You often prefer to roam around a pet animal. Don’t you? Among numerous pet animals throughout the globe, have you visualized the fascinating pet animal known as the Norwegian forest cat, a breed cat of Norway? 

It is a very wonderful pet to have. If you are unaware of such amazing pet animals here, you could seek every information that you need to know. Come on. Let’s grab some knowledge on this adorable and gentle pet. 

The Norwegian forest cat is one of the domestic cat breeds, popular among pet owners and families because of its stunning physical appearance over the years.  

Table of Contents

History of Norwegian forest cat

Norwegian forest cat is not a hybrid breed
Norwegian forest cat is not a hybrid breed | Image Credit – Pixabay

The Norwegian forest cat, preferably the Skogkatt or Wegie in Norway, is one of the natural breed animals and not a hybrid of any wild cat species. 

Astoundingly, it is naturally developed without human aid and thrived over centuries in the Norwegian forest. It was initially introduced from Europe. 

The cats were transported from Egypt by the Romans. Over time it thrived and timely adapted to the northern climate of Norway. Thus, the name for the cat was induced as a Norwegian forest cat. 

It seems harsh for the cats since the sun never sets, dated May 12 to August 1, entailing long, dark winter nights. 

Over long years these cats proved adapted in Norway in such conditions. They gradually developed long, water-resistant coats, guard hairs, and quick wits. 

The Norwegian forest cat comprises an ancient breed in Norway recorded in over 500 years

They belong to the family Felidae. The domesticated breed of Norwegian forest cat was initiated in the 1930s. This breed remained on the brink of extinction after the II World War.  (Also Read, Extinction diaries: Norwegian Wolf )

The conservation activities were targeted and launched out with timing, intending to preserve this adorable breed after the 1970s. 

The conservation initiative successfully distributed this species in other nations such as the United States in 1980. In the year 1977, it was regenerated as a breed cat. 

The Norwegian forest cats were threatened by extinction approximately in the 1940s because of the crossbreeding with the local strays and house cats. 

To date, the cat is one of the top 10 most favorite cats in Norway. It has gained popularity in the United States, Finland, Sweden, and France. 

Habitat/Distribution of Norwegian forest cat

The Norwegian forest cat name is enough to suggest that it thrives in Norway. Despite its presence, the other crucial distribution of the Norwegian forest cat hails the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, etc. 

It is a popular breed from the domestic cat covering distribution countries such as Sweden, Denmark, the northern part of Europe, Iceland, Norway, and many more.

It was too famous among the farmers of Norway who were well known for its hunting capabilities. Still, we could seek the presence of wild cats in Norway. 

The longhaired cats which shed the water have higher adaptation to the colder regions, fundamentally the northern climate. 

Physical appearances

Concerning the physical appearance of this lovely breed cat, it is well balanced, possessing a short neck. The size of the male is larger (13 to 22 pounds or over) compared to that of females (9 to 12 pounds). 

Dealing with the profile, it seems rounded with furnished ears and holds the almond eyes. The eye color of this breed cat is green, green, gold, gold, or may even copper. The tail is long with the probable presence of the guard hairs. 

The maturity stage of this breed of cat runs gradually, and until the five years of age, they are not fully grown. Their life span ranges from 14 to 16 years. There is variation in the weatherproof coat of the cat. 

The color of the coat is presented in a wide array of colors except for chocolate, lavender, and the pattern likely of Siamese. 

The massive amount of fur has made this breed always an attractive pet. The fur of Norwegian forest cats has always made them appear powerful and majestic. 

Because of their body’s water-resistant and waterproof double coats protect them from the snow and the wind, making them adapt to the colder environment. 

Feeding and nutrition of Norwegian forest cat

The forest cat could prefer high meat and protein food in most cases. In fact, because of their larger body size, they may consume more food than the average.

1. Preferred diet 

Norwegian forest cat food
Norwegian forest cat food | Image Credit – Pxfuel

You should be very conscious while feeding the Norwegian forest cat because slight alterations in their feeding and diet behavior could undoubtedly alter their health. 

When there is a Norwegian forest cat from a breeder, most people prefer to feed the cat such as cheese, canned tuna, mashed potatoes, cooked eggs, chicken, and many more. 

2. Restricted diet

Don't feed your Norweign forest cat an avacado
Don’t feed your Norwegian forest cat an Avocado | Image Credit – Pixabay

Several food items need to be restricted to the Norwegian forest cat. For instance: avocado, garlic, coconut, yeast, raw meat, citrus, chocolates, alcohol, grapes, onions, nuts, and raw eggs. 

Apart from these, tomatoes, mushrooms, dairy products, raisins, and fruit seeds too are imperfect for their feeding habits. 

The breed Norwegian forest cat consumes more snack food than necessary. It could ultimately result in the cat’s overweight. It is suggested to feed a measured food amount for the forest cat twice per day. 

You could ask the veterinarian or the cat breeder to gain the right advice so that the Norwegian forest cat could consume healthy food and thrive a healthy lifestyle. 

It would be best to feed the forest cat according to their activities, size, age, and health condition. 

Since the cat’s stomach is approximately the ping pong ball size, it is highly recommended to feed a cat a small amount of nutritious food; instead of all the foods at once. 

The food selection for the cat should be carried out so that their digestive system is well fitted and adapted to the foods given to the Norwegian forest cat. 

Notably, consumption of raw foods by a cat should be a minimal amount. Since raw food may contain Salmonella or Escherichia coli, it could cause massive infections in cats. 

A diet varies for the kitten and the adult Norwegian forest cats. It is recommended not to give raw foods until they reach at least 20 weeks old because their immune system cannot handle all those bacteria. 

Because of their larger size, they are prone to severe health problems. A balanced diet is crucial for maintaining their health and fitness in such circumstances. 

Social behavior 

Generally, Norwegian forest cats are very friendly to humans. They do engage in every family aspect. Naturally, they are very curious and playful. Most of the children enjoy spending quality time with these breed cats. 

Thus, it seems a companion to children at maximum. The cats are glad to adjust with other cats and even the dogs. They are brilliant in their daily activities and deserve adequate care and affection. They feel cheerful when permitted to climb, pierce and scratch.  

The undercoat requires brushing twice a week, intended to prevent the mats from its body. 

Because of its warm temperament over the years it has been of massive attraction to families and pet owners. 

They suit best when they are permitted a longer time to play, explore, enjoy, and hunt since they are considered excellent climbers. 

Significantly, despite taking some time to trust their owners, once habituated, they are very loyal and hail loving compassion.

Diseases concerning the Norwegian forest cat

Diseases concerning the Norwegian forest cat | Video Credit – The Cagdot

The study conducted by Andrea Jenssen targeting the breeding traits and hereditary disorders of the Norwegian forest cat during breeding development reveals that genetically they possess hereditary diseases. 

They are detected to be suffering from numerous diseases such as hip dysplasia, PK deficiency, Retinal dysplasia, Glycogen Storage Disease IV, Diabetes mellitus, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and much more. 

Among all these diseases mentioned earlier, the cat suffering from Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is very common when one yells about its heart disease. 

Resulting Glycogen Storage diseases Type IV as a cause of lacking glycogen branching enzyme in the Norwegian forest cat they suffer from muscle trembling, spasming, and difficulty in walking. It may eventually result in the cat’s death when the disease becomes more critical. 

Besides these, the malformation of the eye’s retina in the breed pet could cause blind spots in its vision. Most troublingly, it may be unnoticeable to their owners and other animals. 

The primary cause of this disease to this cat entails viral infection contracted at their birth. It’s very pitiful to reveal that there is no treatment for such a breath-taking disease. 

Fascinating traits of the Norwegian forest cat

1. National Cat of Norway

Norwegian Forest Cat | Video Credit – Facts about Cats

Norway’s late king Olaf V designated and crowned the Norwegian forest cat as the national cat. It is one of the most respectful fascinating breeds on the planet.

2. Mysterious origin

The Norwegian forest cats are still a mystery to this day. There is a comprehensive school of thought regarding the origin of Norwegian forest cats. People relate it to the creature associated with England’s black and white short-haired cats. 

Even people believe that they are the ancestors originating in the mountain. In the past, the Vikings used these cats as mousers to ward off the mice in their ships. This creature was believed to bring peace. 

To sum up, they are bred with barn cats and feral felines. Over the centuries, they have turned up their appearance which means that we are seeking them as Norwegian forest cats. 

Since they are the natural cat breed, they evolved by natural selection, preferably not by humans.  

3. Water repellant

Because of thick double-layered coats, they have a high ability to repel the water. Thanks to thick fur coats, which have aided them massively in adapting to the colder environment. 

The presence of tufted ears and toes have contributed significantly in serving as natural earmuffs and snowshoes. In the past, this cat evolved to thrive in the wilderness.

4. Giant breed

Despite several breeds established so far to this day, the Norwegian forest cat is inferred as one of the giant breeds among other domestic cats. As compared to the average house cat, their size is relatively colossal. 

5. Unusual descending tree trunks

Norwegian forest cats love to climb
Norwegian forest cats love to climb | Image Credit – Freepik

It is astounding to depict that they could undoubtedly descend the tree trunks headfirst because of their back legs, thick claws, and heavy muscle. 

It could spare most of its time in the trees, visualizing the forest below, watching from the higher elevation. 

You could provide them an indoor cat tree which permits them to get exercise and love themselves to do up-down in the tree.

6. Climbing mountain

The Norwegian forest cat climbs the mountain in one jump compared to other breeds. Because of their strong claws, they could easily climb the tree instead of either cat breed.

7. Less vocal

Norwegian forest cats are not as vocal as we believe. Upon disliking the cat, it may be vocal but could be the perfect match for you once you get habituated to this creature. 

The crucial cause behind their less vocalization is they prefer to remain inside (indoor loving pet) despite their curiosity.

The Norwegian forest cat is very patient and does not stress heavily. They welcome the strangers and remain quiet, making the kids more friendly. 

8. Higher durability

Since it passed the natural selection well, it is inferred as the most durable lovely breed that could easily adjust to the winter. 

They quickly adapt to the varying seasons and the mountain terrains. The physical body parts have aided them in resisting the changing environment so far. 

9. Best hunters

Norwegian forest cat hunting its prey
Norwegian forest cat hunting its prey | Image Credit – Imago

When it comes in the name of hunting, the Norwegian forest cat is very superior. It could hunt smaller pets such as rodents and birds indoors. 

Most people prefer to keep this fantastic pet in their home since it serves as the best housing for the owner’s safety. It is a faithful breed pet that does rear and care of the house.

10. Norwegian forest cat and Maine Coon

How To Identify Norwegian forest cat and Miane Coon | Video Credit – Facts about Cats

Most people often confuse the Norwegian forest cat with the Maine Coon. The significant difference between these two species is the head shape. The head of the forest cat is triangular while rounded for Maine Coon.

Organizations targeting Norwegian forest cat conservation

There is the establishment of a wide array of breeding clubs and organizations which have targeted their action to protect and preserve this adorable creature. These include the NFC Fanciers’ Association, Norsk Skogkatt Ring, NFCC, Norsk Skogkatt Society, the Viking Cat club, etc. 

Wrap up

You may have achieved some information regarding the Norwegian forest cat. Isn’t it majestic? The cuteness has overloaded this animal. 

So, can’t it attract each one of you? Of course. Who is not ready to have it as the best breed pet in their home? 

You could consider it your best pet since they are very adorable and friendly. Those who want to have it in their home could contact the breeders or veterinarians and enjoy being with the breed cat, the Norwegian forest cat, always a stunning creature.

(Last Updated on April 15, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Kalpana Ghimire holds a post-graduate degree in Environmental Science from Nepal. She possesses numerous research experiences working in water pollution, community forestry, environment conservation status, and wildlife ecology. She was an internee in the Department of Environment (EIA monitoring and auditing section) under the Government of Nepal. Kalpana Ghimire is an avid traveler, an enthusiastic wildlife researcher, and has a huge passion for working in the environment sector. She loves far traveling to the natural areas, conducting field wildlife research and reading the novels.