Russian Blue: Cat Breed Profile, Characteristics & Care

Appearance, Personality, History, Care, & Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Cute Russian blue cat sitting on the bed
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The Russian blue cat is a playful, intelligent breed with a striking coat that inspired its name. This cat's short, dense hair is uniformly steel blue with an almost silvery cast, making it one of the most distinctive and beautiful cats in the world. Russian blues enjoy interacting and playing with their owners, but they also have an aloof quality that makes them less suitable for homes with rambunctious children or pets. Mellow dogs and gentle children are much preferred by this independent breed.

Breed Overview

Personality: Friendly and intelligent but aloof, may be reclusive around strangers

Weight: Up to 12 pounds

Length: Up to 24 inches

Coat Length: Short Hair

Coat Colors: Steel blue

Coat Patterns: Solid

Eye Color: Green

Lifespan: Up to 20 years

Hypoallergenic: Somewhat

Origin: Russia

Russian Blue Cat Characteristics

The Russian blue is a medium-sized cat when it reaches maturity at about a year old. It is friendly and enjoys being near familiar people in calm surroundings. If strangers, rowdy dogs, or overly affectionate kids approach, though, the Russian blue is likely to retreat for the safety of a hiding spot where it will stay until the environment has returned to normal.

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level Medium
Intelligence High
Tendency to Vocalize Low
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Russian Blue Cat

Although the Russian blue’s full breed history is not known, these cats are thought to have originated on Archangel Island (Arkhangelsk) in northern Russia where they were once called Archangel cats. They were favored by the Russian czars.

Upon gaining popularity among the Russian royalty, the beautiful blue cats were shipped to many parts of Europe. Russian blues were among the contestants of the very first cat shows held in England in the 1880s.

In the United States, the Russian blue is recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association and The International Cat Association.

Russian Blue Cat Care

The Russian blue’s trademark coat is easy to care for, requiring minimal grooming. Because it sheds less than other cats' coats, occasional brushing is optional. The Russian blue frequently appears on lists of “hypoallergenic” cat breeds. Although no cat breed is truly non-allergenic, it seems that some allergy sufferers can live successfully with certain cat breeds, including the Russian blue.

Trim your Russian blue’s nails regularly and check inside the ears for dirt and debris on a weekly basis. If you see a little debris in the ears, use a gentle pet ear cleaner to wipe them out with a cotton ball (never a cotton swab).

Russian blues are intelligent cats. They are entertaining and playful and can be trained to play fetch. Although not a particularly vocal breed, they usually will respond when talked to and encouraged to "talk" back.

For exercise, make sure your cat has a scratching post for some necessary stretching. This breed can keep busy and exercise on its own, which is great for families that maintain a busy lifestyle. Regulate weight by controlling the portions of cat food. If your cat starts to get pudgy, reduce the food given and talk to your veterinarian about its diet.

Common Health Problems

Although some purebred cats are prone to certain hereditary diseases, the Russian blue is generally healthy with no known genetically linked disorders.

The breed enjoys a long life span, often living into the upper teens or longer. Work with your vet to make sure your Russian blue is up to date on its vaccines, annual exams, routine testing, and dental care.


The Russian blue’s trademark coat is a shimmery blue with a silvery cast. The short, dense, plush coat is wonderfully easy to care for, requiring minimal grooming. Its coat naturally does not shed much. Occasional brushing will keep the coat soft and silky.

Even more striking perhaps than the Russian blue’s coat are its large, wide-set, emerald-green eyes. The wedged shape of the head and face gives the Russian blue a charming expression that makes it look like it is perpetually smiling.

The medium-sized Russian blue cat is fine-boned and elegant, but ideally lean and muscular as well.

Diet and Nutrition

It is always recommended that you speak with your veterinarian about the best food to feed your Russian blue. The Russian blue is known to love eating, so one thing to watch out for is overfeeding. Keeping your Russian blue lean is the best way to avoid weight-related health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.

Feed your Russian blue measured amounts of cat food at regular meal times two to three times a day. Although leaving food out all day may be convenient, it can lead to constant snacking, which can contribute to an overweight cat. Always have fresh water available 24 hours a day.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Russian Blue Cat

If you like the Russian blue cat and want to learn more, check out the Cat Fanciers’ Association's list of Russian blue breeders near you so you can ask more questions and meet a Russian blues in person.

You can also try to find a cat show in your area. Cat shows are great fun and a wonderful way to learn about many different cat breeds from breeders and owners.

You may be able to find a purebred Russian blue cat through a breeder in your area, but if you'd rather adopt from a rescue facility, check out these organizations:

Russian Blue Cat Overview

These graceful cats are gentle and sweet. Although Russian blues can be shy around strangers, they absolutely adore their owners. If you are looking for a cat who will greet you at the door, follow you around the house, and sit next to you on the couch, the Russian blue meets these criteria. What's more, they are some of the most beautiful cats among the pure breeds because of their shimmering blue-gray coats and emerald-colored eyes.

  • Often tolerated by people with cat allergies

  • Gentle and kind

  • Generally healthy and long-lived

  • Can be shy and reclusive around strangers or commotion

  • Not as cuddly as some cats

  • Can become obese if overfed

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

Otherwise, check out all of our other cat breed profiles.

  • Are Russian blues friendly cats?

    These cats are very affectionate with people they love, but they can be wary and aloof around strangers.

  • How much does a Russian blue cat cost?

    A purebred Russian blue usually costs between $400 and $600.

  • Do Russian blue cats shed a lot?

    Russian blue cats shed less than most other cat breeds and are usually well tolerated by people with cat allergies.