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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Nebelung Cat Breed: Info, Traits & Pictures

Nebelung Cat Breed: Info, Traits & Pictures

nebelung cat sitting outside on grass

The Nebelung is a cat breed some people have never heard of because of its relative rarity. You may be surprised to know that this cat is closely related to the Russian Blue and is sometimes referred to as the Longhaired Russian Blue. In the 1980s, however, Russian Blue breeders disagreed with the breed standards matching so closely, and two distinct breeds came out of the disagreement.

Breed Overview


9 – 13 inches


7­ – 15 pounds


15 – 18 years



Suitable for:

Active families, those looking for a trainable cat, retirees, and the elderly


Intelligent, laid back, good-natured, playful

This breed was first recognized by TICA in the 1980s, but the breed itself has been in existence for a long time, although it does have somewhat mysterious origins. The modern-day American Nebelung cat descends from two cats named Siegfried and Brunhilde. Let’s talk more about the beautiful, loving Nebelung!

Nebelung Cat Characteristics

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.


Nebelung Kittens

Due to their relative rarity, Nebelung kittens can be pretty pricey cats. For show and breeding quality cats, the price may be even more. Keep in mind that due to their rarity, finding a breeder can be difficult, so you may have additional import or transportation fees. You are unlikely to come across a Nebelung kitten in a shelter, but you may be able to find one through a Nebelung or Russian Blue rescue.

Nebelung Cat Temperament & Intelligence

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Nebelungs can be fabulous family cats due to their laidback but playful nature. However, they tend to stick to their people and may be wary of strangers and visitors to the home. They are unlikely to show aggression toward people, but they may make themselves scarce when visitors arrive or when the doorbell rings.

They are also known to be excellent cats for the elderly and retirees due to their relaxed temperament. While they are highly intelligent and have energy to burn, they are laid back enough to be well suited to the quiet, low activity home of many retirees and seniors. Since they tend to form tight bonds with one or a small number of people, it is possible for a Nebelung to simply tolerate children and some other family members, showing overt favoritism toward one or two people.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Nebelungs can get along with other animals quite well, but they typically aren’t reliant on the affections or companionship of other animals. They may play or interact with other pets in the home, but it’s not uncommon for Nebelungs to seek quiet time to themselves away from other pets.

As always, proper introductions are a must to set your Nebelung and other pets in the home up for success and to reduce the risk of behavioral issues created when introducing a new pet. Make sure to keep small animals, like rats, guinea pigs, and lizards, out of reach of your Nebelung. Since they are highly intelligent cats, make sure small animal cages are inaccessible to the cat or fully cat-proofed to keep your small pets safe.

nebulung cat sitting outside
Image Credit: Kinga P, Shutterstock


Things to Know When Owning a Nebelung Cat

Food & Diet Requirements

This medium-sized cat requires high-quality cat food that is high in protein and fat to ensure healthy growth and development. The addition of omega fatty acids can help support healthy skin and a thick, healthy coat. It’s important to ensure you are feeding your cat an appropriate amount of food every day and keeping them active to maintain a healthy body weight. Nebelungs are not prone to obesity, but it is possible with an improper diet.

Exercise 🐈

These cats need daily activity to burn energy. Due to their high level of intelligence, puzzles and games can be a great addition to traditional exercise since they will entertain your cat mentally and burn excess energy. Nebelungs are great candidates for leash training, and routine walks with your cat are an excellent option for maintaining an active lifestyle.

nebelung cat lying on a brick wall
Image By: Amandad, Pixabay

Training 🧶

The Nebelung is a highly trainable cat and can be taught to walk on a leash or perform tricks, as well as learning the rules of the household. Make sure to stay consistent with your training to ensure your cat fully understands the rules and how to follow them. Consistency and the cooperation of everyone in the household will set your cat up for success.

Grooming ✂️

Due to the silky, long coat of this breed, routine maintenance is required. Primarily, Nebelungs need to be brushed regularly to prevent tangles and mats and remove loose skin and fur. Brushing also helps distribute the natural oils on the skin throughout the coat, keeping the entire coat healthy and smooth. While most Nebelungs will manage to keep themselves clean without issue, some may need to have sanitary trims performed by a groomer or vet regularly to keep them clean on their back end where waste and litter may collect.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Overall, the Nebelung is a very healthy cat breed with no known genetic predispositions. They may be prone to bladder stones, which their Russian Blue cousins are prone to. Otherwise, they are simply prone to the same serious medical conditions that all cats are at risk for developing. With improper coat and skin maintenance, you may also see skin irritation and infections develop.

nebelung cat getting checked at a vet clinic
Image By: Juice Flair, Shutterstock
Minor Conditions
  • Skin irritation and infections
Serious Conditions

Male vs. Female

There are few notable differences between male and female Nebelung cats. Generally speaking, though, females may be more independent than males. They may also be less accepting of other animals and may bond with fewer people in the family. Males may be more outgoing and desire more interaction than females. While males may be more accepting of other animals than females, they may still show territorial behaviors and aggression toward newly introduced animals, especially other male cats.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Nebelung Cat

1. The breed’s name has an interesting origin story.

If you recognized the names of the parents of the breed, Siegfried and Brunhilde, there’s a good reason for it. A medieval Germanic story Nibelungenlied, or The Song of the Nibelungs, featured a German warrior named Siegfried and an Icelandic queen named Brunhilde. The story had everything from romance to war, and it is significant for many reasons, but its biggest claim to fame is being the first heroic epic put into writing in Germany.

2. It takes time to grow such a luxurious coat.

The silky and luxurious coat of the Nebelung breed isn’t present in kittens and doesn’t develop overnight. In fact, for many Nebelungs, the full adult coat doesn’t develop until they are around 2 years of age. Most cats are finished growing around 18 months of age, making Nebelungs a little slower to develop than some other breeds.

3. You may have been humming a tune about a Nebelung for years.

If you’ve ever seen the TV show Friends, or spent time around anyone who has seen it, then you’ve heard the silly song from the show entitled “Smelly Cat”. What you may not have realized is that in the second season of the show, there is a music video for the “Smelly Cat” song. In the music video, the Smell Cat himself is depicted by a Nebelung cat.

nebelung cat lying by the window
Image By: mama_mia, Shutterstock



Final Thoughts

The Nebelung is a beautiful and interesting breed that is still pretty rare but quite popular with enthusiasts of the breed. People find the luxurious coat and beautiful coat color the icing on top of the cake. The best qualities of the Nebelung include its laidback nature and loving temperament, as well as its intelligence and trainability.

You are not likely to stumble across a Nebelung cat in a shelter or a rescue, although it is possible to find one. You likely have to seek out a Nebelung breeder to find one, especially if you are looking for a kitten. Keep in mind that you are likely to pay a high price for these cats, and you may struggle to find a breeder near you.

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Featured Image Credit: Therese Elaine, Shutterstock

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