Nebelung: Cat Breed Profile, Characteristics & Care

Appearance, Personality, History, Care, & Helpful Information for Pet Owners

The Nebelung Cat

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The Nebelung is a new and relatively rare breed developed in the United States during the 1980s. Their name comes from the German word "Nebel," which means mist or fog. These gorgeous cats have medium-length fur that's a bluish gray with a silvery sheen and large green eyes. They are sometimes referred to as a long-haired Russian Blue, but although the two cat breeds are related and similar in appearance, they are not the same.

Nebelung cats can be shy in new situations or with new people, and prefer a home without too much noise or tumult. However, once they warm up to their humans, they are affectionate, intelligent, and loving pets that tend to bond to one or two family members.

Breed Overview

Personality: Shy at first, intelligent, affectionate, playful, and easy going

Weight: 10 to 15 pounds

Length: 14 to 16 inches

Coat Length: Medium-long hair

Coat Color: Bluish-grey with silver tips

Coat Patterns; Solid

Eye Color: Green or Yellow-Green

Lifespan: 15 to 18 years

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: United States

Nebelung Characteristics

The Nebelung is a friendly and affectionate cat, but often takes a while to warm up to new people. Although they are loving and loyal with those they know, they can be a little reserved, and sometimes even aloof, with strangers. It is not unusual for them to hide away when people are visiting the house.

Once it is settled into its home, however, a Nebelung tends to be very devoted to family members, often following them from room to room. This is a feline that enjoys a lap cuddle and plenty of petting, but is also able to spend time on its own. While it can learn to enjoy calm children or other household pets that aren't too rambunctious, this isn't the right breed of cat for a very loud or boisterous household.

Although they love receiving cuddles and affection when you are around, they are not a particularly needy cat, and they are generally happy being left while you go to work. They are a breed that is well-suited to apartment living.

Overall, the Nebelung is very intelligent and has a laid-back personality, although it does like plenty of playtime and activity. Some will even walk on a leash, as long as training begins when they are young.

Affection Level  High
Friendliness  Medium
Kid-Friendly  Low to Medium
Pet-Friendly  Low to Medium
Exercise Needs  High
Playfulness  High
Energy Level  High
Intelligence  High
Tendency to Vocalize Medium
Amount of Shedding Low to Medium

History of the Nebelung

The Nebelung is a very new breed of cat and still quite rare. Nebelung means 'creature of the mist' in German, as a nod to their beautiful, shiny silver-blue coat. Despite the German name, the breed originated in the United States.

In the early 1980s, the breed's founder, Cora Cobb, gifted her son a female black domestic short-hair cat. When this cat mated with a short-haired blue-furred male that looked much like a Russian Blue, it resulted in a litter of six kittens, one of which was a male with long blue-gray fur. Cora was taken with this cat, and she kept him and called him Siegfried.

Not long after this, her son's cat had another litter from the same father, and this time there was a female kitten with the same type of long, blue-gray hair. Cora also kept her and called her Brunhilde.

Cora started a breeding program with Siegfried and Brunhilde, and over the next decade, steadily bred the cats while using Russian Blue cats as "outcrosses" to increase the genetic diversity of the new breed. Originally, the Nebelung was presented as basically a long-haired Russian blue, and held to the same breed standards.

This didn't go down well with some Russian Blue breeders, however, and the Nebelung was given status as an entirely new breed by The International Cat Association in 1987 and then, later, the American Cat Fanciers Association. It has yet to be formally recognized by the Cat Fanciers Federation or the overall Cat Fanciers Association, though.

Nebelung Care

Nebelung cats are known for being very gentle and undemanding, but they also have a playful side. You should make sure you have lots of appropriate toys and other forms of enrichment around the house to keep your feline stimulated, exercised, and entertained. If you start while your cat is young, you can train your Nebelung to walk on a leash, which is a great way to provide extra exercise, relieve boredom, and spend quality time with your pet.

Nebelungs are known to thrive on routine, and lots of changes can often make them feel unsettled and anxious. This aspect of their personality, combined with their reserved nature around strangers, means that they benefit from early and ongoing socialization to help minimize the chances of them becoming overly shy or nervous.

The Nebelung's long, double coat can take up to two years to come in fully. They are not prolific shedders, but their coat will require regular weekly grooming to ensure that it does not become matted or tangled. Use a brush designed for long-haired cats to prevent damage to your feline's silky fur.

Like any cat, your Nebelung will benefit from regular nail trimming, teeth brushing, and veterinary checkups and vaccinations.

Common Health Problems

Nebelung cats do not have any known tendency towards any specific health conditions, but like any cat, may develop a health condition or illness during their lifetime. As a general rule, however, Nebelung cats are long-lived and often reach the age of 18 or even older.

It is important to ensure that you do not overfeed your pet. Obesity in cats is common, and it can lead to a lot of related health conditions, including diabetes and arthritis. Nebelungs can be fussy eaters, but once they find a food they like, they can easily become overweight if allowed to eat too much.


The Nebelung is a medium-sized cat with a long, muscular, agile body. It has medium-length, dense fur that is a blue-gray in color, usually with silvery tips. These cats have a long, plumed tail that balances their long bodies and adds to their overall delicate beauty. There should be no patches of white or other colors on the cat's body, although the fur behind the cat's ears can be a lighter blue than the rest of the coat. Male Nebelungs sometimes have a thicker ruff of fur around their necks.

The ears of the Nebelung are rather large in proportion to their head, and are set far apart, which gives the cat a very alert appearance. The eyes are large and wide-set. Eye color can range from yellowish-green to emerald green, but the breed standard states that the greener, the better.

It typically takes a Nebelung cat around two years to reach full maturity. While these cats do shed less than some other breeds, they are not hypoallergenic cats.

Diet and Nutrition

Like all cats, Nebelungs require a diet that is high in protein, moderate in fats, and low in carbohydrates. They should be fed a high-quality cat food formulated for their age—for example, kitten, adult, or senior. Your cat should always have access to fresh water.

Most adult cats do well with two meals per day, while kittens need more frequent, but smaller, meals. You can feed your pet an all-kibble diet, feed only wet food, or offer both, but don't allow your cat to overeat.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Nebelung Cat

Because they are a new and rare breed, you will probably have to wait to secure a Nebelung from a reputable breeder. You could also have to travel further afield to find one. The rarity of this breed means it is very unlikely you'll find one at a shelter or rescue.

The Russian Blue is a more common breed, though, and you may be able to find this shorter-haired cat with a similar personality in a cat rescue somewhere across the country or even locally.

As with any breed of cat, attending a cat show can be a good way to find breeders, as well as see a particular cat breed in person.

Nebelung Overview

The Nebelung is a beautiful, blue-gray cat with medium-length fur and large green eyes. These shimmery and delicate-appearing animals are loyal and devoted pets to their preferred family members, but can be shy with strangers or with children or animals who are too rambunctious. They are active and curious cats with a high level of intelligence, but they also enjoy giving affection to and receiving affection from their humans.

Nebelungs are content to spend time on their own, and easily tolerate a separation while their owner is at work or away for the day, but they do not enjoy being left alone for much more than that.

  • Forms strong bonds with owners

  • Well-suited to apartment living

  • Intelligent and playful

  • Become nervous if under-socialized

  • Need a routine

  • Rare and expensive

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

If you want to learn more about other cats similar to the Nebelung, why not look into one of the following:

There are lots of wonderful cat breeds out there, and with a little research, you can find one that will be best suited to your home and lifestyle.

  • Is the Nebelung a hypoallergenic cat?

    Although they are not heavy shedders, the Nebelung is not a hypoallergenic breed.

  • Are Russian Blue cats and Nebelung cats the same?

    While Nebelung cats do look like long-haired versions of the Russian Blue, and the two do share genetic history, they are separate breeds with separate breed standards.

  • Are Nebelung cats expensive?

    Like other rare breeds of cat, you will spend quite a bit more for a purebred Nebelung than for a domestic shorthair from the local shelter. Depending on the breeder, the quality of the cat, and the location, you might spend several hundred dollars to over $1,000 for a purebred Nebelung kitten.