Hygiene

Do Russian Blue Cats Shed?

Learn more about the rare Russian Blue cat and how much they shed. The luxurious, silky cats have thick double coats, but do not shed as much as many other breeds. Our guide has everything you need to know.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: July 12, 2022 | 14 min read

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The Russian Blue cat is a sleek, regal feline with a silvery blue and gray coat. These cats are shorthaired, with thick coats. For feline owners looking to adopt a Russian Blue, shedding is one of the biggest concerns.

Russian Blues are a feline with unique physical characteristics, one being their coats. There is not a whole lot known about their history. The Cat Fanciers’ Association shares that it is thought that the breed descended from cats kept by Russian Czars. Bringing one of these cats home is no small task, and owners need to be ready to care for them.

Russian Blues are shorthaired. However, there is a long-haired variety called Nebelung. These long-haired varieties are rare and can take up to two years to grow in their coats fully. They are considered a separate breed. We’ll focus on the true shorthaired Blue, including how much they shed, and what kind of grooming care these kitties need.

Russian Blue Coat Texture

These cats have a coat that is incredibly soft and thick. Their coats are dense, making them look much fuller in body than they are. This kitty’s hair is very thin and tightly packed in, giving them a luscious soft feel. They have muscular, long bodies and a double coat of fur.

Russian Blues can be born with a ghost stripe marking that will fade as they age. Most will have a shiny outer coat tipped in gray or silver fur. The color will deepen and darken towards the body, eventually turning dark blue or even lavender tones.

Russian Blue Undercoat

These cats have straight hair, with an over and undercoat. Their hair is fine and packed close together. This undercoat is soft and grows much thicker in the colder months. This fluffy, soft, down-like undercoat is partly why they are called Russian Blues. It is darker with deep tones of blue and purple, covered in a lighter silver overcoat. They can even be very dark, almost black.

Do Russian Blue Cats Shed?

Russian Blues shed, but not as much as one might think with their thick coats. They are very light-shedding cats. There will be very little hair shed regularly. However, they will experience a higher shedding period twice a year. These times will happen when the seasons change from spring to summer and fall to winter. This is a normal shedding cycle for all cats. During these times, your cat may need extra brushing, and you will see more piles of hair left behind.

This breed is very skilled at self-grooming, which helps manage their shedding even more. You will see some hair left behind, but it will be minimal. There are other things that owners can do to manage their cat’s shedding. Healthy nutrition is key, as is occasional bathing and grooming.

Are Russian Blue Cats Hypoallergenic?

Overall, they are very light shedders, and they are often referred to as hypoallergenic. They also produce lower levels of Fel d1, the protein in their saliva that causes an allergic reaction in humans. Because they have less of this protein in their saliva, there is less of it to spread to humans. Russian Blue cats produce dander, which is also an allergen to humans.

So, there is no simple yes or no answer to the question of whether these felines are hypoallergenic. They are labeled hypoallergenic in many places, however, they do have some capacity to trigger allergies in highly sensitive people. For others, they are a less triggering breed and may be a good choice.

Brushing A Russian Blue

Cat brushed on head

Russian Blues are short-haired felines, so you will not need as much brushing as longer-haired breeds. However, they will need regular brushing to remove excess hair, dead skin, and dander. During periods of heavier shedding, they will need more brushing than usual.

How Often Should You Brush A Russian Blue?

A Russian blue cat should be brushed at least once or twice weekly. You can brush them daily, and some cats enjoy this. However, once a week at a minimum should be enough. The more you brush them, the less hair they will have to shed. Some owners brush their cats every morning to reduce the amount of hair they shed on furniture and around the house.

Even though these cats have very short coats, they are dense, and they will shed. Cats can bond with their owners during grooming time and may enjoy the emotional reward of this attention.

Russian Blues are known to be quite meticulous regarding their personal hygiene. They like to be clean and like their spaces to be clean. Because of this, they spend a lot of time self-grooming. This regular maintenance on their own behalf can significantly reduce the amount of dander and hair they shed. While they are great at grooming themselves, they still need once or twice a week brushing or combing to keep their coats soft, luxurious, and healthy.

How To Brush A Russian Blue Cat

Always be gentle when brushing your cat. Do not brush against the natural direction of the fur. Make sure to push gently enough to reach the base layer of fur. These cats are short-haired and likely will not mat or have tangles. However, should that happen, take great care to remove them. Never yank on or force a comb or brush through a tangle or mat. Always go very gently and slowly. Try to work your way through mats. For Russian Blues, mats may occur if they encounter something sticky or liquid that can dry, causing clumping, matting, and tangling.

Start brushing at the tip of your cat’s head and work your way down his body to his tail. Do not be too fast or too hard when brushing. Your cat has sensitive skin and can get irritated quickly. This time with your cat should be gentle and enjoyable for him. Make it a good experience, and offer him a treat. This process should take five or ten minutes. Try to pick a time of day when they are calm rather than trying to catch them when they are full of energy.

Best Brush For A Russian Blue Cat

A few different tools will prove very handy to help keep a Russian Blue cat coat groomed. These include cat brushes, combs, grooming gloves, deshedding tools, shampoos, and conditioners. Always make sure only to use products specifically developed for feline use. Do not use human or dog products on your cat unless they are clearly marked on the label as safe for cats. There can be ingredients in these products that may cause sickness, allergic reaction, or even injury to your cat.

Russian Blue cats do well with soft slicker brushes. A soft bristle brush or small wired brush can be helpful. Also, look for plastic combs and soft grooming gloves. Try the following products to help brush your cat:

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Other Grooming Needs

Two critical feline grooming areas that owners often overlook are dental care and nail trimming. Trimming your kitty’s nails once or twice a month can help them stay steady on their feet, prevent scratching and damage to your home, and prevent injury to your pet from nails getting caught in carpets, onward, and other everyday household items. Torn nails can cause injury and be quite painful to your kitty.

Dental care is often overlooked for cats. However, owners should brush their cat’s teeth at least once every couple of weeks. Try at least once a week, and after the first few times, your cat will become more accustomed to this. Ignoring dental health could lead to serious disease and health conditions later in life. Always use cat appropriate toothpaste.

Factors That Affect Shedding

Season

Time of year is a significant factor in the amount of hair a feline will shed. All cat breeds go through two periods of heavier shedding yearly, surrounding the seasonal shift in temperature. This can also happen if cats are moved from a cooler environment to a warmer one. Sunlight is the most significant factor that affects a cat shedding. Less sudden light signals to a cat’s body that it needs to fill in a thicker coat. More sunlight signals an increase in temperature and triggers a cat to shed their thicker winter coats.

Temperature

The temperature of a cat’s environment can contribute to the amount they shed. Warmer temperatures trigger shedding, so keeping your home moderately cool can prevent excessive shedding.

Environment

Cats shed as a natural reaction to stress, surprise, and other environmental factors. Cats that live in a home where they are startled easily or are full of other large animals like dogs may shed more as a result. If you notice your kitty getting startled, stressed, or scared and shedding more, try to eliminate the stress trigger. If this does not work, consult your veterinarian or trainer to see what other steps you can take.

Health

A feline’s overall health will contribute to their coat health. Poor skin health can cause shredding, as can many health conditions. Dehydration is common in cats and can cause excessive shedding.

Nutrition

Feline nutrition and dietary habits are essential to their coat health. Poor nutrition will be reflected in poor coat conditions. Felines need to be fed diets that are high in protein. Low protein can lead to poor coat health. Diets that include healthy fats and omega-3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are very beneficial to coat health. A well-balanced diet with healthy fats and the right amount of minerals and proteins supports your cat’s physical health and boosts his coat health.

Genetics

Genetics and bloodline will influence how much your cat sheds. Some breeds are prone to more shedding than others. While the Russian Blue is known as a light shedding breed, there are many mixes out there.

Grooming & Care

How well your cat takes care of his coat and how often you groom him also significantly impacts how much this breed will shed. Regular brushing and occasional bathing will keep your kitty’s coat in great shape. Because he is a shorter-haired cat, your kitty will not need to be bathed very often. Once every few months is a good idea, especially for outdoor cats.

Outdoor Vs. Indoor Cats

Outdoor cats may shed more than indoor cats. This is due to a variety of different factors. Outdoor cats will encounter more potential allergens and more stressors than most indoor cats. They may be more prone to picking up parasites, fungal infections, and other pests that might bite them, causing illness and impacting shedding. Outdoor cats also have access to more sunlight, a natural trigger for their body to start shedding.

Managing Shedding

Cat Portrait licking paw

Owners can do a few things to manage feline shedding and control the amount of hair left behind on furniture and clothing. The first thing to do is to remember that shedding is a natural part of your cat’s life. Regardless of breed, cats are going to shed. It is impossible to prevent shedding completely. The best thing owners can do is properly manage their cat’s health, nutrition, and environment to keep shedding to a minimum. Keeping your home clean, investing in a high-quality vacuum, and keeping lint rollers handy can keep cat hair from being too bothersome around your hull. The good news is that Russian Blues are extremely low shedding, so you should not have too much cat hair with this breed.

Always keep your kitty’s litter box clean and his sleeping area tidy. These cats are very particular about cleanliness. A dirty litter box can cause some stress which will trigger shedding. This can also lead to bits of gunk getting stuck on your cat’s coat and spreading about your home. These cats like their privacy, so a litter box with a door and cover may be a good choice. A dirty litter box is unappealing to your cat and can also be a human health hazard.

Proper nutrition is one of the most significant factors in how healthy a cat’s coat will be. Make sure that your cat eats a diet that will support coat health. Many high-quality indoor and outdoor formulated foods will provide the nutrients, minerals, and other elements of your cat’s diet. Many supplements like fish oil can also be added to your cat’s diet to boost coat health. Discuss your cat’s nutrition with your veterinarian and ask for food recommendations that support his coat health. Never start a supplement or add anything extra or new to your cat’s diet without first consulting your veterinarian.

Other Reasons For Losing Hair

There are various feline health and behavior conditions that can contribute to excess or abnormal shedding. Should you notice extra shedding in your cat or feel that his coat looks a bit thin, it is always a good idea to reach out to your vet and schedule an exam. Your vet can go through the different factors that might be impacting your cat’s health and rule out any serious conditions that may be causing him to shed.

  • Dehydration is a pretty common condition among cats. Cats are often curious about water, but it is tough to ensure they are actually drinking it. Because of this, they can get dehydrated if they are not consuming enough water. Dehydration is a serious health concern. If you are worried about your cat and feel that he may be dehydrated, you should reach out to your vet as soon as possible. Owners can add extra water to their cat’s food and offer them broth periodically throughout the day to ensure they get enough fluids.
  • Cats are prone to anxiety and stress. Though they seem like highly independent, aloof creatures, they are, in truth, quite sensitive. Shedding is a cat’s natural response to stress, and cats suffering from stress or anxiety can shed more. Separation anxiety is a very real condition among cats, and while Russian Blues are known to be a breed that is OK home alone for a while, they are not immune to anxiety. Cats that are too stimulated can also shed more. Try to keep your cat’s home environment as calm and comfortable as possible and eliminate any potential stress triggers that might be causing him to shed more.
  • Many owners do not realize that felines can also suffer from allergies, just like humans. Cats can be allergic to many different environmental factors, including food, plants, and ingredients in human products. If you notice your cat shedding more, observe his environment to see if anything he is in contact with might be causing an allergic reaction.
  • Parasites can cause itchy skin, scabs, rashes, and excess shedding. A common one is toxoplasmosis, an infection from a microscopic parasite. This is a very serious condition and can cause lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, and even seizures. Humans can also catch Toxoplasmosis, causing them a serious illness.
  • Flea, tick, mites, lice, and other bug bites can cause significant discomfort to a feline’s skin and lead to excessive shedding. These pests are quite painful and will cause considerable discomfort and distress to your kitty. Fungal infections like ringworms can also cause shedding and affect cats of all ages and breeds. Contact your veterinarian for help with treatment if you think your cat has a pest problem.
  • Obesity is a big problem for cats when it comes to grooming. This can lead to poor coat health and excessive shedding. Even large breeds should watch their food intake and eat a high-nutrient diet. Obesity can lead to many other serious health conditions beyond just extra shedding and poor coat health.
  • Old age can bring a host of different health conditions for felines. Skin elasticity can start to lessen, leading to more hair loss. Consult with your veterinarian for guidance on care for your senior feline, as well as proper nutrition and supplements that can help keep his coat luscious and soft as long as he lives.
  • Pregnancy can affect hormones in female kitties. These big hormonal changes and stress on her body from growing a litter of kittens may cause some extra hair loss. If you have a pregnant cat, consult your veterinarian for guidance on supporting her body and coat health throughout pregnancy and after giving birth.
  • Poor health and feline diseases like thyroid disease, cardiac concerns, alopecia, autoimmune disorders, hormonal imbalances, congenital problems, trauma, poison, and terminal illnesses like cancer can cause excess shedding. Regular veterinary checkups can help keep your cat in good health for as long as possible. This is a big part of preventing disease and other conditions that can lead to extra shedding.

Preventing Shedding

All cats shed, other than the true hairless breeds. This is always going to be a part of their lives. In fact, shedding is part of how they stay healthy. Regardless of the different preventative measures that owners take, shedding happens. There is no way to prevent a cat from shedding, so owners must learn to manage it. It is never okay to be angry with a cat for shedding. This is not something they can control, and again it is just a natural part of being a feline.

  • Keeping your home at a moderately cool temperature can help lessen your feline’s natural instinct to shed. Warmer temperatures and more sunlight will trigger shedding.
  • To prevent dehydration, keep fresh water out for your Kitty in multiple places throughout your home. Offer them wet food periodically to add extra moisture, and you can soak their kibble in water or low sodium broth to add that extra bit of water.
  • Keep your home and your cat’s litter box and area clean. Keep your floors and carpets vacuumed and free of food scraps. This will discourage your cat from eating them and prevent pests like mites, fleas, and ticks from getting in and biting your kitty.
  • Checkups and communication with your vet about what your cat is eating, daily habits, and regular care will help keep him healthy throughout his life. This is one of the best things you can do to prevent him from getting sick, stressed out, or encountering anything that might cause extra shedding. If you are concerned about his health, your vet will be there to answer your questions and help guide you, as well as rule out any serious underlying health concerns that might be impacting how much he sheds.
  • A warm bath every six weeks or so can help keep your Russian Blue clean and remove any excess hair, dander, and dead skin that might be hanging out on his coat. If your cat really does not like the water, you can try wiping him down with a pet wipe or warm washcloth. This will do an excellent job of removing excess hair, especially from a shorter-haired kitty.

Consider professional grooming once every few months if your cat is hard to groom or bathe. Sometimes we need a little help, and most grooming salons will help with nail cutting and teeth brushing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Russian Blue Cats Go Outside?

Yes, they can go outside. They should be supervised and not left out alone for extended periods of time. These cats do not do well in extreme temperatures. Brush your cat when he comes back inside to remove any dirt and debris from his coat.

Do Russian Blue Cats Have Separation Anxiety?

Yes, they can suffer from separation anxiety. Make sure they have entertainment, fresh water, and some light when they are left home alone. Spend time comforting your cat before and after you go. You can also leave a TV or radio on to help make him less anxious when you leave.

Are Russian Blue Cats No-Shed Because They Are Hypoallergenic?

Russian Blues are low shedders. Few feline breeds do not shed at all. Some consider them hypoallergenic due to producing less of the allergens in their saliva and dander that trigger human reactions.

Can You Walk A Russian Blue Cat?

Yes, it is possible to train a Russian Blue cat to walk on a leash. This takes practice and patience, and lots of treats!

Fun Facts

  • The Russian Blue cat has an unusual nickname, Archangel Blues.
  • Russian Blue cats look like they have a smile on their face because of their upturned mouths.
  • Russian Blue’s eyes change color. They are born with yellow eyes that darken as they age.
  • Russian Blue cats are thought to be healers and protective charms in Russian folklore.
  • The Russian Blue cat is considered a rare breed and can be quite pricey for a purebred.

Final Thoughts

Russian Blue cats are a rare, elegant-looking feline. They have double coats of fine, soft fur. These cats feel very silky and soft to the touch. They need regular care and grooming to keep their coats healthy. These felines are a low shedding breed, making them an excellent choice for people who have cat allergies.

This breed sheds but not as much as some other feline breeds. Expect a heavier shed two times a year that will align with major seasonal shifts in temperature. There are many factors that will impact the precise amount each individual cat sheds. Nutrition, health, location, season, and environment are just a few. We have presented some guidelines and information to help you understand more about how much a Russian Blue cat sheds. This information is a guide, not to be substituted for the advice of a veterinarian.

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