These large, furry cats are as beautiful as they are interesting. Here’s everything you could ever want to know about them.
The Norwegian Forest cat, also known as a “wegie” is a breed of cat originating from Northern Europe. It’s one of the biggest domestic cat breeds and has a long, thick coat of fur, suited for the coldest of environments. This cat has a triangular-shaped face and oval-shaped eyes.
Its fur is a double layer, with long hair on the top and shorter, fluffier hair underneath. This type of coat repels water and also keeps the cat warm in freezing conditions. Their ears and paws are also covered with long hair to prevent frostbite from snow and ice in the winter.
Because the Norwegian Forest cat is so furry, you should comb it at least once or twice per week to assist with the shedding process, especially in warm climates. This will also help to decrease the overall hair around the house.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is the official cat of Norway, with evidence of it appearing there many hundreds of years ago.
This cat almost went extinct during World War II because of cross-breeding with other cats. Luckily, the Norwegian Forest Cat Club intervened and saved the breed from extinction with the use of selective breeding. In 1977, it was registered as a breed of domestic cat with Europe’s Federation Internationale Feline.
These cats started appearing in the United States after 1977 but are still rare compared to most other domestic cat breeds.
In 1987, the Norwegian Forest Cat was presented to the Cat Fancier’s Association for registration and acceptance. Later, in 1993, it was accepted with full championship status.
Through genetic testing, it’s been found that Maine Coons are descendants of the Norwegian Forest Cats.
As previously mentioned, these cats are huge, let’s have a look at how they compare with the biggest domestic cat breed, the Maine Coone.
Which Is Bigger, Norwegian Forest Cat Or Maine Coon?
Both of these cats are massive in size but the average Maine Coon is a little bigger than the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Norwegian Forest Cat weight and size
These cats can weigh from 9 to 20 lb with the male averaging 16.5 lb and the female averaging 11 lb.
Norwegian Forest cats can grow to around 18-inches in length with the average being 15-inches.
They grow to a height of 9 to 12-inches.
Maine Coon weight and size
Main Coons weigh from 11 to 26 lb with the male averaging 20.5 lb and the female averaging 14.5 lb.
Maine Coons can grow to around 32-inches in length with the average being around 26-inches.
They grow to a height of 10 to 16-inches.
Are Norwegian Forest Cats Expensive?
These huge cats are fairly expensive, a kitten will set you back at least $500 but in most cases, it will be more. Norwegian Forest Cats are part of the most expensive cats in the world due to the fact that they’re so rare and unique.
Are Norwegian Forest Cats Rare?
Norwegian Forest Cats are rare in most parts of the world but are commonly seen in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, and France.
Norwegian Forest Cat Personality
These cats have a great personality suited to the whole family, it will probably even get along well with all your other pets.
They enjoy going out for walks and climbing trees. In fact, these Norwegian cats are so skilled at tree climbing with their extra-strong claws, that they can even descend from a tree head first!
They also don’t mind getting wet and will gladly go fishing in a nearby river or lake if there’s one available.
These cats do love attention at times and are energetic in general, but also need a certain amount of quiet time to themselves. A lot of people prefer this over “needy” cat breeds.
Norwegian Forest Cats are extremely good hunters with big, strong, muscular bodies.
Are Norwegian Forest Cats friendly?
They’re friendly but also shy, so once they get to know and trust you, they’ll enjoy your company. Luckily, most Norwegian Forests aren’t really “lap-cats” because, with their huge bodies on your legs, you might feel a bit uncomfortable.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule but for the most part, they won’t smother you with love, although they will love you.
If you have visitors over, this cat will probably keep its distance. If your children are getting a bit rough, they’ll wander off for some alone time.
Are Norwegian Forest cats vocal?
Not really, they do meow and purr when they feel the time is right, but they don’t make as much noise as other domestic cats. When they do decide to meow, you’ll probably hear a variety of different pitches and types of meowing.
Do Norwegian Forest Cats like to cuddle?
While Norwegian Forest cats only like to interact with people they know and trust, they’re not really the type of cat that likes to be on top of you a lot. They do enjoy a good rub and definitely a combing at least once a week but they don’t like to be handled for too long, if at all.
Are Norwegian Forest Cats loyal?
Yes, they’re loyal and will give you their trust relatively quickly. Having said that, they do like to have their fair share of independence.
Life Expectancy Of Norwegian Forest Cat
The average life expectancy for a Norwegian Forest cat is about 14 years. Although many live to only 8 or 9 years similar to that of a big dog. Health implications can shorten this lifespan dramatically as discussed further below.
Are Norwegian Forest Cats Healthy?
In general, they’re very healthy cats, even though they have a slightly shorter lifespan compared to other domestic cats. The percentage of Norwegian Forest Cats that are healthy far outweigh the ones that may display the health problems outlined below.
Norwegian Forest Cat Health Issues
There are a few known health issues in Norwegian Forest cats:
This is a disease that thickens the heart muscle causing:
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of limbs
Norwegian Forest cats are slightly more prone to this disease than the average domestic cat.
This is a hereditary defect of the hip socket that can begin with mild discomfort and lead to a severe loss of sensation in the legs. With this breed of cat being so large, it can worsen the effects of this disease.
Glycogen Storage Disease Type IV
This disease causes a deficiency of an essential enzyme required for the metabolism of glycogen. Because of this, glycogen can build up in the nerves and muscles which is fatal for the cat. Kittens that are born with this disease usually don’t live past a few months of age.
Luckily this is one of the more rare diseases you might find in your cat.
Are Norwegian Forest Cats Hypoallergenic?
All cats can trigger an allergic reaction, humans are allergic to the dander (skin flakes in animal fur) and saliva on the cat fur. Even the hairless Sphynx sheds skin flakes but not as much as big hairy cats.
With this in mind, Norwegian Forest cats are one of the worst cats to own if you have cat allergies. At the very least because they’re so big and hairy, they’ll produce more dander and saliva. For people with cat allergies, the smaller the cat the better.
How Do You Know If You Have A Norwegian Forest Cat?
The most distinguishable factors of the Norwegian Forest Cat are its triangular-shaped face, almond-shaped eyes, huge bodies, and very long fur coats. So if you notice these features in your cat, it very well may be a Norwegian Forest Cat.
What Colors Do The Norwegian Forest Cats Come In?
Norwegian Forest Cats usually have brown and white, tabby coats, but they can actually come in most colors from black to pure white.
What Do Norwegian Forest Cats Eat In The Wild?
The main part of any cat’s diet is meat. These cats will eat almost any animal they can sink their fangs into in the wild. A Norwegian cat diet should comprise 95% protein and no more than 5% carbohydrates.
As a house cat, keep in mind that these big boys are going to eat A LOT more than your average pet cat due to the fact that they grow to enormous sizes.
How High Can Norwegian Cats Jump?
Norwegian Forest Cats can jump at least 6-feet into the air or up a tree. In most cases, they don’t need to jump too far as they’ll climb their way up and down anything they wish. As mentioned earlier, they can even work their way down a tree head-first by sinking their strong claws into the wood on the way down.
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.