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Subject: rec.pets.cats: Russian Blue Breed-FAQ

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:59 GMT

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Archive-name: cats-faq/breeds/russian-blue Posting-frequency: 30 days URL: http://www.dsu.edu/~johnsone/russian.html Last-modified: 12 Mar 1997
All the cat breed faqs are available as ASCII files either on rec.pets.cats or via anon ftp to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/new.answers/cats-faq/breeds/* They are also viewable on the World Wide Web at http://www.fanciers.com/breeds.html. The Russian Blue _________________________________________________________________ Author: Eric Johnson, JohnsonE@jupiter.dsu.edu 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 Russians. _________________________________________________________________ History 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 cat. _________________________________________________________________ Health 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. _General_: 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. _Ears_: 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. _Body_: 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. _Tail_: 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 undercoat. _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. _________________________________________________________________ References "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, JohnsonE@jupiter.dsu.edu Last updated on December 7, 1996