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What is a Norwegian Forest Cat?


Fun fact! Our very own Nyxy is a Norwegian Forest Cat; find out more about her breed below.

One thing that cat lovers appreciate about their beloved felines is that there are so many breeds, each with their own special style, temperament, and personality. Within the cat family, a breed that especially stands out is the Norwegian Forest cat. Due to their distinctive personalities, long bushy tails, and loving temperaments, Norwegian Forest cats, have become massively popular.

So, what makes this gorgeous furry feline a favorite pet in many homes? What is its history, and what makes it stand out from other cats?

Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cat - What Is It?

So, what exactly are Norwegian Forest cats? Although they have a startling resemblance to mountain cats, they are actually a domestic breed that loves cuddles. Thanks to their breeding and thick fur coats, they can withstand extreme weather conditions. Over the past few years, as more cat lovers have discovered the breed, they have emerged as a highly sought-after pet.

Nicknamed 'Wegie', one of the unique characteristic of these cats is that their top layer of fur is water resistant; it sheds water, protecting the underlying dense, wooly layer from moisture. Norwegian Forest cats were bred to withstand extremely cold weather, and their several layers of thick fur protect their bodies from freezing temperatures.

Where do Norwegian Forest Cats come from?

Norwegian Forest cats are also called skogkatt, which means forest cat in Norwegian. Though they have a feral appearance, they are actually a domestic breed and are not related to any wild cat species.

The origin of these cats is a mystery. Some biologists believe they are related to the short haired cats the Vikings used to kill mice on their ships. Others conclude they are related to the long-haired cats that the crusaders brought to Scandinavia.

Initial efforts to recognize the Norwegian Forest cat as an official breed started in the 1930s but were interrupted by WWII. After the war, the forest cats were close to extinction due to breeding with other types of cats. During the 1970s, the Norwegian Forest Cat Club began collecting and breeding the most authentic specimens. They also worked to have the cats recognized as a registered breed. Forest cats were not brought to the US until 1980, and earned CFA championship status in 1993.

What Do Norwegian Forest Cats look like?

Forest cats are large, muscular, and quite heavy compared to common house cats; and their double layer of fur, which can be a variety of colours, makes them look even larger. Their ears are tufted with feathery fur, similar to a lynx. This extra fur helps protect the ears from cold winds. They also have tufting between the toes of their large paws for extra protection in snow and freezing temperatures. Norwegian Forest cats have large, almond-shaped eyes in various colours.

Norwegian Forest Cat

Are Norwegian Forest Cats cuddly?

Forest cats are gentle, calm, and friendly, inspiring many people claim that their character largely resembles dogs. They are social with other pets as well as with humans, although they may be shy around newcomers at first. It is said that they purr loudly and are excellent at cuddling.

Their intelligence and alertness make them extremely playful. Side note: It would be a good idea to keep a lid on your aquarium!

Because of their large size, people often ask if Norwegian Forest cats are aggressive. The answer is a definitive no. They do like some downtime now and then, just as we do. But if your cat shows signs of aggressiveness, a visit to the vet can determine if there are any underlying health issues.

Norwegian Forest Cat

Do Norwegian Forest cats shed?

In spite of having very long, thick fur, forest cats are no more difficult to groom than any other long-haired cat. All you need to do is follow a proper grooming schedule, and your cat’s coat will remain healthy and beautiful.

  • Brush your cat’s fur at least twice every week (daily is even better). Be sure to carefully tease out all the tangles. It's a good idea to increase the brushing sessions to once per day during the shedding season. This will help avoid mats and knots.
  • If you need to bathe your cat, be sure to rinse the coat thoroughly. It’s best to let the fur dry naturally. If you decide to use a hairdryer, make sure that its temperature isn't too hot.
  • As with any cat, brushing their teeth and checking their ears are recommended. Ears should be cleaned with cotton balls or a soft cloth; never with a swab.
  • Last but not least, always remember to keep the litter tray clean – for obvious reasons!

5 facts about Norwegian Forest Cats

National Cats of Norway

Did you know that these cats are known as the national cat of Norway? Thanks to Norway's King Olaf V, Norwegian Forest cats were given this honorary title.

Famous in Europe

Norwegian Forest cats have been quite popular as pets in Europe for decades, despite being relative newcomers to North America.

They can develop health Problems

A low percentage of Norwegian Forest cats are prone to heart disease, kidney disease, and hip dysplasia. They can also inherit a condition known as GSD IV. This is rare but can be fatal. There is a DNA test that is recommended for forest cats which will be used for breeding.

Which is bigger Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest cat?

Norwegian Forest cats are much larger than most house cats, even larger than a few dog breeds. A male Norwegian Forest cat can weigh between 13 to 22 pounds. However, when comparing a Norwegian Forest cat to a Maine Coon, the Maine Coon is larger.

They are excellent climbers

Their large, strong paws and thick claws are perfect for climbing. They can even climb rocks and descend a tree trunk head first.

Norwegian Forest Cat

How much does it cost for a Norwegian Forest Cat?

Norwegian Forest cats are usually sold for between $800 and $1,500, depending on their age, location, pedigree, and other factors.

Are you considering a Norwegian Forest cat as the latest member of your family? Even if you have kids at home or already own other pets, this breed will fit into the mix easily. Because of their gentle, loving, and inquisitive nature, a Norwegian Forest cat will be the perfect new addition to your household.