Russia may be famous for vodka, borscht, matryoshka dolls and the onion-shaped churches and historical buildings, but it also gave the world some of the most beautiful and unique-looking domestic cats. If you’re a cat lover in particular, you may probably love to check out these cat breeds that originated only in Russia:
1. Russian Blue
The Russian Blue’s name is derived from its silver-blue or gray-blue coating. It is a naturally-occurring breed believed to have originated in Arkhangelsk, northwestern Russia.
One of the most popular cat breeds, the Russian blue is a quiet, reserved and curious animal, just like any other domesticated cats. However, it can be playful at times and is affectionate and loyal especially to its human masters. Another distinctive trait of the Russian cat is its trainability — it can be taught with some tricks like fetching and even opening doors.
The Siberian cat’s long and dense coat has made it adaptable to extremely cold, snowy climates. The fur is textured but otherwise glossy, which reduces the chances of matting. Pet lovers who are suffering allergies will enjoy owning a Siberian cat because its fur is hypoallergenic. Despite its attractive and rather delicate-looking appearance, the Siberian is otherwise a hardy animal.
It is called by a couple of other names such as the Siberian Forest Cat and the Moscow Semi-Longhair. Like the Russian Blue, the Siberian cat is also a naturally occurring breed. Way back then, it used to be called “Bukharskie,” as it was believed that the breed originated from a city in Uzbekistan named Bukhara, and then was later brought to Moscow.
The Donskoy or Don Sphynx is one of the popular hairless cat breeds in the world today, similar to the Sphynx cat (but these two breeds are not closely related). The Donskoy cat was discovered in 1986 or 1987 in the city of Rostov-on-Don by a woman named Elena Kovaleva, who rescued a female kitten which was being tortured by a group of young boys.
When Kovaleva took the poor kitten, she discovered that it had gone almost bald. She thought maybe that it was the young boys’ maltreatment which had caused to lose most of its fur. Kovaleva decided to bring the kitten home to nurse it back to health and help the kitten to grow its fur back. She named the kitten Vavara.
But even so, Vavara had gone on to lose more hair, and in a matter months she became completely hairless. When Vavara later had kittens of her own, some of her offsprings were almost hairless. Vavara’s hairless kittens, it is believed, are the ancestors of the present-day Donskoy cat.
It is believed that the Donskoy’s utter lack of hair was caused by a dominant genetic mutation.
Also known as the Peterbald Sphynx, the Peterbald is another hairless Russian cat breed. It was a result of an experimental breeding of a Donskoy and the Siamese, which has led to the breed retaining the hairless characteristic of the Donskoy and the body, head and eye shape of the Siamese or the Oriental Shorthair.
The Peterbald is generally an affectionate, genial cat who is also intelligent and energetic. It can go along well with kids and other pets.
5. Kurilian Bobtail
This beautiful feline is also a naturally occurring breed, having its origins in the Kuril Islands, a chain of islands which is currently disputed between Russia and Japan. The Kurilian Bobtail comes in long- and short-haired varieties, but they always have a “pom-pom”-like fluffy tail.
The Kurilian is one of the rare cat breeds that is actually comfortable to be in the water. In fact, this cat is a very good swimmer, and its natural affinity with water enables it to hunt and catch fish like its favorite, salmon.