Grey and White Cat Breeds: Your Very Own Gandalf and Saruman

Grey and white cat
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

The color grey is associated with neutrality and balance, but it is also used to signify gloom and feelings of uncertainty and depression. White, on the other hand, is considered pure, simple, and perfect. These two colors are often combined in paintings, but it becomes a bit more complicated when you realize we are talking about cats. Are you a fan of grey and white cat breeds?

Coat color is controlled by genes. Grey coat occurs as a result of the recessive form of the pigment gene which alters the original black coat color to grey. On the other hand, a white spotting gene known as S/S is responsible for varied white spots or patches on the coat. Due to the recessive gene combination, grey and white cats are quite rare and very beautiful. Not all cat breeds have the provisions for this coat color, but you might just be in luck with a few.

So, what cat breeds come in grey and white? And do the genes also affect personality? Below we will list six prominent breeds that are known to sport grey and white coats. Check them out in your quest to find a most suitable cat companion for you.

6 Grey and White Cat Breeds

Not many cat breeds have grey and white variations, which makes this color combination all the more special. Indulge yourself on the rare few below:

#1: Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat, also known as ‘Skogcatt,’ Norwegian for ‘forest cat,’ is thought to have originated from Northern Europe. The breed appears in many Norwegian fairy tales and their history date back thousands of years.

These cats were used to catch mice in and around homes in Norway for a long time. They almost went extinct with the start of World War II, but survived to be recognized in both Europe and the US as a breed in the 1970s.

These cats stand out due to their large size and glossy, thick, and long coats. They commonly have a grey and white coat though other color variations are possible. These include a variety of patterns and colors with or without white. The only exceptions would be chocolate and lavender colors, and dark ‘points’ of shading in the face, paw, and tail that is common in Siamese cats.

Norwegian Forest Cats are huge cats with males weighing 13 to 25 pounds and females weighing slightly less. They have a distinct head which resembles an inverted triangle with large eyes and heavily tufted large ears.

Their size can be intimidating, but they are quite gentle. They are great with families and children and are known to enjoy the company of other pets. If your life is one busy schedule then this is the cat to go for; they do not crave attention and will be happy to play on their own.

Although these cats are well adapted to living outdoors, they have evolved into well behaved indoor pets. They should be kept indoors to protect them from attacks by dogs and other cats, diseases, and other dangers like being picked on by people.

Their large size calls for more food than other cats would require. This calls for the need to keep their feeding bowl full at all times. That said, check with a vet to ensure that the food you give your cat has the right nutritional information.

Brush their coats at least once a week to avoid tangling. Their coats are almost waterproof, which makes bathing them a bit tricky. However, it is a good thing since they rarely require bathing, unless the coat gets really dirty.

Norwegian Forest Cats can live up to 16 years old. For them to make it this far, they require dental, ear, and eye care. A trip to the vet every few months will also see them being vaccinated to keep common feline diseases off.

#2: Scottish Fold Cat

Scottish Fold Cat

The Scottish Fold is a small cat breed that comes in a mix of grey and white coat. The breed also has other colors and patterns including solid, tabby and white, and tabby.

They can be short haired or long haired. The short-haired variety has a dense coat which is soft to the touch. The long-haired Scottish Fold has medium to long fur with the fur being longer on the paws, tail, and ears.

Scottish Fold cats are aptly named due to their small ‘folded’ ears that give their head a rounded look. As the name suggests, the breed can trace its roots to Scotland.

William Ross, a shepherd from Scotland, noticed a beautiful molly with unusually folded ears and took a special interest. When the cat had kittens with a local tom, William acquired a female with folded ears whom he named Snooks. From there the breed started taking shape with the defining feature being the folded ears.

Scottish Folds are smart pets that thrive on human interaction. They love to play, and puzzle games are essential in sharpening their intelligence. Their love of attention can make them anxious if they are left alone for long hours. If you are usually away for long hours from home, then it’s advisable to get your Scottish Fold another cat to play with. Worry not, though—he will still have some energy left to play with you when you arrive.

They make good companions for children. This is due to their attention-seeking nature. However, you need to explain to the children the need to treat the cat with respect and not to engage in play that can hurt them, such as pulling on their ears. These cats also enjoy the company of dogs but need to be introduced slowly, ensuring that the dog is cat-friendly.

They do well as indoor-only cats. This keeps them protected from diseases and injuries from feral cats and vicious dogs. It also helps to ward off diseases which they may get from the outdoors.

Scottish Folds require care to keep them comfortable and happy. The shorthairs will do well with weekly fur brushing to make sure their hair is free of dirt and debris. On the other hand, longhaired Folds may need to be brushed more than once a week. This is due to the fact that their fur gets tangled easily and can cause great discomfort.

#3: Egyptian Mau Cat

Egyptian Mau Cat

The Egyptian Mau is a breed that is loved for their exotic features which include their naturally spotted coat. The breed comes in naturally occurring colors like silver, bronze, black, and smoke. These cats also come in a ‘blue’ color which is a diluted variation of the other three colors.

An Egyptian Mau with blue smoke color is grey with distinctly white roots. When they move, the white roots can be seen, which gives them a grey and white look.

The ancestry of this breed is shrouded in mystery—a fact that makes these cats more intriguing. Legend has it that they were royal pets to the rich and wealthy in Ancient Egypt. They graced the tables of pharaohs and were actually worshiped as deities. These spotted felines were truly honored so much that they are recorded in ancient texts dating back to the 15th century B.C.

The Egyptian Mau of today can be traced to a silver molly belonging to Natalie Troubetskoy, a Russian Princess. She named the kitten Baba and spearheaded the breed’s development with two of the cat’s offspring. The breed has remained relatively unchanged and is still reminiscent of the wild African cats.

This exotic cat is a medium sized feline that weighs about 6 to 14 pounds. The cat holds the title of the fastest domestic cat and can clock up to 30mph. The breed can be moderately or highly active. They are good mousers who love to play hunting and retrieving. They are very loyal and will fiercely guard their family from strangers.

They are wary of strangers, and it takes time before they accept a new person. These cats are also particular on family members and will choose a special person whom they will openly be cozier with.

They play well with children and other pets. You should, however, keep an eye on them when they are in the company of dogs. This is because the Egyptian Mau is a headstrong breed and your cat will stand their ground even when confronted by bigger foes.

The Egyptian Mau is a low maintenance cat; they do not require much bathing, but they enjoy playing with water. Their fur can be maintained with weekly brushing to remove loose hairs and distribute skin oils.

#4: Persian Cat

Persian Cat

The Persian is one of the oldest cat breeds. These long-haired beauties could be as old as civilization, with their origin dating back to Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization.

For a long time, the longhaired cats from the region were simply known as Asiatic cats. There was not much distinction, and they were bred together. The modern-day standard can be traced to the late 1800s.

The breed is one of the most diverse when it comes to coat coloring. The Cat Fanciers’ Association identifies over six coat colors for the breed. These include tabby, solid, bi and particolor, Himalayan, silver and gold, and smoke.

When going for a grey and white cat, you should focus on the smoke and shaded division. Cats in this category have a startling white undercoat that can be covered in different overcoats—black, red, grey, cream, tortoiseshell, or a combination of these.

All smokes, including the grey and white, require more care when it comes to grooming. Unlike other Persians, their fur is fragile and has to be treated delicately and by professional groomers if possible.

They should be brushed regularly to avoid matting of fur. If the coat is left to mat, pulling out the knots will remove the white roots, and in their place, dark fur will grow. To maintain the beauty of your grey and white Persian cat, you need to groom them twice weekly for the adults and at least once weekly for the seniors. You should also keep your cat away from too much sunlight to avoid rusting of their fur.

Persians are docile and prefer to live in quiet and serene households. They do not like loud noises or sudden changes in their environment. Their peace-loving nature is also evident in their relations with people; they love the company of family members and avoid strangers.

#5: Devon Rex

Devon Rex kitten

Social, calm, and stunning are just some of the things that come to mind when you are in the company of this beautiful cat. At first glance, Devon Rex looks like a cross breed between a dog, a cat, a monkey, and an elf. With big ears, large eyes, wavy fur, and a curious look, the breed is a sight to behold.

The breed comes in several colors including smoke, shaded, pointed patterns, and tabby just to name a few. The smoke colored ones sport a grey coat with white roots.

The unique features of this cat are as a result of a natural mutation. The breed originated in Devonshire, London, in the mid-20th century. The fascination with this cat started with Kirlee, a kitty born of a stray female under the care of a Miss Cox and a local tom who had the breed’s characteristic coat.

As the name suggests, the kitten had a rather ‘curly’ coat which was different from others. The texture was described as similar to that of a Rex Rabbit.

Adults weigh from 5 to 10 pounds. They live for human companionship so be ready to always be shadowed if you go for one of these fur babies. They have been described as having a dog-like personality due to their loyalty that knows no bounds. A Devon Rex will even demand to eat at the table just like any other member of the family.

The breed is not demanding in terms of grooming and does not require much bathing. The grey and white type may, however, require more attention due to the white fur that may appear dull if left unclean for long.

They do not require constant brushing since their fur is not prone to much shedding. A smooth run with a brush or your fingers is enough to keep their delicate fur looking beautiful.

A Devon Rex will be a good addition to a family with kids. Their attention seeking nature will see them bond well with kids during play. Fetch and retrieving games are their specialty and are important in keeping them fit. They tend to overindulge on food so keep an eye on their feeding habits. Dogs are also welcome in this cat’s life, but you need to introduce the two slowly.

#6: British Shorthair

British Shorthair kitten

The British Shorthair is renown for being quiet and undemanding. These cuddly and teddy-bear like cats come in all colors and shades including brown, blue, red, silver, chocolate, pointed, tabby, and cream. Of all the colors, though, blue stands out.

Blue British Shorthair has a solid grey coat and a grey and white patch which covers the underbelly, muzzle, legs, and paws. The prevalence of grey in the breed sometimes sees them being referred to as British Blues.

The British Shorthair is probably the oldest English breed. The breed can be traced to the domestic cats of Rome; however, it’s in England where the breed standard came to be.

The breed became famous during the Victorian era. These cats were so famous that for a time there were the only pedigrees showcased in early cat shows in England. They continue to bag awards in modern cat shows and sometimes more than any other breed.

The popularity of the breed has seen British Shorthairs being the go-to cats for popular movies and animation, like the Cheshire Cat in ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ the sword-fighting feline in Puss in Boots, and various other cats in ads and movies.

The English Cat, as the breed is sometimes known as, is a compact and heavily built feline. Males grow to about 12 to 20 pounds with females weighing a little less. They are slow to mature and can take up to 3 years to reach their full size. They are noticeable due to their rounded features that make them resemble a stuffed toy bear. They have small alert ears and big round eyes.

These cats don’t like to be lifted but will gladly curl up on your lap for petting. They are not pushy and are known to be patient even with clumsy toddlers. However, they reciprocate love and will gladly join you in play.

They associate well with other pets and have been kept with dogs, birds, and even rabbits. They need to be kept indoors to avoid picking up diseases from feral cats and outdoor pets.

They rarely need a bath, but weekly brushing is sufficient in keeping their smooth coat looking glossy. The breed is not predisposed to any specific health problems; they, however, need the occasional visit to the vet to keep them healthy.

Is There a Specific Personality Trait Linked to Grey and White Cats?

white and grey cat's face

One of the most common speculations that you will encounter in cat forums and blogs is that a cat’s color determines their personality. This notion is, however, baseless and has everything to do with anecdotal evidence and nothing to do with science.

Most of these speculations stem from our own association with color. Black cats are said to be sinister and reclusive. This is however just a trait which people attach to dark colors. The same kind of perception sees white cats like Ragdolls as pure and more loving since white denotes purity and perfection.

So, what are the personality traits associated with grey and white cats? These cats are said to be clever, resourceful, and less affectionate. They are also said to make short-lived friendships with humans and other pets.

Why the perception you ask? It all has to do with the fact that the color is prevalent in the feral population. A person sees a beautiful grey and white fur baby and what comes to mind is a crafty feral cat.

In the end, each cat is an individual, and they all have different personalities depending on their upbringing.

If you adopt a white and grey Egyptian Mau, then expect to see some wild streaks. This is because the breed has not changed much since their domestication in Ancient Egypt. On the other hand, a British Shorthair of today, through selective breeding has shed much of the craftiness that you would expect from a cat living on the streets of Victorian-era England.

If your heart is set on a grey and white cat, then we say go for it! Each cat has something special to offer, coat color notwithstanding. The personality of your cat will be determined by the breed and to some extent nurture.

Wrap Up

white and grey cat

Coat colors and patterns are determined by the cat’s genetic make-up, and this also goes for grey and white cats. Whether the same genetics affect your cat’s personality is debatable, but going by the traits of the above breeds, it doesn’t seem to hold much water.

Apart from the breed that you choose, the way you treat your cat also determines how he/she behaves towards you and others. These furbabies know how to reciprocate; treat them with affection, care, and respect, and you get the same in return.

Among the most common grey and white cat breeds are Norwegian Forest Cat, British Shorthair, Devon Rex, Scottish Fold, Persian Cat, and Egyptian Mau. Are you interested in adopting any of these fur babies? Let us know in the section below! Also, check out our article on what to know before getting a cat so you’ll be able to prepare.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.