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rec.pets.cats: Russian Blue Breed-FAQ
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 12 Mar 1997
All the cat breed faqs are available as ASCII files either on rec.pets.cats
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The Russian Blue
Author: Eric Johnson,
Copyright (c) 1996 by Eric Johnson. All rights reserved.
"The Doberman Pinscher of Cats," one judge exclaimed as he placed this
elegant creature on his judging table. The Russian Blue male stretched high
on his slim long legs, gracefully extended his lengthy muscular body,
turned his majestic head toward the spectators and imparted a serpent type
gaze with his vivid green eyes. Oohs! and Ahs! were expressed by the
captivated spectators, overwhelmed by the countenance of this magnificent
breed. The Russian with his regal bearing, instantly loses his dignified
pose when a fluffy feather comes into view. Like a kitten he playfully and
swiftly snags the feather with lightning accuracy. He tilts his head to one
side and prankishly swats at the feather with a subtle sense of humor that
never ceases to delight and amuse.
-- Marge Jackson, _CFA Yearbook: 1988_
Size and Appearance
The Russian Blue is a medium-sized, short-haired cat. It is fine
boned, and it has graceful lines. The coat is, of course, blue -- with
silver tipping on each hair that gives a lustrous appearance -- and
the coat is thick and plush. The eyes are green.
Personality and Temperament
Russian Blue cats are intelligent, quiet, and sensitive. They are
clean and shed very little. They love to play with small toys around
the house, and they enjoy jumping and climbing, but -- unlike some
other playful breeds -- Russians are rarely destructive. Because they
are intelligent, they can train their people to perform simple tasks
such as throwing toys so that the Russians can retrieve them. They are
agile, light-footed cats that may seem to fly around the house with
the grace of a dancer.
Russian Blues easily bond with their people and are loyal to those who
love them -- frequently following them from room to room to be near
them. Russians show their affection in a variety of ways. Some enjoy
leaping onto the shoulder of their person and riding there. Other
Russians are eager to butt heads with their person. These sensitive
cats seem genuinely hurt when they come to their people to show
affection and are put aside.
Because the basic temperament of Russian Blues ranges from slightly
reserved to quietly shy, they may be cautious or nervous around
strangers. Russians prefer to take their time to investigate new
people. In addition, although they are basically gentle cats,
neglected or stressed Russians may become fearful and temperamental.
It pays off to put time into developing an affectionate relationship
with a Russian Blue. People who have known other breeds often remark
on the special close and deep bonding that they feel with their
The Russian Blue is a natural breed (that is, it is not the result of
crossings with other breeds). As its name suggests, the Russian Blue
is believed to have originally come from Russia. Since the cat was
thought to have been brought to England on ships that left the Russian
port on Archangel Isle, the breed has been called the Archangel cat.
Although evidence of its Russian origin is anecdotal, its dense coat
is consistent with a northern climate. In England in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Russian Blue was
sometimes known as the Foreign Blue because its body type resembles
that of foreign (European) breeds; it has also been called the Maltese
Typically, Russian Blues are hearty, healthy cats, and with proper
diet, exercise, veterinary care, and affection, they are capable of
living well into their teens and beyond. There are no genetic problems
associated specifically with the Russian Blue, and as a breed they are
not prone to any particular illnesses, but, as with any breed, some
lines may be prone to certain health problems. Russians are good
eaters, and therefore it is easy for them to gain weight and become
much too heavy; it may be advisable to measure and limit the food
intake of adult Russians.
Showing Russian Blues
Some Russians seem to enjoy showing, and most Russians will tolerate
showing, especially if it is done on a regular basis starting when
they are kittens. However, because they tend to be a shy breed, many
Russian Blues are not eager to travel to peculiar-smelling show halls
and to be handled by strangers. Under the stress of a show, they can
become frightened and upset.
Formal Description and Show Standards
The breed standards for the Russian Blue are similar in each
association in North America (ACFA, CFA, CFF, and TICA), but the
European standards (FIFe and GCCF) are significantly different from
the North American standards -- and from each other. Those who intend
to enter Russian Blues in competition should obtain a copy of the
standards from the association in which they will exhibit. The
following is based on the standards of the ACFA.
The Russian Blue cat is distinct from all other breeds. The
truest criterion is its soft, lustrous, bright blue double
coat. Handling a Russian Blue feels like running a silk scarf
through your hands. Gentle and shy, often playful in manner,
its voice is soft and sweet. They prefer gentle but firm
handling and are easily startled.
_Head and Neck_:
Forehead high, top of skull flat and narrow, smoothly curving
into back of neck. Face broad at eye level, looks broader due
to thick fur at side of head. Medium length straight nose looks
upturned from almost any view except profile due to light
reflection. Neck is long but does not appear so in repose, due
again to thick fur.
Rather large, almost as wide at the base as they are tall and
set far apart as much into side as top of head. Ears look
pointed as hair tufts finish off where slightly rounded tips
stop. Inside furnishings cover approximately one-half of the
otherwise bare, translucent ear area. Outside of ears
completely covered with short, fine hair.
_Eye Shape and Set_:
Almost round, just oval enough to show oriental slant. Set one
eye width or more apart.
Fine boned, long, svelte and graceful. Appears heavier in
repose due to supple skin and lie of thick coat. Muscular in
the manner of a swimmer rather than that of a wrestler.
Straight, rather long, tapering from rather thick base.
_Legs and feet_:
Long, fine-boned legs with small, neat, well-rounded feet. Cat
appears to stand and walk on tiptoes.
Short, dense, fine and plush. Lies out from body due to thick
_Color; Coat, Nose, Skin and Pads_:
The coat is an even, bright blue throughout with lighter,
lavender color preferred. Guard hairs are silver tipped thus
giving the coat a lustrous appearance. There must be no white
anywhere on the cat. Ghost tabby markings are permitted on
kittens. Nose leather is charcoal grey, body skin is pale blue
and pads are rosy flesh pink.
As vividly green as possible at maturity. Russian Blue kitten
eyes change rapidly through yellow to green. By four months, a
green ring should appear around pupil. Cats whose eyes are not
completely vivid green should be penalized, the amount
determined by the quantity and vividness of green as well as by
the age of the cat. No green in eyes -- full penalty.
Russian Blue Breeders and Clubs
Lists of Russian Blue breeders and their advertisements can be found
in magazines such as _Cat Fancy_, _Cats Magazine_, and _Cats USA_.
Information about the Russian Blue Society and its newsletter can be
obtained from Patt Knudtson, 1602 Southbrook Drive, Wadena, MN
56482-2144 (218-631- 3421).
Buying a Russian Blue
Like the price of other breeds of cats, the price of a Russian Blue is
based on the cat's quality, and various breeders may have
significantly different prices. A pet quality Russian Blue kitten will
be sold for one price. The price for a show quality cat or kitten will
be much higher -- especially for top show quality. The price of
Russians sold for breeding (they may or may not be good show cats)
will also be much higher than that of a pet quality cat. Anyone who is
considering purchasing a Russian Blue should contact a breeder for
details. If possible, it is ideal to personally visit a breeder: not
only to see a cat that might be purchased, but also to see other cats
with the same blood lines.
"America's Russian Blue," _Cat Fancy_, July 1983, pages 28- 33.
"Breed of the Month: THE RUSSIAN BLUE," by J. Anne Helgren, _Cats
Magazine_, March, 1996, pages 54-55, 60, 75.
"Breed Profile: The RUSSIAN BLUE," by Diana Doernberg, _Cat Fancy_,
July, 1996, pages 32-33 plus insert. [INLINE]
"The Cats of Wynterwynd . . . Russian Blues," by Dorothy Holby, _Cat
Fancy_, November, 1986, pages 40, 42-45.
"Poetry in Motion," by Marge Jackson, _CFA Yearbook_, 1988, 131-138.
_The Russian Blue Cat_ by Ingeborg Urcia, 1992.
_This is the Russian Blue_ by Ingeborg Urcia, 1983.
Russian Blue FAQ
Last updated on December 7, 1996