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|
|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.
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!