Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cat Breed

Size
Large, with males weighing 10 to 16 pounds and females weighing 8 to 12 pounds
Coat
Long, dense, glossy, smooth
Color
White, black, blue, red, cream and silver, plus various patterns and shadings

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a gentle giant. They’re large and athletic, so you may find them sitting atop the highest point in your home, and they have no qualms about jumping down. Norwegian Forest Cats are fond of their family but are reserved with visitors.

As a laid-back and independent breed, they don’t demand constant attention. Norwegian Forest Cats are content to simply sit in the same room with their humans and will happily entertain themselves while alone. These felines are moderately active, enjoying spurts of activity followed by long cat naps, and are happy to play in water. They get along with other dogs and cats, as well as mild-mannered children.

Did you know?

Lifespan

14 to 16 years

Colors

The Norwegian Forest Cat’s coat comes in an array of different colors and patterns, except for color point (think Siamese).  

Characteristics

Their most distinguishing characteristic is their long, thick coat and large size. The Norwegian Forest Cat’s head is shaped like an inverted triangle, topped with heavily tufted medium-to-large ears.

Large, almond-shaped eyes vary in color from stunning green to gold and copper. They have a large chest, muscular thighs, round paws, and a long, bushy tail.

History

The Norwegian Forest Cat hails from Norway and originated hundreds (or even thousands) of years ago. There’s speculation about their ancestry. They may have descended from long-haired cats from Turkey, brought back to Norway by Scandinavian warriors serving the Byzantine Empire. Or, they may be related to the Siberian cat from Russia.

The large feline was first exhibited at an Oslo cat show in 1938, but World War II interrupted plans to develop the breed further. Norwegian Forest Cats were finally registered as a breed in 1977 with Europe’s Federation Internationale Feline. They were exported to the U.S. in 1979 where their popularity quickly grew. In 1987, the breed was presented to the Cat Fanciers Association and was accepted for full champion status in 1993.

Facts

  • The breed appears in a Norwegian fairy tale, which states the Norse goddess Freya’s chariot was pulled by these six giant cats.
  • In Norway, they’re called “skogcatts”, which translates to “forest cats”.
  • The Norwegian Forest Cat has been nicknamed “Wegie”.
  •  King Olaf V designated the breed the official cat of Norway.
Caring for Norwegian Forest Cats

Shedding

Norwegian Forest Cats shed heavily a couple times per year, so regular brushing during this time is essential to remove loose fur. During non-shedding periods, brush their long coat one to two times per week, gently combing out tangles. Baths are rarely necessary, and their nearly waterproof coat makes it almost impossible.

Health

Norwegian Forest Cats may be at risk for one or more of the following diseases:

  • Glycogen storage disease IV
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Retinal dysplasia

Choosing the Best Food for Norwegian Forest Cats

Your Wegie needs a complete and balanced cat food formulated for her size and activity levels such as Pro Plan Savor or Pro Plan True Nature. Additionally, because of her long coat, she may need a food specially formulated to help control hairballs, like Pro Plan Focus Hairball Management or Purina ONE Hairball Formula, particularly during the shedding season.

Choosing the Best Food for Norwegian Forest Kittens

Like many other large cat breeds, Norwegian Forest Cats do not fully mature until they reach 5 years of age. Although your Norwegian Forest kitten will transition to adult cat food before this, she needs a kitten food with all the nutrients she’ll need for proper growth and development, such as Purina Kitten Chow Nurture, Pro Plan Focus Kitten Chicken & Rice Formula or Purina ONE Healthy Kitten.