...and they don't come only in Blue...
Krasavitsa Cattery in Aldinga Beach, South Australia - Registered Breeder of Russian Blues and Russian Whites
Although Blue (a silvery grey with transparent hair tips) is the most common, well-known and popular colour and has given this breed the name, Russian Cats actually also come in White and Black.
Particularly the White Russian is remarkable, as it is even more hypo-allergenic than the blue variety and therefore in most cases tolerated by sufferers of cat allergies. The lighter the colour the less allergen the Russian Cat produces, and females produce less than males. A further unusual feature in the Russian White is that, although the cat is completely white, it is not prone to deafness and blindness as most other white cats are. This is because this cat is, genetically, not homogenously white, but blue "underneath" and the genetically omnipresent blue colour is so-to-say "masked" by the white gene. That is also the reason why, statistically, an average of 50% of the kittens of a white Russian cat are blue, and 50% are white. So, this genetic combination produces a perfectly healthy, incredibly elegant white cat with excellent hearing and eye-sight.
These are the reasons why I not only breed the popular Russian Blue, but also work on bringing the beautiful Russian White more into the light of the public awareness. Our Krasavitsa Whites come from excellent Champion bloodlines from different Australian states.
We have kittens available for sale two or three times per year. As the demand for purebred Russian Cats is quite high, there may be a waiting time - our kittens are usually reserved long before they are ready to leave us, often right after their birth. Therefore it is advisable to register your interest early and get on our waiting list. Other breeders will have such lists. too.
Our kittens are raised in a caring family environment, exclusively indoors, though they do have occasional sunbaths in a safe outdoor cage on pleasant days. In the company of children, dogs, their siblings, parents and even grandparents, they develop confidence and healthy social behaviour and get reliably litter-box trained. They are fed premium food (Royal Canin dry, Whiskas kitten satchels) and lots of fresh meat and fish, raw as well as home-cooked with some veggies and rice. Our kittens leave us usually at the age of 12-14 weeks, as the GCCFSA Code of Ethics requires, after all their vet services have been done.
If you would like to see the most current pictures of our cats and kittens please text me on my mobile 0426 276 043 and I will send them to you. Here is a little collection of the three generations of cats and kittens in our home, starting with the most recently taken pictures:
What are Russian Cats like?
Russian Blues are sweet-tempered cats with a soft, plush, blue-grey 'double coat' and green eyes. In Australia, they are also bred in the colours White and Black, and even Tabby, but only the Blue colour is recognised worldwide. These cats are very intelligent, friendly and calm. They usually get along very well with other pets, and are very patient and gentle with children. Russian Blues are classified as hypoallergenic cats, which means that a Russian Blue may be better tolerated by individuals with mild to moderate allergies than other breeds.
As compared to other cat breeds we have had, I found that the Russian Blues are especially easy-going, never stressed, never aggressive, with a very good solid health, and a very balanced, calm nature. They are excellent and caring parents to their young, and make very pleasant family members who are never too demanding, but easy to care for. They are reliable, peace-loving and friendly cats. They are great mouse catchers, but they can also learn to be nice even with 'prey' animals, if introduced carefully. They are very intelligent and learn quickly.
For more information please see the Q & A section.
That's how Rusian Blue kittens look like when they are only a couple of days old:
So sweet, vulnerable and tender
How Do I Recognise a True Russian?
Watch out: Not every grey cat is a Russian Blue! The "Blue" of a real Russian has silvery transparent hairtips which add a shimmery glance to the hair. Further, a real Russian has a "double coat" - very short but very dense hair which are soft to touch, almost like velvet. The perfect eye colour of a pure Russian is Emerald Green, and another distinctive feature are pronounced whisker pads and a stripe of thinner coat between the eyes and the ears. However, most of all, you will recognise a true Russian by its typical behaviour and nature: friendly and loving with its owners, but reserved towards strangers; confident, but never aggressive; playful and alert, but never destructive. Many kittens which are advertised as Russian Blues without pedigree papers are crosses or simply grey domestic moggie kittens that have nothing to do with a real Russian, so be careful who you buy your kitten from! It is always a good idea to visit the breeder and see the kittens' parents and their papers before you commit.
An interesting feature about the WHITE RUSSIANS is the "cap":
White Russians are most often born with some blue spots, which are mainly located on their heads. These spots, which disappear completely by the time the kitten grows one year old, demonstrate that the underlying genetic colour of the White Russian is Blue - their Blue is only "masked" by the White colour. This genetic speciality is responsible for the fact that White Russians are not prone to disabilities and diseases usually associated with purely white cats, such as blindness and deafness.
"Blue" is basically a black gene combined with a dillution factor. To produce a Blue kitten, both parents must contribute the Blue gene. If only one contributes the Blue gene, the other colour will win over and the kitten will be either black or white. As purebred Russian Whites and Russian Blacks have a recessive Blue gene, too, they can also produce Blue kittens.
Not only Blues
Russian Cats come also in other colours
Here is a short overview of the history and special characteristics of all the colour varieties:
The Russian Blue
BLUE is the original colour of the Russian Blue Cat breed, which is sometimes also called the "Archangel Cat", according to its place of origin: the ports of the Arkhangelsk islands, Russia. The Blues were purebred in Europe, particularly in England and Russia, since the 1860ies, but sometimes crossed with Siamese cats due to being so rare. The Siamese influence is still apparent in some Russian cat individuals of today, who have longer noses and love to "talk" a lot. The Russian Blues have become a very popular breed in Australia. However, be aware that not many grey cats who claim this name are indeed purebred Russian Blues, unless they can present papers from a reputable registered breeder. The breed has very distinctive features, which you can read in detail in the official breed standard: http://www.russianblue.org.uk/intro.html
"Standard" and "Faulty"
The breed standard describes the 'perfect representative of a breed'. In every purebred cattery, however, occasional 'faults' will occur in kittens which disclose to the breeder the genetic built-up of the previous generations and help with the future management of the breeding programme. Such a fault can can be a white spot in the blue coat, an eye colour other than green, or other minor deviations. Such kittens are usually sold as"pet quality only" a bit cheaper and not intended for breeding and shows. The main task and obligation of a good breeder is to exclude 'faulty' kittens from passing their genes on and with that, purify and improve the quality of the breed from generation to generation. If you are lucky to obtain a "breeding quality" or "show quality" kitten - please join the Club! However, if you obtain a "faulty" kitten as a pet, you have something truly unique, a purebred cat who may be just the only ONE of its kind.
A "faulty" kitten can, for example, occur when the Siamese pattern suddenly reappears after meanwhile more than fifty years since the permitted cross-breeding with a Siamese cat was done, unexpectedly after ten or fifteen generations or perfect pure blues or whites... But aren't these "mishaps" absolutely gorgeous, immaculate beauties in their own right?
The Russian White
Like all other colour varieties other than Blue, the purebred Russian WHITE is a relatively new "invention". The first breeder of Whites was Frances McLeod in the UK who obtained a white Russian cat from the Archangel Islands and later brought her descendants to Australia. Short after, she was followed by an Australian breeder: The first "solid white Russian Blue" recognised as purebred in Australia was bred 1971 by Dick and Mavis Jones of Myemgay Cattery in QLD, who obtained a white Siberian cat from the Thai Embassy and crossed this queen with his Russian Blue male. All Australian Russian Whites date back to only these two white queens (female breeding cats are called "queens"). Meanwhile the Russian White has become a fully recognised breed variety in all of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and exists in various stages of recognition in the UK, Europe and the USA. The Russian White has the same features as the Russian Blue, except of the colour. Most often, white kittens are born with some blue or black marks in their heads, which disappear during their first year of life. Purely white newborns are extremely rare. A Russian White cat can "mask" all other colours occuring in Russian cats and hence give birth to blue, white, black and tabby kittens. Some more information can be found, for example, here: http://rarecatbreeds.wyrdwul.com/rwrblk.html
A special benefit in Russian Whites is their very low production of the allergen glycoprotein Fel d 1 which many people are allergic to. Russian Blues are generally knows as hypo/allergenic cats, and it is said that the production is the lower the lighter the colour of their fur, lower in females than in males, and lower in desexed than in entire ones. Hence a spayed female Russian White might be the perfect cat for someone who is normally allergic to cats.
Another benefit is that these purely white cats are not susceptible to many diseases usually associated with mix-bred white cats, expecially blindness and deafness. This is due to the fact that, genetically, they are not purely white - they only appear white.
Below are some pictures of kittens from our white foundation cat, Double Grand Champion Riverlight Hannakova (called "Hanna"): Three generations of Whites in one picture - Hanna, her daugther Galina, and granddaughter Ivanka (taken 2015)
The Russian Black
Nothing is harder than to take a reasonable picture of a black cat! Especially if it is the darkest of all blacks, flawlessly black, with only the green eyes shining out like emeralds. The Russian BLACK cat has a shinier, glossier and slightly thinner coat than the Blues and Whites, but otherwise the same characteristics. History: In the ‘60s, the gene pool of the Russian Blue was stated to be very low and limited out-crossing to blue-point Siamese and domestic cats was carried out. A well-respected breeder and judge suggested mating a particularly well-developed white female to a Russian Blue stud. The first two litters comprised white or blue kittens. However, the third litter produced a black kitten. This showed that the white cat was in fact masking black under her white coat. Black is dominant to blue; however, black queens can give birth to blue kittens if mated to a blue male. For more information see, for example: http://www.russianblue.org.uk/BAC/blackwhitesept12.htm
And that's me, with a "rainbow trio" of home-bred kittens of almost the same age in all three colours, which we managed only once during my Russian Cat breeding time (2010):