Russian Blue cats: Emeralds and Silver

Russian Blue cat

Russian Blue is a cat of fascinating beauty. Its silhouette is sleek and slender, and its movements are full of grace and dignity. The amazing combination of light blue plush coat with deep emerald eyes gives a special charm to Russian Blues, while silver tipping creates the impression of mysterious frost covering.

Besides their unique appearance, Russian Blues are known for their calm temper and gentle, affectionate nature. This cat loves and appreciates the cozy home atmosphere, so it is just perfect for family life.

Russian Blue is noted for being well-mannered and neat. It is very easy to take care of a Russian Blue. These cats love attention and are always ready for cuddles. They like following their owner and participating in every day’s routine. Clever and intelligent, active and curious, Russian Blue cat is a great companion and a faithful friend.

Northern legacy

Russian Blue is one of the oldest and most popular breeds in the world. In spite of this, little is known about where it comes from. Russian Blue cats are believed to originate from the northern regions of the Russian Empire and Scandinavia. Their blue-gray fur recalls the well-known character of the Russian folk tales – Kot Bayun. There is no doubt, that blue cats with unusually dense fur lived in those cold regions. And may be the special features of their short double coat helped them adjust to living there. This thick coat, with the undercoat almost as long as the topcoat, protected the cats during the bad weather.

Little aristocrats

Russian Blues can be proudly named aristocrats among all the cats. Some legends tell us that these cats were quite popular at the Royal Court. Blue cat Vaska was a favourite pet of Peter I. His daughter Elizabeth was fond of blue cats as well. It is believed that Catherine II used to give some blue cats to foreign ambassadors as a gift to their sovereigns. And although there is no evidence, it is quite possible to believe that in 1901even Queen Victoria and her son Edward VII received a couple of blue cats from Tsar Nicholas.

On their sea way

Blue cats are also mentioned in some northern Scandinavian legends. It is possible that the first cats came to Europe on the ships of the Vikings. They were kept onboard of the ships as wonderful rat hunters. By sea they could probably get even to Spain and Malta. Prior to the adoption of its current name, the breed was also known under the names of Maltese, Spanish or Archangel. In the XVI century British merchant ships used to sail to the White Sea coast and stopped in the harbor of Arkhangelsk, Russia. This port city exported precious fur, leather and wood. Thus, sailors brought the Archangel cats to England. Blue cats with dense coat and lovable nature immediately attracted the attention of the British breeders. They began to use the Archangel cats in breeding in order to improve the quality of coat of the local breed, the British.

Finally, the Russian Blue

Blue cats brought from Arkhangelsk started to gain popularity when they were presented at the first cat show in 1875 at the Crystal Palace in London. At first, all blue cats competed together in the class of shorthaired blue cats. And even then the blue cats from Arkhangelsk were distinguished by their elegance, the double "plush" coat and mysterious Russian character. In 1912 the local British breed was given a class of its own and became a separate breed, "British Shorthair", while the Russian Blue breed was referred to as "Foreign Blue." It was not until 1939, when the Russian Blue breed has officially received its present name.

Russian Blue breed standard

Russian Blue cats

The Russian Blue is a distinctively elegant and graceful cat. The body of the Russian Blue is slender, long and firmly muscled, graceful in outline and carriage. The legs are long, with small oval feet. Long and flat skull, short wedge, straight profile and strong chin provide the special form of the head of a Russian Blue. Large, almond-shaped, expressive eyes of a vivid green, emerald colour gives Russian Blues mesmerizing charm. The ears are large, broad at the base, placed vertically to the head. One of their most outstanding features is a beautiful short silver coat with a very dense undercoat. Its main feature is the same length of guard hairs and undercoat, in other words, "double" or "plush" coat. The texture and appearance of the coat is very different from those of any other breed. The colour of the coat is light or medium blue, even and clear. The guard hairs are silver-tipped, creating the effect of silvery sheen. The main faults are flat lying coat, oriental or British body type, white spots, round or yellowish eyes.

The development of the breed

World War II had a significant impact on the breed, for the Russian Blue was nearly lost. As an attempt to save the breed, Siamese blue-point and British Shorthair cats were introduced into the breeding programs to preserve the lines and maintain the diversity of the gene pool. The eye colour became better, while the body type turned to be more extreme. In the 1960s the breeders attempted to restore the original appearance of the breed and mating with other breeds became undesirable. The breed began to spread throughout the world and a huge number of fans appeared worldwide. It gained a special popularity in the United States and Japan. In 1967 the first club of the breed was organized in Great Britain – the Russian Blue Association. American and Japanese breeders also created Russian Blue fanciers club. In 1992 the Russian Blue Association appeared in Finland and in 1995 the French club of the fanciers of the breed was formed.

Types of Russian Blues

Russian Blues are well-known all over the world and officially accepted by all the feline organizations. Thanks to the hard work and efforts of dedicated breeders from different countries, the Russian Blue today is a cat of graceful lines, amazing emerald eyes and a unique shimmering blue-gray coat. Although the standards throughout the associations around the world are quite similar, the breed slightly splits into various types because of the differences in interpretation of the standards in different countries. So, in Europe we can find the English, the Scandinavian and the Continental types. The cats of the English type are bigger and more heavily built, with a rounded skull, darker coat tone and vertically set ears. Russian Blues of the Scandinavian type possess a strong and elegant body, flatter head surfaces, medium blue coat colour and large emerald eyes. The Continental type refers to the cats of the smaller size, with long and slender legs, large almond-shaped eyes and light silvery coat. The American type of the Russian Blue cat is slightly different from the European type. These cats have fine bone structure, paler coat shade, round eyes and low set of the ears. Each type is the result of efforts of many breeders who managed to maintain and improve the major characteristics of this amazing breed.

Personality

Russian Blue kitten

In addition to their mesmerizing beauty, Russian Blue cats are famous for their lovely personalities. They are smart, affectionate, friendly and loyal. Being the cats of quiet nature, they still are independent and can sometimes be authoritative. Never treat these cats badly, as they have good memory and do not tolerate any sign of violence. Russian Blues tend to be shy with strangers, but once you earn their trust, you can feel lucky and enjoy their extraordinary devotion, as Russian Blues form strong bonds with their owners. The undemanding nature of Russian Blues makes it easy for them to adapt to the apartment life style, and makes this breed a good choice for a modern way of life. They are good pets for older children and get along well with other pets. Russian Blues are known to be intelligent, active, playful and curious. They will always let you know when it’s time to play, they especially appreciate new toys. Trying to catch some attention, the Russian Blue will follow its owner around and will perch on the owner's shoulder. Being so smart, Russian Blues easily learn to perform tricks, like opening the door, jumping and hanging on the door handle, or bringing the toys back in mouth just like a dog. Russian Blue cats love to follow the everyday routine and are sensible to changes in their environment. The unique personality of the Russian Blue makes it the best companion.