Cat lovers likely have their own preferences when it comes to a favorite color for felines, but endearment aside, we can all agree that there is something about gray cats that makes them beautiful and unique.
That sentiment is felt everywhere, even in the world of cat breeding, where gray is often preferred, says Teresa Keiger, all-breed judge for the Cat Fanciers Association.
whether you’re a proud owner or a fan, find out what makes cats that shine in all shades of grey, also called blue among fanciers, so special.
Known as the historic blue cat of France, the Chartreux is one of three breeds that come only in grey.
“He’s a very stocky-bodied cat, but he has delicate bones,” says Keiger. “Their coat is dense, but with a woolly texture, and ideally it will have breaks, like a sheep’s coat.”
This cat’s color is solid to the root and benefits from regular combing to remove dead hair from the coat.
In addition, the breed is moderately active and is known for being interested in its surroundings and bonding with its owners, says Keiger.
In their native Thailand, the Korat, another of the three breeds that come only in blue, are considered good luck.
“In earlier times, its blue fur reminded people of thunderclouds, and it would often wander fields in rainmaking ceremonies,” says Keiger. “Thai people held these cats in high esteem and often gave them away for good luck.”
An athletic cat with a heavily muscled body, its coat is pale at the root, fading to a uniform gray at the tips. the hair shaft is luminous, reflecting light in an even shine.
“Her head is made up of a series of heart shapes,” says Keiger. “the outer part of the head, including the ears, the head itself, then the edge of the forehead and the tip of the nose. you’ll even see a heart shape on the cat’s chest area.”
this talkative breed enjoys people and loves their owners.
The third and final breed to come only in blue, the Russian Blue cat was loved by Czars and Czarinas alike.
“They have a dense double coat: The first coat is made of straight hairs that are blue on the shaft and then end in a silver tip,” says keiger. “This tip is what makes them appear to glow.”
The Russian Blue has its own guard coat made of fine, wavy hairs that help keep the guard hairs separate.
“However, the luxurious coat is not durable and fingers easily make marks on it,” says Keiger.
personality wise, the Russian Blue is an active breed that loves to play but isn’t very vocal.
“Intelligent and cautious, it will often wait to see if a new person is okay before going out to investigate,” says Keiger, “It has a close bond with its owner and seeks their attention.”
although gray is probably the most popular and well-known color in the British Shorthair, there are a variety of colors and patterns.
“He has the thickest coat of all, and he’s so plush and tough that he doesn’t leave finger marks,” says keiger.
You’ll find bright copper eyes to accentuate these cats’ shiny coats, and a good grooming helps remove dead hair.
As for his personality? “The British is a calm cat and very fond of his human family,” says Keiger.
oriental short hair
the oriental shorthair was developed to be a colorful cat with more than 300 colors and patterns available, says keiger.
“The blue color of the Oriental is a different blue than many other races,” he says. “It’s a medium blue with no tips to accent it. all Orientals have close-fitting fur, giving the Blue Shorthaired Oriental a metallic appearance.”
Sweet and loving, this breed shares a love of talking with their Siamese ancestors. maintenance is also minimal, requiring only wiping with a chamois or damp cloth to remove loose hair.
as the name implies, the brilliant blue Persian has a full coat that is a great glory to behold.
“Colour ranges from medium blue to light blue, but should be blue all the way down the hair shaft,” says keiger. “the copper eyes create a beautiful contrast with the fur.”
In an ideal environment, Persians should be combed daily to keep their coat free of mats, Keiger says, and bathed and blow-dried to keep their coat in condition.
Persians are also known as sweet and affectionate cats, with a low activity level.
Norwegian Forest Cat
although the brown brindle pattern is probably the most common color in this breed, they come in a variety of colors, including grey, says keiger.
“They have a double waterproof coat that naturally protects them from the elements,” he says. “The top layer provides a barrier, while the inner layer provides warmth.”
Because of its coat, the Norwegian Forest cat is slightly less maintenance than other long-haired cats, but it does require grooming to stay free of mats.
be sure to check out five gray cat gifts for either yourself or the gray cat owner in your life.
cheryl lock is a writer and editor living in denver, colorado with her husband, daughter, and cat, penny. Her work has appeared in dozens of newspapers, magazines, and websites, and she has written about everything from pets and politics to parenting, travel, and food. Find more of her work at atcheryllock.com, or follow her wanderlust on her blog atwearywanderer.com.