Exploring the Marvels of Norwegian Forest Cats: 10 Intriguing Insights

Norwegian Forest cats are wonderfully fluffy.

The Norwegian forest cat is a breed recognized for its thick fur, friendly personality, and large size. However, the origin of the breed remains a mystery. Some believe that these cats traveled with Vikings on their ships as mousers, while others think they were brought to Scandinavia by Crusaders. These felines evolved over time to become the magnificent creatures we know today. Besides their physical traits, Norwegian forest cats are also known for their mythical status in Norway. Folklore tells of the “skogkatt,” a fairy cat capable of climbing sheer rock faces. This legend led to the breed being designated as Norway’s national cat by King Olaf V. However, Norwegian forest cats nearly became extinct before being recognized as a distinct breed in the 1930s.

norwegian forest cat yawning and stretching from sleep

The Norwegian Forest cat was initially valued by farmers and sailors due to their excellent mouse-catching abilities, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that fanciers began to take notice of the breed. Despite their popularity, the Norwegian Forest cat faced extinction during World War II as crossbreeding became more common. An official breeding program was implemented to preserve their lineage, and in 1977, the breed was officially recognized by the Fédération Internationale Féline. The first breeding pair arrived in America two years later, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association recognized them in 1987. Although they are known for their cuteness and have a significant following in Europe and Scandinavia (where they are nicknamed “Wegies”), Norwegian Forest cats are also known for their size, with male cats weighing between 13 and 22 pounds. Additionally, their thick fur acts as built-in winter clothing.

The Norwegian forest cat is a versatile breed that can come in various colors and patterns. However, they’re recognized for their long, double-layered coat that repels water, as well as their tufted ears and toes. These traits helped them survive the cold winters in Scandinavia. Unfortunately, Norwegian forest cats are prone to health issues such as hereditary heart problems, hip dysplasia, and glycogen storage disease type IV. They’re related to Maine coons, and genetic testing shows that Maine coons are descendants of both the Norwegian forest cat and an extinct domestic breed. To tell them apart, look at their features – Norwegian forest cats have a triangle-shaped face while Maine coons have a wedge-shaped head with high cheekbones. Finally, Norwegian forest cats are excellent climbers due to their sturdier claws, and they’re known for running down trees headfirst.

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