The Russian blue is a very beautiful looking cat that is of course hugely popular in their home country, and also all across the world. Whilst not as popular in the UK as the blue variant of our native favourite the British shorthair cat breed, the Russian blue is a breed that appeals to a broad demographic of cat lovers, and which a significant number of people every year consider choosing as their next pet.
As the 10th most popular cat breed in the UK, there are quite a large population of Russian blue cats in the UK as a whole, although moggies outnumber all pedigree cat breeds by a huge number overall.
If you’re thinking of choosing a Russian blue as your next pet, there are many good reasons why they’re in such demand – but you need to get the facts before you can make an informed choice on the purchase of a cat of any type, and this article is designed to help you to do just this.
Read on to learn ten things you need to know about the Russian blue cat, before you buy one.
The Russian blue cat is undeniably beautiful to look at and they have a very regal appearance – as well as a regal history.
The breed was the cat of choice for the historical imperial Russian royal families of czars, and cats of the breed were highly valued and pampered pets in many of the royal palaces right up until the revolution.
Whilst the Russian blue is almost synonymous with luxury and they were a common sight in the Russian royal courts, they are actually a landrace breed – or a local, native cat type that developed on its own without deliberate human influence in a specific area of the world, and which is distinct from other cats from other parts of the world.
The Russian blue is thought to be a landrace of Arkhangelsk in Northern Russia, and they’re sometimes known as Archangel Blues as a result.
The Russian blue cat breed is commonly confused with blue cats of the British shorthair breed, as blue cats in general are unusual and both breeds tend to be plush and well-rounded in appearance. However, the breeds are highly distinct from each other and their shape, build, temperaments and breed standards don’t have a lot else in common!
Blue British shorthaired cats are much more numerous in the UK than Russian blues.
The first records of Russian blue cats being seen outside of their native Russia come from Crystal Palace in the UK in 1875, which would make this one of the longest established cat breeds in the UK. Widely accepted theories about the breed’s arrival in the UK tell that they were brought over in the 1860s by sailors who came on ships from the port of Arkhangelsk, where we think the breed hails from.
The Russian blue cat is notable for being somewhat less likely to trigger allergies in people who are usually allergic to cats, because they produce less of one of the specific feline protein chains that are commonly associated with allergies in people.
This means that people who suffer from fairly mild cat allergies might find themselves able to own a Russian blue even if they could not live comfortably with other types of cats.
The genetics behind the blue colouration of the Russian blue’s coat are different to that of the blue shade of all other cat breeds, including the blue British shorthair.
Blue colouration is achieved as a dilution of the natural gene that results in a black coat, and if you breed a Russian blue cat with cats of other colours, the resulting litter may have interesting marbled patterns like black, blue and white, an eye-catching variant of tortie!
Unlike most cat breeds, Russian blue cats have double coats, consisting of a thick, insulating and warm undercoat covered by a top layer of guard hairs, which help to keep the wind out and protect against the elements.
The Russian blue personality is deep and somewhat complex, but they are not considered to be difficult or highly strung as a rule. They are reputed to be peaceful but inquisitive cats, as well as being playful and intelligent, and very affectionate with their owners whilst somewhat reserved with strangers. They don’t tend to be the type of cats that will approach people in the street, and are generally considered to be quite aware and streetwise.
As a naturally occurring cat breed that is long established and that has not suffered from a lot of human intervention, the Russian blue is one of the longer-lived cat breeds, with average ages of over 15 being reasonably common and cats living into their 20s not being unheard of.
However, the health of individual cats and breed lines can be highly variable, and there are no guarantees of long life, regardless of the breed of cat you own.
The Russian blue is loving but not overly demanding, tends to be robust and healthy, are quite sensible and good at keeping themselves safe, and may be a good pick for people who often find that they’re allergic to other cat breeds.
This means that they tend to be a good fit for many different types of cat owners, as long as you do plenty of research and ensure that you learn as much about the breed as possible before you commit to a purchase.