Russian blue catThe Russian Blue is a gentle cat breed known for its silvery blue coat, vivid green eyes, and its perpetual Mona Lisa smile. These cats are perceived as highly intelligent and playful, but at the same time they tend to be timid around strangers. Although currently a rare breed, more and more people become proud owners of this cat.

Breed origin

The Russian Blue is a naturally occurring breed originated in the port of Arkangelsk in northern Russia. It is believed that they were brought to England and northern Europe in the 1860s by British sailors. The first recorded showing of the breed was in 1875 at the Crystal Palace in England as the Archangel Cat. It used to be included among other blue cats during competitions, until in 1912 when it was given its own class.

After the World War II, the Russian Blue became close to extinction that breeders worked to save the breed by crossbreeding a few survivors with other breeds like the bluepoint Siamese and the British blue. This resulted with the modern Russian Blue seen in the United States today. Meanwhile, in 1965, a group of British breeders began efforts to restore the breed to its original appearance by breeding together the lines developed in Scandinavia and Britain.

Appearance

The Russian Blue has a lean, long, and slender body with a short, plush, blue-gray coat. The coat is known as a "double coat," with the undercoat being soft, downy, and equal in length to the guard hairs, which are an even blue with silver tips that gives the coat a shimmering appearance. Its eyes are almost always a dark and vivid green. Any white patches or yellow eyes in adulthood are seen as faults in show cats.

Despite being slender, the Russian Blue is actually quite muscular and strong. Its head is wedge-shaped, but the face appears more broad than actually is due to its wide set of eyes and thick facial fur. The large ears are also set far apart. The slight upturn to the corners of the mouth make this breed appears to be forever smiling.

Color

What the fanciers call a "blue coat" is actually gray for the rest of us. The silver tips are its guard hairs reflects light, making the Russian Blue shimmer. Although it is commonly seen as blue, other Russian Blues come in black and white.

Personality

Russian Blues are gentle, reserved cats that usually hide under the bed at the presence of a stranger. They like their usual routine and dislike any environmental changes. Despite its calming personality, they can be playful and affectionate towards their chosen humans. Fanciers say it takes some time to develop a relationship with this breed, but it would be all worth the extra time.

Grooming

Because of its dense coat and thick undercoat, the Russian Blue requires some grooming to look its best always. Give it a good combing using a quality steel comb at least once a week, and two to three times a week during the seasonal shedding periods. They usually go through two yearly sheddings in the fall and in spring.

Cost

A pet-quality Russian Blue kitten can be bought at a range between $400 to $700, depending on its bloodline, breeder, and area. Meanwhile, breeder and show quality kittens start at $800 and can go up to $2,000, depending upon bloodlines, conformation, quality of coat and color, and show prospects.