The Russian Blue is a robust breed, with firm muscles and an overall dose of good looks. It is physically in the same class as the Korat and Oriental Shorthair -- long, slender, elegant. It is of a medium size, and muscular, but compared to a swimmer in the compactness of its musculature. When it is in full motion and stretched out, one can see that it has a long, graceful neck, but the neck is hidden by thick fur and high set shoulder blades when the cat is sitting, making it look as though it has a short, thick neck.
The Russian Blue appears bigger than it actually is because of its double coat, which is the most eye-catching feature of this breed. Dense, silky, and plush, the hair stands out at a 45-degree angle, allowing you to literally trace patterns into it, where they will remain until you smooth your hand over them. According to some legends, the Russian Blue was at one time the target of hunters, who likened their luxuriant fur to the fur of seals. The coat is bright blue, preferably lavender at the base (root), darkening along the shaft up to the tips of the guard hairs (protective hairs in the topcoat), which are tipped in silver. The coat shimmers with reflective light.
Adding to the captivating physical qualities of this breed is the eye color. The eyes are yellow while the Russian Blue is a kitten, and by four months there is a bright green ring around the pupil. As the cat matures, the eye color graduates into a bright, vivid green, aesthetically intensifying the already remarkable blue-silver coloring of the cat. The eyes are wide set and round, and only slightly slanted at the upper corners, giving the Russian Blue a sweet expression that matches well with its gentle temperament.
One of the more curious and amusing features of the Russian Blue is its “smile.” It has a slightly upturned mouth, which is frequently compared to the enigmatic Mona Lisa smile.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
This is a well-behaved cat that is easy to train. Or, rather, it easily trains its people. It enjoys a good game of fetch and will keep the game going longer than you may have time for, and you will make time because the Russian Blue is known for actually appearing hurt when it has been ignored. Elegant, and reserved, this cat is also very playful, and loves to chase after toys or sunbeams.
The Russian Blue can spend hours amusing itself and does not mind an awful lot if it is left at home alone for the day, but it will be very happy to see you when you do arrive. This cat makes for an excellent companion, constantly following its owners about, and generally preferring one human above all others in the family. It should be added that the Russian Blue gets along with most everyone, including children. Their love of human company extends to impishly clowning to help calm a crying baby, and showing sympathy when their people get the blues by patting the face of the person.
One of the Blue Russian's vulnerabilities is its tendency to be startled easily. They also have a natural proclivity to shyness and nervousness around strangers and in strange environments. If it is true that this breed was once the target of fur hunters (as some say), this would easily account for their caution and quick footedness. They would have had to move fast at the slightest sound to quite literally preserve their own skins.
This breed does not like change, preferring for things to be uniform and predictable. It can be thrown off when dinnertime is altered, and is nit-picky about hygiene. It will not even enter its litter box if it is dirty. In the early years, this breed developed a reputation at shows for being difficult to work with because of traits like these. The Russian Blue was gentle and happy at home, but at shows it was visibly discontent and temperamental. Popularity declined and fewer Russian Blues were being shown until breeders focused on improving the attitudes of the breed through selective breeding and behavior management (e.g., soft music, recording of show noises, crystals, herbal remedies). This commitment to the breed paid off, and today the Russian Blue is a happy participant at cat shows.
HEALTH AND CARE
There are no specific health problems related to the Russian Blue. It is a genetically sound breed, mainly due to it being a naturally occurring breed. Brushing the coat is not essential, but is a nice addition to the weekly routine of other grooming, such as brushing the teeth. This breed has a particular fondness for human company and will sit quite happily while being combed or brushed, since it is spending time with the one it cares for.
One important note to keep in mind with this breed is its love of food. It will eat beyond its need and ask for seconds, making it a sure candidate for weight related conditions if it is allowed to eat as much as it wants. The best prevention is measuring the food and giving it only at assigned times of the day, and making sure that everyone in the house knows that they cannot give the cat too many treats or scraps.