What You Don't Know About... Russian Blues
Cat Talk|August 2020
Silver-Tipped Elegance
Candilee Jackson

The statues que and regal Russian Blue is a standout in any environment. Once you’ve taken in his elegant structure, the next thing you notice is the amazingly dense, silver-tipped coat, paired with emerald green eyes that look deeply into the souls of admirers. It adds up to a majestic creature definitely worthy of the opulent royal palaces of the czars of Russia.

Gentle cats that are somewhat shy nature around strangers, Russian Blues are devoted to and affectionate with their loved ones. They are very sensitive to their owner’s moods, and will greet you at the door, find a quiet seat next to you, or fetch a toy at playtime, somehow knowing instinctively what you want of them. “Fetching” is a favorite pastime for Russians and their owners. However, pull out the vacuum cleaner, and your Russian will quickly find a safer and quieter location. Relatively soft-voiced (except perhaps at mealtime), the Russian Blue appreciates a pat on the head, a window from which to watch the birds, and, of course, all the comforts of home. Minimal grooming is required: regular nail clipping, good nutrition, an occasional combing, and lots of petting, keep your Russian Blue pet looking spectacular.

A Little History

Though stories abound, little is known about the actual origins of this breed. “Many believe the Russian Blue is a natural breed originating from the Archangel Isles in northern Russia, where the long winters developed a cat with a dense, plush coat. Rumors also abound that the Russian Blue breed descended from the cats kept by the Russian Czars. Assuming the Russian Blue did migrate from northern Russia, it was likely via ship to England and northern Europe in the mid-1860s.” (CFA Breeds)

Russian Blue cats were first shown in 1875 at the Crystal Palace in London. Named “the Archangel Cat,” they “competed with all other blue cats. In 1912, the Russian Blue was given a separate class for competition as breeders in England and Scandinavia worked to develop the foundation bloodlines for the contemporary Russian Blue.” (CFA Breeds)

The breed was brought to the United States early in the 20th century, but it was not until after World War II that US fanciers “began combining the European bloodlines to produce cats with plush, silvery coats, emerald eyes, and the distinctive profile. From the 1960s, the Russian Blue began gaining popularity and has become a favorite at cat shows and at home.” (CFA Breeds)

The YouTube sensation, Nyan Cat, was inspired by a Russian Blue owned by illustrator, Chris Torres. At the time, he was working as a volunteer for a Red Cross promotion, and was part of a group brainstorming ideas for advertising: some on the committee wanted a Pop Tart-like character, somewhat reminiscent of SpongeBob SquarePants, while others wanted a cat. The result was “an Internet-meme of a flying catPop Tart hybrid flying through space, leaving a rainbow trail in its wake.” (Fawcett)

Breed Basics

Sometimes referred to as being “build on the rake,” the Russian’s back legs are longer than the front, and this feline is built for speed. “The Russian Blue is a sweet-tempered, loyal cat who will follow her owner everywhere, so don't be surprised if she greets you at the front door! While she has a tendency to attach to one pet parent in particular, she demonstrates affection with her whole family and demands it in return. It's said that Russian Blues train their owners rather than the owners training them!” (Hills Pet)

These cats are highly intelligent animals and require regular physical and mental stimulation, so it's important to give them access to toys at all times. (Hills Pet) Their love of play as well as the hunt keeps Russian Blues motivated so providing a variety of toys, especially interactive ones, is essential.

This is a kitty who does not like change, so establishing routine and a schedule for feeding, playing and napping are “must dos” on an owner’s list. A Russian Blue can definitely be used as the family “alarm clock” as this kitty knows exactly what time everything takes place in her daily routine.

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