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rec.pets.cats: Russian Blue Breed-FAQ

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Archive-name: cats-faq/breeds/russian-blue
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 12 Mar 1997

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			      The Russian Blue 
     Author: Eric Johnson,
     Copyright (c) 1996 by Eric Johnson.  All rights reserved.
    "The Doberman Pinscher of Cats," one judge exclaimed as he placed this
    elegant creature on his judging table. The Russian Blue male stretched high
    on his slim long legs, gracefully extended his lengthy muscular body,
    turned his majestic head toward the spectators and imparted a serpent type
    gaze with his vivid green eyes. Oohs! and Ahs! were expressed by the
    captivated spectators, overwhelmed by the countenance of this magnificent
    breed. The Russian with his regal bearing, instantly loses his dignified
    pose when a fluffy feather comes into view. Like a kitten he playfully and
    swiftly snags the feather with lightning accuracy. He tilts his head to one
    side and prankishly swats at the feather with a subtle sense of humor that
    never ceases to delight and amuse.
   -- Marge Jackson, _CFA Yearbook: 1988_
  Size and Appearance
   The Russian Blue is a medium-sized, short-haired cat. It is fine
   boned, and it has graceful lines. The coat is, of course, blue -- with
   silver tipping on each hair that gives a lustrous appearance -- and
   the coat is thick and plush. The eyes are green.

  Personality and Temperament
   Russian Blue cats are intelligent, quiet, and sensitive. They are
   clean and shed very little. They love to play with small toys around
   the house, and they enjoy jumping and climbing, but -- unlike some
   other playful breeds -- Russians are rarely destructive. Because they
   are intelligent, they can train their people to perform simple tasks
   such as throwing toys so that the Russians can retrieve them. They are
   agile, light-footed cats that may seem to fly around the house with
   the grace of a dancer.
   Russian Blues easily bond with their people and are loyal to those who
   love them -- frequently following them from room to room to be near
   them. Russians show their affection in a variety of ways. Some enjoy
   leaping onto the shoulder of their person and riding there. Other
   Russians are eager to butt heads with their person. These sensitive
   cats seem genuinely hurt when they come to their people to show
   affection and are put aside.
   Because the basic temperament of Russian Blues ranges from slightly
   reserved to quietly shy, they may be cautious or nervous around
   strangers. Russians prefer to take their time to investigate new
   people. In addition, although they are basically gentle cats,
   neglected or stressed Russians may become fearful and temperamental.
   It pays off to put time into developing an affectionate relationship
   with a Russian Blue. People who have known other breeds often remark
   on the special close and deep bonding that they feel with their

   The Russian Blue is a natural breed (that is, it is not the result of
   crossings with other breeds). As its name suggests, the Russian Blue
   is believed to have originally come from Russia. Since the cat was
   thought to have been brought to England on ships that left the Russian
   port on Archangel Isle, the breed has been called the Archangel cat.
   Although evidence of its Russian origin is anecdotal, its dense coat
   is consistent with a northern climate. In England in the late
   nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Russian Blue was
   sometimes known as the Foreign Blue because its body type resembles
   that of foreign (European) breeds; it has also been called the Maltese

   Typically, Russian Blues are hearty, healthy cats, and with proper
   diet, exercise, veterinary care, and affection, they are capable of
   living well into their teens and beyond. There are no genetic problems
   associated specifically with the Russian Blue, and as a breed they are
   not prone to any particular illnesses, but, as with any breed, some
   lines may be prone to certain health problems. Russians are good
   eaters, and therefore it is easy for them to gain weight and become
   much too heavy; it may be advisable to measure and limit the food
   intake of adult Russians.

  Showing Russian Blues
   Some Russians seem to enjoy showing, and most Russians will tolerate
   showing, especially if it is done on a regular basis starting when
   they are kittens. However, because they tend to be a shy breed, many
   Russian Blues are not eager to travel to peculiar-smelling show halls
   and to be handled by strangers. Under the stress of a show, they can
   become frightened and upset.

  Formal Description and Show Standards
   The breed standards for the Russian Blue are similar in each
   association in North America (ACFA, CFA, CFF, and TICA), but the
   European standards (FIFe and GCCF) are significantly different from
   the North American standards -- and from each other. Those who intend
   to enter Russian Blues in competition should obtain a copy of the
   standards from the association in which they will exhibit. The
   following is based on the standards of the ACFA.
          The Russian Blue cat is distinct from all other breeds. The
          truest criterion is its soft, lustrous, bright blue double
          coat. Handling a Russian Blue feels like running a silk scarf
          through your hands. Gentle and shy, often playful in manner,
          its voice is soft and sweet. They prefer gentle but firm
          handling and are easily startled.
   _Head and Neck_:
          Forehead high, top of skull flat and narrow, smoothly curving
          into back of neck. Face broad at eye level, looks broader due
          to thick fur at side of head. Medium length straight nose looks
          upturned from almost any view except profile due to light
          reflection. Neck is long but does not appear so in repose, due
          again to thick fur.
          Rather large, almost as wide at the base as they are tall and
          set far apart as much into side as top of head. Ears look
          pointed as hair tufts finish off where slightly rounded tips
          stop. Inside furnishings cover approximately one-half of the
          otherwise bare, translucent ear area. Outside of ears
          completely covered with short, fine hair.
   _Eye Shape and Set_:
          Almost round, just oval enough to show oriental slant. Set one
          eye width or more apart.
          Fine boned, long, svelte and graceful. Appears heavier in
          repose due to supple skin and lie of thick coat. Muscular in
          the manner of a swimmer rather than that of a wrestler.
          Straight, rather long, tapering from rather thick base.
   _Legs and feet_:
          Long, fine-boned legs with small, neat, well-rounded feet. Cat
          appears to stand and walk on tiptoes.
   _Coat Texture_:
          Short, dense, fine and plush. Lies out from body due to thick
   _Color; Coat, Nose, Skin and Pads_:
          The coat is an even, bright blue throughout with lighter,
          lavender color preferred. Guard hairs are silver tipped thus
          giving the coat a lustrous appearance. There must be no white
          anywhere on the cat. Ghost tabby markings are permitted on
          kittens. Nose leather is charcoal grey, body skin is pale blue
          and pads are rosy flesh pink.
   _Color; Eyes:_
          As vividly green as possible at maturity. Russian Blue kitten
          eyes change rapidly through yellow to green. By four months, a
          green ring should appear around pupil. Cats whose eyes are not
          completely vivid green should be penalized, the amount
          determined by the quantity and vividness of green as well as by
          the age of the cat. No green in eyes -- full penalty.

  Russian Blue Breeders and Clubs
   Lists of Russian Blue breeders and their advertisements can be found
   in magazines such as _Cat Fancy_, _Cats Magazine_, and _Cats USA_.
   Information about the Russian Blue Society and its newsletter can be
   obtained from Patt Knudtson, 1602 Southbrook Drive, Wadena, MN
   56482-2144 (218-631- 3421).
  Buying a Russian Blue
   Like the price of other breeds of cats, the price of a Russian Blue is
   based on the cat's quality, and various breeders may have
   significantly different prices. A pet quality Russian Blue kitten will
   be sold for one price. The price for a show quality cat or kitten will
   be much higher -- especially for top show quality. The price of
   Russians sold for breeding (they may or may not be good show cats)
   will also be much higher than that of a pet quality cat. Anyone who is
   considering purchasing a Russian Blue should contact a breeder for
   details. If possible, it is ideal to personally visit a breeder: not
   only to see a cat that might be purchased, but also to see other cats
   with the same blood lines.

   "America's Russian Blue," _Cat Fancy_, July 1983, pages 28- 33.
   "Breed of the Month: THE RUSSIAN BLUE," by J. Anne Helgren, _Cats
   Magazine_, March, 1996, pages 54-55, 60, 75.
   "Breed Profile: The RUSSIAN BLUE," by Diana Doernberg, _Cat Fancy_,
   July, 1996, pages 32-33 plus insert. [INLINE]
   "The Cats of Wynterwynd . . . Russian Blues," by Dorothy Holby, _Cat
   Fancy_, November, 1986, pages 40, 42-45.
   "Poetry in Motion," by Marge Jackson, _CFA Yearbook_, 1988, 131-138.
   _The Russian Blue Cat_ by Ingeborg Urcia, 1992.
   _This is the Russian Blue_ by Ingeborg Urcia, 1983.
    Russian Blue FAQ
    Eric Johnson,
    Last updated on December 7, 1996

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