Norwegian forest cat


Norwegian Forest Cat 101 – Everything you need to know

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a truly remarkable breed known for its captivating appearance and enchanting personality. These magnificent cats come from the beautiful forests of Norway and have a long history. Nowadays they are extremely popular as pets and companions. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of the Norwegian Forest Cat, exploring their history, appearance, personality, care, and overall health.

Breed Overview:

Personality: Adventurous, gentle, sociable, friendly, easygoing, patient

Weight: Up to 18 pounds

Coat lenght: Water-resistant long hair with a dense undercoat

Coat color and patterns: Various colors and patterns, including tabby, tortoiseshell, and solid; disqualifying colors are chocolate, lavender/lilac, or the Himalayan pattern

Lifespan: up to 16 years

History of the breed

Norwegian Forest Cat history can be traced back to ancient times. These beautiful felines are thought to originate from short-haired European cats brought to Norway by ancient Romans. They adapted well to the harsh Scandinavian climate and became excellent hunters. Over time, they developed unique physical characteristics, such as a thick water-repellent coat and tufted ears, to withstand the challenging weather conditions.

However, as the 20th century approached, the Norwegian forest cat faced a critical challenge. Indiscriminate cross-breeding with other cat types puts this unique breed at risk of extinction. Nevertheless, dedicated breed enthusiasts in Norway persevered and embarked on a mission to save and restore the breed’s population through dedicated breeding programs.

After many decades of determined efforts, their hard work paid off. In 1938, Norway’s King Olav V recognized the remarkable qualities of the Norwegian Forest Cat and proudly designated it as the national cat breed of Norway. This royal acknowledgment showcased the breed’s significance and helped raise awareness about its distinctive characteristics.

The journey towards recognition continued, with The International Cat Association (TICA) acknowledging the Norwegian Forest Cat’s exceptional traits by granting it championship status in 1984. This prestigious recognition further solidified the breed’s international reputation.

After this success, the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) awarded the Norwegian Forest Cat full championship status in 1993. This recognition from one of the most prominent cat registries further cemented the breed’s position as a treasured and esteemed feline companion.

Through the unwavering dedication of breed fanciers and the support of prestigious organizations, the Norwegian Forest Cat not only survived a near-extinction but flourished into a celebrated and cherished breed worldwide.


The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, muscular breed with a well-balanced body. These felines have a strong bone structure and a long, bushy tail that adds to their overall elegance. One of their most distinguishing features is their dense double coat, which consists of a soft undercoat and a long, water-resistant outer coat. Their fur comes in various colors and patterns, including tabby, tortoiseshell, and solid.

Their expressive almond-shaped eyes, which can be green, gold, or copper, are set slightly obliquely and enhance their striking appearance. Norwegian forest cats have tufted ears, which further contribute to their unique charm. These cats possess large, well-furred paws and hind legs that are slightly longer than their front legs, enabling them to navigate through snowy terrains easily.



Pet friendly:   






Norwegian forest cats are friendly and social. They are affectionate and form strong bonds with their human companions. While they may be initially reserved around strangers, they gradually warm up to them and enjoy interactive play sessions. These cats are intelligent and curious, often exploring their surroundings with great enthusiasm.


Despite their wild appearance, Norwegian forest cats are gentle and patient, making them excellent choices for families with children or other pets.

They are not overly demanding and appreciate their independence while still enjoying the company of their loved ones. With their calm and balanced temperament, Norwegian forest cats can adapt well to different living situations, including apartments, as long as they have ample opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation.


To keep your Norwegian forest cat healthy and happy, proper care is essential. Their dense coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and keep it in pristine condition. Weekly brushing is recommended, while during the shedding season, more frequent brushing may be necessary. Additionally, attention should be given to their ears, teeth, and nails to ensure optimal hygiene.

Maintaining good dental hygiene is crucial for Norwegian Forest Cats’ long-term health. Regular brushing of their teeth and providing dental treats can help prevent dental diseases, such as periodontal issues and plaque buildup.

Norwegian forest cats are active and agile creatures, so providing them with exercise opportunities is crucial. They enjoy climbing, jumping, and exploring, so a sturdy cat tree or scratching post can satisfy their natural instincts. Interactive toys and puzzle feeders can keep them mentally stimulated, preventing boredom and behavioral issues.


Generally, Norwegian forest cats are healthy. However, like any breed, they can be prone to specific health conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups and screenings are crucial to detect potential issues early on.

  • One concern that may affect Norwegian forest cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart condition. Monitoring their heart health through regular check-ups can help identify any signs of this condition and ensure appropriate management.
  • Although hip dysplasia is more commonly associated with dogs, it can also impact certain larger and heavier cat breeds like the Norwegian Forest Cat. This condition involves hip joint looseness, which can cause discomfort and mobility problems for affected cats.
  • Glycogen storage disease Type IV (GSD IV) is a genetic disorder resulting from a defective enzyme. Cats with GSD IV may experience organ dysfunction, muscle atrophy, and a shortened lifespan. Breeders with a good reputation often offer a health guarantee to ensure that their kittens are healthy and free of hereditary conditions.
  • It’s important to note that obesity is another health risk that Norwegian forest cats can face. Due to their fondness for food, it’s crucial to provide them with a balanced diet and closely monitor their weight to prevent obesity. Feeding them high-quality cat food that suits their age and activity level is vital for maintaining their overall well-being and preventing obesity-related health issues.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, the Norwegian Forest Cat is an enchanting breed with a captivating appearance and an endearing personality. Their origins as skilled hunters in Norwegian forests shaped their physical characteristics and independent nature. Their friendly and sociable disposition makes them wonderful companions for individuals and families alike.

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