Famous as skogkatt or skaukatt in its native Norway the Norwegian Forest Cat is a very giant, bushy haired cat whose name totally justifies its appearance. Despite having a deceptive outward appearance, this breed of cat is a kind of very homely animal that likes to be in the company of others, especially with humans. Though they are very friendly they always like to have a relationship in which they could live “on their own terms”. Sure, Forest Cats would love the cuddle and pampering, but THEY will decide when to get a cuddle or pampering.
The least of all things that these Forest cats surely insist is to be around the people they know and a place of their choice. Their choice of place could be a cozy corner, chair, your lap, your laptop or even your face and you just have to let them. A scratching place and a cat special tree, preferably a tall one, are priority requirements for any Norwegian Forest Cat home.
In human terms, you can conveniently say that Norwegian Forest cats are INTROVERTS. These are not very active breed. This breed whenever do some tiring work it will be followed by long naps. These are very intelligent cats who can quickly adapt to the changes. A frequently question for the breeders is, if these cats need to be outside. As with any cats, within the house is pretty appropriate and is absolutely the safest surroundings. Offering exciting toys, perches of outdoor perspectives, and most significantly, regular quality time spent will result in a well-adjusted cat.
Norwegian Forest Cat Breed History
The Norwegian Forest Cat comes from the native of Norway, with a history going back hundreds and maybe thousands of years. He features in many fairy tale stories and legends. One of a popular legend describes that six gigantic cats pull the Chariot of Norse goddess Freya. Where any how these cats came into existence is a long unsolved mystery.
Some people say that these cats may be the descendants of long haired cats from Turkey. The Scandinavian warriors who served the Byzantine Empire had brought the Turkey cats back from Byzantium. Others relate these cats to the Siberian cat from Russia. It is very much likely that the Norwegian Forest Cats were serving on the Viking Ship as the cats of the ship, also called mousers.
For centuries, the skogcatt – a Norwegian word that means a “forest cat” – has offered its services as a mouse catcher to many ships and farmers in return for a place to stay. In 1938, Norwegian Forest Cat Club (NFCC) came into existence in Oslo. Norwegian Forest Cat Club was the an organization totally devoted to the skogcatt breed. Due to the World War II any plans for developing the breed was interrupted. Fortunately, the breed survived the war, but it was still endangered until the 1970s. In 1977, the Norwegian Forest Cat was registered as a breed with Europe’s Federation Internationale Feline. Later it was registered in the United Kingdom by the Britain’s Norwegian Cat Club.
These are giant cats. They are well built and bigger in size than any average breed of cats. The adult males can weigh from 12 to 18 pounds or more, while the females weigh comparatively less. The adult females can weigh anything from 7 to 12 pounds. The overall growth of Wegie is very slow.
The Wegie is very friendly and fond of its family members. They like being around the known people as much as possible. If the family members are in same room, Wegie will be satisfied enough. But even if no one is home, they can stay just fine with their own company. The Wegie likes occasional petting, rubbing and cuddle. But if you do that too much these Forest cats can get real angry even with their closest family members. You only play with him when he wants to play with you – that’s the home rule.
Interestingly, this quiet and gentle breed is a very athletic in nature who just loves climbing (I already told you that special cat tree is a must). More often you can find this climber chilling at the highest point in the house that he can possibly climb. Owing to the wilderness of his heritage, this forest cat has got a waterproof coat, so they won’t think for a second before diving into any water body to go for a nice meal by fishing. If you’ve got Aquariums in house, beware of this sporty kid!!
This is a smart, intelligent and independent breed of cat who learns fast and has got very quick reflexes.
The pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have all the different kinds of health and fitness issues. Some of the health problems may also be a result of genetic problem. Norwegian Forest Cats are usually very strong, smart and healthy. The average life expectancy of this breed is of 14 to 16 years.
The major diseases that you can see in this breed are Glycogen Storage Disease IV, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Polycystic kidney disease and Retinal dysplasia.
– Glycogen Storage Disease IV is a rare hereditary problem that affects metabolism of glucose. This usually causes their death within a fews hours of birth while some lucky ones don’t show any signs until about 5 months. In order to detect if the cat is infected with this disease or not, some DNA tests can be conducted.
– Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease. This is inherited in some cat breeds like Maine Coon. in the case of Norwegian Forest Cat the heritability has not been proven.
– Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition that slowly harms the kidneys and end up destroying them completely. This disease in the Norwegian Forest Cat can be detected using ultrasound technique in the early stage of life as about 10 months of age.
– Retinal dysplasia is an eye problem which creates spots on the retina. Interestingly it does not worsen the vision of cat.
The Norwegian Forest Cat would need grooming at least twice. So you should comb it long fur preferably using a bristle brush or a firm comb. If you end up with the tangles in the fur, do not hurt the cat and try to gently sort the tangles. The natural waterproof coat prevents Wegie from getting wet even for a bath. You have to deal with that problem at least once a month.
Regular teeth brushing is a must and very important for the dental hygiene of the cat. You should use a clean and soft cloth to wipe the eyes daily. If possible, use a different cloth for each eye. Regularly check the ears and use a moist or damp cloth to clean the ears whenever need. Strictly avid using cotton bud for the cat, it can severely damage the internal organs of the ear.
Keep the litter box clean. Norwegian Forest cats, like any other cats, are very strict about their bathroom hygiene. They like a clean litter box whenever they are in need of one.
With long and furry body Norwegian Forest Cat can surely survive a cold climate. In spite of this, it is still better to keep them indoors, so as for protecting them diseases spread in the outdoors, being attacked by dogs, or any other such life threatening dangers.
Breed behaviour with Children And Other Pets
The friendly, gentle Norwegian Forest Cat is a best choice for families that consist of children. Dogs as the part of family are good as long as they are cat-friendly dogs. This might sound surprising but cat-friendly dogs do exist and I’ve personally met a few of those kind. The giant cat loves it when children play with him and treat him in very polite and friendly manner. Come on, who doesn’t like when others treat you in a friendly, polite manner, right?!! And our forest cat is no exception to that.
Norwegian Forest Cat also doesn’t mind living with other pet. But it is highly recommended to introduce the pets under friendly and controlled circumstances and make sure they get along together nicely.