All about the Norwegian Forest Cat

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Large, athletic and gentle. Just three characteristics of this beautiful, calm and sweet cat breed: the Norwegian Forest Cat. But did you know that ‘Norwegians’ like to swim? That and much more fun and useful information can be found here.

The origin of the Norwegian Forest Cat

The ancestors of this cute cat breed most likely come from southern Europe. They were short-haired back then. But their emigration to Norway – courtesy of Scandinavian Vikings – changed the coat into a thick semi-longhair. This is only natural, as the cats had to survive the harsh and freezing winters of Norway.

In 1977, this beautiful breed was officially recognised as an international cat breed. And this breed is also very popular since then. Not surprising, because this breed is not only beautiful, but also super sweet!

The appearance of a Norwegian Forest Cat

A Norwegian Forest Cat is large, tall and athletically built. And clearly bigger than the average household cat. An adult female weighs an average of 4 kg and a male can weigh from 6.5 to 10 kg.

Fun: there are always cute tufts on and in the ears of these cats. And tufts of hair grow between their toes.

The coat of a Norwegian Forest Cat

This breed has a semi-longhaired coat with a fluffy and water-repellent undercoat. In winter, this breed is at its best thanks to its coat – that is when the tail and the collar are extra full and thick. The fur of Norwegian Forest Cats comes in many different colours and patterns. There are striped Norwegians, but also marbled and spotted ones. For the breed standard, only the colours Cinnamon, Lilac and Fawn are not allowed.

The character of the Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cats are brave and not afraid of anything. They’re very tough animals. And because they have such a relaxed, friendly and calm nature, they make ideal pets. They get along well with other pets, with their owners and also with children.

It is a really fun pet, as Norwegian Forest Cats are active, playful and curious until late in life. They do not find new people scary, but rather very interesting. They will always come to meet visitors.

Fun fact: Norwegian Forest Cats are very comfortable in water, so you could teach them to swim. Please be sure to seek advice from your vet first!

The care of a Norwegian Forest Cat

The semi-long coat of Norwegian Forest Cats is easy to maintain. A thorough brushing once a week is greatly appreciated and prevents annoying tangles. When the cat is moulting, it is good to brush its coat daily. This is the best way to remove the loose hairs from the undercoat.

Because Norwegian Forest Cats are so playful and curious, it is good to play every day. This will prevent boredom and will keep your cat healthy and happy. Preferably play with balls, mice and feathers several times a day. Well, it doesn’t really matter what you play with, because Norwegian Forest Cats love everything!

A scratching post is also a must, because it is in the nature of cats to climb and scratch. And they love to sit in a high place. But make sure you get a scratching post that is specially designed for Norwegian Forest Cats. Norwegians are bigger and heavier than other cat breeds and need a cat tree that is stable and made of strong and robust materials.

Furthermore, you take care of a Norwegian like any other cat:

  • Provide sufficient drinking bowls with fresh water
  • Provide food that suits the breed
  • Always provide several clean litter boxes
  • Deflead and deworm your cat regularly
  • Chip your cat!
  • Check their teeth regularly
  • And (especially if your cat is unwell or ill) go to the vet

Diseases and disorders in Norwegian Forest Cats

A Norwegian Forest Cat – like any other cat or breed – can get sick. But only Norwegian Forest Cats can be affected by the rare disease GSD IV. Kittens with this disease are immediately stillborn. If not, the first signs of this disease appear around the 5th monthof life.

GSD IV disease can be recognised by vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundice, growth retardation, muscle weakness, poor eating, lethargy, emaciation and excessive drinking, urination and sleeping. Unfortunately, this disease is incurable and euthanasia is often the most humane solution. Do you suspect this disease? Then take your cat to the vet immediately.

How old does a Norwegian Forest Cat become?

Norwegian Forest Cats can live to be quite old – the average life expectancy is between 14 and 16 years. And that, of course, is very nice. But it is something to bear in mind, because such a cute kitten will eventually become a big cat that needs love, attention and good care.

Buying a Norwegian Forest Cat

Would you like to buy a Norwegian Forest Cat? You should first ask the Dutch Breed Association for information about good and recognised breeders. Then you can be sure that you will enjoy a happy and healthy cat for a long time. Because of course you never buy a cat from a bread breeder or from Ebay.

Disclaimer: Petrebels is not a veterinarian or behavioural expert: all content, information and tips on this blog are intended to inspire you and are informative in nature. Does your cat have complaints or problems and do you have doubts about its health? If so, always go the vet or behaviorist.

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