Opinion of this Norwegian Forest Cat breeder

melly1320

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Hello! (I may or may not have registered for this forum to get advice from people with experience)
I love the temperament of Norwegian forest cats, as well as their build and long fur, but it is proving to be very difficult actually finding a reputable cattery in the US who breeds them.
Skogberg Cattery - Norwegian Forest Kittens for Sale, USA
This breeder seems to be reputable, however they seem to only have recently started breeding in the past few years (not necessarily a bad thing I don't think?) and they are asking for deposits through venmo, zelle, or wire transfer, which I'm not sure is safe. They are registered with the TICA but sometimes that doesn't mean much as ethical breeders don't need to be registered to be reputable and just because a cattery is registered doesn't mean they can automatically be trusted.
Thank you!
 

Maurey

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Overall, not seeing any particularly big red flags, though I find it a bit questionable that certain things aren’t easy to find or absent on the site, though I’m sure it’s something you could easily find out if you contact the breeder (and perhaps point out that it would be good to have these things in easy access).

Namely — they don’t indicate what age kittens are separated from their mothers to go to their new home — it seems like it’s at 10 weeks based on some things that are mentioned on this page Skogberg Cattery - 2021
If that’s indeed the case, it’s early, imo — kittens, especially of large breeds, are best off staying with mom till they’re 12, ideally 14 weeks. Both for the socialisation, and for vaccination. Plus, that way they can be neutered before being rehomed, which heavily reduces the chance of kittens being used for BYB. There’s also no real indication of whether, and with what brands they’ll be vaccinated (I assume that’s somehow bundled with the health guarantee, but it’s always good to have details), and whether they’ll be neutered before leaving. I always find it a bit off when breeders don’t keep kittens long enough to neuter. Both indicative of the fact that they’re not kept long enough with their mother, and that they might not care enough about where their kittens are going.

Secondly, I find it odd that they don’t specify what food and litter they use (at least that I could find). Using the same litter is beneficial to avoid accidents as the kitten adapts, and, while they send you some of the food kittens are on, what kind of food they feed the kittens allows you to know the quality of what they’re eating, and whether you’ll have to go through the sometimes arduous process of getting the kitten to eat wet food.

EDIT: Actually, looking at their previous litters — I’m slightly concerned with how often their Queens (specifically Birna— she had a litter in October last year, and again in February, which, imo, is a little close together) are having kittens. Some cats do call and lose condition to the point where it maybe acceptable to breed them so close together (assuming the Queen is still Neutered after an acceptable number of litters), but ideally, a cat shouldn’t really be having more than one, maybe 2 litters in a year. It’s something to ask the breeder, imo. If she’s given at least 6 months from her last litter to her next, all is well.
 
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posiepurrs

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Secondly, I find it odd that they don’t specify what food and litter they use (at least that I could find)
As for brands of food or vaccines I never posted that on my website. I always had the papers from the vet for the vaccines and a weeks worth of food and litter for the the new pet parent.
Some breeders may choose to breed a girl quickly if she is cycling heavily since there is an increased risk of pyometra.
That said, I asked a friend who breeds NFCs and is on the breed council (CFA, but she shows TICA too) and she had never heard of them, but not totally surprising since they are in the west and we are in the northeast. However, and take this with a grain of salt since I am not really familiar with the breed standard (I am a Persian person), but these cats do not look like the NFCs I see at the shows. The face is pinched and chinless on one of the sires. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your new cat when you get one.
 

Maurey

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However, and take this with a grain of salt since I am not really familiar with the breed standard (I am a Persian person), but these cats do not look like the NFCs I see at the shows. The face is pinched and chinless on one of the sires.
As a Maine Coon person, I'm biased (some NFC heads look like poor conformation American line MC heads to me), but they do look like pretty typical NFCs, to me. I'm almost certain it's the angle that makes the sire's head look like it has an odd shape.

I found a few other photos of what I'm fairly sure is the stud, which shows his head shape off better. Also, I think stud is fairly young on his official stud photo, which can also contribute. He has a fairly good head profile, and eyes and ears look about right according to what I know of the standard. It does seem odd that they comment on having grand champions in the lineage, and not that their cats are champions, themselves, now that I think about it, though. None of the breeders I know would ever breed a cat that hasn't proven itself to be worthy of at least the championship title. Perhaps they do mention it somewhere, and I just missed it, I'm not sure.

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For what it's worth, I found the page of a very famous NFC queen (she did amazingly in the show world), who was also the grandmother of one of the future queens of the cattery S*NC's | WW’08’10’11’16 SW NW PR EC S*JUST CATNAPS ALMA SNOWFLAKE DM DSM DVM (NFO n 09 24) neutered female She also has a few awkward photos where her head looks a bit pinched, and her chin looks small.

Ultimately, how close a kitten is to ideal breed standard shouldn't matter to OP (unless they're planning on showing), so it shouldn't matter a huge amount, if the breeder is doing everything responsibly.

EDIT: Was curious, looked up the TICA standard. Only 4 points each are attributed to the chin and muzzle, with every other facial feature scoring 8 points -- could be a matter of relatively small imperfections on low-scowing aspects of his head structure not mattering, if his other features would be worth passing on through good matchups with queens. My retired MCstud has near-perfect conformation, other than his too-short tail, so he was actively used in studwork in attempt to get kittens with his wonderful conformation and disposition, but with a tail length more appropriate to the breed.
The breeder did mention he has very large paws -- perhaps she wanted to produce more kittens with the trait.

Head Shape: Triangular, where all sides are equally long when measured from the outer base of the ears to the chin and between the outer base of the ears; good height when seen in profile; forehead is sloped back.
Muzzle: Following the line of the triangular head, with no evidence of pinch or snippiness.

PENALIZE: Too small and finely built cats. Round or square head; profile with a break (stop). Round eyes. Ears too small or narrow at the base. Legs that are short, thin - not in proportion to the body, or cowhocked. Short tail. Cobby or extremely long body. Dry or silky texture on coat.
 
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melly1320

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thank you for all of the responses!
I did email them about their health guarantee and papers so I’m hoping they’ll specify. I do think they send the kittens to their homes a bit early, I’m not sure how much of a concern that was. I’m not really familiar with cattery practices for deposits, is it common to find them asking for payments via Venmo or another similar service?
I don’t care very much about if the kitten is show quality or not, but I also found it a bit odd that they mentioned the cats come from show lines but nothing about whether they actually showed their kittens/cats or not. I’m also really not sure how common that is.
Does anyone know of any other reputable ethical nfc breeders that are still active?
 

Willowy

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I'm extremely suspicious of anyone (in the US anuway; idk how often they're used in other countries) who asks for money by wire transfer.
 
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melly1320

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I'm extremely suspicious of anyone (in the US anuway; idk how often they're used in other countries) who asks for money by wire transfer.
Yeah I was too...
I know other catteries will take checks or PayPal payments which I am much more comfortable with. I’m not sure how common it is to find breeders who only take payments from apps like venmo or wire transfer.
 

Maurey

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If you're able to travel, or willing to not necessarily pick up the kitten yourself, this breeder looks to be legitimate. Has some champion cats in their breeding program (presumably the rest are not because of covid restirctions, as most, if not all their retired cats were champions), and they keep kittens until they're at least 13 weeks, which is very hard to find with breeders in the states, sadly. Norwegian Forest Cats and Kittens from Finnishline NY

They have all the required testing (to my knowledge), vaccinate, have a neutering agreement, and the queens and studs are routinely screened for HCM.
 

lutece

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I don't see obvious red flags on the Skogberg web site, although I agree there is a lot of information missing on the web site (such as age of kittens at sale, what is included in kitten price, etc) that is odd to see omitted from such a big fancy web site. You would want to discuss things like this with the breeder.

It does make me feel suspicious when a breeder has a fancy web site like this that appears to be carefully crafted for maximum SEO, but no titles on the adult cats. With certain breeds (such as NFC, Maine Coons, and Siberian), we often see breeders that import breeding stock from Europe (which is actually relatively easy to do), and then build very fancy web sites to attract pet buyers, marketing their kittens as super high quality European lines and implying that this is superior to American bred lines. The breeding cats themselves aren't shown, and the impressive European titles tend to be buried farther back in the pedigree. Often a breeder like this charges a lot more for their pet kittens than a typical show-oriented hobby breeder. So I would watch out for that.
 
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melly1320

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Once again thank you for the responses and advice. I will definitely check out that suggested linked breeder and send them an email with some questions.
 

Maurey

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Often a breeder like this charges a lot more for their pet kittens than a typical show-oriented hobby breeder.
I had noticed that -- looking at other, reputable breeders that both have actual champions in their breeding programs, and are more established charge significantly less for pet class kittens.

melly1320 melly1320 , this breeder may also be worth a look MiniAmericanEskimos , though the website is very 90s, and hard to navigate. Most crucial info is there, and they seem to keep kittens 10 to 14 weeks at least, though it's not stated super clearly anywhere that I could find. May be of benefit that the kittens grow up with puppies, as well, if you have a dog, or are considering one in future.
 

posiepurrs

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Like I said, I don’t have experience with NFCs. Even if the OP isn’t interested in a show kitten, I would still suggest buying from a cattery with a proven track record in the ring so you know you are not dealing with a BYB. Championship doesn’t mean a heck of a lot anymore. Look for grands and above in the recent lineage. I do believe the older kittens fare better than ones who are taken away younger than 12-14 weeks, no matter what the breed. For the record I do know there is only 1 NFC breedert in New England who is not a BYB. If you are interested in the name just message me.
 

Maurey

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I would still suggest buying from a cattery with a proven track record in the ring so you know you are not dealing with a BYB. Championship doesn’t mean a heck of a lot anymore.
As the late breeder of my cats would say, a Championship just proves the cat is worth breeding.
 

Maurey

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I find it strange that the cats are allowed outside time. That's a good way to get parasites. I have never heard of a breeder letting their cats outside.
Letting cats outside in a cat-proofed area is common for people who are able to do so. That's what worming and flea medication is for. Plenty of reputable breeders local to me have set up their gardens in the suburbs to be completely safe for their cats, as they have the opportunity to do so. It's nice enrichment when you have a large amount of cats, especially, and they'll spend the night indoors.
Some breeders with the means will separate their studs to live at their home in the suburbs (with family), while the queens live in their apartment in the city. Living with active studs in an apartment isn't great, especially if they spray.
 
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melly1320

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I contacted both of your suggested catteries, and one replied and said their wait list was several years long. I'm not sure how common that is but I'm not sure if I want to wait 2+ years for a kitten. NFCs are so much harder to find than I anticipated haha. I found several catteries in different countries too which doesn't usually end up happening.
 

Maurey

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Wait lists are very common, which I have mixed feelings about. I bought Jumanji based on her wonderful temperament that was perfect for me — I would never have chosen a cream solid otherwise; Juma is gorgeous, and I’ll never regret it, but doesn’t change the fact that I prefer black-based cats!
Waiting lists for other breeders make a lot of sense to me, as a breeding program needs very good conformation kittens in a specific sex, and sometimes in specific colours. For owners, it seems less ideal, when many people, ime, would much rather meet a kitten before choosing it by temperament. It’s a bit of a necessary evil when demand of responsibly bred kittens outstrips the supply.
Maine Coon are extremely popular where I am, so while the demand is high, so is the supply. As such, none of the reputable breeders I’ve personally interacted with have waitlists. The only local MC breeder I know that has one I very highly suspect is a BYB, but people go crazy for her kittens, both locally and overseas, sadly. That said, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a breeder that has a lot of interest and a small cattery to have a waitlist — just a bit unavoidable.
If you would ever consider taking on a retired queen or stud (retired queens especially are typically young, often as young as 3 or 4), you may have an easier time. Breeders tend to be really happy to find homes for their neuters, as they tend to be harder to place than kittens.
 

lutece

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For owners, it seems less ideal, when many people, ime, would much rather meet a kitten before choosing it by temperament.
Buyers do often have a desire to meet kittens and choose them by their behavior at the time of the buyer's visit. This is a very brief slice of time for the buyer to interact with the kitten, and I don't believe it is such a good way to evaluate a young kitten's temperament. As a breeder, I'm familiar with my own bloodlines' developmental patterns, and spend time with the kittens every day from birth, so I have more information and background knowledge to help me evaluate how a kitten's temperament will develop later on.
 

Maurey

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Buyers do often have a desire to meet kittens and choose them by their behavior at the time of the buyer's visit. This is a very brief slice of time for the buyer to interact with the kitten, and I don't believe it is such a good way to evaluate a young kitten's temperament. As a breeder, I'm familiar with my own bloodlines' developmental patterns, and spend time with the kittens every day from birth, so I have more information and background knowledge to help me evaluate how a kitten's temperament will develop later on.
Very true! I suppose my experience was just different to the average, so I'm biased! The breeder I got my cats from kept kittens till they were 3.5 to 4 months, on average (depending on the kitten, as all kittens without breeding rights went to homes already neutered), and she had a number of teenage cats aged 7 to 9 months, which were the ones I was there to see. With kittens much younger than that, I agree, it's fairly unpredictable, especially if you only get to interact with them for an hour or so.
 
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