Grey Cat Breeds

Grey cat breeds are popular especially the Russian Blue. There are six of them. To me “grey cat breeds” means cats that must be grey under the breed standard. In the world of cats “grey” is often referred to as “blue”. It’s because the coat is a blue/grey. There are four mainstream grey cat breeds, Nebelung, Russian Blue, Chartreux and the Korat but the situation is made slightly complicated by the fact that one of them, the Korat, can also have a lilac or pointed coat.

Nebelung cat in garden
Nebelung cat in garden
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Does this mean that the Korat is not a grey cat breed on the criteria I stated above? I have always considered the Korat as a grey cat so I’ll stick with that as long as visitors understand that it is not as cut and dried as that. The other two grey cat breeds, which I consider as not mainstream are the Madura and the Cuban Blue. The latter is in development.

Below are some words based on information provided by Sarah Hartwell on the Korat, Madura Blue and Cuban Blue…

Korat in colors other than blue – Madura and Cuban Blues

The Korat is an interesting grey cat because it also naturally occurs in lilac and pointed types, which are known as Thai Lilac and Thai Pointed, but they are Korats in all respects except for their coat colour (the names Lilac Korat and Blue-Point Korat were rejected by Korat breeders). Another blue cat breed is the Madura.

These are blue-grey cats indigenous to Madura and Ra’as Islands in Indonesia. This cat has a triangular face, green eyes, erect ears, a tail of medium length with visible a bend or kink at the end and relatively thick fur. They resemble the Korat. A true Madura cat on Ra’as Island is solid blue-grey though interbreeding with cats on Madura Island resulted in blue bicolours, brown sepia, mink and colourpoint patterns and bobtailed cats. They are also called Buso or Kucing Buso. These cats are not allowed to be exported from the island. The few that have been taken off the island reportedly did not survive (though this may be a superstition).

The Cuban Blue is a breed “under development”. At the turn of the 21st century, a Cuban doctor noticed an fine looking blue-grey shorthair cat. The cat was distinct from normal street cats. He then located other cats with the same colour and conformation and these became the Cuban Blue (Azul Cubano). This cat breed was recognised by the Associación Cubana de Aficionados a los Gatos (Acag) in November 2010 in both shorthair and semi-longhair varieties. By 2011, there were 21 adults and 24 kittens. Breeders believe that the variety orginated from uncontrolled mating between the traditional/older-style Siamese and black street cats.

The Cuban Blue weighs 2.7 – 4.5 kg  (6 – 10 pounds) and is active and playful. It resemble the Russian Blue, but no Russian Blues have been officially imported into Cuba while the head and body conformation differ. However, there are reports of unoffical imports of Russian Blue cats from Russian ships.


Nebelung cat

The above photo is reproduced under a Wikipedia Commons license.

This beautiful and relative rare cat breed is a long-haired Russian Blue. They have a medium-longhaired coat and a glorious plumed tail. The cat in the picture above is a four-year-old male and an international champion. His name is Aleksandr van Song de Chine. At the time the photo was taken I understand he lived with his breeder who took the photograph: Anke Zekveld, who has a breeding cattery or did at the time.

Here is another photo of the Nebelung by Helmi Flick (© Helmi Flick):

Nebelung cat

The Nebelung cat above is: Lovenblues Mozart Bronikowski. Loveblues as a Regional Winner, Southeast Region, TICA, and was photographed at the 2007 SE Regional Awards Banquet and Cat Show in July.

Except for the medium-long coat, the Nebelung is described in the exactly the same way as the Russian Blue. Therefore I refer you to the Russian Blue below but there is a detailed page on this breed on this website. Please read more about this cat…...

Russian Blue

This is the shorthaired variety of the Nebelung above. A cat with a strange, enigmatic smile and silver-tipped fur. The body type is considered to be “foreign” meaning elegantly slender, long and graceful. The eyes are a brilliant green. They feel beautiful to the touch. The fur is very fine and thick. The silvery sheen is due to the silver-tipping of the guard hairs. The Russian Blue in Russia (as opposed to the American version) is semi-foreign and therefore less slender. The Russian cats seen by Gloria Stephenson had “breathtaking emerald eyes”. This grey cat breed hails from the Northern Russian coastal port of Archangel and has a long history. Please read more about this cat…..

Russian blue by Helmi Flick

The photo above is copyright Helmi Flick. And below is another photograph of the Russian Blue:

Russian blue cat grey cat breeds

The photo above is ©Sensual Shadows Photography


This is another grey cat breed with an enigmatic, Mona Lisa smile. This is a chunky looking cat with skinny legs and a tiny voice. Quite a combination, to which you can add a very long history and an original appearance. Many cat breeds evolve but the goal of breeders involved with this cat is too stick to the original. The Chartreux is a French cat breed which is very much in the mainstream of cat breeds in the West. It is the only French cat breed of that popularity and substance.

Chartreux cat x

The photo above is copyright Helmi Flick. Please don’t copy it as you will be infringing intellectual property rights.

Chartreux cat y

The picture above is by cmdrfletcher under a creative commons license.

By a long history I mean going back to the 16th century and the Crusades! This is quite a substantial cobby cat with copper eyes. If you like something different and grey with a quiet voice and sharp mind this might be the cat breed for you. Please read more about this cat….


I have mentioned this Asian cat breed above. This cat comes from the same part of the world as the better known Siamese – or at least that is the official story. This is another cat with a super-long history going back centuries to the court of King Rama V. It was known as Si-Sawat and a symbol of good fortune.

Korat cat x

The picture above is copyright Nick Hodge

Korat 1

The picture above is copyright Helmi Flick.

This is a shorthaired. medium sized cat with slightly stocky body (semi-cobby). Some books say that this cat is “shown” in the solid division category, blue color only. The other colors referred to above are not for showing at least in America. As for the Russian Blue the fur has silver tipping. The tipping is due to a lack of pigment at the very ends of the hair strands. Please read more about this cat breed


All these cats carry the genotype to produce the grey coloration, which is aaB-dd. The symbol dd represents a pair of dilution genes; aa represents the non-agouti gene (self black) and B-represents the brown gene (producing black to brown and chocolate etc. in more dilute forms).

British SH Blue – not a grey cat breed but mentioned because people mention it!

There is one more cat breed that need not necessarily be blue/grey (many colours and patterns are allowed) but which looks great in grey and is often grey, and that is the British Shorthair. This is one of my favorite cats and is in the top 10 of the most popular cat in the website poll. Helmi Flick has two British Shorthairs.

6 thoughts on “Grey Cat Breeds”

  1. Gigi is grey, and getting old and sick sadly.
    I hope she will live a long time. She was my first ever cat and I can’t help but look at all cats and my relationships with them and compare them to this my time with her. She is a great cat, totally energetic and agile, or she was, and very small.

    She is grey and has yellow eyes, she was the only grey in her litter of 7 cats, all long hair but her hair was much thicker and different to the other black ones, different dad? We took her and Molly a black one – and they are together now with the person I got them with.

    Grey cats are one of the most striking and beautiful to me. They are quite amazing sometimes, and grey is the only colour the human eye and mind is capable of deriving any colour from. ie: you can put a tiny speck of green in it and a person can tell that it was green that was added. Any other colour and it’s not possible. It’s a special colour, I remember doing photography and buying a ‘mid grey’ piece of cardboard for £15, that’s like 25 bucks for a grey bit of card. Also in printmaking we had to do execises making different shades and tones of grey. It’s very unusual in the way it behaves as a sort of non colour colour.

    I would see green in her fur, purple, sometimes yellow and red, it was amazing. Molly the black one had red in her fur.

    Grey cats are not really spoken about so much but they are very nice cats 🙂

    • They are actually popular. Well, the Russian Blue is in the top 10 most popular breeds. You never see grey Maine Coons but you do see lots of grey Brit SH. Random bred cats that are totally grey look very classy and like a purebred cat. They look very elegant. Seeing as all foundation cats of grey cat breeds were at one time random bred this is not surprising.

      Gigi looks very refined and female to me. Perfect body conformation.

    • Wow that’s amazing that photo of Gigi. I always liked the way she often looked, and her expressions. Ozzie does that and jumps on our backs too when he wants to go in the Linean Cupboard. He will Jump up on the bench above the HeatPump then will signal to one of us to open the door then Jump on her backs. Will try get a photo sometime.


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