Personality: 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!
Traits: 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, semi-long 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. 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 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. Its minimal care requirements make this the ideal longhair for the busy active family! 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. Variety is the spice of life-and the Norwegian Forest Cat comes in a rainbow of colors for you to choose from.
Although the Norwegian Forest Cat is a relatively new breed in the United States, it is a very old breed in Norway, featured in folk tales and mythology for centuries. The term skogkatt literally means “forest cat.” In all probability, this was the cat the Viking explorers took with them to keep their ships clear of rodents, the same job they had in the barns in the Norwegian countryside. Their first arrival on the east coast of North America may have been with Leif Erickson or his contemporaries in the late 900s.
Norwegian Forest Cats were almost lost as a distinct breed through hybridization with the free-roaming domestic shorthairs in Norway. Interest was aroused among Norwegian cat fanciers who became determined to save the breed, but World War II put a hold on their efforts. Efforts after the war were finally successful, resulting in the Norwegian Forest Cat being not only welcomed into the show ring in Europe, but also designated the official cat of Norway by the late King Olaf. They were not exported from Norway until the late 1970s, and the first pair arrived in the United States in November of 1979. The Norwegian Forest Cat was presented to the CFA Board for registration acceptance in February 1987 and in 1993 was accepted for full championship status.
The Norwegian Forest cat is, as its name indicates, a cat of Scandinavian descent. A breed believed to be between 1,000 and 2,000 years old, the “Wegie” was the cat of the Vikings, living as a ratter on both farm and ship.
Breeders from Finland describe the cat as the “mystic wildcat of the fairy tales.” Norse mythology tells that these cats were the favorites of Freyja (also spelled Freya, Freja, or Frejya), goddess of love, fertility and the hearth. Freyja traveled in a chariot drawn by either two white or gray Wegies.
They were given to her by Thor and used by Freyja to travel to the funeral of her lover, Baldur.