Breed Info

                                                     

Norwegian Forest Cats are a natural breed that evolved in the cold and wet climate of Norway. Everything about them is designed by Mother Nature to help them survive in that environment. 

While their exact history is unknown, they may be descendants of shorthaired cats brought in from England by the Vikings and longhaired cats brought in by the Crusaders. Norse mythology speaks of a cat so huge that even the god Thor could not lift it from the ground. The goddess of Love and Fertility, Freya, had a carriage pulled by two large cats. National fairy tales by Asbjomsen and Moe mention Troll Cats who were huge and furry; later translations changed Troll into Forest Cat.

For many years, the Forest Cat was just a domestic barn cat like any other cat in Norway. People who knew about its existence called this lynx-like cat the “Skaukatt”. No one really cared about this longhaired stray cat except the farmer, who appreciated this big, beautiful cat for it's hunting abilities. Forest Cats can still be found on farms in Norway. In the mid-'30 s a few Norwegian cat fanciers got together to promote the Skogkatt, and a Wegie was exhibited at a show in Oslo in 1938, but World War II delayed the breed's progress in the cat fancy.

After the war, continued breeding between Forest Cat and the domestic shorthaired huskatt, the equivalent of our domestic feline, almost stopped the Wegie's progress cold. Fortunately, in the early '70s Carl-Fredrik Nordane, past president of the Norwegian Cat Association, began lobbying on the Wegie's behalf. He organized a meeting at which the first Norwegian Forest Cat breeding program was designed, and helped to charter the Norsk Skogkattring, a Wegie breed club that held its first meeting in February 1975.

The breeders followed strict rules. Only genuine Forest Cats were allowed in the breeding program. In order to control this, meetings were arranged and cat owners were invited to come and show their cat before the Breed Committee. Only cats recognized by the Committee could be registered as such.

Two and a half years later Nordane traveled to Paris, where he made a presentation about Forest Cats to the general assembly of Feline International Federation (FIFe) on November 25,1977. Norway's quarantine laws made it inconvenient for Nordane to bring live cats with him, but he showed the FIFe assembly slides of two Wegies with winning names: Truls and Pippi Skogpus. The cats must have had winning conformation, too, because FIFe voted to confer championship status on the breed. When Nordane returned to Oslo the following night, he was greeted with flags, music, and 40 cars' worth of NORAK (Norwegian Cat Fancy Council) members in a joyous parade.

The first breeding pair of Norwegian Forest Cats arrived in the United States on November 1, 1979. The first Norwegian litter born in this country arrived on March 21, 1981. In August 1984 The International Cat Association (TICA) became the first North American registry to grant championship status to the Norwegian Forest Cat, which is currently accepted for registration in six associations: ACA, ACFA, CFA, CFF, CROWN, and TICA.

A Norwegian Forest Cat is a big and strongly built cat with a medium length body and hind legs higher than the front legs. It is muscular and heavy boned. The males are large and imposing (averaging 12 to 16 lbs.) while the females are smaller. It should be noted that this breed is not fully mature until three to five years of age.

The head is triangular shaped with all three sides equal. The profile is long and straight with no break, stop, or bump, and the cat has a strong chin. The eyes are extremely expressive, large and almond shaped set at a slight angle with the outer corner slightly higher than the inner corner. All eye colors are accepted, including blue and odd-eyed whites. The ears are medium large, set on the head so that they follow the line of the triangle from the outer base of the ears down to the chin. The ears are well tufted and many of the cats have lynx-like tips. The tail is long and flowing and carried high. The Forest Cat is accepted in all colors and patterns except color-points.

Retention of body heat was essential to survival. Wegies adapted to their environment by developing a double coat. They have an undercoat that insulates them in sub zero temperatures. It is dense and woolly but soft to the touch. The outer guard hairs, or raincoat, keep the cat dry in rain and snow. In the spring as the weather gets warmer they shed much of their undercoat to accommodate the change in temperature.

Their ears have long tufts of fur for insulation. Their feet also have tufts of fur (we call them "toe feathers") sticking out between their toes for stability when walking on snow or climbing rocky hillsides -- little snow shoes provided by Mother Nature! Their back legs are longer than the front making them great at climbing and running through tall grass and snow. 

The Forest Cat is a social and adaptable cat. They love their people and want to be with them all the time -- not on your lap, usually, but nearby so as to supervise your every action. With a Forest Cat in the house you have to close the door to get any privacy. That is, if they will let you close the door! Wegies get along well with children and other animals and adapt well to new situations. They are a medium activity cat that loves to play and climb. A tall cat tree is a must and even then, they will seek out the highest spots in the house to explore. 

Beautiful, sturdy, friendly... who could resist? Once you meet your first Norwegian Forest Cat you'll fall in love just like we did!

 

 

Home • About ForestKatz • Breed Info • Our Wegies • The Rest of the Crew • Kittens • Show News • What's New • Links

 



 

Dreamwork DesignsArtwork of Greg Olsen

All pictures and stories are copyright Forestkatz Norwegian Forest Cats unless otherwise noted. Please do not use without permission. Artwork Copyright Greg Olsen, used with permission. Site copyright 2006 by LostWoods Design.