The Nebelung appears to be like a mystical creature; it is so mystical that the right pronunciation of its name cannot be determined. In fact, the name Nebelung actually means “creature of the mist” in German and is inspired by two characters in the cycle of four epic operas named The Ring of the Nibelung. However, this breed did not originate from German, but has its development started in Denver, Colorado in the mid 1980s by opera lover Cora Cobb. In creating the Nebelung, a black domestic shorthair with a longhaired parent was bred with a cat resembling the Russian Blue. The result was two longhaired kittens that look astonishingly like the Russian Blue. Thus, the Nebelung can be said to be essentially a longhair Russian Blue and it is the only longhair cat that comes exclusively in its color.
Through efforts in widening the gene pool as well as in promoting it through show exposure, the Nebelung soon gained its first recognition by the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) in 1990. The International Cat Association (TICA) caught on and grant it both recognition and championship status in 1997. Prior to promoting it to the championship status, the TICA has voted to have the “Russian Blue/Longhair” designation removed from the Nebelung registration certificates. This means that the Nebelung is being recognized as a distinct and separate breed from the Russian Blue. Thus, any changes in the breed standards of the Russian Blue will not affect the Nebelung. The fame of Nebelung continued to rise, and in 2011 it was accepted by the third largest North American cat association, i.e., the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA).
Physical appearance and attributes
The Nebelung is a medium sized cat that weighs between 6 - 11 pounds. Its general impression is that of a well-muscled, sturdy and elegant cat with medium boning. The body is long and of a semi-foreign type, i.e., moderate in shape, falling between the sleek angles of Oriental breeds and the compactness in breeds such as the Persian. It boasts an excellent disposition of athleticism without being bulky. Such well-proportionate body is contributed by long legs of medium boning. They extend into oval paws that are well furnished with tufts between the toes. Balancing the body is a tail that is as long as its body. It grows into a beautiful plume, adding much elegance and grace to its entire disposition.
Its neck appears shorter than it actually is because of its dense fur. It carries a head of modified wedge with more pointed rather than rounded extremities, even though its coverage may make it look otherwise. Atop its head is a pair of large ears that are wide at the base, tapering into a rounded tip. They are set upright, alert and moderately apart. Viewed in profile, the nose appears long and straight with a compact muzzle and a firm chin. The tip of the nose is also in alignment with its chin. Nebelung eyes are usually in a shade of glowing green, but may also appear yellow. They are oval in shape and present a slight slant towards the outer corners of the ears.
The distinctive feature of the Nebelung is none other than its blue-gray coat that looks like it could vanish into the fog. The fur may be silver-tipped in such a way that makes the coat glisten in a lustring sheen. Usually the silver tipping is more obvious on the head and shoulders. It is interesting to note that Nebelung kittens may be born with “ghost stripes,” which reflect the tabby gene that cats carry. However, the stripes would give way to its distinctive solid blue coat as it matures.
Personality and temperament
The Nebelung is a mild-tempered, gentle and soft-spoken breed. It is usually wary of strangers and dislikes noises as well as disorder and changes to its accustomed routines. While it can adapt to new situations, it usually takes a longer time than other cat breeds. Much patience would be needed to make the Nebelung comfortable with boisterous children and as well as other family pets. Proper introduction would be necessary.
Being a little more reserved does not mean that the Nebelung does not desire love and attention. It is a breed that shows its affections for its chosen human companion and would usually only bond with that one person who will receive all its loyalty, love and affection. Even though it prefers cuddling on your lap or sitting close by to observe its surroundings, it is also a moderately active and playful breed; neither laid back like the Persian nor edgy like the Abyssinian.
Care and health issues
Nebelung tends to live a long life of between 15 – 18 years with no known breed related genetic problems. However, do ensure that a health certificate can be produced by qualified breeders to show that the cat has undergone the necessary health checks before purchasing the cat.
Some efforts would be required in the aspect of grooming. The Nebelung does not matt as much as other longhaired cats, but they do shed. Thus, it is still necessary to give it a daily brushing to help remove dead hair as well as to keep it matt free. Basic care should also be extended to frequent teeth brushing with vet-approved toothpaste as well as nail trimming whenever necessary.
The ideal home
The Nebelung is not the best choice for young children as it does not enjoy rough play or clumsy handling. If outdoor spaces are available, make sure they are safe and escape-proof. Otherwise, Nebelung can adapt to indoor living, but would need to be provided with an adventure zone. The ideal home for this breed would be one with mature adults or retired couples. The Nebelung is able to tolerate the company of other cats and cat-friendly dogs as long as they are introduced well. With proper care and attention as well as enough patience, the Nebelung is sure to reciprocate you with a legendary love.
Photo by Aleksandr van Song de Chine - CC BY 3.0