This amazing breed of cat is extremely furry and surely won’t get cold easily.
Let’s take a closer look at some interesting facts about the Norwegian forest cat, a popular pet in multiple European countries!
1. They originate in the northern part of Europe
As the name of the breed implies, the Norwegian forest cat originates from Norway, a country in Scandinavia in the north of Europe. They can come in a wide variety of colors and usually have an extremely strong built.
It has sometimes been compared to the Maine Coone cat breed which has a similar appearance and bushy tail, even though the Norwegian forest cat is usually bigger and has longer legs.
2. It’s possible that Vikings introduced them into the region
How this breed eventually ended up in Norway is uncertain, but it’s assumed that they have been introduced to the region by Vikings around the year 1000 A.D. It’s believed that they were originally used on Viking ships as so-called “mousers” before they spread into the dense forests of Norway.
Mouser is a nickname to describe “ship’s cat,” cats used to chase rodents on ships dating back to ancient times. This is most probably why cats of this particular breed are great hunters!
3. The cat breed has an extremely thick coat
One of the most distinctive features of this strong cat breed is its extremely thick coat. This in combination with an equally thick wooly undercoat makes it easy for them to handle the extremely cold winters of Scandinavia.
Their topcoat is glossy and water-resistant as well, something that protects these cats from rain and snow.
4. It’s possible that their ancestors had much shorter hair
One of the most remarkable Norwegian forest cat facts is that Vikings didn’t introduce long-haired cats but probably black and white shorthair cats from Great Britain. These then cross-bred with longhaired cats brought to the region by Crusaders and developed into the breed we know today.
Other potential ancestors of this breed include the Turkish Angola and Siberian cat breeds.
5. A Norse legend refers to the breed’s most remarkable skill
Apart from being great hunters, these cats have extremely strong claws which allow them to climb trees and sometimes even rocks. This has even been a topic in Norse Legends in which these cats are described as:
Mountain-dwelling fairy cat with an ability to climb sheer rock faces that other cats could not manage.
This means that their climbing ability can easily be described as legendary!
6. The breed was only discovered in the early 20th century
This cat had been roaming around in the cold and dense Norwegian forests before it was discovered by cat enthusiasts in the early 20th century. They had, however, been used on Norwegian farms for just as long for the same reasons they were used on ships.
As these cats were brought back to civilization in the early 1900s, their popularity increased and they eventually ended up becoming loyal and popular pets as well.
7. The first organization saved the breed from extinction
Just before the Second World War, the cat’s popularity has reached such a level that the first cat club dedicated to them was formed. An organization referred to as the “Norwegian Forest Cat Club” was created in 1938 in Oslo, the capital of Norway.
It’s because of this club that the breed still exists today because, during World War II, cross-breeding with other domestic cats was rampant which nearly meant the end of the pure Norwegian forest cat!
The organization set up an official breeding program which helped to sustain the breed and expand its numbers all across the country.
8. It became the official cat of Norway because the King said so
One of the biggest fans of the cat was the most important man in Norway, King Olav V. His enthusiasm for the breed that originated in his own country was so big that he declared it the official cat of Norway in the 1950s.
This remarkable cat breed is still the national cat of Norway today!
9. It took many decades before the breed was recognized worldwide
Just because the breed became the official national cat of Norway didn’t mean that its population quickly spread all across the world. On the contrary, the thick-haired and big Norwegian cat didn’t spread outside of Norway until the 1970s!
It’s in this decade that the cat breed was first recognized by the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe), the European federation of cat registries. This example was followed in Sweden in 1978 as well, a country where this type of cat is almost as popular as in Norway itself.
It wasn’t until 1989 that they were recognized in the United Kingdom after the formation of the Norwegian Cat Club of Britain, and in 1994 in the United States by the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA).
10. These cats are bigger than most other cat breeds
The Norwegian forest cat eats a lot, and that’s needed because they are very active, muscular, and generally bigger than most other domestic cat breeds.
The females of this cat breed weigh anywhere between 3.6 and 8 kilos (8 and 18 lbs) while the weight of males varies between 4.5 and 9 kilos (10 and 20 lbs). That’s quite a big cat, don’t you think?
11. They can adapt to multiple settings
This cat breed has been raised as outdoor hunters on farms, as well as indoor hunters on ships. This means that they are genetically programmed in such a way that they can easily adapt to both outdoor and indoor settings.
And yes, it’s very likely that they bring back trophies to the front of your door in the form of a mouse or a bird, just to show off their excellent hunting skills and please their owner. After all, that’s what they have been raised to do for numerous centuries.
12. Are Norwegian Forest cats good pets?
Now that you know that these are easygoing cats that can adapt to multiple surroundings, I’m sure you wonder if the Norwegian forest cat is a good pet?
And the answer is a firm yes, these smart and friendly cats are generally good with people and are amazing pets. That’s also why they are popular in multiple European countries, including Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and France!