Sherry grew up watching her uncle raise turtles, fish, goats and sheep in his backyard. She lives with a tabby and her three kittens.
Russia is a hub for extraordinary cat breeds loved and treasured by cat fanciers around the globe. If the fact that all the Russian cats are pretty expensive doesn’t tell everything, let me emphasize that some of these breeds are owned by a scattering of the human population.
Despite their beautiful descent and uniqueness, most of these breeds lived in obscurity for several decades before they were officially recognized. Moreover, controversies surrounding the origin of some of them have hindered their advancement and made them all the rarer.
1. Russian Blue
Russian Blue is among the first cat breeds registered by cat associations. It had its beginnings in the pre-nineteenth century around the Archangel Isles in northern Russia.
Famous for their unmistakably Persian look, vivid green eyes and very short, plush-furred coat, these are fairly alleged to be the descendants of the royal cats of the Russian czars. They are intelligent, independent and pretty adept at figuring out how to open things. They also take no time to learn words and litter-train themselves.
Although reserved and quiet around strangers, they are playful and affectionate toward their trusted humans. Calm and well-behaved, Russian Blues are quite pleased with an indoor life as long as they have the company of their preferred humans.
The national cat of Russia, the Siberian has been around for centuries as a forest cat in Russia. This gentle giant was not introduced in the US until the 1990s and is still a relatively rare breed. It has a dense, waterproof coat, bushy tail, tufted paw pads, furred ears and thickly ruffed neck. Owing to the triple-coated exterior cold does not bother these guys.
According to fairy tales and Russian stories from the 1800s, Siberian cats once weighed up to 45 pounds and protected their human households no worse than dogs.
Favourites of dog people, Siberians like to be devoted to a chosen family member and converse with quiet meows, gentle trills and deep purrs. Despite their stocky bodies, they are highly acrobatic and love to leap and play. They mature extremely slowly, taking as long as five years.
The Donskoy was one of the offspring of an ill-treated, hairless female kitten born to outbred cats in Rostov-on-Don, Russia in the 1980s. Years later, this breed is not only valuable for its baby-soft and hair-free down but also for its sociable temperament and intriguing personality.
Donskoys are lovable, people-oriented and attentive. Some of us cat lovers call her ‘people’s cat’. They have a sturdy appearance with a strong-boned body, large ears, almond-shaped eyes and a long, whipping tail.
The Donskoy display curiosity and will not shy to follow voice commands of their human fellows.
Not all donskoys are hairless. Some may have very fine hair on the skin or parts of it. Donskoy must be regularly bathed to keep its skin from looking oily.
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A result of cross between Donskoy and Oriental Shorthair, the Peterbald is a rare breed of a hairless housecat. The origins of this breed trace back to 1994 in the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Peterbald cats are warm-hearted, playful and dexterous but not destructive. They tend to bond well with their human family. Although the cat is popular for being hairless, the breed has five coat types: hairless, flock, short-haired or long-haired rough coat and normal short-haired coat.
Loyal and affectionate, Peterbalds are perfect family cats. They have a tubular body, enormous ears and a triangular head. It is possible for Peterbald cats to lose their coats as they mature especially in conjunction with puberty.
5. Ural Rex
The journey of Ural Rex began in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia in the 1980s. Loved for its appealing personality and unique fur aesthetics, the breed is very popular amongst cat enthusiasts everywhere.
The cat’s double coat consists of soft, silky, dense hair of medium length covering the entire body and tail in loose waves and ripples. Regular grooming may be required to keep the curly locks from matting and attracting dirt.
They have widely open almond-shaped eyes that are set wide apart. Unlike the other outgoing rex cats, Ural Rex has a gentle character and even temperament. They adapt themselves easily to families with children and pets.
6. Neva Masquerade
If you thought that Siberian is the ultimate royal cat, we have an improved or rather naturally upgraded Siberian breed, the Neva Masquerade. It is basically a pointed, colored version of the Siberian. The breed was first developed in the region of Neva river in St. Petersburg, Russia around the 1970s.
The coat is ultra-thick and woolly. Point colouration is what makes Neva Masquerade truly standoff. The personality traits of the Neva Masquerade are much the same as those of Siberian and European Shorthair.
They have impressive muscle strength and intelligence. They are conversely gentle and affectionate family pets, particularly attached to children. They also get along with other pets.
7. Mekong Bobtail
Named after the great Mekong river, Mekong Bobtail occurs over a wide region of Southeast Asia. Although the efforts to develop and preserve this unique branch of old Siamese cats were in place since 1939, Mekong cats were not granted official recognition until 2004. Notably, they are still not particularly known worldwide.
The length of the bobbed tail is generally less than a quarter of the body. The distinctive head has a dark muzzle and heavenly blue eyes. This rare feline is unafraid of heights. These cats have strong legs enabling them to jump and climb exceptionally well.
The Mekong cats could be given a ten out of ten for their balanced temperament. While they are proud and independent, they are also friendly and quiet. They will readily offer comfort and companionship to people they love.
8. Kurilian Bobtail
Kurilian Bobtail takes its name from the Kuril Islands of the North Pacific where it was first found. It is one of those breeds that are popular in the region where they are developed but are not well-popular elsewhere in the world. Despite enjoying a great deal of popularity on the Russian mainland since the 1950s, they were quite uncommon elsewhere, particularly in the US.
This graceful feline is known mainly for its kinked and/or curved tail. The body is compact and muscular with a large head, round eyes and medium-sized ears. The coat is of medium length covering the entire body with ruff around the neck, breeches and ear tufts. Coat colours include chocolate, cinnamon, lilac and fawn. Recently breeders have described tabby litters born with warm reddish tone. Colour modification takes place during their first year and adults show an apricot-red colour.
Kurilian Bobtail adores family life and would never get tired of fuss and attention from its owner, although it also loves to be independent.
It is impossible not to feel compelled to stare at this majestic feline. The Caracat is currently the most expensive cat breed in the world and the captivating wild looks of it alone lay claim to this.
The exotic hybrid was first seen in 1998 at a zoo in Moscow. The history of this creature began as a result of an accidental cross between a wild Caracal and an Abyssinian cat. Ancestral Caracals are moderately sized wild cats recognized by long ear tufts and red or sandy-colored fur.
The Caracat tend to be more like their felid parent. To put its impressive appearance into context, it has got all the incredible feral features including a coat that is no different than the pelt of Caracal, long ear tufts and a muzzle that is much the same as the feline lynx.
The controversial creation of this breed began in 2004. While some breeders call this the “wrong kind of gene fiddling”, others are always on the outlook to own it at a whopping $25,000.
The Toybob is certainly one of the smallest cat breeds out there. With large, soulful eyes, kinked bobbed tails and small bodies, they would seem to live up to their name.
This breed dates back to the early 1980s when it originated in Russia as a result of spontaneous mutation. The kinked tail and small size are a result of mutation but do not affect the health of cats.
The little fur ball has a medium-sized head, large expressive eyes and a rounded muzzle. The Toybob comes in longhair and shorthair versions. Longhaired ones have a semi-long coat that does not mat or tangle making it easy to groom.
Toybobs are sweet-tempered, loyal and loving companions. They make a terrific pet for senior citizens and children. They also fit in well with other cats and dogs.
The history of one of the World’s largest living cat breeds, Ussuri began in the Amur and Ussuri river regions of south-east Siberia.
This ‘domestic’ Amur leopard cat hybrid has got an extravagant color and stripes to make it stand out among the breeders. Although Ussuri cats have a solid fan base in Russia, they are still not granted popularity worldwide.
Ussuri cats have well-developed muscles which give them ample strength despite a not-so-perfectly straight back. The distinct white whiskers add more to the uniqueness of the breed.
The wild looks of Ussuri reflect the breed’s personality. Their needs are different compared to regular cats. Ussuris are not fit for apartments and homes with small children.
Ussuris are restless and tend to want to go outside and be on the streets exploring and hunting. They love water and would want to wade in when they wish.
12. Karelian Bobtail
Karelian Bobtail is a variant of the more popular Kurilian cat. It was first seen in the Lake Ladoga region of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. These cats come in both shorthaired and longhaired versions.
Unlike the Kurilian cat, the bobbed tail is recessive in these cats. Fur on the tail is longer than on the rest of the body giving it a pom-pom effect.
The eyes of Karelian are oval and slightly slant. The eye colour also corresponds to the coat colour. The body is medium-sized, neither stocky nor elongated.
Like most of the breeds with Russian roots, the undercoat of Karelian is silky soft with a glossy, thick top cat.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Sherry Haynes