Norwegian Forest cats

History

Embarking on research of the origins of the Norwegian Forest Cat you find yourself reading history which at moments is hard to believe.
It is said that the Norwegian Vikings took their cats with them as they explored far off lands and it is believed that this is the reason that there are a large number of half wild cats with semi long fur in Normandy and even places as distant as the USA. Cats from the Norwegian forest are read about in Nordic Mythology. It was these legendary cats that pulled the goddess of love’s cart as she travelled the world in search of her lost Prince. Then there was Thor, the god of thunder that during his wanderings had to pass a test of strength which was to lift a very large cat.

In 1559 a Danish priest by the name of Peter Clausson Friis lived in Norway and he was very interested in nature. He divided the Norwegian lynxes into three categories: the wolf lynx, the fox lynx and the cat lynx. Later it became clear that all the lynxes were part of the same species. The cat Peter Clausson Friis named the cat lynx was probably the true Norwegian Forest cat. It is highly likely that this was the case as even today there are many similarities between the lynx and the Norwegian Forest Cat. In 1943 a Norwegian book was written by Reidar and Lund about breeding Norwegian forest cats. It was only however in 1973 that the first proper breeding program began. Pippa and Truls were the first pair of cats registered in the Norwegian breeding program. In 1975 the first club “Norsk Skogkatt Ring” was founded with the aims of selecting and protecting the race. The fact was that with the urbanisation of the country the cats faced extinction due to cross breeding with other types of cat particularly with short fur breeds. The Norwegian breeding program was designed to help save one of the most fascinating and natural felines. At last in 1977 the Norwegian Forest Cat was officially recognised by FIFE.

Pan's Polaris

Pan's Truls

 

Physical Characteristics

The Build: The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large and robust cat, it’s body is long and tall and it has a supple elegance, whilst being very muscular. The cats’ paws are big and round which enable them to walk safely on the snow. Their hind legs are longer than their front legs which enable them to descend from trees with agility and speed. They also have very powerful claws for a stronger hold in the trees and on the rocks. It is the only cat that descends from the trees head first. The Norwegian Forest cat ranges from 3,5kg to 5kg for females and between 5kg and 7kg for males. There have been some examples that have reached 9kg!!!
The Coat: The fur of the Norwegian Forest cat has a thick underlying layer which helps to keep the body warm and gives the skin of the cat a thick, waxy layer which helps to protect the cat from freezing temperatures and rain. If the coat gets wet it takes just a few minutes to dry without the water ever reaching the skin of the cat. With this protection the ‘Skogkatt’ can live in the forest tranquilly even with the freezing temperatures. The cats have a thick and long collar of fur around their necks which give them a wild look along with a long and fabulous tail which in winter can reach a diameter of 20cm. During summer the cats’ begin to lose their thick coat until all that is left is their thick bushy tail. This remains the only thing that distinguishes them from a normal short haired cat. An unusual thing about the cats’ semi-long coat is that it does not get knotty so there is no great need to frequently brush the cat, apart from in the summer season when brushing helps remove the dead hair.
The Head: The Norwegian Forest Cat has a head shaped like an equilateral triangle. Their ears are big and wide at the bottom with tufts of fur like a lynx. Their eyes are large and slightly oblique and they are a colour that co-ordinates well with their coat and their proud and intense look. The Norwegian Forest Cats’ nose is long and straight and starts from the cats’ forehead and goes to the cats’ chin. They have a strong chin with full cheeks.


Character and behaviour

The Norwegian Forest cat is a cat that gets very attached to humans. They love having company and are sad to be alone. If you are not at home much we recommend a companion for the cat, naturally another Norwegian Forest cat. They have a very sweet character despite their appearance and their wild origins and are kind hearted so ideal for being in the company of children or other cats and dogs.
The cats are clever and learn easily. They become very attached to their owner. They love to spend time outside, and will wander off on long walks, but also are adaptable to live happily in an apartment as long as there are toys and a robust place for sharpening their claws. The kittens are very playful and this continues into adulthood. Balls, feathers and toy mice are all irresistible toys.
The females make great mothers and have an average of 4 to 5 kittens per litter. Normally the births are trouble free. During a females first experience of birth we recommend the presence of the cats owner to help her through the birth so she feels safe and loved. A female can remain pregnant from 10 months although it is preferable to wait until at least a year. The gestation period is an average of seventy days. The kittens are normally weaned at 4 weeks but stay with the breeder and their mother until they are three months old. This period with the mother proves to be invaluable as the kittens learn to clean themselves, to hunt, to use the cat box and also to develop a good character. The cats slowly grow throughout their first year and complete their growth at around 4 years old.

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