feline pal? Check out these suggestions from the PetPlace team.
Blue and Gray-Themed Cat Names
Cat Names from Russian Literature
More Russian Names for Your Cat