The Norwegian forest cat is known for its large, fluffy appearance and friendly demeanor. However, there is more to these cats than their appearance suggests. The origins of these cats are shrouded in mystery, with some theories suggesting that they are descendants of black-and-white short-haired cats from Great Britain brought by Vikings as mousers, while others believe they are descendants of long-haired cats brought to Scandinavia by the Crusaders. These cats evolved over time and eventually became the large, dense-coated cats we see today.
Norwegian forest cats are so impressive that they have become part of Nordic mythology as the “skogkatt,” a legendary mountain-dwelling fairy cat with remarkable climbing abilities. Some believe that these legends inspired their evolution, as their size, coats, and tree-climbing ability are reminiscent of the skogkatt. In Norway, these cats are highly valued and even designated as the national cat by King Olaf V.
Unfortunately, at one point, Norwegian forest cats were on the brink of extinction. However, breeders took steps to preserve the breed, and now they can be found all around the world. Who knows, maybe one day America will have its own national feline?
The Norwegian Forest cat was highly valued by farmers and sailors for their hunting abilities, but it wasn’t until enthusiasts recognized them as a breed in the 1930s. Unfortunately, during World War II, interest in the breed declined, and crossbreeding almost led to their extinction. However, an official breeding program helped preserve the lineage of these fluffy felines for future generations. In 1977, the Fédération Internationale Féline officially recognized the Norwegian Forest cat as a breed, and two years later, the first breeding pair arrived in America. The Cat Fanciers’ Association accepted the breed in 1987. These cats are incredibly popular in Europe, especially Scandinavia, where they’re affectionately called “Wegies.” They’re also popular in France. Norwegian Forest cats are large, with males typically weighing between 13 and 22 pounds. Their thick fur keeps them warm during winter, making them perfect for cold climates.
The Norwegian forest cat is a unique breed that comes in a variety of colors and patterns, but its most distinguishable feature is its long, waterproof double coat. This breed survived the harsh Scandinavian winters thanks to its tufted ears and toes, which act as natural earmuffs and boots. Although they are tough, they are susceptible to certain health conditions such as hereditary heart problems, hip dysplasia, and glycogen storage disease type IV. Interestingly, genetic testing has revealed that the Maine coon is related to the Norwegian forest cat and an extinct domestic breed. To tell them apart, look at their facial features; Norwegian forest cats have triangular faces while Maine coons have wedge-shaped heads with prominent cheekbones. Additionally, Norwegian forest cats are great climbers and can even run down trees headfirst due to their sturdy claws.