The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large breed from Norway where it is called Norsk skogkatt. Best known for its shabby looking semi-long coat and size, this breed is adapted to harsh climates.
These cats have long sturdy bodies, long legs and bushy tails. They have long heads, strong chins and almond-shaped oblong eyes of any color. The double layered coat is water repellent and consists of a glossy top layer and woolly undercoat.
Despite their wild appearance, these are gentle and friendly cats. They like being close to their people and will follow them around the house. This is a moderately active cat that stays in shape, thanks to short explosive bursts of energy.
Thanks to their mellow nature, these cats become fast friends with children and other pets.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a natural breed that can be traced back to the time of Vikings. It is believed that its ancestors may have included short-haired cats brought by Vikings and long-haired cats brought by Crusaders to Norway. These cats may have bred with feral stock and later evolved in a breed we know today.
Some Norse legends refer to a skogkatt as a mountain-dwelling fairy cat that can climb sheer rock faces. Since Norwegian Forest Cat is an excellent climber it is believed that the skogkatt tale refers to its ancestors.
However, the most likely scenario is that the ancestors of this breed served as ship cats on Viking boats. These cats lived for centuries in the Norwegian forests and were later prized for their hunting abilities and companionship. The breed was formally discovered by cat enthusiasts in the early 20th century.
In 1938, the Norwegian Forest Cat Club was the first organization devoted to this breed. However, the club’s efforts to preserve the breed were interrupted by the World War II. After the war, the club was dedicated to preserve and establish the breed that was almost extinct. The first Norwegian Forest Cats were imported in the US in 1979.
The International Cat Association recognized the breed in 1984, followed by The Cat Fanciers Association in 1994. Today, this breed is recognized by all major cat organization. Furthermore, this breed is the official cat of Norway.
This is a large cat with a strongly built and sturdy body. These cats have long bodies, long legs and fluffy tails. The head is long and has a shape of an equilateral triangle. These cats have a straight profile and strong chins. The large ears that end with tufts of fur and almond-shaped oblong eyes complete the look.
The male cats are larger and usually weigh from 12-16 pounds. Females are smaller and weigh from 7-10 pounds. This is a slow maturing breed, and these cats usually reach their full size by the age of five.
Generally, these cats tend to stay on their ideal weight. However, make sure that you are feeding your cat according to her age and activity level.
They possess excellent hunting skills and remain always alert and in the mood for hunting. Thus, they enjoy games where they can stalk, pounce, and chase a pray. Hone your cat’s skills by letting her play with mice toys.
These are moderately active cats that like to lie around. However, they are known for high-intensity short bursts of energy. They will jump and run around the house in one minute and settle in a cat bed in the next.
Despite their size, they are excellent climbers and enjoy observing their surrounding from high advantage points. Therefore, a tall cat tree is a must if you own a Norwegian Forest Cat. It will keep your cat exercised and also give her the opportunity to fulfill her natural need for climbing.
They are intelligent cats that like playing with puzzle toys. Furthermore, you can keep your cat’s brain stimulated by teaching her tricks.
This isn’t a particularly vocal breed. However, they will let their wishes been known with meows and chirps. Despite their free-roaming origins, these cats can be completely content living in an apartment. Generally, this is a mellow and friendly cat that likes being near people.
Thanks to their forest dwelling ancestors, these cats have highly adaptable natures. They react well in new situations and don’t have troubles adjusting to new scenery.
Furthermore, thanks social and gentle nature they react well to strangers.
This is a moderately active breed with short intervals of high-intensity play. Let your cat play with a variety toy pack in order to keep her exercised and avoid boredom. To keep your cat entertained and healthy play with her more than 20 minutes every day.
The Norwegian Forest is a fairly healthy breed. However, some health issues are associated with this breed.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your cat is going to develop any of them. Still, it is better to learn about any potential risks prior to bringing a cat home.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This is the most common heart disease seen in cats. It causes an abnormal thickening of one or several areas of the heart. In mild cases, a cat may stay asymptomatic her whole life. However, serious cases can lead to congestive heart failure. Test for this condition is available, so check if your cat has been tested.
- Hip Dysplasia: It is a hereditary defect that causes abnormal development and degeneration of the hip joint. In mild cases, there is little or no pain. However, severe cases can cause lameness. Treatment can range and includes weight loss, pain meds and surgery.
- Glycogen Storage Disease Type IV: This is a disorder that causes a deficiency of an essential enzyme that metabolizes glycogen, causing the altered glycogen to accumulate in nerves and muscles. This is a fatal condition and affected kittens die shortly after the birth. However, in some kittens, the disease becomes apparent by 4 to 5 months of age. The test for this condition is available. Moreover, some organizations obligate the breeders to test the cats before placing them into breeding programs.
The Norwegian Forest Cat has an average lifespan of 14-16 years. Unfortunately, these cats are prone to some health problems that can impact their life expectancy.
So, make sure that you buy your cat from a reputable breeder who will give you a health guarantee.
Furthermore, check if your cat has been tested for HCM and Glycogen Storage Disease Type IV. Also, ask the breeder to show you the evidence of hip ratings (excellent, good or fair) for the kitten’s parents.
This breed has a semi-long water-resistant double coat. The coat has a woolly undercoat and a thick top layer.
The coat appearance changes according to the weather conditions. Thus, these cats are fluffy during winter, with full neck ruffs and fluffy tails they can wrap around their bodies. During the summer a downy undercoat disappears, giving them completely different look.
Generally, this breed needs to be brushed three times a week. Use a stainless-steel comb to distribute skin oils and to remove mats and tangles.
They go through a heavy shed during the shedding season. Therefore, you will have to brush your cat more often that time. To remove as much shed hair as possible use a deshedding tool.
These cats start developing their adult coat when they are about three months old.
It may take several months for your cat to obtain her true plumage. Furthermore, the coat doesn’t reach its full length and glory until the cat is two years old.
This breed comes in a variety of different colors and patterns. The most commonly seen colors are White, Black, Red, Cream, Blue, and Brown. The most commonly seen patterns include tortoiseshell, bi-color and calico. Siamese color points and Himalayan Cat colors aren’t permitted in the breed’s standard.
The easy-going and kind Norwegian Forest Cat is a great choice for families with children. These cats love the attention they receive from kids who treat them with respect. Teach your kid how to dangle a feather teaser and let him play with your cat.
These cats get along with other pets and enjoy their company.
This is a moderately active breed that can benefit from an cat activity condo. Furthermore, play with your cat twice a day for 10 minutes in order to keep her content. They can play alone and will happily chase after a robotic mouse. However, they love their people and enjoy playing with their owners.