History & Overview
Norse legend describes this sturdy cat as mysterious and enchanting. Known in its native land as Norsk Skogskatt (Norwegian Forest Cat), its ancestors were Angora cats adopted by Viking sailors in the Near East to serve as rat-catchers, pets, and sometimes as ships’ mascots.
Norwegian Forest cat is a strong, robust breed that developed in the harsh-wintered areas of Northern Europe. Because of their hearty winter coat, they tend to change appearance quite drastically between seasons. The Wegie sports a silky, flowing coat that can come in a variety of colors. This, combined with their deep emerald color eyes makes them quite attractive. Norwegian Forest kittens are slow to develop and may not be mature until four years of age.
The Norwegian is affectionate, confident, calm, and has a faithful nature. It loves the outdoors and is an efficient hunter. The “Wegie,” as it is sometimes called, is hardy and self-sufficient and, if an outdoors cat, can endure temperatures of Norway’s harsh northern climate.
Norwegian Forest Cats love people, and they are aggressive when they seek your attention. They do not like to be left alone for any length of time. They are highly intelligent and can be very rewarding companions as they are extremely friendly and playful. They are not your prototype lap cats.
Wegies, as they are sometimes called, clean themselves pretty well but still need weekly brushing and combing. Start combing at an early age. Norwegian Forest Cats get along very well with other cats and some dogs. When well socialized, the Norwegian Forest cat is very friendly and affectionate and is generally good with kids.
They love to climb and frolic around the house. Their voice is a quiet meow. Wegies shed heavily in spring. A Norwegian forest Cat may look like a different cat after losing its long hair. Not to worry, it will grow back when the weather cools.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, powerfully built cat with long hair, a full ruff, tufted ears and a bushy tail. The front legs are slightly shorter than the hind legs. It is a giant among cats, similar in size to the Maine Coon. The long outer coat is glossy and water-resistant, while the thick undercoat adds protection against the cold. The winter coat is even thicker than the summer one. Inevitably, this means a heavy moult once a year.
Males are larger; females are considerably smaller. When showing these cats, the changing seasons must be taken into account. The length and thickness of the fur vary considerably depending on the temperature. In summer, the only really long fur that remains is on the tail and the tufts in the ears and between the toes.
The coat of the Norwegian Forest Cat is so dense that you need a generous amount of shampoo to make sure that the lather gets through the water-repellent guard hairs. The thicker hairs on the back make it almost waterproof. In winter, the undercoat is extremely thick.
In Norway, the most popular color form is the Black and White. Outside Norway, the Tabby is generally favored. Usually, all colors, except chocolate, lilac, and Siamese pointing are acceptable. Color combinations that have been bred so far include:
- Black Smoke and White
- Blue Tabby and White
- Blue Tortie and White
- Brown Tabby and White