Nicknamed as “Wegies” by its lovers across the world and called Skogkatt in its native land of Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat is one of the largest cat breeds of the feline world. The Norwegian Forest Cat is a naturally developed ancient cat breed. As indicated by its name, the cat was developed in the Norwegian forests without any human assistance.
Norwegian Forest Cat at a Glance
Despite its large muscular body and rugged appearance, the Norwegian Forest Cat makes a perfect family pet. It is an easygoing cat breed that laps up the company of its loving owners as well as that of other pets in the house. If you have been looking to get yourself a Norwegian Forest Cat, you should first familiarize yourself with the cat breed to ensure that you and a Norwegian Forest Cat will make a perfect fit.
Before getting into the details, take a quick look at the breed overview.
Weight: 9 to 16 pounds
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
Coat Color: All sorts of colors ranging from solid white to coal black except for color points
Eye Color: Shades of green, gold, green-gold, coper, or blue (in cats with white or partially white coats)
Temperament: Intelligent, friendly, calm, gentle, and outgoing
Suitable for: Families with children, multiple pet households, and outgoing cat parents
Norwegian Forest Cat History
Though there is no substantial evidence, it is widely believed that the Norwegian Forest Cat has been around since the times of Vikings. It is said that the shorthaired European cats brought by Romans to Norway played a role in the origin of the Norwegian Forest Cat. And then, from Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat boarded the Vikings’ ships and went wherever they went.
By the turn of the 20th century, the Norwegian Forest Cat breed was nearly lost as breeders indiscriminately crossed it with other cat breeds. However, through careful breeding, the breed was saved after the Norwegian King Olav V declared the Norwegian Forest Cat the national cat of Norway.
After arriving on the shores of America in 1979, the Norwegian Forest Cat won the hearts of feline lovers. Due to the increasing popularity, The International Cat Association accepted the Norwegian Forest Cat for championship status in 1984. However, it was not until 1993 that The Cat Fanciers’ Association accepted the Norwegian Forest Cat for full champion status.
Norwegian Forest Cat Personality and Temperament
Due to its large size but gentle and affectionate nature, the Norwegian Forest Cat is known as a gentle giant. They are loyal to their owners, but they are not always demanding attention like some cat breeds. This does not mean that the Norwegian Forest Cat is a reserved cat. They are far from a standoffish cat—if they please, they will hop up in their loving parents’ laps and snuggle for a while.
The Norwegian Forest Cats are moderately active, and they often experience spurts of energy after their napping and sunbathing sessions. Norwegian Forest Cat loves to bask in the sunlight.
Though the Norwegian Forest Cats love to slumber and laze around in the sunlight, they can be highly active at times. They also love to climb, so you may often find them on top of doors or bookshelves. Therefore, Norwegian Forest Cat owners are advised to provide safe and high perches for their Forest Cat to explore and perch in. These cats also love to perch in high places, look outside, stalk birds, or keep a watch. So, getting them a cat window perch would be a great idea.
According to the cat Fanciers’ Association, scratching posts and tall cat trees are a must-have for these Forest Cats home.
In the wild, the Norwegian Forest Cats were smart and excellent hunters. However, after domestication, they have come to appreciate and enjoy the company of their owners. These cats also welcome the company of other pets, both cats and dogs, making them an excellent choice for families with children and multi-pet households.
Norwegian Forest Cat also loves to accompany their owners on morning or evening walks. If you love morning walks, you can take along your fluffy friend as well. But before you do that, you will have to get her a cat harness and train her how to walk on a leash.
Here’s a video of a white and black Norwegian Forest Cat walking on a leash with her owner.
Norwegian Forest Cat Characteristics
The mighty Norwegian Forest Cat is a solid muscled large cat. The front legs of a Norwegian Forest Cat are a little shorter than its rear legs, so it may appear to be having its rump somewhat higher than its shoulders. Forest cats have heavily furnished medium to long ears with rounded tips. Lynx tips—fur growing from the tip of cat ears—is another desirable characteristic of Norwegian Forest Cat, but it is not required for the CFA Norwegian Forest Cat Standard.
The Norwegian Forest Cat has a broad chest and a considerable girth, but a healthy Norwegian Forest Cat should never appear fat. If your cat appears to be somewhat fat, you should keep a check on its caloric intake. You may want to take your cat to the vet and discuss what would be the best cat food for your Norwegian Forest Cat. You may also want to discuss how much you should be feeding your Forest Cat. As a general rule of thumb, adult cats should be fed twice a day. Cat nutritionists also advise against leaving food out all day as cats with access to food round-the-clock tend to eat more.
Norwegian Forest Cat Coat
The Forest cats have distinguishing thick double-layered coat, comprised of a dense undercoat and a long, glossy, and water-resistant layer of guard hair on the outside. Where the undercoat helps the Norwegian Forest Cats keep warm by insulating from the cold environment, the guard hair protects them from getting wet in rain and snowfall. It seems like the Norwegian Forest Cats have full built-in winter wear—their ears and paws are also tufted, saving their sensitive body parts from the merciless cold of the sunless winters in Norway.
The semi-long Norwegian Forest Cat’s dense coat comes in all sorts of colors, ranging from solid white to coal black. However, cats with chocolate, sable, lilac, cinnamon, lavender, point-restricted, or any of these colors with white, are not accepted into the CFA Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Standard. Why? Because these colors are the evidence of hybridization.
How Big Do Norwegian Forest Cats Get?
Norwegian Forest Cat is larger than normal cat breeds. According to the CFA standard, male Norwegian Forest Cats tend to be larger than their female counterparts. Their long-haired fur makes them look even bigger. On average, a male Norwegian forest cat weighs between 12 to 16 pounds, and its female would weighs around 9 to 12 pounds.
How Long Do Norwegian Forest Cats Live?
The average Norwegian Forest cat lifespan is around 15 to 20 years. No doubt, the cat breed plays a great role in the life expectancy of a cat, but excellent care and proper feeding are considered to play a more determining role in how long your cat will live. Therefore, cat owners are advised to take their cats regularly to the vet and never miss an annual vet visit.
Are Norwegian Forest Cats Hypoallergenic?
No, unfortunately, Norwegians Forest cats have a double coat that can easily trigger an allergic reaction in people with allergies. However, they have lower levels of Fel d1—a protein found in cat saliva, sebaceous glands, and fur of cats that triggers allergies. But still, they do not make a good choice for people with allergies. If you are a feline lover, but your allergies are keeping you from owning a cat, check out our following article, and find yourself a hypoallergenic feline friend.
Do Norwegian Forest Cats Shed a Lot?
Despite their long-haired coat, Norwegian Forest Cats do not shed a lot. Nevertheless, there is medium shedding. So, surprisingly your long-haired Norwegian Forest Cat won’t be needing excessive brushing and grooming as many other long-haired cats do. Having said that, you will have to brush their coat thoroughly at least once a week. And in the spring season, as your cat is preparing for the summer, you will have to spend some more time grooming your cat. During this time of the year, your cat will shed almost all of its undercoat.
How Much Does a Norwegian Forest Cat Cost?
Norwegian Forest Cats are highly popular and sought after; getting your hands on one from a certified breeder, you may have to pay around $800 to $1500, depending on many factors, including pedigree status, age, etc. You can also check out local cat shelters to check if they have any Norwegian Forest Cat up for adoption. You never know, it might be your lucky day.