Even the name of this large, semi long-haired cat evokes imagery of Vikings and ruggedness. This breed, known as Skogkatt in its native land of Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat has become a popular companion here in the United States as of late and all over the world.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large muscular cat and they take on average about 4 to 5 years to reach full size. Their heritage was fashioned by nature, in the forests of Norway which is why they are found in Norwegian mythology and children’s fairy tales.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Much like their relative the Maine Coon Cat, the Norwegian Forest Cat is primed for cold and rough weather.” quote=”Much like their relative the Maine Coon Cat, the Norwegian Forest Cat is primed for cold and rough weather.”]
Fun Fact #1: It was likely a Viking Cat
No, really! Viking Cat! The Norwegian name for this cat is Skogkatt, which literally means Forest Cat. It is quite likely that this cat was the breed of choice for the Vikings of Norway to bring on the boats with them when traveling, but not just for companionship, but rodent control.
Fun Fact #2: World War II almost caused them to Disappear
There was a sharp decline in the purebred Norwegian Forest Cat due to hybridization with free-roaming domestic shorthair cats in Norway, resulting in breeders and fanciers to focus on revitalizing the breed. The efforts were put on hold because of World War II, and there was a time that breeders worried the Norwegian Forest Cat would be lost entirely.
Fun Fact #3: They are often Confused for Maine Coon Cats
With their semi-longhair and significant stature, the Norwegian Forest Cat is often confused with its relative, the Maine Coon Cat. There are significant physical differences, but also a huge difference in personality.
Fun Fact #4: They Function Purely “on their own terms”
While the Maine Coon Cat is known as the dog of the cat world, Norwegian Forest Cats are very independent, very territorial, and not responsive to being picked up against their will. They can be very loving and loyal cats, but must be able to make choices on their own terms.
Fun Fact #5: But don’t let that fool you – they are Very Social (when they want to be)
The Norwegian Forest Cat is incredibly sensitive, very intelligent, and more adaptable for change than many other cats. Despite their heritage from the snowy forests of Norway, they are a loving breed that would much rather cuddle than hunt.
Fun Fact #6: They are Built for the Cold
They have a well-insulated and waterproof double coat that is designed to endure the inclement Scandinavian weather. They also have large and tufted paws that aide in traversing snow and ice. (That being said, as with many long haired cats, weekly brushing and special attention at springtime is important!) They also tend to eat a lot more than other cats, in part to bulk up for the cold, and also to support their larger frame.
Fun Fact #7: They can Change their Voice
As previously mentioned, the Norwegian Forest Cat is an incredibly adaptive animal. They have a quiet voice by nature with a chirp similar to racoons in the wild. They have a bird-like sound that they make when talking to each other. However, if they are in an environment that requires them to ‘speak up’, such as a home with dogs or loud children, they can and will increase the volume and change the tone of their voice to ensure that they are noticed. This breed can be very demanding of attention (again, on their terms), and will change their voice in order to be noticed or have their needs met.