How to Identify a Russian Blue

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Have you ever come across a stunning blue cat but didn’t know what kind of cat it was? The odds of it are low, but it could be a Russian blue cat. There are a few ways to help you identify a Russian blue cat when you find one.


EditRecognizing Russian Blue Characteristics

  1. Learn about the breed. The Russian Blue is a type of purebred or pedigree cat. The origins of the breed are unknown, but it is believed they originated in the Archangel Islands in North Russia. The weather there is extremely harsh in winter, which is why the Russian Blue developed such a thick, plush coat for insulation.
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • The breed starting spreading to other parts of the world in the second half of the 19th century, and reached the US in the early 20th century.[1]
  2. Notice the cat’s size. Russian Blues are around 10 inches in height to the shoulder. Their average weight is 12 lbs, although some individuals will be bigger or smaller than this, depending on their lifestyle, feeding habits, and how active they are.
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    • They have an average lifespan of 10 -15 years.[2]
  3. Recognize the cat’s general appearance. Russian Blues give an overall impression of being a long, slender, elegant cat. They have a long graceful neck when stretched out, but the deep plush coat can disguise this and make the neck appear shorter.
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • The body is lean with fine bones and generally with defined, lean muscles.[3]
  4. Notice the eye color. Russian Blues have a distinctive green eye color. This trait starts to develop from 4 months of age and manifests as a rim of green around the outside of the iris, which is the colored part of the eye. All kittens are born with blue eyes, but the color changes to the final adult shade once they get older.[4]
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 4 Version 2.jpg
  5. Look at the head shape. Russian Blues have a characteristic wedge-shaped or triangular face, which is often described as cobra like with seven distinct planes. Typical cats, in contrast, tend to have a rounder, more apple like skull. This sets Russian Blues apart.[5][6]
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 5 Version 2.jpg
  6. Examine the coloring of the fur, nose, and paws. The most striking and unique thing about a Russian Blue is the coat for which it is named. It appears silvery grey, though blue is a traditional description for this color. It should be dense, thick, plush, and double layered.
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 6.jpg
    • If you look carefully at individual hairs, you will find a grey shaft tipped with lighter grey or silver at the tip.[7][8]
    • The nose of the Russian Blues will be black and the paw pads will be mauve.
  7. Consider the character of the cat. Russian Blues tend to be shy with strangers, but affectionate once they get to know their owners. They are gentle and playful, which makes them very suitable for first time cat owners. One of their particular quirks is that the Russian Blues likes to play fetch, which is most unusual amongst cat breeds and more usually associated with their canine friends.
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 7.jpg
    • Russian Blues have a reputation for having a quiet voice, unlike some of the other breeds with an oriental appearance and pointed face, such as the Siamese or Havanese. These breeds can be extremely vocal and screechy.
    • They are great observers and love to actively watch what’s going on around them, without necessarily joining in. Like many cats, they are lovers of peace and will prefer to retire to a quieter spot while noisy activities such as vacuuming take place.[9]
  8. Check the pedigree papers. Cats are not recognized to have a distinct breed unless they have the pedigree to prove it. You can not claim that a pretty blue cat is Russian Blue if you don’t have the papers to prove it. If there are no paper, that cat is actually considered a Domestic Shorthair, which is the official term for no-breed felines.[10]
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 8.jpg
    • This doesn’t make that cat any less worthy of a good home, of course, but it is definitely not considered a Russian Blue if you ask show judges or breeders.[11]
  9. Think about the costs. True Russian Blues are in fact rather rare, and often very expensive. The average reservation fee alone for one in Europe from a decent cattery is around 1000 euros as of 2012. The average cost of Russian Blue kittens in the US is between $ 400 and $ 600. Most so-called “Russian Blues” at shelters are in fact just Domestic Shorthairs, as cats of such an expense would not be abandoned.[12]
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 9.jpg
    • Breeders are also very strict about their standards and often refuse to sell Russian Blues to families that cannot commit to the cat.
    • All pet-quality Russian Blues are sold spayed or neutered to prevent them from reproducing and stop non-breeders flooding the market with Russian Blue kittens, which would make them less exclusive.

EditGetting a DNA Test

  1. Consider a DNA test. If you are not sure about your animal’s heritage and you don’t have papers, consider getting a DNA test. All animals have specific DNA, which provides codes for their parentage. The DNA is equivalent to a fingerprint that points to the genetic origins of the breed. These tests, which are the same technology that criminal and law enforcement agencies use, is now available for pets.
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 10.jpg
    • The tests look for genetic marker material that indicate the breed of the parents. Reputable sites compare this with data held by the International Society of Animal Genetics, for the best possible accuracy.[13]
  2. Chose your site carefully. A good indicator that the site is reputable is if it is run by veterinarians. The sites will typically offer genetic testing for health conditions and hereditary illnesses. Often these sites often have parentage tests that are to the same high standard.
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 11.jpg
    • You can also purchase tests on Amazon or online, but check out the seller carefully before purchasing. You want to make sure you are not wasting your money and that you will get correct results.[14]
  3. Collect a sample. The procedure to collect the sample from you cat is simple. The genetic test kit contains two brushes. Place one brush in the cat’s cheek and swirl it around for five seconds. Remove the brush from the mouth and hold it in the air to dry for 15 seconds. Next, replace it in the packaging. Repeat with the second brush on the opposite cheek.
    Identify a Russian Blue Step 12.jpg
    • This should be done away from eating or drinking, so make sure the cat hasn’t eaten for at least 15 minutes before taking the test.[15]
    • Send the test off to the lab. Once the lab has received the sample, which is usually via the mail, an average time to get the results is four to five days, either by email or letter.[16]

EditRelated wikiHows

  • Tell the Difference Between Common Cat Breeds
  • Keep Cats from Chewing on Electric Cords and Chargers
  • Control Stray Cats
  • Keep a Pet Bird or Other Animals when You Have Cats
  • Be a Friend With Cats

EditSources and Citations

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