- Weight — 7 – 12 pounds
- Coat characteristics — Colors include blue of various shades. This breed is known for its silvery-blue coat.
- Enrichment needs — This breed needs an average amount of enrichment throughout the day.
- Intelligence — Russian blue cats are known to be curious but calm, affectionate but not clingy, and very smart.
- Vocalizations — This breed has a soft voice and an abundance of quiet affection.
- Life span — 15 to 20 years.
- Temperament — Very playful and sensitive to their owner’s feelings. Shy around strangers and don’t need constant companionship.
- Hypoallergenic — Yes
- Origin — Russia, pre-19th century.
Cat allergies are a result of proteins commonly found in a cat’s saliva and on their skin. While some breeds produce fewer allergens, all cats have them. Because of this, there are no truly hypoallergenic cat breeds. If you have allergic reactions to cats, a feline friend may not be a perfect pet for you.
Russian blue fun facts
- Russian blue cats have a slightly upturned mouth. This gives them a smile similar to the Mona Lisa.
- A Russian blue movie star. In the Warner Bros hit movie Cats & Dogs, a Russian blue cat is featured as a trained assassin!
- Mythic protectors. According to folklore, Russian blues were kept in newborns’ rooms to chase away evil spirits.
Russian blue temperament and characteristics
Russian blues are known to be shy around strangers and visitors, yet they follow their pet owners around the house and greet them at the door. Once these cats are comfortable, they are a very loving breed and get along well with children and other pets. Russian blues are loyal cats with beautiful green eyes!
If you’re looking an expressive, vocal feline that chatters and talks in quiet meows to let you know they’re hungry, then this is the cat breed for you! This breed prefers games with their humans and enrichment is important for all felines.
Common Russian blue health problems
Reputable breeders of Russian blue cats screen issues in kittens. Purebred cats (and dogs) may be prone to certain hereditary diseases, but Russian blues are generally a healthy breed with a lifespan of around 15-20 years. Here are four conditions to keep your eye out for so your kitty lives a long life — and remember, always see your vet for annual wellness visits!
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) , is a group of degenerative diseases that affect a cat’s photoreceptor cells. With this disease, the cells deteriorate over time, eventually leading to blindness in the affected cat.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited condition in cats that causes multiple cysts (pockets of fluid) to form in the kidneys. PKD may progress to loss of kidney function and ultimately kidney failure.
- Obesity. In the US, around 60% of cats were classified as overweight or obese according to a survey done in 2022 by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
- Arthritis. Around 20% of cats show signs of osteoarthritis, but up to 90% of senior cats suffer from this chronic condition. Supplements and the right nutrition help, but preventative care is best.
🚨Male neutered cats are susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can lead to fatal blockages. Make an appointment with the vet immediately if you notice that your cat is having accidents.
Cost of caring for Russian blue cats
All pet owners need to consider the lifelong cost of a cat and develop a pet budget for routine appointments and unplanned pet bills. Plan for your feline friend should see the vet at least once a year for essential booster vaccinations and wellness exams to ensure your pet has a long and healthy life.
When it comes to the unexpected, pet insurance can also help pet owners manage emergencies like a urinary tract blockage. Signing up your feline friend early on is the best plan of attack. No insurance covers pre-existing conditions. At the worst get a plan at least 6 months after adopting a new cat.
Interested in buying or adopting a Russian blue? The cost to purchase a cat from a breeder can vary depending on the kitten’s lineage. Cat parents who want a Russian blue can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,500 from a breeder, and $100 to $500 if they adopt from a rescue.
History of the Russian blue breed
Russian blues originated in northern Russia, and they were called Archangel Blues because they were found in the port city of Arkhangelsk. It’s said that Russian blue cats were a favorite of Russian Czars and their thick coats protected them from the cold climate.
Seafarers first brought Russian blue cats to the shores of England by boat in the late 1800s, and became a popular breed shortly thereafter. The English took a liking to their electrifying blue color. Russian blues were first exhibited in 1875 at the Crystal Palace in England at one of the world’s first cat shows.
The Russian blue arrived in the U.S. in the early 1900s. It is not clear who exactly brought the Russia blue to the U.S. as there are several unverified stories about its introduction. One theory suggests that a group of Russian nobles who were fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 brought their cats to America.
In the 1960s this breed began picking up in popularity and becoming a popular house cat. Today, Russian blues are now accepted for championship in all North American cat associations.
Some consider Russian blues omens of good luck. For example, in Russian folklore, it is said that a black cat entering a household signifies imminent wealth and prosperity, while a grey cat symbolizes good luck and long life. Similarly, in some cultures, cats are believed to ward off evil spirits or bring good luck to a household, but it is not specifically tied to Russian blue cats as a breed. Overall, while there may be some cultural associations between cats and good luck, these beliefs are typically not specific to any particular breed or type of cat.
Caring for your Russian blue
Like many other breeds, Russian blues are active cats that benefit from regular exercise and playtime. These cats need daily enrichment with their owners, and it’s important to have puzzle toys available. Puzzle toys are a wonderful way to encourage your cat to use their brain. Mental stimulation is extremely important. When cats have to hunt for their food, they burn calories and may even lose weight.
🚨Make sure your feline is microchipped if you allow your cat to spend time outdoors. If you worry about them getting lost, you can explore the benefits of a Fido Alert tag.
Russian blues are medium-sized cats with a short, dense, and plush coat with colors ranging from silver to gray. Their eyes are typically green, and they have a distinctive wedge-shaped head.
When it comes to grooming, Russian blues are relatively low-maintenance; their short coats only require minimal brushing to remove loose hair. These cats only really need baths when they get into something.
- Trim their nails. Monthly nail trims can help keep your cat’s nails from growing too long and snagging or becoming torn or damaged.
- Invest in a scratching post. A scratching post is another tool to have in your home to help keep your feline’s nails short.
- Keep the litter box clean. Russian blue cats are notorious for being very clean. Keep your feline’s litter box spotless, or they may use another room they feel is cleaner than their “bathroom.”
Regardless if your cat is an expert at grooming, there are still some routine tasks you should help with to prevent issues like gingivitis. Brushing your cat’s teeth, bringing them to the vet for routine dental care, and trimming your cat’s nails are all essential to a healthy cat (and a happy you.) Your vet may recommend a dental cleaning at the clinic after an exam. Sometimes dental X-rays are necessary if a tooth is fractured.
Diet and nutrition
Cats are obligate carnivores and need protein to survive and thrive in their daily lives. New cat owners may benefit from following a diet plan prepared by their vet. When looking for the best food for cats, some of your goals should include kibble or a canned diet (wet food is preferred) that will increase your cat’s energy level and help decrease hairballs and shedding.
Dr. Dwight Alleyne
It is important cats eat a meat-based diet to avoid a deficiency in an important amino acid called Taurine. Taurine deficiency can cause a serious heart condition in cats that could lead to heart failure and could also lead to vision problems.
Cats need protein from meat or fish, amino acids like taurine and arginine (from meat or fish), fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and water. Staying hydrated and maintaining an appropriate weight are two of the most important factors when you live with felines.
- Water fountains. Cats get dehydrated very easily. Having a water fountain for your felines will encourage them to stay hydrated.
- Weight control. Measure kibble during every meal to help with food portioning and how much your cat should eat daily.
Enrichment and environment
Russian blue cats are excellent climbers and explorers. A great way to add enrichment for your felines is with a cat tree. Also, let your cat hang out in a cat hammock that sticks to your window! Then they can look out all day long at the neighborhood.
One option is a catio. Catios are a safe way to let your cat experience the outdoors. Add one to a window, or enclose a porch with a cat door. DIY cat toys are also fun to make with your family. Try these cat toys and always set aside 30 minutes a day for a structured play session.
Breeds similar to the Russian blue
Not quite sure that a Russian blue is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few Russian cat breeds to get you started:
- Donskoy. The Donsky is known for its pear-shaped body and low-maintenance grooming. Some of these cats are hairless, but they come in many coat types.
- Peterbald. This new breed is a cross between the Oriental shorthair and the Donsky. They are capable of aerial ballet and have a higher metabolism than most cats!
- Ural rex. This unusual looking cat is very popular in Russia. The coat has half-closed curls, and as the cat ages, those curls turn into waves.
Frequently asked questions
What are Russian blue cats like as pets?
Russian blues are known for their loyal and friendly nature. This makes these cats great pets!
How much do Russian blue cats usually cost?
The price range varies greatly. A purebred kitten can cost $500 to $2,500.
How long do Russian blue cats typically live?
These cats can live up to 20 years old with a healthy lifestyle.
What kind of grooming requirements do Russian blue cats have?
This breed has a short, dense coat that is easy to groom and maintain.
Are Russian blue cats hypoallergenic?
Yes and no! This breed is known to produce less Fel d 1, which is the protein that causes allergy symptoms in some people.