Cat Breeds 101: The Russian Blue

The striking golden eyes and silky grey coat of a Russian Blue is striking for any cat lover

The striking golden eyes and silky grey coat of a Russian Blue is striking for any cat lover

The Russian Blue is a delightful cat that is most notable for having a striking dark grey, or blue, coat. Russian Blues are one of the oldest recorded breeds of cats, first making an appearance in the 1860s. They are smart, yet shy, and love to hunt mice and other rodents. Here, we’re going to talk about everything there is to know about this delightful breed.

Where do Russian Blues come from?

The Russian Blue is a naturally-occurring cat breed that has been around for many years. Many people speculate that the breed originated on the Archangel Island in Russia. These blue cats were brought to Great Britain as ship’s-cats in the 1800’s. The breed was upkept in England and Scandinavia throughout the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. After World War II, American breeders began to work on the breed as we know it today by breeding the Scandinavian and British Russian Blues to create one distinct bloodline.

What do Russian Blues look like?

The Russian Blue is easy to recognize, due to their unique “blue” coat. Their coats are a rich smoky grey, and they tend to have green eyes and pink paws. Their fur is this color due to a recessive gene that is present in all Russian Blues. Due to the nature of this naturally occurring gene, two Russian Blues will always produce Russian Blue kittens.

The coat of a Russian Blue is special not only for its color, but for the fact that it is technically a “double coat,” with the undercoat being as long as the outer layer of guard hairs. This means that Russian Blues are extra fluffy! Their fur is thick yet soft and silky, and they are one of only two breeds of cats with this type of fur pattern. The standard undercoat typically has silver tips, making the coat appear shimmery.

Notice this Russian Blue's stout muzzle and bright eyes

Notice this Russian Blue’s stout muzzle and bright eyes

The Russian Blue is typically between 7-16 lbs, with the males usually being larger. Their heads are wedge-shaped with a flat top and a very straight nose. Their bodies are firm and muscular, yet they are sleek and slender looking in appearance. Another thing that makes Russian Blues distinct is that they are only registered in the one color, unlike other cat breeds that have a variety of possible hues.

What do Russian Blues act like?

grey tabby cat kitten

Russian Blues are sweet and silly once they’ve broken out of their shell

The Russian Blue is known to be a loyal and intelligent cat who takes their time to get to know others. Shyness has been a commonly occurring trait in the Russian Blue, but this shouldn’t deter people from the beautiful breed. They may take their time to get to know someone, but once they do, it is smooth sailing with one of the most intelligent cat breeds.

Russian Blues tend to be great hunters; whether their prey be a bug, mouse, bird, or other small animal, they’ll catch what they have their eye on. They can often be taught to do tricks, like fetch and stay, as well as learn to walk on a leash. Russian Blues are sticklers for schedules, and will get irritated if they aren’t fed at the same time each day. They are a generally quieter cat breed, with gentle voices and soft meows.

How is the general health of a Russian Blue?

Unlike many cat breeds, the Russian Blue is a naturally-occurring cat breed. This means that little backcrossing was involved with the development of the breed, and therefore there is more genetic diversity. This genetic diversity helps the Russian Blue breed maintain a good health track record, with no illnesses or genetic issues that they’re prone to. The Russian Blue has a great track record for lifespan, averaging between 15-20 years.

Russian Blues have been proven to be a great cat for people with allergies. They tend to produce less Fel d1, a major component in cat allergies. Another reason is because their thick coats may help to trap allergens before they are spread. As with any cat breed, females tend to produce less allergens than males. This isn’t to say that they are totally allergen-free, but they may work for people with slight cat allergies.

If you are interested in bringing a Russian Blue into your home, there are a few ways that you can do so. There are Russian Blue rescues throughout the country that are regularly posting updates on Russian Blue cats and kittens of all ages that need homes. Your local shelter may have a Russian Blue pop up, so keep an eye out or feel free to regularly visit the shelter to see if one strikes your fancy. To purchase a purebred Russian Blue kitten generally costs between $300-500. We advocate to adopt, not shop, especially with this type of breed that is pretty prevalent in the U.S.

Do you have a Russian Blue that is close to your heart? Tell us about them in the comments!