Of all the short-haired breeds of cats, there is none more intelligent or more deserving of the title of " ideal pet " than the Russian Blue. As soon as he is assured of your bonne camaraderie, he will regard you as his special property, and though he will tolerate the rest of the household, it is only because his feline art of reasoning tells him they are in some way connected with you.
He will show his allegiance to his owner in many different ways, and there is a sturdy independence in the Russian breed which singles it out from all others. It only needs a little patience on the part of his owner to make him a past-master in learning simple tricks.
Many years ago this breed was brought from Archangel. The old and original type had a long wedge-shaped head and large prick ears-if such a term may be applied to a cat-and the coat was of a close sealskin texture, which has been compared to cotton plush. But of late years a more cobbily built, round-headed type of cat has come into favour, and although the coat peculiar to this breed still proclaims its wearer's right to be called Russian, its other points are analogous to the ordinary British cat. Handsome though this newer comer is, he lacks in appearance the quaint, almost Egyptian, style of the original. To a breeder and successful exhibitor of the older stamp, it seems a pity it should be allowed to die out.
A step in the right direction was made by the Southern Counties Cat Club in January, when, at their show at Westminster, a class was provided for the foreign type; the round-headed blues holding their own in their proper place, and judged according to the British standard.
The Short-haired Cat Society of Great Britain, recognising the claim of the older standard of type, has drawn up the following points:
Billy Blue Blazes, a blue Russian cat of the correct "foreign type," bred and owned by Mrs.harpur. The handsome and more modern " British type" lacks the quaint Egyptian appearance of the original breed
Photo, F. H. Sutton
Body, Build.and Tail. Body long, lithe, and graceful in outline and carriage; tail fairly long and tapering; legs inclined to long, and feet neat and well rounded. 15
Neck and Head. Skull flat and inclining to be narrow; forehead receding; face and neck longer than that of British cat.. .. 15
Coat. Very short and close, of a sealskin-like texture and lustrous . . .. 25
100 From which it will be seen that colour and texture of coat are the chief points for breeders to aim at producing.
I have always found the Russian exceptionally hardy, and impervious to ex-
A blue Russian cat of " British type," Bred and owned by Mrs. Carew-cox
Photo, W. T. Cook treme cold, and even damp, the enemy of most foreign cats in this country. The kittens require a little more care and attention during the first two or three months of their existence than do the ordinary short-haired kittens, and very often they are born with distinct body markings and ringed tails, but these gradually disappear altogether, leaving the coat a lovely shade of blue. Mrs". Clark, of Bath, is a great admirer of the Russian, and has done much to further its interests. From her cattery many first-class specimens have come. " Peter the Great" is of imported parentage, and many of his children have made names for themselves in the show-pen, both at home and abroad, amongst them being at least one champion son in America. Mrs. Carew-cox, of Addiscombe, is another authority on this breed, and she and Mrs. Clark have remained true to it through all its vicissitudes, and there are very few, if any, pedigrees of these cats extant which do not contain the names of some of these ladies' Russians. " Billy Blue Blazes " is one of my most devoted dumb friends, and is now nearly five years old.