Russian Blue Cat: Cat Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Cute Russian blue cat sitting on the bed
Volanthevist / Getty Images

As the breed’s name suggests, this cat comes from Russia and its coat is blue. Although the color might look gray, blue is a specialized term used to describe a specific color in some cats (and some dogs, too). In the pet world, blue is the dilute version of black. Although there are no exact dates when this breed came about, it is an older breed and one of the first recognized cat breeds. This breed is known for its love of playing fetch. Most Russian blues are great family members and get along well with other pets, even dogs, and are good with gentle children.

Breed Overview

Weight: 7 to 12 pounds

Length: About 2 feet

Coat: Short

Coat Color: Blue

Eye Color: Green

Life Expectancy: 15 to 20 years

Characteristics of the Russian Blue Cat

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
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 exact origins are not known for certain, these cats were formerly called Archangel cats, since they came off of ships from Russia's Archangel Island or Arkhangelsk. This cat was favored by royals and preferred by the Russian czars.

These 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 a shimmery blue with a silvery cast. The Russian blue cat’s 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 is its large, almost round, wide-set, emerald-green eyes. The shape of the head and face gives the Russian blue a charming expression that makes it look like it is perpetually smiling.

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). If the ears look inflamed or excessively dirty, or your Russian blue is shaking its head or scratching its ears, schedule a checkup with your veterinarian.

Russian blues are intelligent cats. They are entertaining and playful and can be trained to play fetch. Although not a talkative breed, they usually will respond when talked to and encouraged to talk. These graceful cats are gentle and sweet. The Russian Blue can appear to be shy around strangers, but they absolutely adore their people. If you are looking for a dog-like 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.

The medium-sized Russian blue cat is fine-boned, elegant and slender, but also muscular. For exercise, make sure it has a cat scratching post for some necessary stretching. This breed can keep entertained 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.

Are Russian Blue Cats Hypoallergenic?

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.

Cat dander (not necessarily cat hair itself) is the main cause of cat allergies. Cat-allergic humans are sensitive to a protein called Fel D1, which is found in cats’ skin cells (as well as dried saliva and urine on the cat’s fur). It has not been scientifically proven, but it appears that some cat breeds, including Russian blues, naturally produce less dander than other cats. People with mild allergies might be able to live comfortably with a Russian blue. However, all individual cats and people are different.

If you have cat allergies and want to learn if you will react to a Russian blue, find a local breeder who will allow you to come to visit their home or breeding facility. Test the theory by cozying up to a couple of Russian blue adult cats.

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.

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.

Pros

  • Russian blues are usually more tolerated by people who suffer from cat allergies.

  • Russian blues are friendly, playful, family pets that can get along with other pets.

  • These cats are trainable, known to like playing fetch.

  • This breed is not predisposed to breed-linked health conditions and is generally long-lived.

Cons

  • Russian blues are known to love eating, careful monitoring of food intake is required.

  • If your Russia blue is a big eater, it can become prone to obesity and at risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Russian Blue Cat

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 organization, check out:

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

If you like the Russian blue cat and want to learn more, check out the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s for 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 and talk to breeders and owners to learn more. If you like the Russian blue cat, you might also be interested in these cat breeds:

There are many different cat breeds for you to explore before you decide which one is right for your home.