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Norwegian Forest Cat… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

If you’re a person who loves to own a BIG cat, especially longhaired cats, there’s a perfect chance that you’re going to love owning a Norwegian Forest Cat breed! But since they aren’t the only sizeable longhaired cat breed one can own, we wanted to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to hold a Norwegian Forest Cat so that if you ever get a chance to get your hands on one, you won’t be disappointed with your decision to adopt one six months from now.


It’s important to remember that while it is true that each cat is going to have their own “unique” personality, there are some assumptions that we can make about a “certain” cat breed that will give us a general idea about “how” your new kitten will behave. After all, there’s a reason why some folks love Maine Coon cats, while others love Persians, and even others won’t consider ever owning anything other than a Norwegian Forest!

Heck, there’s even a Norwegian Forest Cat Club out there! So, will a Norwegian Forest Cat be a good “fit” for you? Who knows? Let’s take a look and find out.

Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  Norway

Size:  Large

Weight:  13 to 22 pounds

Eyes:  Almond-shape eyes

Head shape:  Triangular

Life Span:  14 to 16 years

Nickname:  Wedgie

Origin of the Norwegian Forest Cat Breed

It shouldn’t come as a HUGE surprise to learn that the Norwegian Forest Cat breed, AKA the Skogkatt, originated out of Norway. However, you may be surprised to learn that this breed has been around in its current form for well over 1000 years! While no one is quite certain how the Norwegian Forest Cat came into existence in Norway, the most “accepted” theory is that it is most likely that they are descendants of longhaired cats from either Turkey or Russia, or they may have even been brought back to Norway as some Viking “booty” right around 1000 AD!

Then again…

The longhair gene, which the Norwegian Forest Cat is so famous for, could have simply resulted from some spontaneous mutation within the local native cats of that time, which proved to be quite helpful within the cold and harsh environment in Norway.

One thing for sure is that…

These “early” cats were undoubtedly very popular with the local people, so much so that they even became a part of Norse mythology myths where they are believed to be the “cats” responsible for pulling the chariot of the Norse goddess named Freya. A few of them may have got the “gig” to draw a god’s chariot; the vast majority had to go out and “earn” a living by proving themselves to be effective hunters and “mousers” for the local folks. And prove themselves they did.

In fact…

This cat probably could hunt and survive in the harsh Norway climate that allowed it to stay during the late 1930s and early 1940s when most of Europe was entrenched in WWII. You see, many domesticated animals suffered greatly during this time, and the Norwegian Forest Cat was no different. Fortunately, the breed was able to survive. However, it took several decades before this cat breed was able to “regain” its pre-war numbers, which is why it wasn’t “really” noticed by many of the organizations that “officially” recognized different cat breeds until the mid-1970s. And even then, it wasn’t until 1987 that the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) officially recognized the species.

Physical Characteristics

As mentioned, the Norwegian Forest Cat, or Wegie for short, is a giant cat. A massive cat with a thick double coat of fur, a water-resistant top coat, and a woolly undercoat is perfect for keeping them warm in even some of the harshest environments.

They’re also known for their highly bushy tails and “triangular” faces. If you trace a line from the tip of the chin to each ear, you’ll see that their face makes a perfect equilateral triangle. And if you find yourself examining a Norwegian Forest cat this closely, you’ll probably also notice that their hind legs tend to be a little longer than their forelegs, which come in handy if you like to jump and climb things! And guess what? That’s precisely what these guys want to do!

Personality and Temperament

Now, we feel obligated to let all our readers know that we here at IndulgeYourPet are a “bit” biased regarding cats with long fur. And while we love just about “any” cat, there’s just something about a cat with a long and fluffy coat that screams… HOLD ME! But we’ve got to tell you the Norwegian Forest Cat also has a great personality. Because while they love people, love being around people, and love kids, they aren’t a “needy” cat breed! They’re fine just “hanging out” in a room full of people without demanding to be the center of attention and not “freaking” out if someone new walks into the house.

 They sort of…

They have an “old soul” about them while at the same time being able to handle themselves outdoors and being an accomplished “urban hunter” if need be. This is why it’s difficult not to recommend this cat to just about anyone willing and able to overlook that their thick and luxurious coat will require quite a bit of “maintenance” to keep them looking their best. Now, when we say “maintenance, “we suggest that you’ll likely need to give your Norwegian a good brushing once or twice a week and perhaps a bit more if you live in a warm climate that may cause your Norwegian to shed quite a bit.

Potential Health Concerns

Unfortunately, the Norwegian Forest Cat breed has been known to be susceptible to several different hereditary health concerns that you should be aware of if you decide to purchase a Norwegian Forest kitten or adopt a Norwegian Forest rescue cat. At the same time, many of these conditions can be avoided, provided that you embrace your Norwegian from a reputable breeding program; you should still be aware of these conditions to know what to look out for and what questions to ask. Because Norwegian Forest Cats can suffer from the following:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • And glycogen storage disease (GSD)

Which is why…

If you are seriously considering adopting a Norwegian Forest Cat, we would recommend that you take a moment and consider possibly purchasing a pet insurance policy for your little guy as well. Because while your Norwegian kitten will probably grow up to live a long and healthy life, you never know. Accidents and sicknesses happen all the time, and having a pet insurance policy that would help you manage the cost of care is often a great thing to have in place.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be a “good” fit for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you know what they will and won’t cover and what it would cost for you to be able to purchase such a policy, how will you know if getting one isn’t “right” for you?

This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet have written our Best Pet Insurance Companies article so that you can get a “basic” understanding of how these policies work and see if it might not make sense to purchase one for your little guy!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Emily June 27, 2020, 10:58 am

    They are amazing cats

  • Marsha September 24, 2023, 5:03 am

    Adopted mine as a kitten. Never heard of this breed til I started looking up what her breed could be. Was told she could be a the Norwegian forest cat as she doesn’t have as long of ears or the square head of a main coon cat. She is a hunting nut and built for and Loves climbing trees and being up high!! Looks just like the pics of grey calico ones here!

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