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Norwegian Forest Cat


Section 2 – SEMI LONGHAIR – Group 2

Referred to as the “Skogkatt”, the Norwegian Forest Cat has been included in Viking legend and mythology. With a wild and rugged look, these stunning cats are not just pleasing to the eye but they are a delight to have around too.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a healthy, robust natural breed that developed over hundreds of years of natural selection in a harsh climate. They are a slow-maturing breed that may take up to five years to reach full maturity. The Norwegian Forest Cat (or “Wegie”) is an interactive, playful, loving member of any household.


The Norwegian Forest Cat’s strong, sturdy body and thick coat are testaments to their evolution over the centuries in Scandinavia. They travelled with the Vikings, keeping their ships and villages free of vermin. By the 20th century the Norwegian Forest Cat was becoming a rarity in its native land and was at risk of extinction. Consequently, plans were started to ensure the future of the national cat in the 1930s but WWII interrupted this work. Finally, in the 1970s, the Norwegians put a special breeding programme in place to protect the breed – and the breed received royal recognition when the late King Olaf designated them the official cat of Norway.

Appearance and Colours

The Norwegian Forest Cat’s body is large, muscular and substantial. Its strength and agility make it a natural hunter able to climb any surface. The water-resistant coat with a dense undercoat developed to help the cat survive in the harsh Scandinavian climate. During the cooler months, the ruff is full and the dense woolly undercoat thickens to protect the cat from the cold. In the summer, the coat will be shorter although it will still have a water repellent texture. The tail is long, full and flowing. The Norwegian Forest Cat’s head is the shape of an equilateral triangle, the profile of the nose long and straight. Eyes are large, almond-shaped, set at an oblique angle and very expressive. Ears are large, wide at the base and arched forward. To the inexperienced eye, the Norwegian Forest Cat may resemble other semi-longhaired breeds such as the Maine Coon. In fact, there is considerable difference. Without a doubt, the expression of the Norwegian Forest Cat is striking and distinctive among pedigree cats. The equilateral triangle-shaped head contributes to the unique appearance of this breed. Viewed from the side, the Forest Cat has a straight profile i.e. straight from the brow ridge to the tip of the nose. Heavily furnished ears that fit into the triangle finish the look. Variety is the spice of life and the Norwegian Forest Cat comes in a rainbow of colours for you to choose from. All colours are accepted except chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, fawn and Siamese type patterns.


The gentle and friendly Wegie is fond of family members but does not demand constant attention and petting.  He is satisfied to be in the same room with people and will entertain himself if no one is home.   Although he appreciates human company, he can be a bit reserved with visitors; even with family he is not much of a lap cat but a nice tickle between the ears or beneath the chin is always welcome – and he will usually reciprocate with a nice head butt or cheek rub.  He communicates with classic Scandinavian restraint, with his quiet voice only being employed when he needs something – usually food!  Not surprisingly, this large and athletic cat is a climber.  You will often find him at the highest point he can reach in the home and, unlike some cats, he does not have any qualms about descending trees or other heights headfirst.  Thanks to his heritage as a wilderness and farm cat, not to mention his waterproof coat, the Wegie thinks nothing of fishing for a nice meal.  While he loves the outdoors, he is content to live quietly in a home. Intelligent and resourceful, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a mild-mannered breed that adapts easily to its environment.  They are very interactive cats who enjoy being part of their family environment and love to play with any one who enjoys a game! They have marvellous personalities and are such good fun.  They are very friendly cats and live very happily with humans and other animals.


The fully mature (approximately age five) Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, sturdy cat, well-muscled with significant boning. Expect a male to weigh from 12 to 16 pounds (or more); fully grown females will weigh from 9 to 12 pounds. This is a fairly low-maintenance breed, requiring minimal grooming. While the coat is full and dense in the winter months, it is also a coat that does not require the daily care of some other longhaired or semi-longhaired breeds. It is a good idea though to give a little extra combing in the spring when it is changing its heavy winter coat for its summer one. The lifespan is usually 14 to 16 years


Norwegian Forest Cats are generally healthy.