7 Grey (Blue) Cat Breeds (With Photos)

Known as blue in the cat fancy, grey the dilution of black. Hair, skin and eyes get their colour from cells known as melanocytes which produce pigment granules. The grey coat colour is due to melanin granules clumping in the hair shaft which leaves colourless areas which allow more light to pass through the hair shaft, lightening the colour.

British Shorthair

  • Origins: United Kingdom
  • Eyes: Gold or copper
  • Energy: Medium
  • Temperament: Independent, friendly, easygoing and playful
  • Weight: Males 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs), females 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Colours: Every colour is accepted, blue is the most prevalent
  • Prevalence: Common
  • Physical characteristics: Muscular, stocky, short, dense coat

About:

The British Shorthair is a large, and stocky breed with a plush short coat. All coat colours and patterns are accepted, however, blue is by far the predominant colour, hence the name British Blue.

The breed is thought to have originated from working cats in the United Kingdom. The arrival of longhaired cats in the late 1800s saw a decline in the popularity of British Shorthairs and once again after WWI and WWII. Breeders re-established the breed by outcrossing to Persians, Russian Blues and domestics.

Personality:

British Shorthairs are laid back and an undemanding cat who likes to be near you, but not on you. They are happy to amuse themselves if necessary.

British Longhair

  • Origins: United Kingdom
  • Eyes: Gold or copper
  • Energy: Medium
  • Temperament: Independent, friendly, easygoing and playful
  • Weight: Males 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs), females 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Colours: Every colour is accepted, blue is the most prevalent
  • Prevalence: Rare
  • Physical characteristics: Muscular, stocky, long coat

About:

Due to outcrossing the British Shorthair to Persians to save the breed, the recessive longhair gene was introduced to the breed and from time to time a longhaired kitten would be born. These kittens were referred to as British Shorthair variants and sold off as pets.

There is not much information on who went forward with these longhaired cats, but we do know that the British Longhair obtained championship status with The International Cat Association (TICA) in May 2009, which is recognised with FIFe and is in the stages of recognition with the GCCF.

Personality:

The British Longhair has a similar nature to the British Shorthair and possesses an independent and laid back personality, who is playful, but not as active as other breeds. They are not a lap cat, but enjoy to be around their human family.

Chartreux

  • Origins: France
  • Eyes: Orange
  • Energy: Medium
  • Temperament: Friendly, loving, quiet, good natured
  • Weight: Males 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs), females 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Colours: Blue
  • Prevalence: Rare
  • Physical characteristics: Medium to large cat, muscular body, slender legs, short coat

About:

The Chartreux is one of the oldest cat breeds whose origins are not entirely known. It is thought to have originated from the Middle East, Russia, Syria, Siberia or Northern Europe. Chartreux cats became popular with French breeders in the 1920’s, however, WWII almost destroyed the breed. Persians and British Shorthairs were used to re-establish the breed and the first Chartreux arrived in the United States in 1970.

Personality:

The Chartreux is a friendly and loving breed but they are less intrusive than other breeds, preferring to be near you, but not on you.

Chartreux cats get along well with other pets in the home as well as children, but if something bothers them, they will remove themselves to another room. Desmond Morris, author of Cat Breeds of the World describes the Chartreux as  “characteristically lazy until a rodent appears when it becomes a savage hunter“.

Korat

  • Origins: Thailand
  • Eyes: Green
  • Energy: Medium
  • Temperament: Affectionate, intelligent, playful, soft voiced and curious
  • Weight: Males 5 kg (11 lbs), females 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Colours: Blue
  • Prevalence: Rare
  • Physical characteristics: Medium to large cat, muscular body, slender legs

About:

The Korat is one of the oldest natural cat breeds and is featured in the Cat-Book Poems, a book dating back to 1350-1767 which is held in the National Gallery of Bangkok. They are considered to be a good luck charm who brings good fortune in their native Thailand where they are known as the Si-Sawat (purple-grey, the colour of the Sawat nut).

Korats first appeared in the United Kingdom in 1896 where one was exhibited at the Holland House Show in London. The cat was disqualified because cat artist and judge Louis Wain considered it to be a poor example of a blue Siamese.

Korat cats a medium-sized cat who feels remarkably heavy when picked up. They have a shimmering silver-tipped coat which the Thais call ‘rain cloud blue‘ and stunning emerald green eyes.

Personality:

The Korat is a highly intelligent and strong-willed cat who forms close bonds with their human family. In fact, they can sometimes become possessive towards people. They have a playful nature, which makes them an ideal breed to grow up around children and other pets.

Nebelung

  • Origins: United States
  • Eyes: Green
  • Energy: Medium
  • Temperament: Intelligent, playful and loyal
  • Weight: Males 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs), females 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Colours: Blue
  • Prevalence: Rare
  • Physical characteristics: Medium to large cat, long and straight nose, muscular body, slender legs

About:

The Nebelung (pronounced nay-be-lung) is a breed of cat that was developed by Cora Cobb of Nebelheim Cattery. Elsa, a black domestic shorthair and an unnamed blue longhaired cat produced a litter of kittens in August 1984. One of the kittens named Siegfried had a semi-long coat. Five months later, a second litter produced seven kittens with two long-haired females, one black and one blue. The blue kitten was named Brunhild. Siegfried and Brunhilde both had the appearance of a longhaired Russian Blue and were to become the foundation cats of the Nebelung breed. The breed standard was based on the Russian Blue standard, but with the longer coat.

Cora applied to TICA (The International Cat Foundation) for NBS (new breed status) in 1987, and the Nebelung was awarded Championship status in 1997.

Personality:

The Nebelung is a gentle and quiet breed of cat who can be quite shy with strangers; however, they are very loyal and affectionate with their owners. Nebelung cats get along with older children and other pets as long as they are calm. They are often described as dog-like, as they like to follow their family around the house.

Russian Blue

  • Origins: Russia
  • Eyes: Green
  • Energy: Medium
  • Temperament: Friendly but independent, laid back, good-natured
  • Weight: Males 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs), females 4 – 5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Colours: Blue
  • Prevalence: Common
  • Physical characteristics: Medium cat, plush coat, fine-boned, long slender legs

About:

The Russian Blue (Русская голубая кошка) is a naturally occurring ancient breed of cat that originated from Russia. Their early history is not known, but they are thought to have descended from cats owned by Russian Tsars. The first Russian Blue to be exhibited was at London’s Crystal Palace in 1875. Russian blue cats were exhibited in the same class as other blue cats, including the British Shorthair (also known as British Blue). By 1912 the Russian Blue had been awarded its own class for competition. Breeders from Great Britain and Scandinavia worked hard to develop the breed.

The most recognisable features of the Russian Blue are their plush, solid blue-grey coat and green eyes. Although there are no hypoallergenic cat breeds, the Russian Blue can be better tolerated because they produce less Fel d1 than other cat breeds.

Personality:

The Russian Blue is a quiet, calm, sweet and loving breed who will follow their human family around. They can be playful well into adulthood, but not over the top. Their sweet nature makes the Russian Blue an ideal pet for families with children, as long as they are not too boisterous.

Other cat breeds with grey coats

While the focus of this article is cat breeds that only have grey (blue) coats, or are predomiently grey, some breeds of cat can have a wide range of coat colours, including grey.

Frequently asked questions

What breed is my grey cat?

Grey is a relatively common coat colour and is found in purebred and mixed breed cats. Cats with no history or pedigree are generally domestic shorthairs or domestic longhair. If you really want to find out the ancestry of your grey cat, there are several DNA tests which can provide information on the cat’s ancestry.

With exception to the Russian Blue and British Shorthair, the breeds listed in this article are considered rare outside their native country.

Grey cats whose breed is undetermined are known as Maltese. Desmond Morris notes in his book Cat World that this name was given to a short-haired, grey cat said to have lived on the Mediterranean island of Malta and was first mentioned by Francois Moncrief in 1927 in his book Les Chats. The late French author Jean Simonnet, that these Maltese cats were brought to Europe centuries ago, where in France, they became the ancestors of the Chartreux.

Other authors believe that all of the blue breeds of cats are one and the same, with slight changes to their confirmation. Author Rush Shippen Huidekoper states ‘The Blue Cat is named the Maltese in America. It was first shown as the Archangel cat (Russian blue), then named the Russian Cat, and also the Spanish Blue, and Chartreuse Blue, and recently has been named the American Blue.’

Are grey cats friendly?

While cat breeds will often have certain traits, the individual personality of the cat comes down to genetics as well as how the kitten was raised during the early stages of development and their experiences with people.