norwegian forest cat walking in sun lit apartment

Norwegian Forest cat – long-haired tree climbers

At one glance
3.5 – 8 kg (7.5 - 17.5 pounds)
25 – 45 cm (10 – 17.5 inches)
50 – 65 cm | with tail 100 - 130 cm (19.5 – 23.5 inches | with tail 39 – 51 inches)
long – dense, glossy
varies with fur color
12 – 15 years

Norwegian Forest cat look & fur – elegance meets lush coat

The Norwegian Forest cat showcases a distinctive triangular facial structure, with all sides symmetrically aligning from the base of her ears to her chin. Subtle rounding tops her ears, which also feature a plush tuft of hair. Though many admire the delightful lynx tips, the CFA’s breed standard doesn’t mandate them.1 Between her toes, you’ll often find charming tufts of hair, a feature adding to her allure. One can’t help but notice her expressive, almond-shaped eyes which have a gentle angle. Structurally, this cat has a robust build, exuding a quiet strength. Cloaked in a long, glossy, and water-repelling double coat that comes in various patterns and shades (except color point) she requires weekly grooming. This will intensify to more frequent sessions during spring. The luxuriously fluffy ears and thick neck fur stand out as hallmarks of this stunning breed. A point of interest: it takes about five years for her to achieve her full growth.1

Norwegian Forest cat vs. Maine Coon

Since she can be mistaken for the Maine Coon, let’s examine the differences between the two breeds. The Maine Coon, when viewed from the side, has a distinctive profile with a flat head that slopes down at the forehead, and then flattens out again at the nose, giving it a curved profile with a clear distinction between the brow and nose. Her face tends to have a boxy shape and features round eyes. Additionally, the Maine Coon has slightly bigger ears and a more bushy tail. In contrast, the Norwegian Forest cat possesses a straight nose and a flat head without the angular bridge, giving its face more of a triangular shape. This breed is smaller, has almond-shaped eyes differentiating it from the round-eyed Maine Coon, and boasts a tail adorned with long, flowing hair.2

Norwegian Forest cat health – key concerns & breeder tips

This breed is susceptible to a few health concerns:

  • HCM and RCM (Hypertrophic and Restrictive Cardiomyopathy): These are heart conditions where the heart muscles become thickened or rigid, affecting their function. DNA tests can detect certain genetic mutations linked to HCM, but a comprehensive diagnosis also requires an echocardiogram.
  • Diabetes Mellitus: Especially prevalent in males, it’s a condition where the cat’s body struggles to regulate sugar levels.
  • Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency: Here, the body doesn’t have enough of a crucial enzyme for red blood cells, causing them to break down quickly and lead to anemia.
  • Lysosomal Storage Disease (Glycogen Storage Disease Type IV): The body can’t process a sugar called glycogen correctly, causing damage to organs, particularly the liver and muscles.

Prospective Norwegian Forest cat owners should choose breeders who conduct both genetic and health screenings on their breeding cats. DNA tests can detect certain genetic mutations linked to these conditions, but it’s essential to ensure comprehensive testing. Always inquire about health tests and DNA screenings when considering a kitten from a breeder.

Norwegian Forest cat diet – a feast worthy of Valhalla

This cat with with roots deeply entwined in Norse mythology and Viking lore, isn’t just any ordinary feline. Such a legendary cat demands sustenance that matches her storied heritage. Regular cat provisions might leave her wanting, as this proud descendant of the Viking age yearns for a diet rich in meat, preferably hearty chunks reminiscent of the feasts in old Norse halls. Avoiding modern fillers like vegetable proteins and grains, Dynasty Emperor Ragout emerges as a prime choice. This offering, echoing the natural diets of the rugged Norse lands, boasts real meat chunks and even features whole chicken hearts in select variants — a true warrior’s feast.

Switching to a meal of such caliber, you’ll witness a transformation worthy of tales sung by skalds: your feline companion, reinvigorated, more spirited, and agile. For the Norwegian Forest cat, who walks the path of legends and Viking sagas, only the finest fare should grace her plate.

Norwegian Forest cat character – a perfect blend of calm and energy

This fuzzy feline is a remarkable blend of athleticism and tranquility. Her sturdy build equips her for activity and durability, allowing her to navigate any terrain with ease. She has a pronounced love for climbing, making cat trees a necessary addition to her environment. For her climbing instincts, cat trees should be ceiling-height, mimicking the tall trees she adores outdoors.

Families will find her to be a perfect companion, as she is even-tempered and interacts wonderfully with children and other animals. Despite her peaceful nature, it’s important not to mistake her for a lazy feline. She thrives on mental stimulation and enjoys engaging workouts to keep her agile and sharp. To cater to this need, potential owners should invest in activity toys and puzzles, ensuring she remains both physically active and mentally challenged.

In terms of communication, she’s generally not very vocal. However, when her stomach starts rumbling, be prepared to hear her gentle high-pitched demands for lunch. Overall, compared to some other breeds, her behavior strikes a moderate balance. She enjoys playful sessions, but won’t over-exert herself. Her affection towards her owner is genuine, though not overly clingy. In essence, the Norwegian Forest cat offers the best of both worlds – a calm companion who’s always up for a bit of action.3

Norwegian Forest cat history – echoes of Viking lore

The rich history of the Norwegian Forest Cat, affectionately called “Wegie”, roots itself in the rugged landscapes of Scandinavia. She has a storied presence in Scandinavian lore, stretching back to Viking times when people revered cats as invaluable pest controllers in their homesteads. These majestic felines have woven themselves into Norse legends for centuries, earning notable praise as the cherished animals of Freyja, the Norse goddess. Ancient visuals show her wagon, impressively pulled by two mighty “Skogkatts”. Norse myths from 800 C.E. to 1200 C.E. mention these longhaired cats, but the debate about their relationship to the Norwegian Forest Cats of today continues. Though there are speculations of the Norwegian Forest Cat being an ancestor of the Maine Coon, conclusive evidence remains elusive.4,5

The breed’s modern recognition didn’t come until the 1930s, with King Olaf V officially designating them as Norway’s national cat in 1938. However, post-World War II saw the breed teetering on the brink of extinction. It wasn’t until the 1970s that dedicated breeders orchestrated their resurgence. The Norwegian Forest Cat began its journey to America in 1980 and was officially recognized by the CFA in 1984, achieving Championship status by 1993. Despite their recent breed recognition, their unique characteristics, including a dense double coat tailored for bitter northern winters, echo the traits of cats that have graced Norwegian farms for eons. Echoing tales of old and captivating modern hearts, these cats radiate a mystical allure, a gentle nod to the whispers of their possible Viking legacy.4,5

Suitable for cat beginners with large apartment or house and full-time work

  • Experience level: Beginner
  • Housing: Large apartment/house
  • Activity level: Medium
  • Energy level: Medium
  • Trainability: Medium
  • Attachment: Medium
  • Friendliness: Medium
  • Playfulness: Medium
  • Talkativeness: Low
  • Intelligence: Medium

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