This breed originated as a natural outdoor working cat found typically on Norwegian farms. Through centuries, this cat has evolved and adapted to the harsh climate in Norway by sporting a double- thick long-haired coat. In the winter time the Norwegian Forest Cat develops a dense undercoat to further protect it from the cold. The long overcoat (guard-hair) is water repellant. Their paws are large covered with thick fur that also grows underneath and between the paw pads. They also have a heavy ruff around the neck and chest to protect against the weather. This ruff can be found around the base of the tail and the backs of the legs. The tail is long and bushy. On a true Norwegian Forest Cat the tail will be as long as the body.
They have a heavy bone structure, broad chest and a muscular body. Their hind legs are higher than the front legs. This allows them to be adroit climbers of any surface. Unlike the other cats, when a Norwegian Forest Cat climbs down a tree, he does so head first.
If you spot a Norwegian Forest Cat out in the woods, you could mistake it for a Lynx. The NFC has the same wild look in the patterned coat and the tufted ears. But although the NFC is a large cat, it is much smaller than a Lynx. An adult male weighs 14-16 pounds, and the females weigh 8 -12 pounds. The cat is not fully grown and matured until he is 3-4 years old.
The head is triangular, all sides equally long. The profile is straight without a break in the line. Their eyes are large, slightly oblique, and oval- almond shaped with an alert expression. Long hair can be seen sprouting out of their ears.
In the exhibitors world, all colors are allowed (with any amount of white), except pointed patterns. No chocolate, lilac, cinnamon and fawn (considered the X-colors) are acknowledged. Colors and patterns are not evaluated at these breed shows.
The coat does not need much grooming. The hardy breed is not afflicted with any major health concerns.
The Norwegian Forest Cat can live happily as an indoor or outdoor cat. He is adventurous and playful. He is gentle and loves to be around people. They bond with one person usually above any others in the family. They are talkative and interactive and will let you know when they want something.
The myths and folklore about the Norwegian Forest Cat are numerous, going back to the Norse god of love – Freya, who had a chariot drawn by two huge grey cats.
This cat has “always” been in the world, but it wasn’t until 1977 that it was finally recognized as a distinct pedigree cat. There had been attempts in the 1930s to ensure the future of the Norwegian Forest Cat, and a few cats did appear at cat shows. But then came World War II and the cat was forgotten for quite a while. In the 1970s a special breed program was instigated. Now when the breed has been recognized and is well- established, not only in Norway and the rest of Scandinavia, but all over the world, novices are no longer allowed in the breeding program.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a very popular cat in Scandinavia, and at cat shows as many as 200 Norwegian Forest Cats can be seen.
Written by Anne Gro Bergerson
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