Origin and History
The origins of the Russian Blue breed is shrouded in mystery and fantastical stories. It is both said that the breed originally originated and evolved in the Russian Archangel Isles and that it comes from the Russian Tsars themselves. The stories even say it rode with the Cossacks and frequently sailed the seven seas as a ship cat.Whatever the truth of its origin may be, we know that it eventually made its way to the cat show in the beautiful Crystal Palace in London, England in 1875. There are even rumors that the cat-loving Queen Victoria encountered and fell in love with the breed there.
The Crystal Palace may be lost to history for forever, but the Russian Blue and many other breeds first showcased there are still going strong. Before 1912 it was grouped with other blue cats and went under the names of “Foreign Blue,” “Archangel Cat” and sometimes under the name Maltese.In 1912 however, as it´s popularity slowly grew, it was finally given its own class, and the breeders in England and Scandinavia attempted to develop the foundation bloodlines for the modern Russian Blue.The two World Wars that followed left this blue beauty very close to extinction, but thanks to some dedicated breeders after WW2 and outcrossing programs* that allowed the Russian Blues to be paired with new cats, such as the blue-point Siamese and blue British Shorthairs allowed the breed to survive.
*Outcrossing (also known as Outbreeding)
Is when new genetic material is introduced into a breeding line or a breed´s gene pool. This technique has been used in order to create new breeds from existing ones, such as pairing the Siamese with a variety of other cats, and to keep existing breeds alive when the breed population has been at a critical low point. The Havana Brown for example, due to it´s danger of extinction, has a couple of sanctioned outcrossing programmes to help ensure its continued survival as a breed
Coat Colors & Appearance
The Russian Blue has a short, plush and thick coat, which covers a long, muscular, medium-sized body. The only recognized color is an even bright blue, with silver tipped guard hairs, giving the Russian Blue a silver shimmer. The vivid green eyes contribute to its alert appearance.
It has what is known as a semi-foreign body type with long legs and body but all in proportion. Some kittens are born with “ghost stripes,” but these usually fade as the cat matures into adulthood.
The Russian Blue is a cat with a quiet, gentle disposition. It may seem quiet and maybe a bit dull to be around to the untrained eye, but the Russian Blue is an intelligent cat with many talents. Many Russian Blue owners report that the cat is ideal to play fetch with and that you can teach this quick study many tricks. So while it may not be the attention grabber as say the Somali, it is sure to be an instant favorite to those looking for a quiet, loving and intelligent cat.
This breed is not a clingy cat and would prefer to lay next to you and chill rather than to jump around everywhere (although like most cats, it loves heights). For this reason, the Russian Blue does better with older children and adults. It is not the type of cat that will greet your guests but would instead like to hang back and observe them until it has deemed them to be okay.It likes to take a careful and measured approach to life and its surroundings. Don’t be surprised if you find him up in high places scoping out the territory and assessing its options, especially if it is in a new environment.
It is not a vocal cat but it can respond if you talk to it, and its high intelligence allows it to learn the meaning of many words that you use.
The Russian Blue is also known for its hearty Russian appetite, and you should watch out for your food while cooking!
Grooming and Care
The Russian Blue requires minimal grooming. Clipping of nails, weekly brushing, and brushing of teeth is enough to keep this blue beauty happy. The Nebelung should be brushed twice a week due to its long coat.
TThe Russian Blue is, in general, a healthy cat with few health problems. If you are getting a Russian Blue make sure to get it from a reputable breeder that can give you extensive information about its background, family, and if there are any health problems in the line. Russian Blues are reported to be prone to bladder stones. Another thing to watch out for is that its love for food does not make it overeat and become overweight. Read more about making sure your Russian Blue is on a healthy, balanced diet in our big food guide, and about weight-loss for cats in our guide.
What Differentiates The Russian Blue From Other Breeds
Its light blue coat along with its silver shimmer makes the Russian Blue visually stands out, while his intellect, quiet and pondering demeanor makes it a unique and fascinating companion to have by your side.
Buying a Russian Blue
If you want to buy a Russian Blue the most crucial step is to find a reputable breeder near you that can give you extensive information about your prospective kitten´s family background and health. You should never buy from places like pet store because it is unlikely that they know enough about the background of the cat and you risk buying a cat with severe health issues or encounter other problems.Because it is a rare breed, it is not an easy one to find one available for purchase, but your best bet is to either adopt (more on that below) or search for reputable breeders near you. You can start by having a look at the TiCA registered breeders in the US that we have listed below.