Russian Blue cats
The Russian Blue is the ninth most popular cat breed in the United Kingdom. They aren’t only beautiful cats but also have a charming personality. If you are considering a Russian Blue kitten, read on to learn more about this breed including their appearance, personality, health and care needs.
What Russian Blue cats look like
At first glance, one could easily confuse this breed with the Carthusian or British Shorthair, but on closer inspection you will see that there are indeed some significant differences. For example, the Russian Blue has a very muscular, yet graceful, build and long legs. In comparison the British Shorthair is much stockier. Russian blue cats are relatively small with most of them weighing between 3 and 5 kilograms. Furthermore, they have characteristic bright green eyes while Carthusians’ eyes are yellow.
A Russian Blue’s whole body is the same blue-grey colour, with only the fur at the base of the whiskers being slightly lighter. This contours the face, giving the cat a defined expression. The unique silver-coloured sheen is created by the fact that there is no colour pigment in the tips of their hairs. Breeders are currently developing white and black Russian Blues, but these breeds are not officially recognized yet.
Russian Blue cats are often included in lists of hypoallergenic cats because of the characteristics of their coat. Their under and top coats are the same length and they shed very little. If you run your fingers through their fur, you can create a pattern, because the hairs stay put. Their coat is very soft and, as far as we know, no other cat breeds have the same type of double coat.
Russian Blue kittens are sometimes born with a spot on their head, but this gradually disappears during their first year. In a perfectly bred Russian Blue, even their noses and the underside of their legs are blue-grey. Their bright green eyes stand out as the only spot of colour.
The different Russian Blue bloodlines
You have three different options if you are considering this breed: the original Scandinavian/Siberian, the American or the English bloodlines.
The Scandinavian/Siberian cats are the least crossbred of three bloodlines. They are slightly smaller and often more shy, making them less suitable as pets. Your cat might not cuddle with you very much, but rather keep its distance and spend a lot of time under the bed or couch.
American Russian Blue cats are taller and more sociable. If you look closely you will also notice that their ears are slightly further apart. This bloodline is the most popular due to their gentle nature.
Finally, the English Russian Blues are a cross between the above two bloodlines. Their ears are closer together and they are slightly less sociable than the American cats. They do have their sociable moments, but tend to be more reserved with strangers.
You should always check the cat’s breeding before buying. The Scandinavian/Siberian Russian Blue has a much more difficult personality and needs a very different approach and environment compared to the other bloodlines. If you have only read general information about the breed and are unaware of the differences between the bloodlines, you might be disappointed because your cat’s personality is not what you expected.
The Russian Blue’s personality
With a Russian Blue you welcome a curious, yet calm cat into your home. These cats are very intelligent and need a lot of challenges. You can make it easier on yourself by ensuring that your cat has plenty of toys as well as a quiet and comfortable place to sleep.
If you want to, you can also easily teach your cat various tricks with the use of a clicker. Once playtime is over, your cat will usually snuggle up with you. These cats become very attached to the members of their household and they might often follow you around the house.
While their personality is mostly inborn it is also partly determined by how responsible the breeder is. Ideally, a Russian Blue kitten should stay with its mother and the rest of the litter for the first twelve weeks of their life before being placed with their future owner. With other cats, a kitten can be removed from their mother after seven to eight weeks, but Russian Blue kittens need a little more time. This gives them enough time to develop and learn how to behave.
Russian Blue prices
Russian Blues are purebred cats and you will probably pay between £400 - £600 for a kitten. This is significantly more than for most other cat breeds. This is partly because the breed has become very popular in recent years, but also because the breeder incurs a lot of expense in raising the kittens in the right way.
A breeder must have a licence to breed cats commercially and this is quite pricey. Furthermore, the kittens stay with the breeder for a slightly longer time than the average for other cat breeds. Breeding cats is an expensive hobby and the chances of the breeder actually making a profit on the sale of a Russian Blue kitten is quite small. Most ethical breeders do it out of love of the breed rather than for any potential income.
The ideal environment for a Russian Blue
It is perfectly fine to let these cats live indoors, like in an apartment without any outdoor space. They have no inclination to be outside and mingle with other cats in the neighbourhood. You should, however, make sure that your cat has enough objects inside the home to have fun with.
Besides being very intelligent, Russian Blues are also independent and so you don’t have to worry about leaving them alone at home all day. This doesn’t mean that your cat is not attached to you because they will greet you affectionately when you get home. Make sure that there are enough toys for your cat to play with while you are away otherwise they might get into mischief. Russian Blue owners will often tell you that their cat can easily open a door or jump onto bookshelves.
If you will be away a lot, it might be a good idea to get two cats. Russian Blues get along quite well with other cat breeds and so the second cat doesn't necessarily have to be the same breed. You don't have to worry about your cat being aggressive towards the other cat but the two of them will obviously have to get used to each other.
A Russian Blue also fits in well with other pets, but strangers are less welcome. These cats like a peaceful environment so would prefer a household without too many people coming and going. They won’t pay much attention to strangers and visitors but they won't be hostile towards them either. Always make sure that there is a quiet space that your cat can retreat to. Russian Blues also prefer routine.They might not be very enthusiastic about changes to the interior of your home or in your timetable. They could become grouchy and lethargic when their routine is disturbed and you will need to give them time to get used to the changes. Also be sure to feed your cat at the same time every day. If this is difficult for you, a possible solution is an automatic feeder that releases food at specific times every day. While all of this might sound like a lot of effort, your pet will reward you with lots of love.
Grooming Russian Blue cats
Caring for this breed is not very demanding because their coats shed very little. However, you should brush them regularly. This is not to remove loose hair and keep their coat healthy but because they really enjoy being brushed. This time spent with your pet is special and the brushing feels good.
These cats will also not object strongly to other personal care, like nail clipping or cleaning their ears.
Health profile of Russian Blue cat
In contrast to many other pedigree cats, Russian Blues do not have any common hereditary conditions that you need to consider. Furthermore, if they are indoor cats the risk of infectious diseases like cat flu is greatly reduced. You should, however, take your cat for an annual vet check and make sure that all their vaccinations are up-to-date.
The average lifespan for cats is between 12 and 14 years, but a completely healthy Russian Blue can live to between 15 and 20 years of age. This is something you should consider before bringing this breed into your home. They will be living with you for a very long time and there will also be all the necessary costs, including food and visits to the vet.
Feeding your Russian Blue
This breed is known for their love of food and as soon as you put their bowl down they will attack it. Even when their stomach is already full they are likely to beg for more and so there is a good chance of them gaining too much weight.
Feed your cat a few times a day and only at set times. They will learn that begging for more food isn't necessary and won't work. This also ensures that your cat never gets really hungry.
Feed your cat a combination of wet and dry food. Wet food consists largely of moisture and this will help to protect your cat against dehydration. The tubs of organic cat food pate with beef and chicken from Yarrah are supplemented with organic certified chicory and consist of 82% moisture. This food will provide your cat with exactly what they need to stay healthy.
Not sure how much to feed your cat? On the Yarrah website’s product pages you can enter your cat’s activity level and an estimate of their weight and you will be advised on how many grams you should feed your cat each day. Keep in mind that even an indoor Russian Blue could be active if they walk around, climb and jump a lot.
When it comes to snacks, you can always keep your cat happy with a treat. Yarrah's organic mini snacks for cats consist of 97% meat. They are especially suitable as rewards when you are training your cat to do tricks. These snacks are not only tasty, but also contain only natural ingredients. They are completely free of chemical fragrances, colours and flavours, pesticides and GMO. A truly guilt-free treat for your cat.