The Russian Blue cat breed is said to have originated near or in the port of Archangelsk in northern Russia, close to the Arctic Circle. Though their story remains a mystery to this day, many believe that sailors transported the cats from Russia to Europe during the 1860s.

According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, Russian Blues were called Archangel cats and not recognized as a separate breed category until 1912. That year, the beautiful cats with a short, double-thick coat of plush silver-grey fur and characteristic glowing green eyes began competing in their own class at cat shows as the now-familiar Russian Blue. ("Blue" in cat breeder parlance means any cat with silver or grey fur.)

Russian Blue cats, though somewhat difficult to find in the United States, are still being bred and shown today by devoted fans and cat enthusiasts. The Russian Blue temperament is mild and calm: sources agree that these cats are gentle, loyal, intelligent and devoted to their owners, though they tend towards shyness with strangers. They are somewhat sphinx-like in appearance, with long, muscular arms; sturdy, long torsos; and cobra-like, wedge-shaped heads. All Russian Blues have the same arresting green eyes and thick, short coat of light-tipped blue fur.

Some people think these beautiful cats look like they are smiling, much the same way dolphin mouths seem to be smiling because of their shapes. In any case, unlike many other cat breeds, Russian Blues make almost ideal companions and suffer from no known genetic defects. Although American breeders aren't common, they do exist. Buying a Russian Blue kitten of pet, not show, quality, will cost you about $500.

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