The Norwegian Forest Cat, also known as Norsk skaukatt or Norsk skogskatt, is a domestic cat breed that originates from Northern Europe and enjoys spending time outdoors. The cat is adapted to a cold climate, and it has water-shedding, glossy, and long hair, as well as a woolly undercoat utilized for insulation. It is well known, and since there are no proper writings, the cat is assumed to have been brought by the Vikings to Norway around 1000 AD.
The cat was nearly becoming extinct around World War II, but thanks to the Norwegian Forest Cat Club that came along and established an official breeding program. In the 1970s, the cat was registered with European Fédération Internationale Féline as a breed. Currently, the breed is popular in different nations, including Norway, France, Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark
History of the Norwegian Forest Cat
It is believed that the Norwegian Forest Cat has been in existence for a long period as Norse mythology shows that cats with long hair existed. The period in which the tales of the cats were written varies from one author to the other. A large number of the Norse myths were passed orally and were recorded in the Edda poems between 800 C.E and 1200 C.E. According to the myths, the domestic cats have existed in Norway for thousands of years, and in case they might have been, the Forest Cats is debatable.
The cats arrived in the northern nations with the human settlers, crusaders, or traders, and probably they were initially shorthaired because it was the Romans who transported them from Egypt. The Northern Norway climate is severe because the sun does not set from 12th May to 1st August. The issue has made them develop dense, long, water-resistant coats, quick wits, and hardy constitutions for survival.
The first effort of ensuring that the Norwegian Forest Cat is acknowledged as a distinct breed commenced in the 1930s. Unfortunately, it was not possible until the 1970s, when it was almost becoming extinct, that the cat’s fans in Norway commenced preserving it.
Wegies (another name for the Norwegian Forest Cats), in 1980, arrived in the United States. TICA was the first to recognize the breed and even accepted the cat to participate in the 1984 championship competition. Even with the acceptance, it was in 1993 that the breed got the CFA championship.
The General Characteristics
The cats have a strong constitution. Also, their solid muscles and limbs make them great climbers and jumpers. The cats’ coats have two layers, including the inner layer (dense and woolly) and the outer layer (waterproof, shiny, and long).
Personality of the Norwegian Forest Cat
The cats love human beings, and they do feel well when in their company. In some cases, they do demand affection, and other times they seem quiet and independent. They are so used to the outdoor life and do hunt and roam outside; they are also known to be great climbers. Do you need a companion? Then you need one of them because they are playful and friendly but take longer to develop (they mature at around four years).
Appearance of Norwegian Forest Cat
The Wegies are large-bodied, muscular, and athletic cats. They weigh between 12 to 16 pounds, and the males are larger as compared to the females. They also have long coats which are water-resistant and shiny, and they have adapted them from the harsh Norwegian climate. Besides, they have a dense undercoat that plays a crucial role in keeping them warm, and this means that they need regular upkeep and brushing.
For the colors, the coat colors include golden, silver, cream, red, blue, black, and white. The fluffy coat of the cat may have tabby, calico, tortoiseshell, bicolor, and solid fur patterns. Moreover, the eyes have shades of copper, gold, and green, and in some cases, they have a combination of the three colors.
Common Health Problems of Norwegian Forest Cat
The cat is a natural breed, and as compared to the other breeds, it does not exhibit some health problems that are common among most breeds. A DNA test usually helps in knowing the diseases that a kitten might risk getting. Although the Norwegian Forest Cats are healthy, some of the conditions that they are prone to include Hip Dysplasia and Glycogen Storage Disease IV. Hip dysplasia is common among dogs, but Wegies have a risk of suffering from it, and the Glycogen Storage Disease IV is heritable and fatal.
Amazing Facts about the Norwegian Forest Cats
- There are high chances that it was a Viking cat
- They are not just pedestrian cats; they are mythical creatures
- The Wegies are warrior cats
- In Europe, they are one of the most popular breeds as opposed to the United States
- The cats are prone to health problems
- The Norwegian Forest Cats have inbuilt winter clothes (double-layered coat)
- The cats are also great tree climbers
- The cats are linked to the Maine coons as they resemble each other
- They are huge
- At one point, they nearly became extinct
- They mature slowly as compared to the other cats
- They are social
- The cats have the ability to change their voice
Diet and Nutrition of Norwegian Forest Cat
The cats are hunter’s descendants, and that is the reason they prefer high meat and high protein diet. They are usually picky about the foods which they do not like. One should avoid or reduce carbs since they should not eat them and do not process them.
Norwegian forest cats eat more as compared to the other cat breeds because of their large size. In a case where the cat is choosy or becomes a difficult eater, then it is important to try meat and foods rich in proteins. Besides, there are some specific foods meant for Norwegian forest cats.
Life expectancy of the Norwegian Forest Cat
Just like the other cat breeds, the Norwegian Forest Cats can live from 11 to 20 years, and it depends on the quality of life and overall health. Even though they are healthy, the muscular breed does suffer from obesity as well as other weight-associated problems such as joint issues and diabetes while aging. They may also suffer from kidney and heart disease; thus, regular vaccinations and check-ups are vital.