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All About the Russian Blue (or is that Grey?)

russian blue cat relaxing on bed with white sheets looking up at camera

The Russian Blue cat is one of the prettiest out there, with that beautiful charcoal sheen and bright eyes. But it also has quite an interesting history. While most cat breeds were created intentionally, the Russian Blue came about slightly more….well, coincidentally.

From their origins to cool facts about the Russian Blue, here’s our 101 on these beautiful felines. We’ll even tackle the question of whether they’re hypoallergenic or not. But first, let’s cover the basics.

Physical traits of the Russian Blue

What does your average Russian Blue cat look like, weigh, and so on?

  • Lifespan: 10-20 years
  • Size: Small to moderate
  • Weight: 3.5kg to 6.8kg
  • Eyes: Bright green (they’re hard to miss!)
  • Coat: Double coat with a soft undercoat and short, dense top layer
  • Colour: Silver to slate grey with silver tips (in technical terms they are an even, bright blue – but they appear grey)

They’re quite distinctive cats, so you’ll usually know one if you see it – even if yours isn’t a “purebred cat” in the sense that it has papers.

Russian Blue history

Unsurprisingly, Russian Blue cats originate from Russia. They originated in the port of Arkhangelsk through different local cats breeding with one another. In the 1800s, sailors from the port city began to take the pretty blue-grey cats on ships sailing around Europe.

The Russian Blue cats were then deliberately bred around Western and Northern Europe (after all, who could resist that lush fur and captivating eyes?), eventually finding its way to America too. Sadly World War II put a temporary stop to breeding efforts because there wasn’t enough variety within the gene pool to avoid inbreeding.

young russian blue cat or kitten lying in woven basket looking at ceiling

However, American breeders weren’t to be dissuaded, luckily for us. Not even during the war years.

Instead, they combined the two existing lines from England and Scandinavia with the Siamese cat. This avoided the problems which come with inbreeding, such as health problems (by the way, the same can happen in purebred dogs!).  

Luckily, war doesn’t last forever. Nowadays, Russian Blue breeding stock levels are totally healthy. As the amount of Russian Blue cats in the world began to normalise following the end of the war, breeders steadily began to stop using Siamese cats. Which is why these days, most of the Siamese traits have been bred out of Russian Blues.

Are they hypoallergenic?

One thing you often hear people saying is that Russian Blue cats are hypoallergenic.

Is that true? Do hypoallergenic cats even exist? While no cat is completely hypoallergenic, there are some breeds who cause less of a response in allergy-sufferers than others. And yes, the Russian Blue is one of them.

So while they’re not completely hypoallergenic, you might find that someone who’s allergic to cats tolerates a Russian Blue or Sphynx (or another hairless cat) more easily than a regular house cat. That’s another big tick in the “pros” box for the Russian Blue!

Russian Blue cat personality

Russian Blue cats tend to be very loving and affectionate towards their humans. So if you want a cat who will greet you, cuddle you, and generally be a loving companion, you could be onto something with one of these fluffy felines.

When it comes to strangers, owners of these kitties seem to be divided about whether they’re reserved and shy, or super outgoing and welcoming. Just like kids, we think it’s probably a case of “each to their own.”

That said, everyone agrees that they are very loyal and loving towards the people they bond tightly with – which can sometimes be just one specific person. So you’ll have a friend for life, who will probably follow you everywhere!

They’re also very intelligent, and have a playful streak. Don’t be surprised if they sneak attack you from underneath a table or chair to tempt you into playing with them.

Protecting their health

A lot of purebred cats are prone to certain illnesses or conditions. Maine Coon cats for instance, are prone to heart disease. And Bengal cats to vision loss. But Russian Blue cats are super healthy in general!

That said, they’re not invincible. Any pet can get sick or injured. That’s why a lot of pet parents are turning to pet insurance to provide protection and help you make care-based decisions instead of finance-based ones.

Plus, at PD Insurance you get free pet insurance for one or more months if you sign up online. What’s not to love?

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