Spotlight On: Russian Blue

If you’re looking for a feline companion that is smart, loving, and a perfect mix of friendly and independent, the Russian Blue just may be the perfect match for you. Before adding one to your home, read on to learn more about these wonderful cats’ needs and requirements.

Basic Characteristics of Russian Blues

Much to a new pet parent’s surprise, Russian Blue cats are unique in that they may be born with faint stripes as well as green-rimmed and primarily yellow eyes, but this beautiful breed changes as they grow, their stripes fading away and eyes shifting into a bright green as they become full-grown adults! These blue-tinted cats have incredibly soft, dense fur that often makes them look larger than they really are but is very low-shed despite its thickness. For allergy sufferers, this breed is also known to produce much lower levels of the common cat-related allergen, glycoprotein Fel d 1.

Although their allergy-friendly coats may make these cats look bulkier than they really are at times, the average male Russian Blue ranges from about 10 to 12 pounds in weight, and the average female Russian Blue is smaller, only growing to about 7 to 10 pounds as an adult. The Russian Blue is a medium-sized cat whose coat remains short despite its density. Along with all the other great benefits of this breed, they also tend to have a lifespan ranging from 15 to 20 years, so you’re sure to have your furry companion for many years.

Russian Blues are from the same feline classification groups as Korats, Chartreux cats, and even British Blue cats, but they are still quite distinct from their close relatives. Sometimes referred to as Maltese cats, Foreign Blues, or Archangel Blues, the Russian Blue isn’t quite as round-faced and bulky as the other breeds—they are much more slender and, instead, have a head that is more wedge-shaped than plump and round.

This breed is considered “naturally occurring,” meaning that people didn’t interfere and breed to gain all of the characteristics of a Russian Blue—they simply originated with all of their wonderful traits. It’s mainly thought that these cats are descendants of the cats of Russian Czars and originally appeared in northwest Russia before rising to become a family favorite, but the breed likely spread to Europe and onward around the 1860s thanks to Russian sailors sharing ships with these lovely cats.

Russian Blues finally made their arrival to the United States around 1912, being registered as a distinct breed by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1949. Their popularity soared after the end of WWII, elevating them to the much-loved status they enjoy now.

The Temperament of Russian Blues

Russian Blues are a beloved breed thanks to their sweet nature and desire to follow their pet parents wherever they go. However, if you need to step out for an errand or for work, these cats are excellent at spending their time quietly napping while you’re gone. If you want to avoid any potential behavioral issues, though, you’ll need to be sure that you give them plenty of playtimes to burn off all of the feline energy once you do return home—that’s just part of sharing your life with a feline fur baby!

Although a Russian Blue makes a wonderful family pet for those desiring a furry companion that gives and demands plenty of attention and affection, this breed may still act more reclusive when new people come into the home. They adore their families but are quite hesitant to warm up to strangers, and large groups of people visiting the home may also be a bit overwhelming.

Russian Blues are also quite vocal for cat lovers who can’t resist a chatterbox! When one of these fur babies needs to let you know that a snuggle or some playtime is mandatory or if you’re about 30 seconds too late filling up their food bowl in the morning, you will certainly be hearing about it.

They seemingly enjoy engaging in conversation with their pet parents, too, even if there’s a bit of a language barrier. At the end of the day, though, these felines know what they want and when they want it, so it’s best to stick to a schedule—they don’t do well with irregularity—or prepare to hear your furry companion’s list of complaints.

Exercise for Russian Blues

A Russian Blue’s healthy, muscular build allows it to easily be quick and active. Combined with its strong hunting instincts, plenty of mental and physical playtime and stimulation is a must for this breed! They may be okay when left alone at home for a few hours, but pet parents of these cats will need to purchase a lot of toys and spend a lot of time burning off their Russian Blue’s energy as soon as they get home.

Grooming Your Russian Blue

Russian Blues are incredibly low maintenance when it comes to their grooming requirements. They are quite adamant about grooming themselves and keeping clean, so brushing or worrying about mats should never be an issue with this breed. It’s recommended to simply comb them once or twice a week, and they’ll take care of the rest.

However, to keep their coats in the best shape possible, you should be sure to feed your feline companion the best possible quality cat food to meet its dietary needs and ensure that its coat, skin, and overall health stay in the best possible shape from the inside out. If you’re unsure of what to feed your Russian Blue or your beloved pet has some unexpected health conditions, simply ask your cat’s veterinarian for their recommendations on what foods would be best for your fur baby’s particular situation.

As with all other cats, you should also be sure to stay on top of regular nail trimming and tooth brushing, and you should also make sure to check their ears at least on a weekly basis to check for any signs of infections or other issues. If your cat’s ears need to be cleaned out and you feel comfortable enough with your fur baby to do it yourself at home, there are plenty of online guides to explain how to safely and effectively get their ears cleaned out.

Vet/Medical Care for Russian Blues

This breed loves to eat and may easily become obese if not fed a proper diet. Additionally, Russian Blues are susceptible to a number of different health issues that will need to be monitored as your cat grows older over the years.

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which sometimes may be referred to simply as “cystitis,” is a rather common health concern among many cat breeds. This condition impacts a feline’s urethra and bladder and is often caused by bladder stones (or crystals), infections, not urinating as much as they need to, or experiencing stress. This condition may be identified by pet parents seeing blood in their cat’s urine or by the pet struggling to urinate.

Just as in a human urinary tract infection, they’ll frequently try to expel urine and experience quite a deal of pain in the process. Thankfully, a quick trip to the vet will allow pet parents to provide their fur babies with a modified diet, some pain relief medication, and recommendations to increase access to fresh drinking water and reduce factors that may be impacting the Russian Blue’s stress levels.

Russian Blues are also very prone to various eye conditions, the most common of which is conjunctivitis. This is simply an infection of the inside of one of their eyelids, and it is often caused by allergies, something foreign in the eyes, a scratch occurring to the eye, infection, an inability to produce tears, or entropion (a change to the position of the eyelid). If your cat experiences any unusual eye issues or symptoms, please consult with your veterinarian to receive the proper treatment for each specific problem.

Some of the other eye conditions a Russian Blue is at risk of experiencing include the following: retinal issues, entropion (eyelids rolling inward), cataracts (the eye’s lens becoming opaque), and glaucoma (increased eye pressure within the eyeball itself).

Like most other cat breeds, there is also the risk of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), various infections (often resulting in abscesses), and additional viruses (i.e., cat flu) and bacterial infections. Although not occurring as commonly in other cats, Russian Blues are also at risk of chlamydia and toxoplasmosis. With regular veterinary care, your fur baby should be vaccinated against some of these conditions and also quickly have any other infections caught and treated promptly. Unfortunately, both FIV and FIP currently have no vaccines available and may result in fatality if not treated as soon as possible.

Kidney disease is another concern for this breed, especially polycystic kidney disease. Although medications and other changes may help them live a relatively normal and enjoyable life despite the condition, damage to a feline’s kidneys is irreversible. Making sure your cat doesn’t get into anything toxic (such as vehicle or cleaning chemicals) as well as addressing any tumors, blockages, or infections as soon as possible will greatly reduce your furry companion’s risk of dealing with such health problems while in your care.

Lastly, pet parents of Russian Blues will want to stay on top of vaccinations for cat flu as this breed is susceptible to both upper respiratory tract infections as well as feline asthma (which impacts the lower respiratory tract). Symptoms of cat flu are manageable but not pleasant, and poor Russian Blues with feline asthma may require medications for the long term to manage their sensitivity to allergens and environmental changes.

Bringing a Russian Blue Kitty Home

Adopting a new kitten or adult cat can be incredibly exciting, but when you’re bringing home a Russian Blue, providing them with a safe, comforting, and cat-friendly environment is essential! Russian Blues are sensitive to their environments, so provide them with plenty of areas to climb out of the way and observe their surroundings when they may be overstimulated. They’ll warm up to you and the other individuals in the home soon, but it’s important that they always have a place to step away from the excitement and calm down.

Due to their love of interaction and strong hunting instinct, you’ll also need to prepare for your Russian Blue’s arrival by getting your home well stocked with play toys, especially those that resemble fishing poles—this breed loves to chase and catch the little toy at the end of the line!

If planning to shop rather than adopt, you can expect to find most Russian Blues available in the price range of $400 to $600. Always be sure to get your new companion from a reputable breeder with a good reputation and that knows the breed, has experience with them, and can provide any relevant information about the cat’s bloodline and health history.

For those desiring to give a pet in need a good home, plenty of Russian Blues are available for adoption that can be found on various adoption websites. Most of these sites will connect you with your local shelters to find the cat you’ve been dreaming of that’s waiting for you at a reduced cost compared to those from a breeder. As an added plus, most shelter animals have also had thorough vet checks and vaccinations—and have been spayed or neutered—so you’ll be receiving a happy, healthy companion that’s ready to go.

Whenever you’re bringing home your new kitten, though, you can always feel free to contact us here at Space Coast Pet Services for any services you may need when managing a new cat that’s trying to adjust to a new home or simply needing a drop-in visit while you’re away for a fur baby that’s made itself quite comfortable in the loving home you’ve chosen to provide it.




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