Norwegian forest cats for sale: Norwegian forest cat breeders. Large cat. Playful, fun-loving spirit. Alert, talented, & smart hunters. Outgoing. Minimal grooming. Great house cats. Children friendly pet. Norwegian forest cat kittens.
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The Indomitable Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed of domestic cat native to Northern Europe, that has adapted to very harsh climates by developing a top coat of glossy, long, water-shedding hair, and a thick woolly undercoat for insulation. The Norwegian Forest Cat, called the “skogkatt” (forest cat) in Norway, is a natural breed and, despite its feral appearance, is not a descendant or a hybrid of any wild cat species. Norwegian Forest Cats are found in Scandinavian fairy tales and mythology, where they have been described as “enchanted cats of the forest that could disappear at will…”.
Forest Cats probably arrived in Norway from Europe, descendants of domestic cats introduced to northern Europe by the Romans. It is supposed that the Norwegian Forest Cat has existed for a very long time, since several mentions of large, long-haired cats exist in Norse mythology. Estimates of when these cat tales were written vary greatly, but the myths suggest that domestic cats have been in Norway for hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years.
When cats arrived in the northern countries, most likely with human settlers, traders, and/or crusaders, the breed's ancestors were probably short-haired, since the cats transported by the Romans came from Egypt (generally) and were short-haired varieties. The cats survived and, over time, adapted to the severe climate. Northern Norway, where the sun never sets from May 12 to August 1, and where the winter nights are correspondingly long and dark, proved a rigorous testing ground for these cats. During centuries of prowling the Norwegian forests, they developed long, dense, water-resistant coats, hardy constitutions, quick wits, and well-honed survival instincts. They became amicable companions to the Norwegian farmers, by keeping the barns free of rodents. They are very alert, talented, smart hunters.
In 1938, the first Norwegian Forest Cat Club was formed, but then the club's movement to preserve the breed was interrupted by World War II. Due to cross-breeding with free-ranging domestic cats during WWII, the Norwegian Forest Cat became endangered and nearly extinct until the Norwegian Forest Cat Club helped the breed make a comeback by developing an official breeding program in the 1970’s. The breed received further important royal recognition when the late King Olaf designated it the official cat of Norway.
The first breeding pair was imported to the United States in 1979. The International Cat Association was the first North American registry to grant Championship status to the Norwegian Forest Cat in 1984, and it was recognized as a championship breed by the American Cat Fanciers Association in 1994.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a strong, big cat, similar to the Maine Coon breed, with long legs, a bushy tail, and a very sturdy body. The breed is very good at climbing, since they have strong claws, and are even able to climb rocks. Natural athletes, Norwegian Forest Cats love to investigate counters, bookcases, and the loftiest peaks of their home environments. “Wegies,” as they are called, are active and playful and retain their fun-loving spirit well into adulthood. They are sweet, friendly, family pets, and they love their human companions. Despite the wild years in the forests of Norway, or perhaps because of them, these days they would much rather cuddle than prowl.
Also because of those harsh survival years, perhaps, nothing much fazes these cats, either. They take new people, new pets, and new situations in stride, and they are also great purrers, particularly when perched beside their favorite humans. Outgoing and gregarious, they tend not to bond with only one person, but rather to love everyone unconditionally and enthusiastically.
The Norwegian Forest Cat's distinguishing double coat varies in length according to the time of year. The cat goes through a spring “molting,” when the winter coat is shed, and then a fall shedding, when the summer coat departs. At these times of year, thorough combing is necessary unless you want seasonal layers of cat hair on everything. The rest of the year the Forest Cat requires minimal grooming.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is strongly built and large cat. The breed has a long, sturdy body, long legs, and a bushy and full tail. The multi-layered coat is thickest at the legs, chest, and head. The head is long, with an over-all shape similar to an equilateral triangle, with a strong chin, a muzzle of medium length, and a straight profile with a "ski slope nose.” The eyes are almond-shaped and oblique, and may be of any color. The ears are large, wide at the base, high set, have a tufted top, and end with a tuft of hair like the ears of the lynx. The feet are also covered with hair.
Norwegian Forest Cats come in a broad rainbow of colors. Hue distribution in bi-colored Norwegian forest cats varies widely. All coat colors are accepted for showing, except chocolate and lilac and the dilutions fawn and cinnamon.
The Norwegian Forest Cat’s independent nature makes it easily adaptable to homes where owners work. They make great house cats but do love the outdoors. For their own safety, however, they should only be allowed outside in an enclosure. The breed gets along beautifully with other pets.
These are slow maturing cats, with kittens taking from four to five years to reach full size. Males are usually bigger than females, weighing in at between twelve and twenty pounds, while females weigh eight to fourteen pounds. Males may occasionally weigh as much as twenty-two or twenty-three pounds. These are powerful, substantial cats! Queens have excellent mothering skills, and litters range from three to seven kittens.
“Wegies” make a chirping sound similar to that of racoons in the wild. They make this bird-like sound especially when talking to each other. They don't usually meow unless they are trying to tell you something, thus they are rather quiet compared to many cat breeds. But they do show a lot of affection, and will talk to you with their sing-song voice, and wash your face if you let them. The Norwegian Forest Cat has a high amount of energy and can be very demanding of attention. As they are heavy-boned and tall, they require more food than most other domestic breeds in order to remain strong.
Mike Ellenbecker, husband of Joyce, and co-owner of Forestdolls Norwegian Forest Cats in Wisconsin has. spoke about the pleasures and rewards, and some of the challenges, of raising, breeding, and showing these purebred cats. He and Joyce have been breeding Norwegian Forest Cats for more than ten years, and Mini-Eskie dogs for thirty-two years now. Obviously, theirs is a heavily animal-dominated household!
Mike began by characterizing the Norwegian Forest Cat as “healthy, tough, active, and friendly.” He believes that it is a particularly self-reliant breed because these cats have only been domesticated for about fifty years now, after having many centuries of ancestors who fended for themselves very successfully in the harshest of winter conditions. He said that it is rare to meet an individual kitten who is not gregarious and very sociable, laid-back but not lazy. These are cats that must be doing something all the time, but he said that they are not “in-your-face,” (annoying) either.
Within the breed, however, as in all breeds, he pointed out that each kitten will have its own unique personality. Some will be more likely to be willing to be lap sitters for a spell, while others will not. All can be trained not to engage in certain undesirable behaviors, but some are more likely to be “sneaky” when your back is turned than others will be.
Along with these cats being terrific hunters of mice and other small prey, Mike spoke of the continuous “Bug Watch” that goes on in his home. His Norwegians can lie patiently on the floor staring up at a bug on the ceiling for hours, and somehow, eventually, they will nab it. “If they can find it, they’ll get it!” is the way he characterized their battle strategies.
They’re willing to do battle with critters much larger than themselves too. Mike told a tale of a friend who visited with a German Shepherd who was just determined to set his Shepherd loose with the resident Norwegian Forest Cat, in spite of the cat owner’s protests that the Shepherd might get the short end of the stick. The result was that when the Shepherd approached the cat, the cat leapt straight up into the air, landed on the dog’s back, and bit and scratched until the Shepherd wound up running off howling! Norwegian Forest Cats are obviously cats who have a very strong “sense of self!”
These marvelous, high-energy, healthy, powerful, handsome, intelligent Norwegian Forest Cats sound as if they might indeed be “the perfect breed.”
With Thanks to:
Barron’s Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds