Monday, May 4, 2015


This breed of cat is called a "natural" breed, which means it developed all by itself, without people's help.  Back in 1000 CE or so, the Vikings may have brought short-haired cats to Norway, along with some long-haired cats that came from modern Siberian and Turkish Angora breeds.

All these cats ended up with Norwegian farmers, where they worked hard to keep the mice from eating the grain.  In the meantime, they made lots of kittens and grew long, thick coats to keep warm in the cold Scandinavian winters.  The result was the Norsk Skogkatt, which means "Norwegian Forest Cat" in Norwegian.

Maine Coon (left) and Norwegian Forest Cat
Forest Cats are big, like Maine Coon Cats, but there are some differences between them.  The Forest Cat has large, almond-shaped eyes that are set at an angle in a triangular head.  And if you look at the cat from the side, you will see that the profile is straight.
The Forest Cat has a double coat that is insulated and waterproof.  The outer layer is made of long, coarse guard hairs, and those cover a dense undercoat.  In front, there is a full ruff, and in back, there are "feathers" on the legs and a bushy tail.  Norwegian Forest Cats can be any color, except for having colorpoints, like Siamese or Himalayans do.  They have long legs and a sturdy body.

Wikipedia, Uploaded by ToB

Coat care is not as demanding as it is for some other breeds.  Weekly combing is usually enough, except in spring and fall, when the cat is shedding.  Because they have strong claws, Forest Cats are very good at climbing.  Their life span is around 14 to 16 years.  Unfortunately, they sometimes inherit kidney and heart problems.
When Forest Cats are fully mature, at about age five, males will weigh from 12 to 16 pounds, and females weigh 9 to 12 pounds.  These cats are natural athletes with a lot of energy, so they like having fun toys , tall scratching posts, and perches with good views of the outside.  Also, they like to get plenty of attention from their people.

In general, members of the breed are friendly, sweet, and intelligent.  They adapt pretty quickly to new people and situations.  They are family-oriented and don't bond with just one person -- they love everybody in the family.

By the early 20th Century, the breed had almost died out because of interbreeding with domestic shorthairs in Norway.  But the Norwegian Forest Cat Club became interested in preserving the breed.  Their efforts were put on hold during World War II, but after the war, they were able to create an official breeding program.  Forest Cats were registered in Europe by the 1970s.  The breed is very popular currently in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and France.  The late King Olaf named them the official cat of Norway.

In 1979, the first pair of Forest Cats arrived in the U.S.  The American Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed in 1994.  The best way to get a Norwegian Forest Cat is to buy a kitten from a registered breeder.  This is sort of expensive, though, so be ready to pay between $550  and $800 for a kitten.

I did not ask Mom if we could have a Forest Cat because (1) we have way too many cats around here already, and (2) all of our cats except Latifa are bigger than I am, so I already feel both outnumbered and outweighed!

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