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Monday, April 30, 2018

Norwegian Forest Cat

This badass little kitty is as tough as nails. Any cat hearty enough to travel the high seas with the Vikings must be exceptionally energetic and fiercely loyal.

About the Norwegian Forest Cat

Known as the Skogkatt in its native Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, semi-longhaired cat whose rugged appearance fits its name. Despite the hardy facade, this breed is very much a homebody that enjoys the company of other pets and particularly their human companions. Their relationship with you can best be described as “on their own terms.” Yes, Forest Cats can be lap cats, but THEY will decide when to get on or off that lap. At a minimum, Forest Cats insist on being near their people in a place of their choosing: chair, bed, or desktop. A scratching post and a cat tree, preferably tall, are musts for the Norwegian Forest Cat home. These are moderatley active cats; there will be bursts of energy followed by long naps. Sensitive yet social, you will find them to be intelligent cats that adapt readily to change. Breeders are often asked if these cats need to be outside. As with all cats, inside the home is quite suitable and is certainly the safest environment. Providing interesting toys, perches with outside views, and most importantly, regular one-on-one time will result in a well-adjusted cat.


These are big cats. Males can weigh 13 to 22 pounds or more, with females somewhat smaller. The Wegie matures slowly and isn’t full grown until 5 years of age.


The gentle and friendly Norwegian Forest Cat—Wegie, for short—is fond of family members but does not demand constant attention and petting. He is satisfied to be in the same room with people and will entertain himself if no one is home. Although he appreciates human company, he can be a bit reserved with visitors. Even with family, he’s not much of a lap cat, but a nice scritch between the ears or beneath the chin is always welcome, and he’ll usually reciprocate with a nice head butt or cheek rub. He communicates with classic Scandinavian restraint. His quiet voice is employed only when he needs something—dinner on time, perhaps—and rises only if he is ignored.
Not surprisingly, this large and athletic cat is a climber. You will often find him at the highest point he can reach in the home, and unlike some cats, he doesn’t have any qualms about descending trees or other heights headfirst. Thanks to his heritage as a wilderness and farm cat, not to mention his waterproof coat, the Wegie thinks nothing of fishing in a body of water for a nice meal. Aquarium and koi pond denizens, beware! While he loves the outdoors, he is content to live quietly in a home.
This is a smart, independent cat who learns quickly and has an alert nature. He likes to play and thrives with a busy family that loves him.

Norwegian Forest Cat Size: How Big is it?

This is a large breed of kitty. Once they reach adult hood, they are significantly bigger than most other breed of cats. In fact, pictures of owners holding up their lanky and large Norwegian Forest Cats have gone viral, because of how large the kitty looks. Males of the species weigh as much as sixteen pounds, and females top out around 12 pounds, still hefty for a feline. This may be why this special breed of cat has been featured for centuries in Norwegian folklore and mythology, it is striking, and large!

Norwegian Forest Cat Size Comparison

Almost all domestic cat breeds are going to be smaller than the Norwegian Forest Cat, with the exception of breeds such as Maine Coon. There are many dog breeds of comparable size though, such as a Boston Terrier, a Dachshund, or a Pug.

Norwegian forest cat kittens

Norwegian Forest Cat kittens are not larger than average kittens, even though they will grow to be larger than the average cat. The kittens are known to be very playful, and Norwegian Forest Cat kittens mature more slowly than most other breeds, growing at a slower pace than most kitties, and staying more playful than longer.

How long do they live?

Norwegian Forest Cats live approximately fifteen years. These kitties, like most unique breeds, have their own unique health issues. For example, both kidney disease and heart disease have been noticed more prevalently in Norwegian Forest Cats than in other breeds of cats. Additionally, inbreeding, which can happen with cats who are bred, can lead to something called Glycogen Branching Enzyme, which can cause many issues for the breed. Due to this, it is recommended that owners do DNA testing on their animals before breeding them, to ensure that this won’t be a problem that any resulting kittens will have. Due to the size, this breed also has some unique body difficulties. They can have joint issues throughout their bodies that is caused from their bones carrying around their large frame. They also are known to sometimes have a problem called hip dysplasia, which is another hereditary disease, and is specifically a disease of the hip joint.

How is it like to live with one?

These cats make excellent pets for the right person or family. Not only are they gorgeous, but they are gentle cats with kind and loving personalities. In fact, these kitties might want so much of your attention, that you don’t have enough time to give them all the care they would like! They not only want you to hang out with them and pet them or love on them, but because of their long and silky coats, they need a home where their owner will have time to comb their hair at least twice a week, and be able to keep up with their heavy shedding.

These cats also love to be up high, and so would love it if your home provided spaces for them to jump up high onto shelves, or on top of other structures, and perch over the family keeping watch. Part of this is due to their independence, because as much as they crave your love and attention, they also have a fierce independence streak and strong personality. These cats want to do what they want, when they want to do it, so it is good to keep them entertained, and give them a lot of options around the house to keep their attention, such as toys and cat trees to climb on.

Where Can You Find a Norwegian Forest Cat?

The best two ways to find a Norwegian Forest Cat are to use either a breeder, or a rescue.


Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Norwegian Forest Cats are generally healthy, with a long life span of 14 to 16 years. The following diseases have been seen in the breed:

Glycogen Storage Disease IV, a rare heritable condition that affects metabolism of glucose. Most kittens with the disease are stillborn or die within a few hours of birth, but occasionally a kitten will not show signs until about 5 months of age and usually die within a few months. A DNA test is available that can identify affected and carrier cats.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is inherited in some cat breeds such as the Maine Coon. Heritability has not been proven in the Norwegian Forest Cat.

Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition that progressively destroys the kidneys. No DNA test for the disease is available for Norwegian Forest Cats, but the disease can be detected through ultrasound as early ass 10 months of age.

Retinal dysplasia, an eye defect that causes spots on the retina but does not worsen the cat’s vision.


Brush or comb the Norwegian Forest Cat’s long coat once or twice a week, using a bristle brush, wire slicker brush or stainless steel comb. If you run across tangles, work them out gently so you don’t hurt the cat. A bath is rarely necessary, which is a good thing. With the Wegie’s practically waterproof coat, it can be very difficult to get him wet enough for a bath.
Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Wipe the corners of the eyes daily with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.
Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Like all cats, Wegies are very particular about bathroom hygiene. A clean litter box will also help to keep their fur clean.
He is certainly built to survive a cold climate, but it’s a good idea to keep a Norwegian Forest Cat as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Wegies who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such an unusual cat without paying for it. If possible, build your Wegie a large outdoor enclosure where he can enjoy the elements safely.

Coat Color And Grooming

The Norwegian Forest Cat is notable for his long, thick, beautiful coat and large size. The head has an inverted triangle shape, pointed at the chin and then widening on each side up toward the medium to large ears, which are heavily tufted. Large, almond-shaped eyes are green, gold or copper, although white cats may have blue eyes or odd eyes (one blue eye and one eye of another color). The moderately long body looks powerful, with its broad chest and heavily muscled thighs. Large round paws have tufts of fur between the toes. The bushy tail is as long as the body.
The weatherproof double coat varies in length. The “bib” begins with a short collar at the neck, “mutton chops” on the side and a full frontal ruff. Full britches—long hair on the thighs—cover the hind legs. On the body the coat is long and flowing, but it changes with the seasons. A Wegie in summer looks relatively naked compared to his full winter glory. The coat comes in almost every color and pattern, with or without white, with the exceptions of chocolate, lavender or lilac, or a pointed pattern like that of the Siamese.

Children And Other Pets

The friendly, laidback Norwegian Forest Cat  is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect, and he doesn’t mind playing dress-up or going for a ride in a baby buggy. He is happy to live with other cats and cat-friendly dogs, too, thanks to his amiable disposition. Introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.

Also read the Domestic Cat