The Norwegian forest cat personality, traits and more

Cats Human Classroom

The Norwegian forest cat is without a doubt a majestic and worthy creature to admire, everything in this breed is made to make it as distinctive as it is to its survival. Certainly, due to its big size and thick coat it seems to be more of a wild cat and bigger than it is, added to its name, having such a muscular, strong body and big feet, it gives the impression that this furry cat is made to live like a wild animal, but the truth is that they are cats known for their tenderness, loyalty, and love that they usually give to their owners and loved ones once they have been accepted by their cat. They have this body structure due to their origin in Norway that somehow forced them to adapt over time to survive in such a hostile cold climate, but this is no reason to think that they will be difficult to domesticate or that they will get used to being inside a home or family environment, when it is rather what they usually enjoy and look for, as they try to be as close as possible to their loved ones, taking care of them, making rounds or guarding them from time to time as they are usually territorial, but they get along well with other pets, both dogs and cats, and as for children it is always better that they do not mistreat your pet as they can become aggressive towards them if they are not taught from an early age how to treat each other.

The Norwegian cat is usually active because in its genes it has that innate hunter side that in no way you will be able to hide or eliminate, so in your home, you must provide it with space and accessories that go with this attitude to keep it satisfied and happy during your absence, since besides it will help to keep itself in a good physical state but in the same way it is better that you stay vigilant and don’t let yourself be deceived by its great coat of hair. Although it’s an excellent option for a family, you have to keep in mind that you must keep its coat in good condition, grooming it with certain frequency during the week can be a daily thing to avoid knots or not have so much hair in the house, at the same time you must consider if there is not a family member who has allergy problems to avoid any problem with this hairy companion that is so unique, special and loved by enthusiasts in general.


There are some versions as to the origin and history of this beautiful cat that has been with mankind for many years where it is believed that they were cats that arrived in Norway thanks to a mixture between European short-haired cats and other longhaired cats that arrived with the Crusaders until with the passing of the years they got the cat that we know today. Throughout history, they are known by two nicknames that people have given them, being the first one “Skogkatt” that refers to “forest cat” based on a Norwegian legend that talks about a cat with great skill to climb mountains, and their other nickname was given as recognition to their place of origin in Norway since they are very loved and appreciated, besides this breed was designated as the official cat of that country, they are known as “Wegies”. Another part regarding their history and origin, it is said that they accompanied the Vikings during their travels by boat since they took advantage of their hunting skills to keep the mice out of their food deposits around the first century since the breed was able to endure such cold, humid climates and their coat as it makes them somehow water-resistant were the ideal pet for this type of task in an environment where not any pet would have endured. 

Probably, because they had originally brought common short-haired cats to Norway they were seen as a standard breed of cat that occupied homes or that it was seen as regular house cats in Europe until the Norwegian forest cat was introduced in Germany in the mid-1930s. Although they were appreciated and recognized for their mouse-hunting skills by farmers and sailors, they have come under threat of extinction on two occasions, the first being a constant cross with other breeds where the characteristics of the Norwegian forest cat that make it such a distinctive cat breed gradually faded away. Norwegian cat lovers realized the danger this breed was in and tried to avoid it but when the Second World War came, it was another hard moment for the breed and it was again under the threat of disappearing completely, putting a new limit to the efforts of these people. After this, an intensive program was started to save and preserve this breed, which was recognized by the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) in 1977. They came to the USA in 1980 and almost 10 years later they were included in the CFA’s, but for people to recognize them it took some time since the Maine Coon being so similar to the Norwegian forest cat they preferred to keep the local breed.


As it has been mentioned, this cat, part of what stands out from the Norwegian forest cat is it’s so majestic and prominent thick coat, consists of a double coat layer that not only works as a water repellent but also has long hair that protects against snow and rain, besides keeping it warm during cold seasons. The presentation of its hair has a great variety of colors but all of them are still silky, fluffy, and straight, among them there are almost all the colors and patterns that other breeds have, except the color point color seen in the Siamese, so it gives you the possibility to get the presentation that goes more according to what you are looking for, having to choose between colors like black, white, brown, cream, tortoiseshell, blue-cream, blue, red, gold, and cameo. As for the patterns, it can be tricolor or calico markings, smoke, solid colors, stripes, ticking, and tabby.

For some people, the Norwegian forest cat may be one of the most tender breeds to look at, but others may see it more for its size and features that make it so similar to a lion. You should not judge a book by its cover, even though it is extremely fluffy and long, its features look like the Maine Coon cat, but they have certain aspects that differentiate them from each other like the shape of its face, being the Norwegian forest cat’s one of triangular shape and the Coon is not, the shape of the Wegie’s eyes are similar to an almond while the Maine Coon is round. Talking about their eyes, they also come in several colors like green (emerald), blue, gold, odd-eyed. Their ears are arched forwards and they have an additional coat which is in other areas of the body and people usually call them “feathers”, besides their ears, they also have between their toes, limbs, neck, and tail, making the tail extend up to 12 inches long.

The Norwegian forest cat breed has a sweet appearance with a touch of royalty because of its collar of hair and wide chest, which although it cannot be seen with the naked eye has a prominent physique, strong claws, an amazing ability, and a muscular body thanks to its ancestors who hunted in mountainous areas, forests full of snow and trees to climb, since it was part of the environment where they existed at that time and helped them to survive. Even though they are seen as a indoor cat they preserve these and other qualities that so many people love them for, so you should take this kind of thing into account when you bring one of these special feline companions and fluffies to your house. These walking hairballs have an average life span of 8 to 14 years and can reach 20 years if given the proper care and handling you can have this special being for two decades where it will reward you with much love and loyalty. Despite this, they take five years to fully mature even though they are considered an adult cat before this and a Norwegian forest kitten should be fed adult cat food in due course. Neither should you neglect their weight, being an average of 12 to 22 pounds were fortunately for you, being a smart cat, it has the particularity of controlling its daily portion of food getting to have some management in their diet, but this does not apply to all cases and you should keep a constant check to avoid any future problems.


As far as its behavior is concerned, the Norwegian forest cat is an active cat, independent up to a certain point since like any other pet it will delight in the love and affection it receives from its owners and relatives but besides they are also affectionate they usually do not show it too much. They are extremely friendly so they will get along with other cats and even dogs you have at home but the best thing is to have them together from an early age equally or at least one of them has interacted with another similar pet in the past and will not spoil your Norwegian forest cat. The same goes for the children of the house that despite being a friendly cat anyone can lose patience when reaching a certain point or limit, the little ones of the house are better not left without adult supervision unless they already know how to deal with a pet. They usually adapt very easily to the lifestyle they have in the house but in the same way, they will prefer in certain moments to have another perspective of the place so acquiring a cat tree to have it inside the house or something similar is something that will be of great help since it will look for to climb where it can to obtain the ideal point. They tend to be quite quiet, usually can become more talkative at the time of each meal, which is usually common in almost all pets, but out of this you should not have a problem unless you have the joy of meeting with one that is quite the opposite, however, they are usually charming and seek to entertain the family having a touch of a comedian or fill the room with so much purring every time he is happy. The Norwegian forest cat is an intelligent pet that can even learn tricks and it is part of the reason why they are such good hunters, which is to be expected since it is a domestic cat that is known and has been kept with the human being after so many years.

It is important that you allow him to have space where he can get to recreate and do some exercise on his own, remember that his name was given to him for a reason so it is up to you if you want to be a good owner of a Norwegian forest cat, filling the house with both accessories and toys that will help him recreate or live his life as a happy feline that he deserves so much. Like many other long-haired cats, you may need to use hairball remedies regularly.


The coat of the Norwegian forest cat is the result of generations after getting one that would be very useful coinciding with what was their natural habitat, being a double thick but fluffy layer with a woolly undercoat that keeps it warm protects from cold and moisture in addition to being repellent against water and snow, are more than prepared to survive in cold environments so that in hot places may have problems unless they are assured a space where they can stay cool. Their hair, besides being protective and a coat, helps them when they wander freely in the forest or some similar environment not to get entangled with anything, but rather in this way they can get rid of the hair that they shed annually by rubbing it with surfaces such as tree trunks. During the molting season, they may look like a smaller cat since the hair they shed is from the bottom layer.

It is recommended that the grooming is performed as frequently as possible, which could be daily, but it is something you will see on your own and what the vet can recommend to maintain its majestic coat in an optimal state.


Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is something essential in every living being and the Norwegian forest cat does not have to be the exception, more if they mature at a late age so you must ensure as best as possible that you can provide the greatest amount of nutrients in addition to being the correct and necessary to carry out their daily lives and avoid any complications that may arise, but you must keep a margin in this since owning diabetic cats is a delicate subject and just like the human this is something that goes hand in hand with the dental hygiene of your feline companion that will depend on you as an owner. Your vet can advise you on the best way to feed your new cat and when it is time to change your cat’s diet to suit his or her age. You can take advantage of the fact that there are usually several presentations varying their feeding from time to time but taking care that they do not get bored or lose interest in the one that is nutritional.


Like any other cat breed, they can suffer from any disease since they are not immune but some stand out or appear more frequently, being 3 in particular that are usually the most common; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hyp dysplasia, and glycogen storage disease type IV. These are cases that could be avoided by keeping a plan to keep their health under control, going to the control or check-ups every time they are recommended by the veterinarian since they will be your best and greatest support regarding the care of your new pet, indicating whether or not you should change something specific regarding the management you can give them, such as the prevention of periodontal disease that, no matter how simple it may seem, can evolve and cause great havoc such as kidney disease.

Something that will be very useful to you in this subject as far as the health of your cat is concerned is the information that the person who has given you your Norwegian forest cat can give you. In many sites and articles, they will recommend you to always look for a reputable breeder of that breed because they are the ones who have the information of the generations or the relatives of your new pet so you will have at hand any possible disease that has presented some parent or even grandparent of your little companion and it is something that at the same time will help the veterinarian who attends you to determine a plan of action in case there is some risk with a specific disease as there are some that may well be hereditary or that are genetically predisposed. When you get your cat from another place you will not have access to this kind of information that may be vital at some point.

I hope this little guide of this big cat with a bushy tail has been very useful to you to know about this special and beautiful breed as it is the Norwegian forest cat. Remember to look if possible for a purebred cat to avoid some health issues and you will hopefully become another cat lover. If you have any doubts or you think that I have skipped something please let me know in the comments section down below.

Professor Whiskers
Latest posts by Professor Whiskers (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *