At a glance
About the Russian blue
The Russian blue (Русская голубая кошка) is a naturally occurring ancient breed of cat that originated from Russia. Russian blues have enjoyed many names including Blue, Maltese, Maltese blue, Archangel blue, Russian Weir cat, Chartreuse blue, Foreign blue, Russo-American blue, Spanish blue, Blue Russian and Russian shorthair.
The most recognisable features of the Russian blue are their plush, solid blue-grey coat and green eyes. Although there are no hypoallergenic cat breeds, the Russian blue can be better tolerated because they produce less Fel d1 than other breeds of cat.
The early history is unknown, but it is believed that the Russian blue breed descended from the cats kept by the Russian Czars. British sailors who worked onboard merchant vessels brought blue cats to England from the shore of the White Sea, Arkhangelsk. Arkhangelsk translates to Archangel, which is the original name for the breed.
The first Russian blue to be exhibited was at London’s Crystal Palace in 1875. Russian blue cats were exhibited in the same class as other blue cats, including the British shorthair (also known as British blue). By 1912 the Russian blue had been awarded its own class for competition. Breeders from Great Britain and Scandinavia worked hard to develop the breed.
Russian blues, along with many other breeds was almost wiped out during world war II. In an attempt to restore the breed, crossbreeding with the British shorthair and Siamese began. This resulted in a loss of the characteristic Russian blue type, with the resulting progeny having the appearance of a blue-coated Siamese.
In the 1960s, breeders had worked hard to re-establish the Russian blue to its original type and by 1949, the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) accepted the Russian blue for registration.
The Russian blue is a fine-boned cat of moderate size with a well-muscled. The legs are long and slender with oval paws. Long, slender legs with oval paws.
The head is a modified wedge, with a straight nose and flat forehead forming two planes. Prominent whisker pads, as well as slightly upturned corners of the mouth, make the Russian blue appear to be smiling. The wide-set eyes are almond-shaped and vivid green and the large ears set high on the head.
The Russian blue is a sweet and loving breed who can be somewhat reserved around strangers but loving towards their human family. In their family environment, the Russian blue likes to follow his or her human family around and can be playful well into adulthood. Their sweet and gentle nature make them an ideal pet for families and in homes with other pets.
Their high intelligence makes Russian blues highly trainable to walk on a leash and harness or play games of fetch.
Choosing a Russian blue
Always choose a registered cat breeder when purchasing a purebred cat. A registered breeder must be registered with one of the cat councils such as the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) or The International Cat Association (TICA) and will have a prefix or cattery name. Do your homework and search for the breeder by name and prefix to see if they have any reviews.
I prefer to choose a breeder who raises their cats underfoot, otherwise known as indoors, where they will receive plenty of attention and grow up familiar with day to day household bustle.
Look for signs of good health, the eyes should be bright and free of discharge, the ears clean with no odour, and there should be no nasal discharge. The kitten should be curious, energetic and friendly.
Kittens should not leave home until he is at least 12 weeks of age and had 2 of his 3 kitten vaccinations.
Keep all records of discussions with the breeder and make sure guarantees are in writing. Be wary of a breeder who tries to rush you into a sale, cannot provide you with a prefix and a registration number and asks for cash. Breeders should ask you a number of questions about your home life, other household members and pets to ensure their kittens are going to the right home.
Russian blues are a low maintenance breed. However, a weekly brush is recommended to remove loose fur. Trim the front claws every few weeks to prevent the claws from becoming too long, this is particularly important for indoor-only cats.
Feed a good-quality diet, preferably not one which contains large amounts of dry food (kibble).
Parasite control is important for indoor and outdoor cats to prevent intestinal worms, fleas and ticks (in tick prone areas).
Stropping is a natural behaviour that removes the loose outer layer of the claw and stretches the shoulders and limbs. Provide the cat with a cat tree as well as cat scratchers to prevent them from scratching the furniture.
Related: Blue/grey cat names
The Russian blue is a healthy cat with no known genetic health problems.
While the Russian blue is the most well-known breed, there are two variations, the Russian black and the Russian white. These variants have been predominantly developed in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Frequently asked questions
How rare is the Russian blue?
Russian Blues are not a rare breed of cat but are less common than other breeds such as the Burmese or Ragdoll.
How much does a Russian blue cost?
The cost of a Russian Blue can range from $1,000 – $2,000. The price range can vary between pet, show and breeder cats. A pet quality cat may have a minor fault such as incorrect eye colour, which does not impact on health. Show and breeder cats typically cost more than pet quality.
Do Russian blues meow a lot?
Russian blue cat is a talkative breed, but its voice is very soft.
Are Russian blue cats really hypoallergenic?
No breed of cat is completely hypoallergenic. The Russian blue is said to produce less of the Fel d 1 protein which triggers allergies, however, I have been unable to find any trials or research papers that verify this claim. As always, it is important to visit breeders and see if exposure to breeds trigger allergies.
The Purina Institute has introduced Pro Plan LiveClear which can reduce allergies in susceptible people.
Do all Russian blues have green eyes?
The breed standard states the eye colour as green. All kittens are born with blue eyes, which change colour from four weeks. It can take some time for the vivid green eye colour to develop.
What is Russian blue in Russian?
Русская голубая кошка
How do I know if my cat is a Russian blue?
The only way to confirm a cat is purebred is to purchase the cat from a registered breeder who can provide you with the cat’s pedigree. The blue coat colour is not unique to the Russian blue or other cats in the cat fancy, this coat colour is also common among the mixed-breed population.
Blue cat breeds
- British Shorthair (blue is the most well known, but other coat colours are permitted)