As the name suggests, Norwegian Forest cats were originated in Norway. It is a naturally occurring breed, not a descendant or a hybrid of any wild species. Norwegian Cats are a part of the Vikings and mythological stories, a time when long haired cats existed in Norse mythology. It is said that the breed was introduced to the Europeans by Russians. In Edda poems, description of domestic cats is done. Whether these are Forest cats is debatable.
When these cats arrived in Northern countries, they developed water resistant and thick coats. Short hairs evolved into long ones. In 1934, the first Norwegian cat club was founded and in 1938, the first Forest cat was exhibited at a show in Oslo, Norway. World War II dampered the existence of all breeding cats. The breeding association started a serious breeding program. In 1984, TICA first expected the breed.
Norwegian forest cat is a decent mannered breed. Being resourceful and quirky, they enjoy being a part of the family they live with. These cats have a tendency to easily adapt to any environment they are put in. forest cats are strong and silent at the same time. Years in the forest have made them robust as well as seekers of human companionship. Personality traits in brief:
- Activity level: 4/5 (enthusiastic and always up to mark on energy levels. The breed is instinctively athletic in nature due to years of time spent in forests)
- Intelligence level: 3/5 (decent intelligence)
- Curiosity: 5/5 (very inquisitive in nature, love to explore every nook and corner including peaks of long trees and hidden spaces)
- Friendliness: 4.5 (quite friendly, especially to first time cat owners. Wegies (as they are nicknamed) do not bond with one particular person but enjoys with everyone whoever enjoys a game)
- Vocal: 2.2/5 (not extremely vocal)
Forest cat’s eye-catching coat is the trademark of its personality. They have a thicker double coat in winters and as soon as the spring arrives, they start shedding their furs. At this time of the year, the coat needs little more grooming and care. These beautiful cats have some specific key features:
- Fur: in the summer, the coat remains water expellant but sheds. In cooler months, the coat thickens. The long tails are covered profusely in fur.
- Eyes: the eyes can be green, copper or gold in colour.
- Body structure: semi-long, muscular and substantial. It has a dense undercoat built to survive it in harsh climate of Scandinavia.
- Facial features: These cats have a long head with an equilateral triangle like shape, a strong chin and medium length muzzle. Their ears are large with wide base.
- Weight: they are large on size. Males weigh between 10 to 16 pounds. Females weigh between 10-12 pounds.
While the Norwegian Forest cat is robust in day to day activities, it is recorded as a disease prone breed. Some of the major disorders seen in the breed are:
The wegies are prone to Kidney and heart diseases.
In an experiment done by John Fyfea and Rebeccah Kurzhals, it was asserted that a complex rearrangement of Glycogen branching enzyme (GBE1) which can cause perinatal hypoglycemic collapse and a late juvenile neuromuscular degeneration in glycogen storage disease type IV. The disorder can prove to be fatal to the cat. DNA tests are available for the same. It is strongly recommended that DNA practices should be used before using the cats for breeding.
As far as daily grooming and care is concerned, hygiene care is the same for this breed. Only the coat needs an extra care during shedding season.
We have gathered this information from our breeders based on their experience with this breed. However, remember that each animal is different with its own personality and needs (just like people!), so use this information wisely.
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