If you're thinking of bringing a Russian blue into your life, be prepared for a gentle, loving companion. He's also easy on the eyes. Although the Russian Blue is shorthaired, consider his cousin the Nebelung cat if you're in the market for a longhair version of this beauty.
Although much of the origin of the Russian blue is lost in the mists of time or is passed down in legends that don't stand up to scrutiny, he was originally known as the Archangel cat. His ancestors' coats might have once adorned Russians, just like the wild seal or beaver did.
By 1860, sailors brought the cats to Great Britain. The breed arrived in the United States around 1900.
You probably got hooked on the Russian blue because of his appearance. There's no question he's a distinctive, fine-boned, good-looking cat. Because of his origins in Russia's cold climate, he has a very soft, double gray-blue coat.
Along with the coat coloring, the breed is also noted for its large, green eyes. Your Russian blue should mature between 5 and 11 pounds -- not especially large for a cat. Alhough a Russian blue might be born with grayish tabby markings, they'll disappear within a few months.
Smart and sweet, the Russian blue bonds to his person but he isn't necessarily that friendly with strangers. He's not especially demanding, but he does want to be part of your activities.
If your or someone in your household isn't keen on loud cats -- such as the Siamese -- a Russian blue can fill the bill, as he's notoriously quiet. Because of his gentle temperament, the Russian blue doesn't scratch or bite unless he's truly provoked.
Although "cat training" often sounds like an oxymoron, that's not true with the Russian blue. This breed responds well to training, so you shouldn't have to put up with behavior such as jumping onto counters or furniture that you've made clear is off-limits.
You can teach a Russian blue to fetch or to play games such as hide-and-seek. Warning: He'll win. He knows the best places to hide.
Although most cats are clean, Russian blues take it to a higher level. They're fastidious, and they don't do well in stressful environments.
Stick to a strict schedule and routine with your Russian blue. He prefers it that way and it makes him feel secure.
Because these cats have a good appetite, watch his weight and feed him appropriately. Brush his coat regularly to keep it gleaming.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.