About Russian Blue Kittens
First exhibited at London’s Crystal Palace in 1875 as the “Archangel Cat,” the original Russian Blue competed with all other blue cats. In 1912, the Russian Blue was given a separate class for competition as breeders in England and Scandinavia worked to develop the foundation bloodlines for the contemporary Russian Blue. Although Russian Blues were imported to the United States in the early 1900s, it wasn’t until after World War II that North American breeders began combining the European bloodlines to produce cats with plush, silvery coats, emerald eyes, and the distinctive profile. From the 1960s, the Russian Blue began gaining popularity and has become a favorite at cat shows and at home.
Little is known about the origin of the Russian Blue breed, though stories are legendary. Many believe the Russian Blue is a natural breed originating from the Archangel Isles in northern Russia, where the long winters developed a cat with a dense, plush coat. Rumors also abound that the Russian Blue breed descended from the cats kept by the Russian Czars. Assuming the Russian Blue did migrate from northern Russia, it was likely via ship to England and northern Europe in the mid 1860s.
Russian Blue is known for actually appearing hurt when it has been ignored. Elegant, and reserved, this cat is also very playful, and loves to chase after toys or sunbeams.
The Russian Blue can spend hours amusing itself and does not mind an awful lot if it is left at home alone for the day, but it will be very happy to see you when you do arrive. This cat makes for an excellent companion, constantly following its owners about, and generally preferring one human above all others in the family. It should be added that the Russian Blue gets along with most everyone, including children. Their love of human company extends to impishly clowning to help calm a crying baby, and showing sympathy when their people get the blues by patting the face of the person.
One of the Blue Russian’s vulnerabilities is its tendency to be startled easily. They also have a natural proclivity to shyness and nervousness around strangers and in strange environments. If it is true that this breed was once the target of fur hunters (as some say), this would easily account for their caution and quick footedness. They would have had to move fast at the slightest sound to quite literally preserve their own skins.
This breed does not like change, preferring for things to be uniform and predictable. It can be thrown off when dinnertime is altered, and is nit-picky about hygiene. It will not even enter its litter box if it is dirty. In the early years, this breed developed a reputation at shows for being difficult to work with because of traits like these. The Russian Blue was gentle and happy at home, but at shows it was visibly discontent and temperamental. Popularity declined and fewer Russian Blues were being shown until breeders focused on improving the attitudes of the breed through selective breeding and behavior management (e.g., soft music, recording of show noises, crystals, herbal remedies). This commitment to the breed paid off, and today the Russian Blue is a happy participant at cat shows.
When choosing your Russian Blue you should look for a reputable breeder, who will undoubtedly have a series of questions for you designed to make sure that you and the Russian Blue are compatible. Do not be surprised if there is a wait of some sort. These wonderful family members are worth it. Usually breeders make kittens available between twelve and sixteen weeks of age when they have had sufficient time with their mother and littermates to be well socialized and old enough to have been fully vaccinated. Keeping your Russian Blue indoors, neutering or spaying, and providing acceptable surfaces (scratching posts) for the natural behavior of scratching are essential elements for maintaining a healthy, long, and joyful life.
There are no specific health problems related to the Russian Blue. It is a genetically sound breed, mainly due to it being a naturally occurring breed. Brushing the coat is not essential, but is a nice addition to the weekly routine of other grooming, such as brushing the teeth. This breed has a particular fondness for human company and will sit quite happily while being combed or brushed, since it is spending time with the one it cares for.
One important note to keep in mind with this breed is its love of food. It will eat beyond its need and ask for seconds, making it a sure candidate for weight related conditions if it is allowed to eat as much as it wants. The best prevention is measuring the food and giving it only at assigned times of the day, and making sure that everyone in the house knows that they cannot give the cat too many treats or scraps.