Elegance and intelligence are the trademarks of this ambivert cat breed. Social yet independent, Russian blues are known to be shy with strangers but affectionate and playful with their beloved family. Topped off by an excellent bill of health, it’s no wonder Russian blue cats are so popular.
What is it?
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a commonly inherited disease present at birth but rarely detectable until later in a cat’s life (around age seven or older).
% Cats affected:
Nausea, vomiting, frequent urination, high blood pressure, weakness, depression, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy
Medications, potassium supplements, iron supplements, fluid therapy, special diets
This is a chronic condition with no known cure. Therefore, treatment only manages symptoms to improve quality of life. Kidney failure commonly occurs around 7 years of age or later.
What is it?
A cataract is a cloudy or opaque lens in the eye that hinders vision or leads to blindness.
% Cats affected:
Difficulty seeing, cloudy or opaque eyes
Surgery (phacoemulsification), medications (corticosteroids), eye drops
Symptoms need to be managed if surgery is not possible to prevent Glaucoma
90% = $1800
80% = $1600
70% = $1400
Russian blue cats are highly intelligent. They observe closely, often from a high perch, and learn quickly – from simple tricks to more advanced ones, like opening doors and drawers.
It can take some time and careful introduction to get these cats used to a new human. Once they warm up, they are quite affectionate and playful, but until that time, they are timid.
While these are social cats who enjoy time with their beloved family, they are also independent cats that need alone time. A long day at home alone isn’t a problem for these cats, although they will enjoy it when you return.
Once a Russian blue warms up to a person, they become very loving and demonstrative about their affection. In this stage of a relationship, Russian blues are often considered lapcats.
As with affection, a playful side of the Russian blue comes out once they become familiar with someone. Due to their high intelligence, they enjoy mentally stimulating play, including puzzle toys, retrieval games, and doing tricks for treats.
It may come as no surprise that the Russian blue cat comes in only one coat color – blue. Their silvery-blue coat is always short, dense, and smooth.
The double coat of these cats is easily kept in good shape. Brushing is not absolutely necessary, but it keeps their thick coat in its best shape and can be a great bonding experience. Regular grooming of the nails, along with dental cleaning, should be standard practice.
Not all cat breeds are receptive to training, but the Russian blue breed is a pleasant exception. Thanks to their intelligence, playfulness, and social proclivity, these cats are quite trainable and can even enjoy the bonding experience.
Caring for a cat can be one of the most joyous, rewarding experiences in a person’s life. The pet parent journey is much more than a privilege; it’s also a responsibility.
Thankfully, with the Russian blue cat, lifetime care is quite a breeze. These healthy, hardy, intelligent cats find a balance between independence and social drive that makes them an ideal cat for many homes.
Today, our Spot Pet Insurance cat breed guide is all about the Russian blue cat breed and how you can be the best pet parent for this furry family member.
A short, soft, silver coat along with vivid green eyes and large ears are the trademarks of the Russian blue cat (not to be confused with the British blue). Their easy-to-love personality makes them such wonderful cats for so many homes.
If you’re looking for a loving, low-maintenance cat who will play with you for hours or be content at home alone for the day, this could be your breed.
Read on to learn about Russian blue cat health, grooming, training, and more.
As their name might imply, the origin of Russian blue cats can be traced to the motherland, specifically the Archangel Isles (although the breed’s exact origins are debated). They’re also sometimes referred to as Archangel blues.
Despite their coloring, it’s generally accepted that they’re not related to other blue cats like the chartreux or korat.
Most agree, though, that this is a naturally occurring breed that began somewhere in northern Russia and found its earliest history there as a favorite cat of Russian Czars. Their brilliant eye color and dense coat attracted many admirers.
Eventually, the breed made its way to England, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe via sailors leaving the port city of Arkhangelsk. They were featured at the London Crystal Palace cat show as the “Archangel Cat.” Queen Elizabeth is also reported to have fallen in love with the breed. They lost some of their popularity after World War II, much like other breeds like the Siamese.
By the early 20th century, Russian blue cats had finally found their way to America. Today, they are popular throughout the world as house cats and show cats.
Russian blue cats are an exceptional case amongst domesticated felines in terms of health. They have no known genetic predispositions to potential health issues, possibly because they are a naturally occurring breed. Breeders will still screen for potential issues.
There are, of course, still conditions that can develop in this cat, as with any breed. Two such examples are progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Regular vet visits for health tests are the best way to stay on top of your cat’s health, but knowing the signs of these two potential conditions can help as well.
Yes, the Russian blue cat breed is known to be affectionate with family, though this affection may take some time to show. Russian blues are shy, so when you first meet them, don’t expect an immediate bond and lovey-dovey displays of affection.
With patience and gentleness, you should have no trouble winning the love of your Russian blue. Once they are bonded with you like family, there’s no going back – they are loyal, demonstrative cats that show their feelings for you physically and vocally.
Whether cuddling, cooing, nudging, or playing, Russian blues enjoy socializing with their humans. They are quite a vocal breed and can make great lap cats as well, although they will go off to enjoy some alone time eventually.
Spend some time around a Russian blue cat, and it will quickly become apparent just how intelligent they really are.
These clever, curious cats love to observe from a high perch and learn about everything they see. They will learn your schedule, how to open doors, and even when the best times to ask for pets and treats are.
Thankfully, they aren’t too inclined to mischief, so you don’t need to worry about locking the treats away.
When it comes to training, Russian blues are quite suited to it. They pick up on training easily with positive reinforcement.
Children can be a good fit for Russian blue cats in some cases. These are very gentle, sweet cats that mesh well with equally gentle kids. However, even with their tendency to act like lap cats, Russian blues do not enjoy being held in most cases, nor do they like rough playtime.
It’s essential to teach children who interact with your cat how to do so appropriately, with a gentle and respectful approach. As always, you should supervise any interactions between young children and your pets.
A timid, shy demeanor defines the Russian blue cat’s first encounters with new humans. They are friendly once they warm up to a person, but this takes time and careful introduction.
Early socialization is needed for any cat, and Russian blues are no exception. Exposing them to diverse situations with a guiding hand from a young age is the best way to help new encounters later in life go as smoothly as possible.
Like humans, these cats typically need time to become familiar and friendly with a new animal. Once introductions are complete, and a bond starts to form, Russian blues excel with a feline or canine sibling or two in the family.
It should be noted that Russian blues do have a strong prey drive, so smaller animals such as gerbils or birds are not recommended in the same home.
A deeper understanding of your responsibilities as a pet parent for a Russian blue cat is the strongest way to start your journey of caring for one of these elegant animals.
To get you off on the right foot, we’re happy to provide tons of helpful resources through Spot Pet Insurance Blogbowl!
Here you’ll find articles on pet health, grooming, lifestyle, and more. You can also learn more about pet insurance, which can be a great way to help keep your cat healthy and thriving while lessening the burden on you, through our blog and FAQ.
Get a free quote today to see if Spot Pet Insurance could be a good fit for you!
Let’s touch on a few more topics related to Russian blue cats before we wrap up this guide.
Adoption fee: $500-750
First year: $2,300
Following years: $1,800
Russian blue cats have a positive predisposition for training. From simple obedience training, including using a litter box, to more advanced training such as tricks or leash walking, these cats learn quickly and remember well.
There are a few key things to remember throughout the process. The first is that Russian blues, like most cats, are highly sensitive.
Use positive reinforcement as your core tool. This typically revolves around food rewards, but vocal affirmation and physical affirmation, such as pets, also reinforce concepts you want to teach. Clicker training can also be used to good effect.
We all love to give our cats treats, and sometimes that might include human food from the table. However, it’s vital to be aware of certain foods that are toxic to cats and must be avoided. Here are some common examples of foods never to give to your Russian blue:
Like most cats, you won’t need to often go out of your way to keep them well exercised. Russian blue cats should find plenty of ways on their own to keep their activity levels appropriately high, staying healthy and fit.
You can help the process by playing with them actively, especially if they seem to be more sedentary than usual during a particular season. You should also have plenty of toys and climbing infrastructure for them to use. Cat towers and perches throughout your living space are recommended.
Since Russian blue cats are also highly intelligent, you can use play to keep them mentally stimulated, reducing any chance they might seek stimulation by causing mischief. Puzzle toys are a great way to keep them entertained.
Due to their prey drive, they also enjoy feather wands or other toys they can chase or hunt down, even lasers on the wall.
Kitten: 0 – 1 year
Adult: 1 year – 11 years
Senior: 11 years – end of life
Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we do our best to provide helpful cat info. We care deeply about your cat’s health and want to be with you every step of the way. For other helpful info about cats, check out our Spot Pet Insurance webpage! Here we provide you with educational materials that can help you with the best foods, toys, safety, cleaning tips and care tips for your cat. We also offer personalized pet insurance plan options to help keep your cat protected in case of unexpected accidents and illnesses.
Russian Blue Cat Breed Information & Characteristics | Daily Paws
Russian Blue | VCA Animal Hospitals
The Russian Blue Breed | TICA
Polycystic Kidney Disease In Cats | VCA Animal Hospitals
Feline Cataracts | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
What is the Cost of Cataract Surgery for Cats? | Vet Info
The Myth of Hypoallergenic Dogs (and Cats) | The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Russian Blue Cat Breed Hypoallergenic, Health and Life Span | PetMD
Kitten Socialization Checklist | San Diego Humane Society
How to introduce a dog and cat | Animal Humane Society
Harmful Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat: Tuna, Milk, Raw Fish, and More | PetMD
Russian Blue | The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA)