The Russian Blue - breed information and advice

The Russian Blue is a smart cat, elegant and slender with a velvety soft blue coat and green eyes. It has pointed ears, prominent whisker pads and a slightly upturned mouth, which gives the impression that it's smiling. The breed is agile and playful, yet also quiet, shy and undemanding. Russian Blues make good pets for both elderly owners and families, as long as the home environment isn't too noisy and chaotic.
To ensure your Russian Blue cat is protected in the case of an emergency, take a look at our cat insurance policies.

Breed information

Essentials

Colour: Grey-blue. The fur is grey but the tips (or ends) are silver, which gives the coat the appearance of having a sheen.

Coat: Short-haired and double-coated, with a dense undercoat that stands away from the body, so the overall appearance and feel is soft and sleek. Little grooming is required.

Life span: Around 15 years is usual for this breed.

Eye conditions

Like all cats, the Russian Blue can suffer from eye problems such as glaucoma (caused by increased pressure inside the eyeball); cataracts (opacity of the lens); entropion (inward rolling of the eyelids); retinal problems; or conjunctivitis (inflammation of the insides of a cat’s eyelids). Of these, Russian Blues are most prone to conjunctivitis, which has various causes including infections, scratches to or something within the eye’s surface, a lack of tear production, allergies, or entropion. Treatment of each eye condition depends on the type and severity of the problem, although many are treated using eyedrops.

Fact

We paid £3,073 to treat Yang the cat for eye disorders in 2016

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Infectious diseases

Russian Blues, like other cats, can suffer from a number of infectious diseases. These include viruses (like feline leukaemia virus, FIV or cat flu), bacteria (which cause abscesses) or other less-common infections like toxoplasmosis and chlamydia (which cause brain and eye diseases). FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) is a condition which starts with the common signs of infection but can become more serious. Depending on the infection, antibiotics may be used as a treatment. Whilst feline leukaemia and cat flu can be vaccinated against, unfortunately there is no vaccine against FIP and FIV both of which are aggressive viral infections that eventually prove fatal.

Fact

We paid £1,205 to treat Dottie the cat for infectious diseases in 2016

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Respiratory tract disorders

The respiratory tract is divided into the upper (the nose, nasal passages and windpipe) and lower (small airways and lungs) sections. Like all cats, Russian Blues can suffer from cat flu, which affects the upper respiratory tract and causes sneezing and a nasal discharge. It is an incurable viral condition, but it is easily prevented by vaccination and the symptoms can be managed. Russian Blues can also be affected by a lower respiratory tract problem known as feline asthma, which occurs when allergies and irritants cause the lower airways (bronchi) and lungs to become inflamed and sensitive. Symptoms include coughing and wheezing. While many respiratory tract disorders are not curable, they can be managed with various long-term medications, including tablets, injections and even inhalers.

Fact

Respiratory system disorders are the fourth most common illnesses we see in Russian Blues

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Kidney disease

Cats’ kidneys are responsible for filtering the waste products from their blood into their urine. Russian Blues may be affected by kidney disease caused by infections, blockages, tumours or toxins (especially licking anti-freeze) as well as age related changes. Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidney function deteriorates gradually over a period of time. Treatment depends on the cause and the extent of damage, but usually begins by flushing the kidneys using intravenous fluids, followed by special diets and medications. Unfortunately kidney disease is irreversible, but with the right support many cats can enjoy a reasonably normal life.

Fact

We paid £3,752 to treat Bilbo the cat for kidney disorders in 2016

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Cystitis

Conditions that affect a cat’s bladder and urethra are collectively known as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is more commonly referred to as cystitis. Russian Blues can suffer from these conditions, which can be caused by stress, not urinating enough, infections and bladder stones or crystals. Cats suffering from cystitis make frequent, painful attempts to urinate, and blood is often found in the urine. Treatment depends on the cause, but cats diagnosed with cystitis will usually require pain relief, access to plenty of water, special diets and perhaps some help to reduce stress.

Fact

We paid £3,084 to treat Cosmo the cat for cystitis in 2016

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