How to Identify A Nebelung Cat

By Susan Dorling

A long, silvery-blue, fluffy cloud of a cat with a glorious plumed tail, the enigmatic nebelung cat is described by enthusiasts as mysterious and enchanting. With luminescent green eyes and a magical aura, the relatively rare nebelung has a distinctive long, silky coat that shimmers as well as an endearing personality.

Origin of the Nebelung

The only exclusively blue long-haired domestic cat, the nebelung has its roots in Denver, Colorado in the early 1980s when Cora Cobb took in a stray cat. The black domestic shorthair mated with a roving longhair tom and had three kittens. One of her daughters, also a black shorthair, produced two litters with a blue longhair tom, and among them were two blue longhairs. Named Siegfried and Brunhilde for characters in the epic Wagner opera, “The Ring of the Nibelung,” they became the foundation of the nebelung line.

New Breed and Championship Status

Seigfried and Brunhilde's first litter was born in 1986; the nebelung attained new breed status in The International Cat Association in 1987. Russian blue cats were used to enrich the gene pool and by the late 1980s renewed interest in the Russian blue introduced a flurry of foundation cats to the breed. Many carried the recessive longhair gene, a major factor in the further development of the breed.

In 1997, the nebelung was allowed to compete in TICA championships. Breeders anticipate The Cat Fancier’s Association, the largest registry of purebred cats in the world, will accept the nebelung in future.

Physical Appearance

Except for its distinctive blue-gray, medium-long coat and plumelike tail, the elegant looking nebelung is similar to the Russian blue. Both breeds have double coats and a lithe, long, well-muscled yet slender body, known as semi-foreign in type, and luminous, wide-set, oval green or yellowish-green eyes. Their ears are large in proportion to the wedge-shaped head. Their well-rounded feet have tufts of fur between the toes.

The Nebelung Coat and Grooming

The nebelung coat takes up to two years to develop fully and in adults gives the impression of draping over the length of the body as the fur gets longer from the shoulders to the tail. Males often have a thick neck ruff; both males and females have soft, woolly pantaloons on their hind legs. The lustrous fur is bathed in a silvery sheen that is most prominent on their head and shoulders.

Nebelungs are not as tangle-prone as other long-haired breeds; a minimum of three or four brushings a week will keep their coat in prime condition, especially during spring and fall when they shed the most.

Personality, Temperament and Health

With the aristocratic bearing of cats imported from Russia in the late 19th and 20th century, the nebelung has a regal presence yet is undemanding, good-natured and quiet with a soft, melodic meow. Keenly intelligent, active and playful, they are affectionate, devoted pets, often following their human from room to room like a dog tending to bond closely with only one or two people.

Nebelungs are frightened of loud noises and are happiest in a home with adults and older children. They are shy, sensitive cats and take time to warm up to new people.

Sound and sturdy, these long-lived felines have no known breed-related health issues.