Nebelungs: Creatures of the Mist

Nebelung in a Window

In German, Nebelung means “creature of the mist.” This is a bit misleading on two counts. First, one may mistakenly assume the breed comes from German origins. Not so. Nebelungs have ancient beginnings in Northern Russia and are cousins of the Russian Blue. Secondly, “creature of the mist” may invoke images of a dangerous, perhaps even predatory, cat. Hardly. Nebelungs have sweet, gentle natures and are very loving.

Because their silver-tipped, silky coats are long, one might also falsely assume they shed a lot and require constant brushing. While they do shed some, it is actually very little. Like many cats, they groom themselves so matting is rarely an issue. (However, the occasional hair ball does require clean up.)

As a show cat, The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes them as a championship breed. Judges determine winners based on both personality and appearance. Factors such as weight, length of the legs, length of the hair, condition of the hair, and color of the eyes are among the few appearance traits taken into consideration. As for personality, any cat displaying aggression (such as biting) would be disqualified. But if the judges have docile, loving cats who meet all physical requirements, how on earth do they pick a winner? With their expressive green eyes and beautiful blue coats, Nebelungs strike an elegant chord. Not to be envied is the judge who has to decide between well-qualified contestants.

As a pick for a family cat, Nebelungs rank high. They are quiet and reserved, and make intelligent, affectionate companions that get along well with other pets and children. Plus, this pretty breed is not a prissy one. They enjoy being petted and loved on. However, finding one can be difficult. Even though the breed is of ancient stock, it’s also extinct, and has only been revived in present form in the last 20 years. (See Fun Nebelung Facts below.) So far, breeders in the United States are limited to Washington State, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and Mississippi.

Fun Nebelung Facts:

1. The Russian longhair (the ancestor of the Nebelung) was exhibited in the very first British cat show over 100 years ago.

2. Russian longhairs no longer exist as a separate breed.

3. The Nebelung’s “modern renaissance” began in 1986 in Denver, Colorado, at the Nebelheim (German for “Home of the Mist”) Cattery, when Siegfried (born in 1984) and Brunhilde (born in 1985) had their first litter. (Siegfried and Brunhilde were the first registered Nebelungs.)

4. Nebelungs are the only longhaired cats to come solely in blue. (In North America, the Russian Blue is only shown in blue, but other countries are working on other show colors, such as Black Russians, White Russians, and Pointed Russians.)

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