A Beginner's Guide to the Norwegian Forest Cat


This is another in our series of blog posts that examines Britain’s most-loved pedigree cats. Next under the spotlight is the beautiful and charming Norwegian Forest Cat, or 'Wegie' for short. 

- Appearance

Of Norway origin, these cats are renowned in their homeland for being a tough breed that is capable of enduring long Nordic winters and cold temperatures. They are a large breed of cat with semi-long, dense coats. These coats are also water-resistant and shed during the summer months. Norwegian Forest Cats are strong, natural hunters with a muscular frame that is both fast and agile. Their coats come in a number of colours including Chocolate, Lilac, Cinnamon, Fawn and Siamese. Adults can grow up to 10kg in weight, although the difference between males and females is significant. 

- Intelligence and Temperament

The Norwegian Forest Cat is an intelligent hunter that adapts to the environment that they find themselves in. They need to be stimulated and kept busy to satisfy their natural instincts when in a hunting mood. Norwegian Forest Cats are best suited to an environment that allows them the freedom to hunt, play and explore so they can indulge in their passion. Despite being keen hunters, Norwegian Forest Cats have a kind and gentle nature and mature late, taking up to 5 years to fully develop.

They take some time to trust and form bonds with their owners, but once that bond has been formed, the Norwegian cat is a loyal and affectionate companion. During down-time, Norwegian Forest Cats are laid-back and enjoy reaching high places to look down on the on-goings below. Norwegian Forest Cats are in fact longer in the back leg than they are in the front, meaning that they are excellent tree climbers!

- Health

Being such an intelligent cat, the Norwegian Forest Cat is an inquisitive breed and can be continuously playful given the mood. The average life-span for a Norwegian Forest Cat is between 12-16 years if properly cared for with a good quality diet. They are known to be a robust breed as well with no majour hereditary issues, and only require regular grooming to ensure that their coats stay in top condition. Grooming once a week to remove any dead hair is recommended. This breed is also likely to build up wax within their large, pointed ears and so continuous care is needed to ensure that a blockage does not develop.

- In The Home

With affectionate personalities, Norwegian Forest Cats are the ideal choice for families. They will get out of the way of children if they want some time to themselves but are otherwise gentle and patience in nature. They will also get along with dogs and have themselves been referred to as 'dog-like' by many owners. As with all large breeds, however, we would always recommend that any young children are accompanied when around a Norwegian Forest Cat. 

- Is that a Maine Coon?

A common mistake that people often make in distinguishing Norwegian Forest Cat is that they look similar to another large, domesticated breed of cat, the Maine Coon. Keep an eye out for the differences though, which are mainly in the coat and the head shape. 

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