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It’s been creeping up for years since the two world wars led to the breeds decline in Europe, and similar knockoffs have attempted to fill in the void. While the origin of the Russian Blue is uncertain – with an ambiguous belief that sailors docking at Archangel on the White Sea collected grey cats for sale in Britain – there were attempts to revitalise the breed after World War II using British Blue and Siamese out-crosses, with mixed results. They had yellowish eyes, were heavier and bigger than today’s specimens, and were known not only as Russian Blues but also as Archangel cats, Maltese cats, Spanish Blues and American Blues.

Around the same time, US breeders imported Russian Blues from Britain and Sweden, and the combined strains produced graceful cats with silver blue coats. By the late 1960s the breed had been revived in Britain, where breeders began developing Russian Whites and Russian Blacks. Today, this elegant cat has a gentle expression. Its fur is short, thick, and lustrous. The Russian Blue is special because it taps into the spinal chord of feline culture, nailing its intricacies with a timid, reserved, soft-voiced personality while being affectionate and friendly towards other people and animals.

Peace of mind, need for privacy and not feeling upset is more than enough incentive for the Russian Blue to defect from its war-ravaged past to the welcoming doors of a cat lover. Being affectionate pays dividends as it attaches itself to one person only, and will wait for that person for hours without budging – an unabashed display of sympathy, empathy and fearless loyalty. Stroking one is like stroking a piece of silk, and to see one is to fall under the spell of its intense green eyes and mysterious nature.