The Norwegian forest cat is known for being a large, fluffy, and friendly breed. While their appearance and personality are impressive, their origins are still a mystery. Some believe that their ancestors were black-and-white short-haired cats from Great Britain, brought by Vikings as mousers on their ships. Others speculate that they might have descended from long-haired cats brought to Scandinavia by the Crusaders. Regardless, their early relatives roamed Norway’s forests, eventually evolving into the large, dense-coated cats we know today.
These felines are so remarkable that they have even earned a place in Nordic mythology as the “skogkatt,” a magical mountain-dwelling fairy cat with exceptional climbing abilities on sheer rock faces. It is believed that these legends inspired the breed’s development, as their size, coats, and tree-climbing prowess resemble those of the skogkatt.
Norwegian forest cats are highly valued in their home country, where King Olaf V of Norway designated them the national cat. Although these cats were nearly extinct at one point, breeders worked hard to ensure their preservation, and now they thrive worldwide. Who knows, maybe someday America will have its own national feline?
The Norwegian Forest cat was highly valued by farmers and sailors for their exceptional hunting abilities. However, the breed was not officially recognized until the 1930s when enthusiasts began to recognize its unique traits. During World War II, interest in the breed declined, and as a result, crossbreeding almost led to its extinction. Fortunately, an official breeding program helped preserve the lineage of these fluffy felines. In 1977, the Norwegian Forest cat was officially recognized as a breed by the Fédération Internationale Féline, and two years later, the first breeding pair arrived in America. The Cat Fanciers’ Association accepted the breed in 1987. These cats are popular in Europe, especially Scandinavia, where they’re affectionately called “Wegies.” They’re also widely popular in France. Norwegian Forest cats are massive, with males weighing between 13 and 22 pounds. They have thick fur that keeps them warm during winter, making them perfect for cold climates.
The Norwegian forest cat is a breed that comes in a variety of colors and patterns, but it is best known for its long, water-resistant double coat. This breed has survived harsh Scandinavian winters thanks to its tufted ears and toes, which act as natural earmuffs and boots. Although they are a hardy breed, they are susceptible to specific health issues such as hereditary heart problems, hip dysplasia, and glycogen storage disease type IV. Interestingly, Norwegian forest cats are related to Maine coons, and genetic testing reveals that the latter breed descended from both the former and an extinct domestic breed. To distinguish between the two, observe their facial features; Norwegian forest cats have triangle-shaped faces while Maine coons have wedge-shaped heads with prominent cheekbones. Lastly, Norwegian forest cats are excellent climbers due to their sturdy claws and can even run headfirst down trees.