As Russia’s military operations in Ukraine unfold, Western countries have expanded the scope of sanctions against Russia, in addition to political, economic, financial, cultural and sports fields, even cats are included in the sanctions. Recently, the International Cat Organization announced that from March 1 to May 31, “no cat living in Russia can participate in any exhibition held outside Russia by the organization, and no cat bred in Russia can obtain pedigree registration at the organization’s branch outside Russia”. This sanction has instead sparked interest in Russian cats.
More than half of Russians own cats
According to a new report published by the All-Russian Social Research Center, Russia has the highest cat ownership index per capita in the world – 59% of Russians have at least one cat. Why are cats so beloved in Russia? It is said that as early as the 18th century, during the reign of Tsarina Elizabeth, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg was home to many cats that lounged on the steps of the palace, using their beautiful fur and clear eyes to win the favor of the palace owner, and of course their presence contributed to keeping the Hermitage free of rats.
Today the staff of the Hermitage Museum proudly claims that there are about 70 cats guarding this huge complex. Cats can often be found in Russian literature, where Russian writers portray them as beautiful, noble and intelligent. There is a Russian proverb: life is incomplete without cats. In the past, Russians believed that cats could protect the peace of their homes, so cats appeared earlier than dogs in the history of Russian pets.
Russian people’s love of cats ranked
The Russian website published a list of the most expensive Russian cats in 2019, and at the top of the list is the Sphinx cat, whose most distinctive feature is its lack of hair and its tendency to sweat all over and the pleasant smell of sweat. Sphinx cats love to bathe and have a strong body and appetite that must be fed carefully, and they must eat a protein-based diet.
Second in line is the Russian Blue Cat, a cat of noble pedigree and attractive appearance, which is currently one of the most popular short-haired cat breeds in the world. The coat of the Russian Blue Cat is said to have a velvety texture and feel, and with its mysterious green eyes and light and elegant stride, it shows the aristocratic style of the cat. The cat originated from Arkhangelsk in northern Russia, hence the name Arkhangelsk Blue Cat, which was written down in the 16th century and is said to have been a favorite of Peter the Great.
There is also a theory that the Russian blue cat happened to be on a ship visiting the Russian Empire in England in the 18th century, and was brought back to England by the sailor, which immediately aroused great interest from British breeding experts. Later, this Russian blue cat even became the favorite pet of Queen Victoria. Generally known for its gentleness, loyalty as well as friendliness, the Russian Blue Cat is highly perceptive and sensitive to the family atmosphere, and can become nervous and frightened if the family atmosphere is often tense.
Special mention should be made of the Petersburg Sphinx, a very young species, which was produced in 1994 by a cross between the Oriental Shorthair and the Don Sphinx by the St. Petersburg breeder, Mironova, and was certified by the International Cat Association in 1997. This cat is very intelligent and friendly, and can understand simple commands from its owner, and can learn to open bags, boxes, doors to rooms, and even refrigerator doors.
Peter the Bald is very clingy and cannot tolerate solitude, demanding a high level of attention from its owner, and will wait by the door all day for the owner to return. It is lively and happy to make all kinds of sounds. Scientists have discovered that the Peter Pan cat has a rich vocal expression system, with different sounds expressing different emotions and needs. It can be friendly with children and other family pets. Peterbilt, Finks cats need special care for their skin and need to apply children’s skin cream all over their body before going out.