A cat doesn’t have to be colorful to capture your heart! The Russian Blue is a cat breed with only one solid color, but a ton of personality. They aren’t just a plain, medium-sized kitty. These cats are surrounded by legends and may have been owned by the Czars of Russia! Having one in your home could be like having a member of the royal family right in your lap.
Title Photo Credit: Doug Miller via Flickr
That Beautiful Blue
A Russian Blue cat’s coat is a rich, even gray color (“blue” in the cat fancy world) with guard hairs that appear to be dipped in an angelic white. The white tips give the coats a silvery shine. These double-layer coats are plush, dense, and thick. However, they don’t constantly shed or require heavy amounts of grooming. A good brushing once per week should keep these kitties looking gorgeous!
The large, round, emerald green eyes of the Russian Blue are another defining characteristic. They are wide set on the cat’s round head and make a beautiful contrast to the gray color of the coat. If you look closely, it even looks like these cats are smiling. Their mouths curve just slightly upwards at the edges.
History of the Russian Blue
Like many of the older breeds, there is a lot of mystery around the origins of the Russian Blue breed. Legends say that this is a naturally occurring breed from the area of the port of Arkhangelsk in Russia. Since this area is only about 150 miles (242 km) from the Artic Circle, it is believed that their coat is an adaptation to the cold weather. Their thick, dense coat would definitely be to the cat’s benefit in those frigid temperatures!
Wherever it may have come from, the Russian Blue made its way to the first cat fancier show in London, England in 1875. These cats were most likely brought to England and Scandinavia by ship sometime in the 1860’s. At the time of that first cat show, they were known as the “Archangel Cat” due to its rumored Russian origins. They were judged in the same category as the other blue colored cats such as the Korat, Chartreux, and British Blue (British Shorthair). It is not clear whether there is any common ancestry between these cat breeds, but it is believed that there is not.
The United States received it’s first Russian Blue cats in the early 1900’s. However, breeding programs for these cats didn’t really take shape until after World War II. At this time, breeders across Europe were working to rebuild their breeding stock. The war had nearly destroyed a number of cat breeds.
Different countries had different ideas of how to rebuild this beautiful breed. In England, breeders cross bred their cats with British Shorthairs and blue point Siamese cats. In Scandinavia, breeders chose to use Siamese cats and a blue coated cat from Finland. Breeders in the US reached out to breeders in Scandanavia to further their breeding program.
Due to the different breeds used to replenish the Russian Blue, the breed has a slightly different profile from country to country. Cats that are the product of breeding with Siamese cats have a more exotic look with a more wedge-shaped head. Larger cats with rounder heads were the result of breeders who used the blue coated cats from Finland in their programs. In the United States, cat fancier groups accept only recognize Russian Blue cats with blue (gray) coats. Other countries such as Austrailia, New Zealand, and England recognize other coat colors for this breed.
A Tender-Hearted Kitty
Russian Blue cats are a great addition to homes with adults and older children. These intelligent kitties can be very picky about their people and their homes. At first, a Russian Blue may come off as being shy or aloof. Don’t let that fool you – they just take time observing people before they decide what they think of them. Once they have warmed up to you, you will have a best friend forever!
These cats are devoted and affectionate. The Russian Blue breed is known for being sensitive to their owner’s emotions and to their surroundings. Keeping things as routine around the home as possible is ideal. Changes in the home and changes in routine can be upsetting to one of these kitties.
If you like a cat that can play fetch, the Russian Blue might be the best breed for you. They are enthusiastic about playing fetch and may even teach you how to do it. These kitties are playful and energetic, but they are also very gentle. If you are polite to them, they will be polite to you.
If you are considering adding a Russian Blue cat to your family, check out the adoptable kitties on PetFinder!