With its fierce looks, friendly nature, and mythical history, the Norwegian Forest Cat has become a popular pet far beyond the borders of Norway. Here you will learn everything about the history, husbandry, and care of the Scandinavian cat breed.
History and Origin of the Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat is one of the few cat breeds that has evolved naturally without human intervention. The exact origin is largely unclear. Some believe the breed evolved from crossing Persian cats brought by seafarers with domestic cats. Naturally occurring mutations in feral domestic cats may also have played a role. Through natural selection, the cats have adapted perfectly to the harsh climatic conditions of freezing cold winters. The cats lived like normal domestic cats as mouse hunters on Norwegian farms.
Purposeful breeding of the Norwegian Forest cat only began in the 1930s when the breed was first shown at shows. Due to the Second World War, breeding was temporarily stopped and only started again in the early 1970s. In 1972, the Norwegians even named the forest cat the Norwegian national cat. The rat breed has been officially recognized by the Fédération International Feline since 1977 and is now even known worldwide.
Essence and Character
The Norwegian Forest Cat is an extremely affectionate and cuddly breed of cat that forms a strong bond with its human. The forest cats, therefore, do not like to be alone for long and are very sociable. Their high level of intelligence combined with their playful nature makes the Norwegians the perfect family cat. The Norwegian Forest Cat is generally friendly towards children and dogs and is not aggressive. Nevertheless, there are some tips to get dogs and cats used to each other. Although the forest cats are calm and even-tempered, it never gets boring with her. They like to be petted and love it when you play with them. Lots of exercises and mental challenges are an absolute must.
The Appearance of the Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian wildcat’s semi-long-haired coat, impressive size, and fierce exterior are more reminiscent of a wild cat than a domestic cat. The elongated body with long hind legs is ideal for jumping. The dense coat with a fine undercoat and long, slightly greasy top coat is ideal for bad weather. The guard hair is water-repellent and the undercoat provides optimal protection against cold temperatures of up to -30°C. Tufts of hair between the pads of the paws, the so-called “snowshoes”, prevent them from sinking into the snow. Norwegian Forest cats are bred in almost all colors with and without white, the only exceptions being lilac and chocolate, and cinnamon and fawn from the standard. As a special feature of the breed, there are the colors amber and light amber.
attitude and care
If you are sure that a Norwegian is a right breed for you, you should look for a reputable breeder. Here you pay a higher price of 550 to 1000 euros for a kitten, but you are guaranteed a purebred and healthy kitten. You should refrain from supposed bargain offers, as the cats often come from poor backgrounds. If you don’t want to spend so much money, you should get a cat from the animal shelter that is looking for help or buy a mixed breed.
Outdoor cat or indoor cat?
If the Norwegian Forest Cat has never had any contact with the outside world, it is a frugal and undemanding indoor cat. However, it is advisable to keep several cats, otherwise, they constantly demand the attention of their humans. Since it is very intelligent and likes to observe, the forest cat can quickly learn new skills. So don’t be surprised if she can suddenly open doors or turn on the faucet. On the whole, the Norwegian Forest Cat doesn’t need an outdoor area to feel completely comfortable and is also satisfied with small things. Nevertheless, she is not averse to occasional excursions into nature and, as the name suggests, feels particularly at home in the forest. So if you have the opportunity to let your cat outside safely, you should do so. In summary, the Norwegian Forest Cat is very adaptable when given enough exercise and variety.