The Russian is a cat for the connoisseur and will ignite your heart. With centuries of breeding history, these beautiful cats with their mesmerising green eyes are still a rarity.
Coming a long way, the story of the Russian cat is entwined in those of Cossacks, queens and empresses, and of journeys over the world’s seas. This cat’s revered past also includes mystery and myth, as told in Russian folklore about how cats bring good luck to the home. No wonder no Russian sea farer would dare a sea voyage without a cat on board.
Thought to have originated from the Archangelsk port of northern Russia, the breed originally became known in England as the Archangel cat and is documented as one of the oldest known natural breeds in today’s cat fancy. The Russians we now know in South Africa’s pedigrees can be traced back to England and northern Europe, perhaps even to those first seen at a cat show held in England in 1875.
Known for their athletic, elegant build (likened to a swimmer or dancer), they are medium-sized cats with the females being smaller in size than the males. When walking, all Russian cats give the impression of walking on eggshells with their dainty feet. The first thing that you will notice about the Russian is the striking, short, plush coat, found on no other breed.
Addictive is probably the best way to describe their personality. The Russian will take your heart captive and hold it ransom, and the result will be another Russian. They are very sensitive to your mood and will know exactly what you may need, whether it is a purr and a head-butt or to hang upside down from a scratching pole to make you laugh. Gently and quietly they will talk to you in the tiniest little meows.
Reserved but playful
The Russian is a healthy, hearty breed known to live into their mid to late teens given the right environment and nutrition. They are a very playful breed, known for being clowns, and even in later years will exude kittenish behaviour. They love to play fetch and will train their humans to throw toys for them, bringing the object back over and over again and placing it in your hand.
The Russian is known to be fairly reserved (although some owners disagree), but will settle into and accept most environments once they have been familiarised with a particular situation. The Russian is exceptionally gentle and will not scratch or bite maliciously. To sum up a Russian in just a few hundred words is near impossible. The only way to get to know the multifaceted, intelligent, loyal, loving and gentle breed is to own one, and then you will understand what a true aristocrat is all about.
Text: Leanne Hewitt. Photography: Nailia Schwartz and Uthekina Anna
For the full story, get the August 2014 issue of Animaltalk magazine! Subscription details at Coolmags.com