Many people love cats, but they can’t go anywhere near them because of strong allergies. Unfortunately, all cats produce proteins responsible for triggering allergies, even bald ones such as Sphynx or Donskoy. That means there is no cat breed that’s fully hypoallergenic, but you might want to take a look at the Russian Blue cats.
Some cat breeds are less allergenic than others, and many people that have mild allergies can be around these cats without getting allergic reactions. Russian Blue cats are one of those cat breeds. Besides being a good choice for people with allergies, Russian Blues are beautiful and fascinating cats, so let’s learn a bit more about them!
Russian Blue Cat Characteristics
|Fur color||Bluish gray|
|Eye color & shape||Widely set and rounded green eyes.|
|Weight||Males 8-15 lbs|
Females 6-12 lbs
|Expected lifespan||15-20 years|
|Temperament||Highly intelligent and affectionate, sometimes shy and quiet.|
|Kids and other pets||Friendly towards children and other pets, but in moderation.|
|Sociable and cuddly||Moderately sociable, these cats are shy at first, but later they can become more outgoing and cuddly.|
Requirements & Traits
|Feeding||Meat-based food rich in protein, 2-3 meals a day for adults, and 3-4 meals a day for kittens. Provide clean and fresh water 24 hours a day.|
|Grooming||Weekly brushing, occasional baths, nail trimming, and eye and ear cleaning.|
|Shedding||Infrequent and low|
|Hypoallergenic||No. However, this cat breed is almost hypoallergenic when compared to other breeds.|
History and Origins
As their name suggests, Russian Blue cats originated from Russia. It is speculated that these cats naturally occurred on Archangel Islands in Northern Russia, in the port of Archangelsk. This is why, at first, this cat breed’s name was Archangel Cats.
At first, these cats could only be found as pets of Russian czars, but with time, they became more common. In the 1860s, Archangel Cats arrived in Great Britain and Northern Europe on ships that traveled from Archangelsk to these European countries. Soon, these cats attracted the attention of the general public, and one British newspaper wrote about them in 1862.
In 1872, Archangel cats attended their first cat shows in London, but it remains unclear whether those cats were actually Archangel cats/Russian Blue cats or they were British Shorthair tabbies with gray fur. Either way, Russian Blue cats competed in the same class with other blue cats until 1912, when they were recognized as an official cat breed and a separate class.
Just like with other cat breeds, WW2 seriously affected the number of Russian Blue cats. To save them from extinction, British and Scandinavian Russian Blue cats were bred with Siamese cats. Eventually, their Siamese genes were bred out, and the modern Russian Blue cat breed was created.
Later, breeders used Russian Blue cats to create other recognized and non-recognized cat breeds, such as Havana Brown, Russian Black, and Russian White. They also used Russian Blues to create healthier and improved specimens of breeds such as Oriental Shorthair and Nebelung cat.
Russian Blue Cat Personality
The Russian Blue cat is a very affectionate and loyal companion. They are known for their quiet and gentle nature. Although they are not as outgoing as some other cat breeds, they will still seek out human interaction and enjoy being around people. They are also very intelligent and can be trained to do tricks or perform simple tasks.
Russian Blues are not overly active, but they do enjoy playing and exploring their surroundings. They are generally good with other pets and children, although they may be a little shy around new people at first. Some Russian Blue cats still have strong hunter’s instincts.
Russian Blue Appearance
Russian Blue cats are mostly known for their unusual and beautiful fur, and because of it, they got their name and became popular worldwide.
Most other cats that descended from cold climates are naturally long-haired, but Russian Blue cats are always short-haired. Still, they can stand cold temperatures because their fur is thick and double-coated, keeping them warm even when it is freezing outside.
Russian Blue cat’s fur looks like it is made of plush. It is short, dense, soft, and silky. The base coat is bright gray and blue, while guard hairs are silver-tipped, which gives the cat a silvery appearance. Also, the coat is always solid, although the tail might show some signs of stripes.
The specific color of Russian Blue cats is a result of the dilute expression of the black gene. The exact shade of blue might vary from dark charcoal gray to bright, almost silver gray.
Since Russian Blue cats were bred with Siamese cats to avoid extinction, some of them will have distinct color point fur patterns. Such cats aren’t considered real Russian Blues, at least in the context of participating in cat shows. Also, if the cat has even the tiniest amount of white hair, many people don’t consider it a “true Russian Blue.”
Russian Blue cats can only have green eyes. Some Russian Blues have bright green, almost yellow, while others have deep green eyes. Their eyes are round and widely set apart.
Russian Blues are medium-sized cats, but sometimes they can look larger because of their extremely dense and soft fur. As usual, the males are slightly larger than the females. They usually weigh between 8 and 15 pounds, while females weigh between 6 and 12 pounds.
Also, Russian Blue males are longer than females, with their body lengths ranging between 15 and 18 inches. Female Russian blues are usually between 12 and 16 inches long.
Other Body Characteristics
Russian Blue cats have fine-boned yet muscular bodies. Their legs are long and elegant, with small and rounded paws. The tail is also long, tapered, and proportionate to the rest of the body.
The head has a moderate wedge shape. The neck is slender and long. The ears are large, wide at the base, and set wide apart. The tips are more pointed than rounded.
Daily Life With Russian Blue Cat
Due to their quiet and non-demanding nature, Russian Blue cats are perfect pets for first-time cat owners and other people that can’t deal with more demanding pets. However, that doesn’t mean that you can neglect your Russian Blue cat. Even such non-demanding animals have some basic requirements that you need to follow.
Russian Blue cats should only be fed meat-based foods. Both wet and dry types of food are good choices. Dry food will keep your Russian Blue’s teeth clean, while wet food contains enough moisture to satisfy most of your cat’s needs for water. Still, don’t forget always to have some fresh water available for your cat.
This cat breed is quite greedy. Russian Blue cats will overfeed whenever they get a chance, so instead of making the food available 24 hours a day, offer 2-3 meals per day to your adult Russian Blue. If your Russian Blue is still a kitten or a juvenile cat, you should feed it more often, 3-4 times per day.
Your vet will be able to determine the exact meal size for your Russian Blue, and they will also be able to give you other useful recommendations on how to feed your Russian Blue cat without overfeeding it.
While many people assume that cat breeds with distinct furs need more grooming, in many cases, that’s not true. Such is the case with Russian Blue cats. Since they don’t shed nearly as much as most other cat breeds, they only require some minimal grooming.
Weekly brushing will be enough to keep your Russian Blue cat well-maintained. You don’t need to bathe them unless they get really dirty. In that case, washing your cat gently in warm water is the way to go.
Occasional nail trimming is required. If you notice their eyes or ears are getting dirty, clean them gently with wet cotton pads. Dental hygiene is also extremely important. If you can’t get your Russian Blue to put up with regular teeth brushing, you can at least give it some dental-cleaning treats.
Russian Blue cats are moderately active animals. They are self-sufficient cats and do not require much attention. However, they do like to have a comfortable place to call their own and should have access to a litter box, scratching post, and plenty of toys and games to keep them entertained.
They are also quite curious and intelligent, so make sure to stimulate their brains too. Provide them with interactive toys or play some games with them that require problem-solving.
Also, while Russian Blue cats will prefer to stay indoors, they will also enjoy going outside to get some fresh air and discover new places. However, they prefer when their owners are somewhere around, so stay close to your Russian Blue while it plays outside.
Since they are smart cats, you can leash train your Russian Blue and take them on walks in nearby parks and other cat-friendly places.
Most Common Russian Blue Cat Health Issues
Russian Blue cat breed is a relatively healthy cat breed that doesn’t suffer from some peculiar genetic diseases. However, just like any other cats, Russian Blues can get sick, and these are some of the most common conditions that affect them:
Feline renal failure occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to function properly. The kidneys play an important role in filtering waste products from the blood and maintaining fluid balance in the body. When they fail, toxins build up in the blood, and fluids may become imbalanced.
Feline renal failure is a serious condition that can affect cats of all ages, though it is most common in senior cats. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to giving your cat the best possible chance for a good outcome.
Symptoms of renal failure include weight loss, decreased appetite, increased thirst, urinating more frequently, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s important to take it to the vet for a check-up as soon as possible.
Russian Blue cats will sometimes develop tumors, which can be benign or malignant. If you notice any lumps or bumps on your cat, it’s important to have your vet check them as soon as possible. Benign tumors are not usually a serious health concern, but malignant tumors can be very dangerous.
There are many possible causes of feline tumors, including viruses, bacteria, hormones, and certain types of cancer. Treatment options vary depending on the type and location of the tumor, as well as the cat’s overall health. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the tumor. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be recommended for certain types of tumors.
Diabetes is a serious medical condition that can be potentially life-threatening for your Russian Blue cat. While the exact cause of feline diabetes is unknown, there are certain risk factors that may make a cat more susceptible to developing the disease. These include obesity, age, and genetics.
Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and lethargy. If left untreated, feline diabetes can lead to serious complications such as kidney disease, blindness, and even death.
Treatment for feline diabetes typically involves insulin therapy to regulate blood sugar levels. In some cases, dietary changes may also be necessary. With proper treatment, your cat can live a happy and long life despite having diabetes.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when there is too much thyroxine hormone in the bloodstream. The thyroid gland, which is located in the neck, produces thyroxine. The primary function of this hormone is to regulate metabolism, but it also plays a role in heart rate, body temperature, and other body functions.
Symptoms of feline hyperthyroidism can include weight loss, increased appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, panting, restlessness, and irritability. If you leave it untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to serious health problems such as heart failure and kidney failure.
The treatment typically involves giving the cat medication to suppress the production of thyroxine hormone. Surgery to remove the thyroid gland may also be necessary in some cases. With treatment, most cats with feline hyperthyroidism can live normal, healthy lives, so make sure to take your Russian Blue to the vet if you notice any of the warning signs.
Russian Blue cats are a bit greedy when it comes to food. This makes them susceptible to becoming obese. Also, since their fur is so thick and dense, it can be hard to notice that your Russian Blue gained more weight than it should have.
To check if your Russian Blue is overweight, gently pet its spine. You should be able to feel each individual rib without having to press hard, and their spine should have a noticeable waistline. If you can’t feel their ribs or they don’t have a waist, they are likely overweight.
There are plenty of things you can do to help them slim down. Like with humans, weight loss in cats should be done slowly and steadily to avoid health problems. Work with your vet to develop a safe and effective weight loss plan for your feline friend.
Russian Blue Cat Name Suggestions
Finding a perfect name for your cat can sometimes be harder than expected. It is important to find a name that will correspond to your cat’s appearance, breed, and personality. While I think it is best to be spontaneous when naming your cat, you can always check out some Russian Blue name suggestions on the Internet. Here are some of my favorite choices:
Buying or Adopting a Russian Blue Cat
Although this cat breed is relatively rare, it is fairly easy to find Russian Blues waiting for adoption. If you decide to get your Russian Blue this way, it will cost you $75-$150. However, when you adopt the Russian Blue from the shelter, you can’t be sure if it is 100% Russian Blue or if it is mixed.
On the other hand, if you want to make sure that you are getting a purebred cat with no underlying health conditions, you can buy it from a reputable breeder. This will cost you between $500 and $1000, which is significantly more expensive than adopting.
Both adopting and buying have some pros and cons. If you don’t want to spend too much money on a cat and you don’t care if it is purebred or mixed, then adoption is the best for you. However, if you want a purebred and 100% healthy cat, find a reputable breeder.
Russian Blue Cat Alternatives
Russian Blue cats are highly prized yet relatively rare among cat owners and breeders in the US. Even though they are becoming more common and easier to find, you still might want to choose another breed instead of a Russian Blue cat.
Some of the most similar alternatives to Russian Blue cats are Havana Brown, Khorat, British Shorthair, and Nebelung cats. British Shorthairs, Nebelung, and Khorat cats have similar “blue” fur coloring, while Havana Brown cats exhibit similar color dilution as Russian Blues. Occasionally, there are Siamese and Persian cats with blue furs, so you can also get one of these breeds instead.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even though they can be shy at first, especially around children and strangers, Russian Blue cats are a good choice for a family pet, as they are affectionate, loyal, playful, and intelligent.
Russian Blue cats are quiet, affectionate, loving, loyal, curious, intelligent, playful, and sweet-tempered cats.
No, Russian Blue cats are quiet, and they will meow only when they want to communicate with their owners. These cats usually meow when they are hungry or when they want to play or cuddle.
Russian Blue cats are independent cats that can be alone for several hours, given that they have enough food, water, and a litter box. Of course, they still depend on their owners, and they shouldn’t be left alone for more than several hours.
Since almost all kittens have blue eyes, it will take some time before your Russian Blue cat develops its beautiful green eyes. At around four months of age, its eyes will start transforming from blue to green.
Russian Blue Cat Fun Facts
- Russian Blue cats have specific facial features that make them look like they are always smiling. This is why some people call the Russian Blue cat breed a “Mona Lisa of cat breeds.”
- The old Russian folk tales mention Russian Blue cats, representing these cats as healers and bringers of good luck.
- Since their blueish gray fur results from the dilute expression of the black gene, Russian Blue cats are basically black cats with faded coats.
Russian Blue Cats In Pop Culture
It is worth mentioning that Russian Blue cats are among those cat breeds that are a part of pop culture. For example, the famous Nyan cat meme is based on a Russian Blue cat. An animator Christopher Torres, whose cat Marty was a Russian Blue, created this meme in 2011.
The meme showed an animated hybrid of a Russian Blue cat and a pop-tart, flying through space and leaving a rainbow trail behind. Unfortunately, Marty didn’t get to enjoy its fame for long, as it died several months after the Nyan Cat meme went viral.
Another good example of Russian Blues in pop culture is Tom from Tom&Jerry. It was never officially confirmed, but it has been speculated that Tom was a Russian Blue cat or that it was loosely based on Russian Blue cats. Either way, this show made so many childhoods awesome, including mine.
Russian Blue cats are famous for their beautiful furs. However, another reason for their increasing popularity is that they are as hypoallergenic as one cat breed can be. While every cat breed can trigger allergic reactions, Russian Blues are one of the safest choices for people with mild allergies.
Apart from being almost hypoallergenic, Russian Blue cats have a gentle nature, and they are quiet, non-demanding, affectionate, loving, and loyal. Although shy at first, these cats can create strong bonds with people around them, which makes them a great pet choice!