Cat Evolution

INSIGHTS  and Article provided by Andrew Guerra (catspurfection.com)

The Norwegian Forest Cat is the oldest cat breed on earth. In the old days, representatives of this breed lived among the dense forests and rocky mountains of Norway. The origin of this breed is shrouded in secrets and legends. In the myths and legends of the Northern peoples, there is a mention of huge long-haired cats harnessed to a chariot, which was ruled by Freyja, the goddess of love. Also, in Scandinavian myths, the Norwegian forest cat accompanied the god Thor.

The character traits and habits of Norwegian forest cats are similar to the manners of a lynx. Norwegian cats are characterized by fearlessness, dexterity, playful disposition, and hunting instinct. Today, the Norwegian cat is a domestic animal with extraordinary ingenuity. This breed is most widespread among the Northern European peoples because thanks to the thick coat, Norwegian forest cats can withstand severe frosts, snowfalls, and stormy winds.

Characteristics of the Norwegian Forest Cat

Here is a summary of the main characteristics of the Norwegian forest cat.

Affection Level: 5/5
Child-friendliness and dog-friendliness: 5/5
Energy Level: 3/5
Grooming: 2/5
Adaptability: 5/5
Intelligence: 4/5
Health issues: 3/5
Shedding Level: 3/5
Social needs: 5/5
Playfulness: 5/5
Exercise needs: 4/5

The History of the Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian forest cat is known as “skogkatt” in Norwegian, which means “forest cat”. 

There are many versions of the origin of the Norwegian forest cat, but not one of them has been proved.

  • Felinologists believe that this skogkatt originated from the Angora cats (they appeared in Norway in the middle of the 16th century).

  • Some scholars think that the Norweigan forest cat was brought in by Turkish traders.

Modern Norwegian cats were first introduced by Norwegian forest cat breeders in the 30s of the 20th century. Active breeding continued until World War II, after which the Norwegian forest cat was on the verge of extinction since breeders mated representatives of different breeds with each other. The Norwegian Forest Cat Club was created to help preserve the breed.

The Norwegian forest cat breed was officially registered in 1977. In 1979, Norwegian cats were imported to the United States. The International Cat Association recognized the breed in 1984, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association recognized the breed in 1993.

Today, the Norwegian forest cat is very popular all over the world.

Physical Characteristics

Wegies are long-haired, have an inverted triangular head, and almond-shaped eyes.

  • Norwegian Forest Cat Size and Appearance

How big are Norwegian forest cats? Norwegian forest cat breeds are impressive in size. The weight of males is 7 - 9 kg, the average weight of females is from 5 to 7 kg. However, due to their thick undercoat, cats look much larger. Here are the main physical characteristics that distinguish the Norwegian forrest cat:

  • The body is strong and flexible.

  • The forelimbs are much shorter than the hind limbs.

  • The feet are wide and round, with tufts of hair growing between the toes.

  • The tail is long, soft, and fluffy, the length of the tail is proportional to the length of the body. 

  • Their profile is straight.

  • On top of the head, there are large pointed ears with ear tufts. The inner part of the ear is also covered with long hair.

  • Cat whiskers are long, and they stick out in different directions.

  • The almond-shaped eyes are large and in perfect harmony with the shade of the coat. As a rule, the eyes are bright green and very expressive.

  • Norwegian Forest Cat Colors

Luxurious fur is one of the distinctive features of this breed. The outer layer of the coat is soft, long, and has a bright sheen, while the inner layer is very thick and water-resistant. The fur is very soft, and it abundantly covers the back, sides, and tail.

Norwegian forest cats moult twice a year, especially from March to April and from October to November. During this period, a feline must be combed every day. Besides, due to their high-shedding coat, the Norwegian cats aren’t hypoallergenic.

 The colours of Norwegian cats are diverse, and they encompass monochromatic shades (you can meet a black Norwegian forest cat, a white Norweigian forest cat, or a grey Norwegian forest cat). Besides, black smoke Norwegian forest cats, cats with a striped tabby or marble pattern, Norwegian forest cats orange, Calico Norwegian forest cats, red Norwegian forest cats, and grey and white cats are appreciated by many people. 

On top of that, most often the colour of the eyes is in perfect harmony with the shade of the coat. Their eyes are shades of green, gold, or copper, and sometimes their combination.

Norwegian Forest Cat Personality and Temperament 

What is the personality of a Norwegian forest cat? The Norweigen forest cat is distinguished by his calm, peaceful, balanced character and high intelligence. 

Are Norwegian Forest cats affectionate? Definitely yes. Some people say that male cats are more affectionate than female cats, and they are always willing to share a loving purr. However, they won’t appreciate obsessive hugs. Besides, Wegies won’t harass you for attention, and they don’t vocalize as often as lap cats.

Norwegian forest cats get along well with children and other pets, they are quite friendly, and they do not fight for attention. They are very playful and enjoy being outdoors. When it comes to exercise, they are neither super active nor lazy, but they need regular training. Norwegian forest cat owners should keep their furry friends interested by teaching them various tricks.

Norwegian cats reach full maturity only by the age of 5, and due to their cheerful disposition, they play with joy, especially with children. Besides, they also love toys: due to their forest roots, they love to climb and sit on cat trees or play puzzle games. Norwegian cats are very inquisitive, they easily adapt to new conditions, they are not afraid of strangers or loud sounds. 

Scandinavian cats are not vindictive. They are not capable of harming humans, even if they are greatly offended. Besides, these cats do not tend to show aggression, and they react calmly to stressful situations.

Though these cats are clever and friendly, we recommend choosing a new furry friend wisely. Before welcoming Norwegian forest cat kittens into your family, be sure to get to know the breeders, watch the Norwegian forest kittens’ parents at various times during the day to ensure that kittens have a good temperament.

What You Need To Know About Norwegian Forest Cat Health

Norwegian forest cats have good health: they perfectly tolerate weather disasters, rarely catch colds, and are not afraid of drafts and severe frosts. With proper care and a balanced diet, they live long. The average Norwegian forest cat lifespan is 15 - 18 years, sometimes it can reach up to 22 years. They are as long-lived as the Maine Coon Cats.

However, there are several diseases that pet owners should be aware of:

  • Glycogenesis is a disease that causes impaired glucose metabolism and liver damage. This defect manifests itself at an early age, and in most cases, it is fatal. Fortunately, this disease is quite rare.

  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency is a shortage of red blood cells that leads to anemia.

  • Hip dysplasia is a hereditary defect in the hip cavity. This disease can eventually lead to severe lameness.

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscle to thicken. This is a hereditary disorder that is more common in hybrids.

Do not forget about the obligatory annual vaccination of your pet and regular prevention of helminths. Besides, if your cat is neutered, pay special attention to his diet, as overeating can lead to obesity and heart failure.

When purchasing a kitten from a reliable cattery, be sure to learn about the pedigree of the kitten to find out if there are any hereditary diseases. The Norwegian forest cat price range is $800-$1500.

Grooming and Norwegian Forest Cat Care

You should take care of your Norway forest cat to make sure he is healthy and happy. Here are some applicable tips:

  • Norse cats need regular training to keep fit.

  • The cat’s coat is very thick and needs to be groomed regularly. Brush your cat at least several times a week with combs with long and thin teeth or combs with short and wide teeth.

  • Trim cat’s nails once a week, and clean the ears and eyes as needed. Use a special vet-approved solution.

  • It is necessary to maintain oral hygiene because Wegies are prone to periodontal disease.

  • Use coarse granules for the litter box, and use a rubberized litter mat to help your Wegie dry his paws after using the litter box.

  • The Norwegian cats eat both professional food and homemade food. Being descendants of hunters, they prefer a high-protein diet. If you prepare cat food yourself, then make sure that the diet is balanced, and your feline receives all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Fun Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the Norwegian forest cat breed:

  • The Norwegian forest cat is the national symbol of Norway.

  • In many superstitions, Wegies are associated with marriage.

  • The Norwegian is often depicted alongside the goddess of love Freyja.

  • They mature slowly.

Bottom Line

Thus, this clever, loving, gentle, and friendly cat will become a perfect family member who is always ready to share his love and affection with people.

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