The Russian cat is said to have originated around the northern Russian city area; from the Arkhangelsk Islands, which gives it its alternative name, Archangel. Traders brought the Russian Blue cats to Europe in the 1800s. During the same period, the Russian White cat, Russian Black cat and Russian Tabby cat were also being featured occasionally in articles. These cats were created in 1971 and were derived from the Russian Blue. In fact, they were descended from two lines that were brought together in 1995 in the Netherlands. Frances Mcleod (Artic) as well as Dick and Mavis Jones (Australia) were the two persons who developed the first and second lines in the 1960s and 1970s respectively. Frances Mcleod initiated her line from a white female kitten born in 1961. She claimed that the cat was given to her by a friend and came from a Russian boat. The cat was registered as Artic Chumvi under the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). A well respected judge and breeder, Grace Pond, suggested crossing Chumvi to a Russian Blue stud as the gene pool of the Russian Blue was on the decline and limited during the same period. The plan was carried out and the first two litters comprised of either white or blue kittens. However, in the third litter, a black kitten was produced. The Russian Tabby came also from the original mating which created the Russian White. The first Tabby Russians were two females from a cross between a 6th generation Russian White and his blue mother. The Russian White cat, Russian Black cat and Russian Tabby cat have received acceptance from most recognized cat registries.
Physical appearance and attributes
As the Russian White, Black and Tabby came from the Russian Blue, the physical characteristics and attributes are similar, save their coat colors. These Russian cats have considerably good physical condition. The body is long, firm, fined-boned and muscular, composing of lithe and graceful lines. They tread in long and fine-boned legs that extend into small and slightly rounded paws. Complementing the body type is a long, yet the proportionate tail that tapers form a moderately thick base.
The head is of a medium wedge that is neither long and tapering nor short and massive. Head and face contours are fairly rounded, and the muzzle is blunt with a slight whisker pinch or break. They have high cheekbones as well as a level and firm chin that is neither receding nor excessively massive. The face is broader across the eyes as they are wide-set. The eyes are aperture rounded in shape and present a slant towards the nose. Eye color should complement the coat colors and are usually of amber or green. Russian white may however, come with blue or odd-eye color. Atop the head is a pair of rather large ears that are wide at the base and taper into slightly pointed tips. Ear tufts can also be seen furnishing the inside of the ears Viewed in profile, a long, flat imaginary line can be traced from the top of the forehead to slightly above the eyes, before it descends, forming a convex angle, to the tip of the nose. The line length of the head-top should be greater that the length of the nose.
These cats wear a double coat with hair that is short, dense, fine, and plush. It appears to stand out from its body due to the density of the hair and the texture is distinctly soft and silky.
Personality and temperaments
All Russian cats are usually considered to be quiet, gentle and affectionate companions. They have a docile temperament and are sensitive towards those around. This allows them to get along well with other pets and children in the immediate household. However, they can be shy around strangers unless they have been well socialized.
These cats are also typically known to be clean and tidy. They enjoy company and are not known to be aggressive or especially reclusive. While that is outgoing and playful, the Russian cats do not need a tremendous amount of stimulation or exercises. They are adaptable cats, and their energy and activity level adjust according to their emotional moods as well as to the environment of the household. Being bright and astute has given the Russian cats the aptitude to manipulate to enjoy a variety of tricks and play. They are reported to be able to use their paws to open doors, closets and drawers. Russian cats are capable of developing strong bonds with their loved ones and once that bond is established, they can be exceptionally loyal and affectionate.
Care and health issues
These are hearty and healthy cats with no known health issues that are specific to the breed. With proper care, exercise and diet, they can live up to an average of 15 years. To ensure that the cat you purchase is healthy, do obtain a written health guarantee from a qualified breeder.
Russian cats require minimal grooming and a weekly or once every two weeks brushing will suffice to keep the coat healthy. To maintain overall good health, brush the teeth frequently with vet-approved toothpaste. Do also trim the nails and clean the ears whenever necessary.
The ideal home
Russian cats can survive both indoors and outdoors. While they might be considered indoor cats, they are about to withstand hard and cold weather conditions due to their double coat. If they are allowed outdoors, the spaces must be safe and escape proof. As they love company, whether that of their loved ones or of other family pets, it is important to ensure that it is not left in solitude. A quiet and tranquil environment would be ideal for this peace-loving cat. As it is prone to becoming overweight, it is advisable that the indoor spaces are equipped with cat toys, cat gym sets and scratching posts encourage an active growth. They are suitable for most types of household as long as they are well-taken care of with love, attention and are not left alone.