The Russian Blue Cat – One Color Fits All

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The Russian Blue Cat - One Color Fits All
The Russian Blue Cat - One Color Fits All
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The Russian Blue Cat – One Color Fits All

Russian Blue Cat – In order to discuss the origins of cat breeds, we need a fifth classification, namely, it-is-believed-that data; for accounts of the origins of many breeds begin with this construction. It is believed that, for example, the Russian Blue Cat originated in or about the city of Arkhangelsk, a port on the White Sea located within shivering distance (about 150 miles) of the Arctic Circle. It is further believed that sailors may have brought Russian blues to western Europe in the 1860s; but to believe that the Tsar of Russia or Elizabeth I or Queen Victoria of England owned Russian blues is to embrace the unbelievable. We have this on the authority of cat fancier Ingeborg Urcia, who wrote a brief history of the Russian Blue Cat some years ago.

There is “absolutely no factual evidence” to support these claims, claimed Urcia, who reported that “there is still some dispute as to whether the Russian Blue Cat really came from that country, although evidence does point to a northern origin.”

Other writers — like Frances Simpson, British author of Cats and All About Them, published in 1903 — have raised additional questions about the blue angels from Arkhangelsk. “The best authorities,” wrote Simpson, “seem to agree in believing that they [Russian blues Cats] are not a distinct breed, and therefore they are now classed at our Shows amongst the short-haired English varieties.” (Russians were classified in this fashion until 1912 when they were transferred to the foreign blue class.)

Opinions about their derivation and patrimony notwithstanding, Russian Blues had appeared on the show bench in England as early as 1875; and though we cannot say with ratio-data certainty that the breed originated near Arkhangelsk, records indicate that most of the known early members of the breed — which was called by a variety of names, including Archangel and Maltese — did come from Russia.




Whatever its origin, the Russian blue never melted the ice in the cat fancy the way blue longhaired cats or blue British shorthairs did in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These latter cats so dominated their breeds that many people spoke of them as though they were the breed. Thus the regal-sounding British blue designation was born, an august way of describing what was actually one color class among many in the British shorthair pantheon. Thus, too, did the color-bred blue Persian — which must document at least three and preferably five generations of nothing-but-blue ancestors — come to personify the Persian breed for many years.

Russian Blue Cat – No Locke on Success

The Russian Blue Cat - One Color Fits All
The Russian Blue Cat – One Color Fits All

The first Russian blues to reach this country arrived circa 1900. Mrs. Clinton Locke of Chicago, who was also one of the first breeders to import Siamese to the United States, purchased a cat named Lockhaven Royal Blue around that time. She obtained this cat from a British fancier with the wonderfully Monty Python-ish name of Towlerton Flansholm. Another turn-of-the-century Chicago cat breeder, Mrs. Frederick Monroe, has been identified as the owner of a blue-and-white Russian Blue Cat, which is something of an anomaly since modern-day Russians are available in blue genes only.

We can assume that these early imports were not considered the cat’s pajamas in the show ring. Dorothy Champion, writing in Everybody’s Cat Book in 1909, observed, “[Shorthaired] Blues are usually kept for show purposes only in England, and are not nearly so plentiful as house pets as they are in this country, where they are called ‘Maltese.'”

Despite the early sniffing and sniping of purists who contended that Russian blues were not a legitimate breed, these lithe, double-coated charmers with the vivid green eyes continued to thrive — if not thoroughly prosper — until the beginning of World War II. Prosperity being severely rationed at that juncture, many catteries disappeared and so (nearly) did a number of breeds, the Russian Blue Cat among them. Consequently, post-war concerns about breed purity became academic as cat fanciers scrambled to make whatever judicious compromises they could in order to ensure the survival of their chosen breeds. As a result blue point Siamese was crossed with Russian blues in England in an effort to resuscitate the latter; and breeders in Scandinavia, working independent of English influence, used the same technique to establish the Russian Blue Cat in their country, too. The Scandinavians, however, produced a cat different from the born-again Russian Blues in England. The Scandinavian Russian Blues had larger heads, larger bodies, and shorter, tighter, darker coats than their British counterparts had.

Meanwhile, the Russian Blue Cat was reintroduced to the colonies when Mr. C.A. Commaire of Texas imported two Russian blues from England in 1947. The breed’s subsequent acceptance by United States registries made it one of the half dozen varieties of cats that could be seen at shows as the 20th century passed the 50-yard line. (The other breeds were the Persian, Siamese, Abyssinian, American Shorthair, and Manx.) Eventually, breeders in this country combined the splendid heads and emerald-green eyes of the Scandinavian lines with the pale, silver-blue coats and graceful body type of the British Russian blues.

Until the mid-’60s, when the Korat gained championship status, the Russian was the only all-blue breed in the cat fancy. These one-flavor contestants were joined on the show bench by another true blue type, the Chartreux, in the 1980s and yet another, the Nebelung, which is a longhaired Russian Blue Cat, in the 1990s.

If anyone should stop you on the street and say “Your money or the difference between the Russian Blue Cat, Korat, and Chartreux,” here’s what to say: “The Chartreux is the one with gold or copper eyes and the baked-potato-on-toothpicks body. The Russian Blue Cat is long and fine-boned, with a modified wedge-shaped head. The Korat has the largest eyes, a middle-of-the-road torso, and — if you look closely — front legs that are slightly shorter than its back legs.” Then, while your inquisitor is busy being impressed, you can make your escape.

Russian Blue Cat – The Building Code

The Russian Blue Cat - One Color Fits All
The Russian Blue Cat – One Color Fits All

The Russian Blue Cat is a fine-boned cat with a long, firm, muscular body that is lithe and graceful without being tubular after the fashion of Oriental breeds. The Russian’s head is a smooth, medium wedge, neither long and tapering nor short and massive. The muzzle is blunt without an exaggerated whisker break. The top of the skull is long and flat in profile, descending gently to a point just above the eyes and continuing at a slight downward angle in a straight line to the tip of the medium-length nose. There is no stop or nose break, and the length of the nose should be shorter than the length of the line from the top of the skull to the eyes.

Wide-set, vivid-green eyes, at least one eye width apart, confer a broad look to the Russian blue’s face. The eyes, according to most observers, should be round, or just oval enough to show [an] oriental slant.

Large ears — wide at the base, and more pointed than rounded — crown the Russian Blue head. The ears are set far apart, as much on the side of the head as on the top.

The Russian Blue Cat has a short, dense, fine double coat that stands out from the body. In a double coat, the two outermost layers of hair — the guard hairs and the awn hairs — are the same length. Normally guard hairs are longer than awn hairs, which, in turn, are longer than down hairs. An even, bright blue throughout, the soft, silky coat has silver-tipped guard hairs that give the Russian Blue Cat a shimmering, lustrous appearance.

Russian Blue Cat – Personality Profile

The Russian Blue Cat is a quiet cat that metes out devotion on its own terms. Though it is not precisely a hail-feline-well-met, the Russian blue is, nevertheless, capable of forming relationships that are as lustrous and jewel-like as its stunning green eyes.



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21 COMMENTS

  1. Can you help. My cat won’t eat I always feeds her chicken and tuna and she always loved it until this morning she was breeding fast with direya don’t wanna eat anything or drink I live were there isn’t any animal doctor I been feeding her with a sering

  2. I'm trying to switch my cat over from kitten food to Adult food any tips on getting her to eat? She's not eating this first bag.. when is a good time to actually switch the bag to a different kind of food?

  3. Cats that are on a feeding schedule drive me nuts. The constant looking for food and frantic hour before dinner time is just too stressful. My cats get wet food 2x a day and dry in a slow get and it keeps everyone calm and mellow. No one is overweight or has behaviors problems either. It funny how everyone's experiences are so different.

  4. As a child, was allergic to cats. Was always a dog person. Fast forward to my late teens early 20s. Randomly landed a job as a vet tech for a huge corporate type vet, really for the money. Slow exposure ended my allergies and changed my love for cats. Fast forward again. Mid-late 20s. The mister swears, while pooping, he hears animal type noises coming from somewhere…. I come home to see holes everywhere throughout the house. I’m thinking, omg, my dude is going nuts. We climb to the roof, and saw 2 kittens inside the chimney … last hole was made at the base of the chimney and there’s 4 more kittens; I assumed the fell from the roof… Shined a light and they all come crawling out. Ended up caring for and adopting 5 out. Mind you, it was a hard exam to pass. New cat families had to meet my standards and pretty much fill out a resume before I would release the kitten. Anyway, so all but one. After trying, we decided to keep him. He has been the center of our world. We are now 100% cat people. Some call me the crazy cat lady ever since. All the strays and even the ferals know when I pull up, they all coming running. I’ve tried my best to catch/release. Even humanely had a couple euthanized from accidents and proper burials, all out of my very broke pockets… I love them so much. My son is named Giggity. Gigs for short. He is very well behaved… anyways… you’ve changed my and my families opinions on cats! Thank u Jackson!!!

  5. We free feed because we adopted cats with a history of neglect. The fighting and stress stoped the moment we started. They play almost all day and night even though they are past the three year mark.

  6. My cat used to be ''on schedule'' but he would never eat the whole portion I gave him and sometimes he'd just ignore the food completly. Now, I feed him new food everyday but I keep the recommended amount, so I don't just fill the bowl whenever it's empty.

    However I like the idea of using more toy-like things to make your cat ''hunt'' for their food. I already teach him to do tricks for treats and he adores it!

  7. A lot of people are saying they free feed and their cat is fine. That's lucky for you! Many of us are here because we are working around behavioral mysteries. I'm here because I just got a Cat that I can't figure out who is also free-fed. While watching all these videos, working with my anxious, high maintenance persian cat, mentally exhausted…… I imagine there are people who got it easy because some people adopt cats that are already playful and affectionate.

  8. I have two cats, adopted from the same foster, and I free-feed them at first. One is fine but the other one eats so frequently, like every 2 hours, is a little lazy and gets sick a lot (vomiting, diarrhea…). The vet recommended me to change into scheduled feeding to control the quantity and food quality and he is much better now. The stronger cat even has a way to tell me 'it's feeding time' by first meowing at me, second crazily running off playing around, then staying near the food bowl and I'll just pour some foods out for both of them 😀

  9. So am I supposed to put a treat on a string and make the cat chase it? Or bring a baby mouse that can barely walk or open it’s eyes yet and tie it to a string and make the cat chase it?
    I mean… Wtf

  10. You have, comfortably, the most absurd and repulsive aesthetics of any man I've ever seen. You look like a hyper-stylised cliche.
    Seriously, I couldn't be friends with you because all I could think about as you are talking are your ridiculous over-sized earrings, your absurd goatee/beard thing and your shaved head and what sort of bizarre combination of narcissism and overt rebellion one would need to have to look in the mirror at the end of your preening and think, 'Yes, this is how I want to present myself to the world, this is my true self.'

    You look like a rejected version of Stefon on SNL, which was changed because even in a deliberate comedic take down of people of that ilk looking like that is too silly and unrealistic even for, again, a comedic take-down of that cliche… That's how absurd you look.

  11. I feel like most of what you teach about cats makes a lot of sense. But I guess my cat is exceptionally sweet and easy to handle because I don't follow half your rules and she's the sweetest. She knows multiple tricks, always comes when I call for her, wants to cuddle constantly. I can even take her with me to my parents house and let her outside to play with their dogs without having to worry about her walking off or getting into trouble. Compared to other cats she almost has a dog like focus on me.

  12. My cat had given birth to 4 kittens out of which one was undeveloped (had one hand missing) and it died at about 3weeks after birth it had not taken any fluids for about 4 days before it's death and finally after 5 days it lost its life
    And among the other three one is a bit weak and way smaller than the litter
    It also has started to show the signs hasn't eaten much for 2 days and has thinned to bone
    What should I do in this case?
    These are orphaned kittens and were feeding on cow milk+ curds from the 2nd week itself
    And they are now 5 and a half weeks old
    And are feeding on dry food soaked in water (purepet mackerel)
    Please help me I've consulted a vet but they also seem to have not understood the case and advised me that it happens due to the cold weather outside

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