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15 Lustrous Russian Blue Cat Facts!

If your favourite kind of cat is the beautiful Russian Blue, then these are the facts for you! Learn all about the purr-fect breed right here!

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Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  May 20th 2024

It's a fact that doesn't need to be said - Russian Blues are GORGEOUS. With their big beautiful eyes, long legs and soft shiny fur, they're like the supermodels of the cat world (if supermodels also had fur. Well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad)! There's a lot more to them than just gorgeous looks, though - get ready to learn about their history, their personalities, and why they're sort of glittery! We've got more cat facts if you can't get enough - learn all about Bengals, tabbies, or ginger cats!

1. They're suitably named!

Russian Blues are though to originate from the port city of Arkhangelsk in western Russia. It's believed that sailors took them in as ship's cats (an established sailing tradition) in the 1860s, and they spread to Britain and Northern Europe. For this reason, they're also sometimes known as Archangel Cats!

2. They're not (exactly) blue

Those coats are pretty blue-looking, but that's not entirely accurate! Their distinct bluish-grey colour is actually a variation on the same gene that makes black cats black. It's a recessive gene, which means that two Blues will have Blue kittens. Due to cross-breeding with Siamese cats there are a lot of colour-point genes in Russian Blues (the gene that makes some cats have pale bodies are dark faces, paws and tails), so the kittens might come out as colour-point blues. These aren't technically the same as Russian Blues, but they have the same personalities as Russian Blues!

3. They sparkle!

Well, maybe not literally (wouldn't THAT be cool)! But Russian Blues actually appear to sparkle in the light. This is because they have a two-layered coat - a soft, downy undercoat with a thicker overcoat of soft hairs tipped with silver. Their coats are also really soft to the touch - some describe them as softer than silk!

4. They were first in show!

The Crystal Palace was a grand building made of glass and cast iron, built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851. After the Exhibition, it was moved to South London where it remained until it was demolished in 1936 - but in that time, it held a lot more events, exhibitions and shows! One of these was the first major cat show, which took place in 1872. In these early cat shows Russian Blues competed with other blue cats (like British shorthairs) and didn't get their own class until 1912. One Russian Blue owner was very upset about this, writing to a magazine: "The last time I showed my Russian was in a class supposedly for Russians only. She was, however, beaten by a round-headed British Blue." Ouch!

5. They MIGHT be better for people with allergies

This fact is a little tricky to back up, but there is some evidence that Russian Blues might be better for people who suffer from mild to moderate cat allergies! People with these allergies have reported that certain cat breeds are easier to be around. Russian Blues are one of them! Scientists think that Russian Blues may produce less of a certain protein than other cats, or that their thick coats might trap allergens closer to their skin. All the evidence is anecdotal (which means it isn't backed up by proper scientific study), but Russian Blues are still popular with allergy-sufferers!

6. They have green eyes

Most kitties have blue eyes at birth which darken as they get older, but Russian Blues are born with yellow eyes that turn emerald green as they get older - or, they usually do! Some Russian Blues have yellowish-green eyes, or even keep their yellow eyes for life.

7. They're pretty shy!

Most cats are quite upfront about what they want, even from total strangers - but Russian Blues would rather stay away from anyone they don't know! Russian Blues get very attached to their owners (more on that later!), but will run and hide when strangers visit their homes, and they don't trust people easily!

8. They're great at hunting

Cats generally like to stalk some prey (if your cat likes to bring you "presents", you'll already know this!). Russian Blues are very smart and very adventurous, and they're especially fond of tracking down prey, and have been known to hunt rodents, rabbits, birds, reptiles and small mammals. This can be bad for the local environment, so it's good to keep a Russian Blue happy with lots of stimulating toys to keep their curiosity in check!

9. They're chatty!

Russian Blue owners report that their cats are especially vocal! Like their Siamese kitty realtives, Russian Blues will mew, chirp, purr and "chat" when they want their owners to do something - usually food, but also playtime and sometimes snuggles! They'll also vocalise if theiy're unhappy about something (like late dinner times, or strangers in the house).

10. They love routine

All cats like their dinner at a very specific time, but Russian Blues take routine to the next level! It goes hand-in-hand with their shyness - they like knowing what's going on, who's around them, and what time they're gonna get their food. They can become distressed when their routine is disrupted, so these kitties don't take well to moving house, or to sudden adoptions. Their love of routines also means they can learn tricks - especially if treats are involved!

11. They're very affectionate

Even though they're shy and they love to stick to their schedules, Russian Blues are not short of affection at all! In fact, they will bond very closely with their owners even as they distrust strangers. They like to cuddle their owners, which is quite unusual in cats. They can also become affectionate with new people over time. Russian Blues will learn to recognise regular visitors to their home, and will even run out to greet them!

12. They came close to disappearing

During the Second World War, cat breeders didn't have the resources to breed certain kinds of cats - all extra resources had to go to the war effort. As a result, Russian Blues declined dramatically. But once the war was over, cat lovers worked on saving the breed. They were cross-bred with Siamese cats, and later American breeders crossed Scandinavian and British blues to create the modern Russian Blue - and we couldn't be more grateful!

13. They're a little bit magical

It's not surprising given their glittery blue coats, but Russian Blues have inspired a few magical stories! In Russian folklore they are considered a good luck charm, and it's thought that they bring good health to their owners and their families! One legend claims that a Russian Blue saved the life of a young prince, and so it is said that they were kept in nurseries to keep evil spirits away from newborns. It's also said that they were the favoured cat breed of Russian royalty - and if you've seen a Russian Blue, you'll understand why! They have a very regal demeanour!

14. A famous meme is a Russian Blue!

You may or may not have heard of Nyan Cat, but back in 2011 he ruled the internet! Nyan Cat is a looping animation of a cat with a Pop Tart for a body, flying through space and leaving a rainbow behind (bear with us), while an infectiously catchy tune plays. The cat is based on a real kitty - creator Christopher Torres' pet Russian Blue, Marty!

15. They have long lifespans

Excellent news for cat lovers - Russian Blues typically have long lifespans! They tend to live 15-20 years, and though they can have health problems (as all pets can), Russian Blues are generally known for their robust good health! They're a naturally occurring breed, which means they don't have the health problems that overbred cats have. As with all cats, make sure your Russian Blue has regular check ups and all the right vaccinations, and they'll be with you for a long time!