Nordic cat: Some facts about the Norwegian forest cat, the pet of Vikings


Some facts about the Norwegian forest cat, the pet of Vikings

The Norwegian forest cats are a very popular breed of cats in the Nordic countries. 


They are one of the most popular pet choices in Norway, Iceland, Sweden, and also France.

It is believed that they were brought by the Vikings in Norway during the early Middle Ages from the British archipelago, and since then they became accustomed the Scandinavian cold climate. This is why their fur had grown rather long compared to that of other breeds of cats.



The Norwegian forest cat figures in fairy tales and legends, one being that the Norse goddess Freya’s chariot is pulled by six giant cats. Several Norse legends depicts their ancestors as mountain-dwelling fairy cats with an incredible climbing skill.

It is believed that their ancestors served on the Norse longboats as mousers during Viking raids.

Aside from being used on sea, these cats were prised in medieval Norway for their hunting aptitudes and their talent in regards to climbing, being an indispensable pet on farms.

These are big cats. Males can weigh 13 to 22 pounds or more, with females somewhat smaller. The Wegie matures slowly and isn’t full grown until 5 years of age. 


These cats nearly went extinct during World War II, but fortunately they survived thanks to the Norwegian Forest Cat Club through a special breeding program. In 1977, they were finally registered as a breed with Europe’s Federation Internationale Feline. Two years later, a pair of NFCs was exported to the United States for the first time. The breed has since become popular in Europe and the U.S. They are Norway’s national cat.

These cats are gentle and friendly, and are fond of family members. They aren’t as demanding as other breeds, and can entertain themselves. They enjoy company, and even if they’re not in your lap, you won’t have to look hard to find this cat sitting somewhere close.  

This is a smart, independent cat who learns quickly and has an alert nature.  They’re big climbers and love to be at the highest points in your home, or outside in the nearest tree. 


These are beautiful creatures. They just look magical! 

Watch the video below!


Related Story: This man photographs Maine Coon cats and makes them look like majestic mythical beasts (Gallery)

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Viking Cats: The Preferred Pets of the Northmen

Formidable warriors, fiercely protecting their territory and exploring widely to conquer new lands. No, we’re not talking about Vikings this time. Well we are, but a specific subset…Viking cats!

To put another nail in the coffin of the story about how Vikings are ruthless barbarians, never ceasing in their slaughtering and pillaging, we now know they kept pet cats.

So, what do we know about the Norsefolk’s fondness for furry felines? Let’s take a look.

Cats in Norse mythology

We’ll start at the beginning by looking into the mythology. There are a number of tales of cats mentioned in Scandinavian folklore. The Norse god Freya (Freyja) drove a chariot pulled by two cats.

These are referred to in the Prose Edda as ‘gib-cats’ and are depicted as grey or blue in colour. The cats were a gift from Thor, and she used them to travel to the funeral of Baldur, her lover.

The cat was Freya’s sacred animal and she would reportedly bless those who were kind to them. Often if a wedding coincided with fine weather, the bride was said to have ‘fed the cat well’.

There’s also the Scandinavian folk tale of a cat that helps a poor man. First the cat wins a castle of silver and gold by tricking a troll – keeping it talking until sunrise when it turned to stone. Then, the cat asks the poor man to cut off its head.

Reluctantly, after much persuasion, he does so at which point the cat is transformed into a princess who had been turned into a cat by the troll.

The two then marry and live happily ever after in the castle.

Elsewhere, the ferocious wolf Fenrir is restrained by a chain called Gleipnir, made from six magical ingredients including ‘the sound of a cat walking’.

And finally, once of the Frost Giants tricked Thor into trying to lift up a huge cat. When Thor could only lift one paw, the cat was revealed to be the Jormungandr – the mighty serpent that encircles Midgard.

Studying cats

Historians are still trying to piece together exactly how cats came to conquer the globe from their early beginnings in the Middle East. So much is known about the domestication of dogs and how they came to spread throughout the world but so little is known about cats.

One thing we do know is that it’s likely that the Vikings played a part in spreading our fluffy feline companions around the globe. A major study that concluded in 2016 was presented at the 7th International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology in Oxford, UK, by Eva-Maria Geigl, a researcher from the Institut Jacques Monod in Paris.

The study analysed the remains of over 200 cats from 30 different archaeological sites throughout Africa and Eurasia. These range from the Mesolithic period, when humans were still hunter-gatherers, through the earliest days of human settlement and agriculture, right the way up to the 18th century.

The first domesticated cats

All modern domesticated cats belong to the species Felis catus. These in turn are descended from a single subspecies, the Near Eastern wildcat, Felis sylvestris lybica. This small, tawny-coloured member of the wildcat family still stalks the desert areas of the Middle East today.

Wildcats are very different from the cats we keep as pets. They’re solitary, ill-tempered and pretty reclusive. But in genetic terms, they’re actually not all that different. So, how did these fierce but shy hunters become the beloved fluffballs that we know today?

The prevailing theory is that humans didn’t actually domesticate cats, at least initially, like they did with dogs. Rather, cats domesticated themselves. We didn’t grab them and put them in cages and breed them until they behaved. Instead, we developed a mutually beneficial relationship.

As early humans spread across the globe and started planting crops, these crops would attract vermin such as mice and rats. These vermin then attracted cats, protecting precious crops from being eaten.

Effectively, cats have the dual benefits of being both cute and useful – a winning combination for humans to take notice. In turn, humans created or attracted more than enough food to keep the cats around.

Two migrations

So, we have cats and humans chilling out together in the Fertile Crescent of the Near and Middle East. How did they make their way all the way up to Scandinavia? Cats like to explore but they have a pretty limited range! This is where that major study really comes into its own.

The DNA evidence points to two separate migrations happening from the East. The first migration from the Middle East occurred around 8,000 years ago and reached a fair way into Europe and across into Africa. We know the Ancient Egyptians loved and revered cats and we see a lot of feline iconography in Egyptian mythology.

The second migration started from Egypt, aided greatly by this new-fangled technology called boats. This started around 1,700 B.C.E. but really accelerated in the 5th to the 13th centuries. This is the migration that gave the Vikings their cats.

Cats reach the north

We don’t know exactly when cats reached Scandinavia. There’s a small amount of evidence that they were in the area during the iron age, around 200 B.C.E. It’s not really until the Viking Age began that the evidence becomes much stronger.

Unlike the areas of the Middle East, where cats came to humans via the farming communities, in Scandinavia they first started appearing in urban settlements. This suggests that the cats were either brought by visitors from overseas or brought back by Vikings returning from their travels.

Vikings took cats on their ships

Remains found in a Viking trading port on the Baltic Sea in Northern Germany suggest that, by the middle ages, cats were providing their valuable rodent-control services on-board Viking ships.

From the urban areas, the cats then spread to the rural communities where they could also find plenty of ways to be useful to the Norse people.

The dark side of keeping pet cats

Being a good hunter is one way to be useful to humans. Unfortunately for cats, being fluffy gives another use. One thing we know about the Vikings is that they loved fur. When you live in the far North, fur is vitally important to keep warm.

Vikings traded pelts of a wide range of animals, especially seals, with the people living further South. Even in countries with high temperatures, soft, natural fur was a prized possession.

It’s possible that the Vikings simply waited until the cats reached the end of their useful life and then, after a nice humane ending, skinned them to use or sell their fur. Evidence, however, suggests that Vikings also farmed cats for their fur.

The Viking fortress at Nonnebakken, in Odense, is well known from Norse mythology. In the area, the remains of 68 cats were found in a well. Analysis shows that these cats definitely didn’t die of natural causes. Most had their necks broken and there were cut marks on some of the bones, consistent with skinning for fur.

Viking cats

So, we know that the Vikings had cats in their towns, in their rural areas and most importantly on their ships. This makes a lot of sense because, much more than on land, it’s important when you’re sailing to keep your food supplies intact.

The natural relationship between humans and cats was still very much an arrangement of mutual benefit. Cats could get food more easily by killing rats and mice.

Their energy requirements aren’t all that great, so they don’t put a burden on the tribe even when there’s not many rodents around. By sailing with cats, the Vikings could be sure that their food supply would remain intact and unsullied by disease-bearing vermin.

The main evidence we have for cats sailing with Vikings comes from Greenland and Canada. Cat remains in Greenland show that they would have been with the Vikings right from the start of their settlement there. Meanwhile, domestic cats in North America seem to date to around that time too. Maybe Leif Erikson was the one to introduce Felis catus to North America.

Nowadays, cats are second only to dogs as the most popular pet in the United States. And because cat owners tend to have more cats than dog owners have dogs, there are actually more domestic cats than dogs in the country!

Size is everything

One of the more surprising findings about cats, from a different study at the University of Copenhagen, is that they’ve grown in size since humans first encountered them. While we have the ‘big cats’, the majority of wildcats are pretty tiny and the Near Eastern wildcat that they descended from is one of these tiny species.

From sifting through dozens of bags of archaeological remains, from sites all across Denmark, researcher Julie Bitz-Thorsen found that modern domestic cats in Denmark are on average 16% larger than their Viking-era counterparts.

It’s possible that this is unique to Denmark – maybe Danish cats are especially large! But findings in other areas suggest that this happened all over.

This is the exact opposite of what scientists expected as, in all other cases, domestication has made animals smaller. While we have some pretty big dogs, such as our favourite the Norwegian Elkhound, the average dog is around 25% smaller than its wild cousins, the grey wolves.

There may be a few different reasons for this. Cats were pretty small to begin with, so there was no reason to bring down their size to make them more manageable. Also, as cats domesticated themselves, humans weren’t too involved in how the evolution happened.

Instead, it’s likely that the contact with humans allowed cats to grow larger by making food much less scarce and removing the need to spend a lot of energy on hunting.

Final domestication

As I mentioned earlier, cats kinda domesticated themselves. The genetic differences between domestic cats and wildcats are very small. It wasn’t until the Viking Age that we have actual evidence of humans directly and deliberately influencing cat development.

The main culprit is the tabby gene. Aside from the obvious exceptions, most wildcats have a subtle striped pattern, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings. Desert cats tend more towards lighter, sandy colours and forest cats tend towards darker colours.

The non-uniform colouring of the tabby cat, including dots, white patches, swirls and flecks, is likely a result of human action. The gene has existed in cats dating back to the early days of the Ottoman Empire, but it didn’t start to be expressed until the Middle Ages.

We don’t know, of course, why this happened. Whether it was human selection to make them look cuter, or to make the fur look nicer, or simply that different genes came to be expressed more because the cats were able to avoid predators.

But we do know that the final domestication of cats, started in the days when Vikings were roaming the Earth. Nowadays, the modern descendent of those Viking cats is the adorable Norwegian Forest Cat.

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Viking sailors took their cats with them

The largest genetic study of cats reveals how our furry friends spread out across Europe, Asia, and Africa, and even hitched a ride aboard Viking ships.

The world’s first large study into ancient cat DNA reveals that the earliest ancestors of our furry friends reached Eurasia and Africa at the same time as early farmers, and were later helped by mariners, including the Vikings.

Scientists sequenced the DNA from 290 cats from more than 30 archaeological excavations throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, including the remains of a cat in a Viking grave in northern Germany.

“There are so many interesting observations” in the study,” says Population Geneticist Pontus Skoglund from Harvard Medical School, USA.   Skoglund was not involved in the new research, but he saw the results presented during a conference in Oxford, UK.

“I didn’t even know there were Viking cats.” he says.

Of course, Vikings had cats

Freja in her carriage pulled by cats. Picture by Ludwig Pietsch, 1865. (Wikimedia Commons)

Cats are a recurrent theme in Norse mythology, says Jes Martens from the Cultural History Museum in Oslo, Norway. 

“Freja, the goddess of love, had two cats that pulled her carriage. And when Thor visited Utgard, he tried to lift the giant, Utgard-Loki’s cat. It turned out to be a serpent, the Midgard Serpent, which not even Thor could lift,” says Martens.

If the Vikings had so many stories involving cats, then it makes perfect sense that they took cats with them on long voyages, he says.

Cats spread out in two waves

In the new study, samples were taken the remains of cats that date to as recently as the 18th century and as far back as the early Stone Age, around 8,900 to 3,900 years ago, when Europeans had not yet adopted farming and still led a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

The mummified remains of an ancient Egyptian cat. Ancient Egyptians may have tamed wild cats as early as 6,000 years ago. (Photo: Natural History Museum, London / Science Photo Library)

The scientists behind the new research discovered that cats spread around the world in two waves.

The first wave arrived with the earliest farmers in the eastern Mediterranean, as indicated by the discovery of 9,500 year old grave in Cyprus. It contained the remains of a cat and suggests that the relationship between humans and cats dates all the way back to the early days of farming.

The second wave took place thousands of years later as cats from Egypt quickly spread to the rest of Africa and Asia. Their genetic markers were discovered in cats from Bulgaria, Turkey, and sub Saharan Africa that also date to around the same time.

Cats took care of the rodents

Scientists behind the new study speculate that the friendship between people and cats arose as early farmers began to store grain. The grain attracted rodents, which in turn attracted wild cats, and so began the mutually beneficial relationship with our feline friends.

Cats also helped to keep down the numbers of rats and mice on ships, during long voyages at sea, says lead-author Eva-Maria Geigl, an evolutionary geneticist with the Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, France.

She points to a Viking grave, discovered in northern Germany that is believed to date back to somewhere between the 8th to 11th century CE.

Vikings wore cat skins

Conservator, Kristian Gregersen from the Natural History Museum of Denmark conducted a search of the museum’s database of archaeological finds and has no doubt that cats were commonplace in Viking and Iron Age Denmark and that people commonly wore cat skins by the late Viking Age.

“We are sure that there were domestic cats then, because of their size. Small cats accompany people, and they are nowhere near the size of wild cats,” says Gregersen.

According to archaeologist Christian Koch Madsen from the National Museum in Copenhagen and the National Museum in Nuuk, Greenland, there is also archaeological evidence that cats made it to Greenland.

“They must have come aboard Viking ships,” he wrote in an email to ScienceNordic.


Read the Danish version of this article on

Translated by: Catherine Jex

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100+ Nordic Cat Names With Meanings For Your Cute Feline Friend

Do you have a cat? If so, congratulations! You’ve been gifted with the most amazing pet on Earth.

Cats are fluffy, adorable creatures that provide endless hours of entertainment and company.

They’re also very playful and love to play games.

Do you think your kitty has a cool name? Or is it just meh?

Well, we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of nordic cat names for your little furry friend in hopes that they’ll be purring all day long when they hear their new name!

Female Nordic Cat Names

Names Meanings
Ase God-like
Gull Goddess
Unn The beloved one
Eira Merciful
Oili Divine woman
Alba White

Wife of Thor, had beautiful hair

Kari Chaste, pure
Natuk Lovely, sweet
Hillevi Happy in war
Ylva Female wolf
Kolr Black/coal
Elli Challenged Thor
Blancheflor White flower

Sweet little fur under chin

Muirenn White, fair
Amr Dark, black
Sienna Orange, red
Mina/Minna Love
Nava Beautiful
Freja Like a lady
Astrid Divine beauty
Rana Slender
Ineko Sweet/cute
Turid Good-looking
Runa Secret love
Eva Living, animal
Are Precious one

To be in love with someone

Sassa Divine beauty
Duri To sleep
Asta Divine beauty
Theresia To hunt, harvest
Finn Wanderer
Eerika Ruling forever
Signe Latest victory
Embla Elm tree
Nanna Courageous
Tove Gorgeous
Thora Like a thunder

Male Nordic Cat Names

Names Meanings
Vali Powerful, strong
Bausi Proud
Maleqqi To hunt, chase
Are Precious one

Sweet little fur under chin


God of Fire, voracious eater

Unn The beloved one
Bialfi Fur/pelt
Svart Black
Kare Curvy
Sven Boy
Fiske Fish
Loki Trickster God
Jarle Nobleman
Tarben Bear of thor
Stig/Stigr Route
Halstein Stony rock
Bjarke Bear
Tue Peaceful man
Brynjar Warrior in armor
Astolf Love
Ole Father
Frey Lord
Soini Boy
Oluf Descendant
Finn Wanderer
Svartr Black
Olsen Ole’s son
Sveinn Boy, young man
Ineko Sweet/cute
Kinnari Fur

Sweet little fur under chin

Destin Determined
Bjorn Bear
Ove Full of terror

God of battle and warfare

Odin Fury
Torben Thor’s bear
Torbjorn Bear of Thor

Foreign person or stranger

Colden Coal town
Eirik King forever
Bassi Big man/animal
Colborn Burning log
Asger Spear of God
Uljas Proud

The list of names for cats is literally endless, which means you have a lot to choose from.

If the name sounds too similar to another cat in your household, or you think it will be confusing if there are other animals living with your pet, then try something different!

Here are some creative Norwegian cat names that’ll help inspire you.

Trixie BE NORDIC Juna Cat Tower

Decorative scratching barrel for cats, with a maritime design and large compass motif, with spacious dens on two different levels and a soft lookout platform, as well as sisal mats and rope.  
The Trixie BE NORDIC Juna Cat Tower offers your cat a comfortable place to relax and snooze, as well as providing a range of playing and climbing opportunities. The scratching barrel features the typical design of the Trixie BE NORDIC range and makes an eye-catching addition to any home.

This Trixie BE NORDIC Juna Cat Tower has two spacious dens that are perfect for hiding away and snoozing. On the top there is a padded laying area that also acts as a lookout platform. From here your cat has the best view possible! There is a large compass design on the cushion, completely the maritime feel of this Trixie BE NORDIC Juna Cat Tower. It also allows for claw care, as a scratching tower with a scratching board. There is a rope for biting and playing, ensuring your cat is always entertained.

Trixie BE NORDIC Juna Cat Tower at a glance:

  • Scratching barrel for cats, in a Nordic design
  • Cat tower for sleeping, relaxing and hiding away
  • Sisal scratching board: for sharpening claws and saving your furniture and carpets!
  • Spacious dens: on 2 different levels, ideal for playing, hiding, sleeping and relaxing
  • With laying area: softly padded, with a great view from a raised position
  • 3 canvas cushions: one on each level
  • Maritime design: with a large compass motif on top
  • With rope: for versatile play
  • From the Trixie BE NORDIC range
  • Material: sisal/plywood (lacquered)/canvas
  • Colour: grey/sand
  • Dimensions:
    • Total dimensions:38 x 38 x 77 cm (L x W x H)
    • Base plate: 35 x B 35 (L x W)
    • 2 Dens:
      • Total: 38 x 38 x 38 cm (L x W x H)
      • Inside: approx. 35 x 35 cm (L x W)
      • Entrance: approx. 18 x 34 cm (W x H)
    • Viewing platform:
      • Total: 38 x 38 cm (L x W)
      • Laying area: approx. 35 x 35 cm  (L x W)
    • Sisal scratching board: approx. 26 x 65 cm (W x H)
    • Rope: approx. Ø 3 x L 50 cm
  • Care instructions: handwash cushion
Good to know:
Trixie is supporting marine preservation projects with every purchase of a product from the BE NORDIC range, in order to help protect nature and species.

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10 Furry Facts About Norwegian Forest Cats

Norwegian Forest cats are known for their fluffy coats, large builds, and social dispositions. Here are a few other furry facts about the Scandinavian feline. 


The breed’s origins are a source of mystery. Norwegian Forest cats could be related to black-and-white short-haired cats from Great Britain, which the Vikings used as mousers on their ships. But they might also be descendants of long-haired cats brought to Scandinavia by the Crusaders.

These early relatives roamed Norway’s forests, breeding with feral felines and barn cats. Over the years, they evolved into the large, dense-coated animal we know and love today. 


Norwegian Forest cats aren’t just any pedestrian pet—they’re the stuff of legend. Norwegian myths tell of the skogkatt, a large, long-haired “mountain-dwelling fairy cat with an ability to climb sheer rock faces that other cats could not manage.” Thanks to their size, coats, and tree-climbing prowess, the Norwegian Forest cat may have served as the real-life inspiration for the skogkatt (which translates to “forest cat”).  

The skogkatt was beloved by Freya, the Norse goddess of love and beauty, who some say traveled in a feline-drawn chariot. And in one Norwegian tale, Thor loses a contest of strength to the tricky god Jormungand, who’s disguised as a skogkatt. Thanks to these legends, some breeders today refer to the Norwegian Forest cat as the “Norse skogkatt.”


King Olaf V of Norway designated the Norwegian Forest cat the country’s national cat. No word on whether America will ever gain its own national feline, although it’s likely that Grumpy Cat will vie for the title. 


Farmers and sailors prized the Norwegian Forest cat for its mousing skills. However, fanciers didn’t start noticing and showing the breed until the 1930s.

During World War II, attention paid toward the Norwegian Forest cat waned, and the breed came dangerously close to becoming extinct thanks to crossbreeding. However, an official breeding program helped preserve the furry cat’s lineage for future generations.

In 1977, the Norwegian Forest cat breed was officially accepted as a recognized breed by the Fédération Internationale Féline. Two years later, the first breeding pair of Norwegian Forest cats arrived in America. And in 1987, the breed was officially accepted by the Cat Fanciers’ Association. 


While Norwegian Forest cats don’t crack the top 10 most popular cat breeds in America, they do have a legion of loyal fans in Europe. It’s not surprising that the breed is well-loved in—you guessed it—Scandinavia. (In fact, Norwegian Forest cats are nicknamed “Wegies,” which is short for “Norwegians.”) They’re also popular in France.


Norwegian Forest cats are way larger than most cats—and some small dogs, for that matter. Typical male Norwegian Forest cats can range anywhere from 13 to 22 pounds.


Although Norwegian Forest cats can be any color or pattern, they do have one thing in common: a long, double-layered coat that repels water. (They also have tufted ears and toes, which work like built-in earmuffs and boots.) These handy physical traits helped the breed survive snowy Scandinavian winters.


Sadly, Norwegian Forest cats aren’t as hardy as their ancient Viking owners. They’re prone to hereditary heart problems, hip dysplasia, and a condition called glycogen storage disease type IV, which causes a harmful build-up of a complex sugar called glycogen in the body’s cells. 


With their big bodies and bushy tails, the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest cat look like cousins. Appearances aren’t deceiving. Genetic testing indicates that the Maine Coon is descendent of both the Norwegian Forest Cat and an unknown—and now-extinct—domestic breed.

Can’t tell the two apart? Look at their features. Norwegian Forest cats have a triangle-shaped face, whereas Maine Coons have a wedge-shaped head with high cheekbones. 


Ever seen a cat run down a tree headfirst? If you have, it was most likely a Norwegian Forest cat. The cats have sturdier claws than most breeds, allowing them to achieve impressive climbing feats.

90,000 Norwegian Forest – Cat Breed – Information and Features

Muscular, with a large skeleton, with thick hair, the Norwegian cat is sturdily built and looks like a real hunter, as her ancestors were.

She has a triangular head set on a thick, muscular neck. The ears are medium in size with a strong, rounded chin. The hind legs of the Norwegian Woodland are slightly longer than the front ones. The legs are highly muscled and the feet appear disproportionately large with rounded contours and fur between the toes.

Thick coat visually increases the size of the animal. The coat is thick and long. He provided her ancestors with excellent protection from the cold when they lived in the forests. The coat is silky to the touch and has a silky feel and its length varies greatly depending on the season. The tail is also covered with thick and long hair.

Character Traits:

The Norwegian Forest is a cute and friendly cat. She appreciates praise and loves to communicate with her masters.She makes a good friend, and once she recognizes you, a close personal bond is established between you.

The Norwegian Forest has never lost its roots. At heart, she’s still a hunter. She loves to hunt toys as if they were real. She has a strong sense of territory, which she courting several times a day to make sure everything is in order.

Maintenance and care:

The Norwegian Forest Cat tends to monitor its diet by increasing its activity and reducing its food intake when it sees fit.If you have enough time to play and a room to run and tinker with, she usually does not need a


As a territorial animal, the Norwegian Forest prefers to have its own habitat. She loves to run, hide and ambush. She needs perches and space to run around.

Her coat requires daily grooming to prevent felting and matting, especially during shedding. Grooming can be made into a game, although she already enjoys being greeted.As with any thick-haired cats, it is necessary to use a means to prevent the coat from rolling off, especially during the shedding period.


According to legend, this cat makes its way through forests and trees, mysteriously appearing and disappearing from sight. Sometimes all you can see is the long, fluffy tail of this magical cat. She knows what is happening to you, even if you yourself are not aware of it. She even knows your innermost thoughts.This beautiful cat with a wonderful unusual tail is the Norwegian Forest Cat.

Armed with a legend as beautiful as the breed itself, breeders in Norway have begun to transform their magical forest cats into a breed that will take a worthy show place. The Norwegian Forest Cat was first introduced at a cat show in Norway before World War II.

It took some time for the Norwegian Forest Cat to reach the United States of America, where the Maine Coon, an inhabitant of the local forests, has already managed to conquer the country.With a group of breeders dedicated to ensuring that the Norwegian Forest Cat regularly participates in shows, the breed has become famous in the United States of America, where it has a loyal following.

Norwegian forest cat: characteristics, photo, character, rules of care and maintenance

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Cat breed Norwegian Forest character photo

According to one of the stories of the emergence of this breed of cats, the ancestors of the Norwegian forest cat are long-haired cats brought by the Vikings from Turkey.Gradually, when crossed with other short-haired European breeds, the Scandinavian aboriginal cat appeared. Under the influence of the environment, the strongest, hardy, and excellent health individuals remained in the breed. The first mentions of forest cats appeared in a children’s book written in 1912. During this period, the Norwegian forest cats received official recognition. In order to preserve this species in the 30s of the last century, work began on the cultivation of a forest cat.It is by far the most popular cat breed in Norway. She always attracts great interest and sympathy among exhibition visitors. In Russia, the Norwegian forest breed is not yet so widespread, but this is temporary, since the Norwegians conquer many cat lovers at first sight with their charming appearance.

Description of the breed

In terms of their external characteristics, the Norwegian Forest cats are similar to the European Shorthair, Maine Coon and Turkish Van. The Norwegian’s head is long, triangular, there are practically no boundaries between the forehead and a wide nose, the chin is massive, the cheeks are large, the long vertical ears are set wide apart, the pointed tips of the ears have tassels like a lynx.The eyes are large, round, eye-catching. Different eye colors are possible, corresponding to the color of the coat. The neck is strong, chest and shoulders are also powerful. The back is broad and strong. The body is massive, but flexible, the body is elongated. The paws are large, the front paws are smaller than the hind ones. In winter, the long, thick coat on the chest and hind legs is particularly eye-catching. Many colors are allowed with the exception of chocolate, cinnamon, lilac, tabby, bicolor and tricolor. The weight of the Norwegian forest cat reaches 7.5 kg.The limbs are long with developed muscles.

Coat length

The coat is long and close to the body, has a water-repellent property, thick undercoat.

Breed size



By nature, the Norwegians are energetic, perky and sociable. They have a kind, affectionate disposition, get along well with everyone in the family. They are excellent hunters, and therefore playfulness, curiosity, endurance and dexterity are inherent in them. They do not trust unfamiliar people, are cautious and vigilant.Cats get along well with other pets, even are friends with dogs. Cats of the Norwegian forest breed are freedom-loving and enjoy spending time outdoors, in the yard. Norwegian forest cats are unique in that they descend from a tree like squirrels upside down, with strong paws, claws and fearlessness helping them.


Norway does not need intensive care and constant attention from the owner. Being in good health, they rarely get sick. Care of the coat requires the most attention.Every week you need to comb out the coat, during the shedding period and when the cold comes with the appearance of a thicker undercoat, more time is spent combing out dead hairs. To stay healthy, Norway requires outdoor walks, even during cold periods. On a monthly basis, you need to bathe the animal, and clean the ears and lacrimal pathways every week.


This cat’s diet should be balanced and enriched with vitamins and minerals. The best solution will be ready-made professional premium and super premium feed.

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Cat breeds

Did you think you knew everything about cat and cat breeds? Test your knowledge on the official website of Bosch German Natural Pet Food. We present an extensive catalog of various cat breeds. The section contains over 70 reference articles. The names of cat breeds with detailed descriptions and high-quality photos will interest both experienced cat lovers and those who are just thinking about buying a pet.

If you do not want to search alphabetically, write the desired breed of cat and use the search bar. Each description of cats with photographs is divided into several parts: a brief summary of the breeding of the breed, then a detailed description of the physiological characteristics – for example, the shape of the head, ears and eyes, the size of the body, the nature of the color, the length of the coat, etc.

Descriptions, Photos and Nature

For future owners of graceful creatures, the section on the nature of various breeds of cats and kittens will be extremely useful.Here you can find out how the pet tends to communicate with people – affectionate and trusting or emphatically independent and even sometimes aggressive? And maybe the kittens are future excellent hunters, playful and curious, which means that it will be impossible to lock the warlike tailed beast in four walls. A detailed description of the breed will help you make the right choice. We especially note that the catalog contains expensive and rare cat breeds.

Often the determining factor when choosing a pet is its appearance.Especially if you entrust the choice of a pet to children. But when looking at photos of cat breeds, do not forget that only a careful acquaintance with the description of the character can serve as a guarantee that in the future there will be no disagreements between you and the tailed family member.

Norwegian forest cat: description of breed, character, behavior

The Norwegian Forest cat (in Norwegian: Norsk skogkatt or Norsk skaukatt, English Norwegian Forest cat) is a breed of large domestic cats, originally from Northern Europe.The breed evolved naturally, adapting to cold climates. They have a long, silky, waterproof coat with an abundant undercoat. During the Second World War, the breed disappeared, and it was only through the efforts of the Norwegian Forest Cat Club that it was restored.

This is a large, strong cat, outwardly similar to a Maine Coon, with long legs, a strong body and a fluffy tail. They climb trees well, due to their strong paws. The average life expectancy is 14 to 16 years, although the breed is prone to heart disease.

History of the breed

This cat breed has adapted well to the harsh climate of Norway, its cold winters and windswept fjords. It is likely that the ancestors of these breeds were short-haired cats brought by the Vikings from campaigns in Britain and long-haired breeds brought to Norway by the crusaders from the east.

However, it is possible that the influence of Siberian cats and the Turkish Angora, since the Viking raids took place along the entire coast of Europe. Natural mutations and a harsh climate forced newcomers to adapt, and in the end we got the breed that we know now.

Norwegian legends describe skogkatt as “magical cats that can climb steep cliffs, where a normal cat will not walk.” Wild Norse cats, or similar ones, are also found in mythology. Created long before written sources, the sagas of the north are filled with fabulous creatures: gods of the night, ice giants, trolls, dwarfs and cats.

Not snow leopards, as one might expect, but long-haired domestic cats that lived alongside the gods.Freya, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility, rode a golden chariot, harnessed by two large, white Norse cats.

Spoken by word of mouth, these sagas cannot be accurately dated. However, a little later they were collected in the Edda – the main work of Germanic-Scandinavian mythology. Since in one or another part you can find mention of cats, it is clear that they were with people already at that time, and their history goes back hundreds of years.

But, most likely, the ancestors of the breed were in the homes of the Vikings and on ships for only one task, they were catching rodents.Originally living on farms, where they were loved for their hunting skills, Norwegian cats were introduced to the whole world only at the end of the nineteenth century, and since then have been popular.

In 1938, the first Norwegian Forest Cat Club was established in Oslo. However, the outbreak of World War II put an end to the development of the club and almost led to the extinction of the breed.

Uncontrolled crossbreeding with other breeds led to the fact that the Norwegian Forest cats practically disappeared, and only the development of a program to save the breed by the club brought results.

Since the breed did not leave Norway until 1970, it was not registered with the FIFe (Fédération Internationale Féline) until Karl-Frederic Nordan, a Norwegian breeder, applied.

The breed was registered in Europe in 1970 and in the American Cat Fanciers Association in 1994. It is now most popular in Norway, Sweden, Ireland and France.

So, for example, in France, it is one of the five most popular cat breeds, from 400 to 500 elite kittens are born during the year.

Description of the breed

The head is large, shaped like a truncated triangle, with a powerful jaw. A square or round head is considered a defect and is discarded.

The eyes are almond-shaped, oblique, can be of any color. The ears are large, wide at the base, with thick hair growing from them and tassels like a lynx.

A distinctive feature of Norwegian cats is a double coat, consisting of a dense undercoat and long, glossy, waterproof guard hairs.On the neck and head there is a luxurious mane, on the paws there are pronounced pants. During the winter months, the coat becomes noticeably denser. The structure and density are of decisive importance, colors and colors are secondary to this breed.

Any colors are admissible, except for chocolate, lilac, fawn and cinnamon and others indicating hybridization. There are especially many Norwegian cats of two colors or bicolors.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is larger and larger than the domestic cat. She has long legs, a sturdy body and a fluffy tail.The coat is long, glossy, thick, water-repellent, with a powerful undercoat, the most dense on the legs, chest and head.

They have a quiet voice, but when kept with dogs, they can pump it up quite a lot. They live from 14 to 16 years old, and given their size, they eat quite a lot, at least more than other domestic cats.

Males are noticeably larger, weighing from 5 to 8 kg, and cats from 3.5 to 5 kg. Like all large breeds, they grow rather slowly and fully develop only after a few years.


The cat has an attentive and intelligent expression of the muzzle and a proportional, beautiful head. And this expression is not deceiving, as they are mostly friendly, smart, adaptable and can be brave. Get along well with other cats, dogs, get along with children.

Many of them are extremely loyal to one family member, this does not mean that they are unfriendly towards others. No, it’s just that there is a place in their heart for only one person, and the rest are friends.

Many owners say that Norwegian cats are not domestic fluffy purrs that lie on the couch for hours. No, this is a strong and intelligent animal, which is more adapted for life in the yard and outdoors than in a cramped apartment. However, this does not mean that they do not like affection, on the contrary, they will follow their beloved owner throughout the house, and rub against their feet.

Usually calm and unperturbed, the Norwegian Forest Cat transforms into a kitten as soon as the owner brings a favorite toy.Hunting instincts have not gone anywhere, and they just go crazy with a piece of paper tied to a rope or a laser beam.

Not realizing that the laser beam cannot be caught, they repeatedly track and attack it, and sometimes an hour after the game is over, you can see the cat sitting patiently in ambush.

Of course, these cats are much more comfortable when kept in a private house, semi-yard. When she can go for a walk, hunt or just climb trees.

Athletic and strong, they like to climb higher, and it is advisable to buy them a tree for cats.Unless you want your furniture and doors to be decorated with claw marks.

They have not lost the skills and abilities that helped to survive in the old days. And today, Norwegian cats are intelligent, strong, adaptable animals.

Maintenance and care

Although the abundant and dense undercoat suggests that it is difficult to care for, it is not. For most forest cats, grooming for long hair is easier than for other breeds.As one breeder said:

Mother Nature would not have created a cat that needs a hairdresser to live in a harsh and dense forest.

For ordinary cats, not premium, one brushing session once a week is enough. During molting (usually in spring), this amount is increased from 3-4 times a week. This is enough to avoid tangling.

But the preparation of the Norwegian forest cat for participation in the exhibition is another story.

Wool is naturally designed to be water-repellent, so it is a little greasy.And to look good at the show, the coat must be clean, and each hair must lag behind each other.

The first problem is getting the cat wet. Most breeders recommend a greasy coat shampoo that is rubbed into the dry coat. Adding water allows you to get foam, and finally wet the cat. And then the usual shampoos for cats come into play.

But, each cat is different, and its method of grooming can only be determined by trial and error. Some cats have drier coats and need regular shampoo.In others (especially in cats), the coat is oily and needs several lathers.

Some are bi-colored, with white spots, which must be especially carefully cleaned. But, due to the greasy coat, they all don’t need a conditioner shampoo. Instead, it’s best to make sure your cat is well wet.

Even if it seems to you that the coat is already wet, it is worth continuing for a couple of minutes, since the coat is so thick and dense that the shampoo does not rub into it.

It is just as difficult to dry them as it is to wet them.It is best to leave the coat alone to dry on its own.

Particular attention should be paid to the areas on the belly and legs, as tangles can form there. To avoid them, use a comb and hair dryer.


As has been said many times, these cats are healthy and strong. But, in some lines of Norwegian cats, a hereditary genetic disease transmitted by a recessive gene can occur: Andersen’s disease or glycogenosis.

This disease is manifested in impaired liver metabolism, which leads to cirrhosis. Usually, kittens that inherit both genes from their parents are born dead or die shortly after birth.

Less commonly, they survive and live from the age of 5 months, after which their condition rapidly deteriorates and they die.

In addition, forest cats are deficient in pyruvate kinase (Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency) and this is a genetic autogenous recessive disease.

It results in a decrease in red blood cells, which leads to anemia.In Western countries, the practice of genetic analysis is widespread, with the aim of removing from the breeding program cats and cats that are carriers of these genes.

90,000 The Norwegian Forest Cat is one of the oldest breeds. The breed is a Norwegian forest cat, has a large and well-developed physique.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is one of the oldest breeds. There are authoritative opinions that it was the ancestors of modern Norwegian forest cats that were mentioned in the Viking sagas, although, of course, it is difficult to say with certainty now.In ancient legends there is a mention of “fairy cats” (the chariot of the goddess Freya was pulled by six cats). In addition, it is known that cats lived with the Vikings, and they highly appreciated them for catching rodents, affection and quick wits.

Another authoritative opinion says that in Norway these cats appeared as a result of trade, and were brought by merchant ships from the territory of Turkey. Accordingly, in this case, the closest ancestor of the Norwegian forest is the Angora cat. Another variant of origin is Siberian cats.In any case, this breed belongs to the ancients, was not bred artificially, and developed in its natural environment, in the forests and mountains of Scandinavia.

The harsh climate allowed these pets to evolve, acquire a very reliable, warm, long hair with a dense undercoat, which makes them practically invulnerable even in strong weather, rain and wind. After 1930, a European group of breeders decided to create a full-fledged breed with characteristic features that could reproduce according to certain rules to preserve those very traits.

The name of the breed came by itself, so to speak, due to historical laws. In his homeland, this cat is called “Norsk Skaukatt” – several of these Scaukatt took part in the cat show in Oslo, in 1938, just before the outbreak of the Second World War. They were represented by the oldest Norwegian cat lovers club. The breed “Norwegian Forest Cat” was very well received and received positive feedback from the judges.

However, with the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the breeding program almost completely ceased, a huge population became extinct.It took almost 40 more years for the Scaucatts to re-interest breeders. The largest European register of pedigree cats, the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe), officially recognized the scowcatts in 1977, at the same time the breed was given full championship status.

After 10 years, namely in 1987, the American Cat Fanciers Association also recognized this breed, although the Norwegian Forest Cat in America received the championship status only 6 years later, in 1993. That is, despite the fact that the breed is one of the oldest, it appears at the American cat show relatively recently.Today the Norwegian Forest Cat is actively bred in other countries of the world.

Grooming of the Norwegian Forest Cat at YarGroom

Grooming cats lasts 30 – 50 minutes, grooming dogs from 1 to 3 hours – depending on the type of haircut, neglect and nature of the animals.

You can be present in the salon during the haircut, if it will not interfere with the grooming process.

The puppy is taught to grooming from early childhood (claws are trimmed, hair is shaved off at the tips of the ears, dead hairs are plucked out of the ear canal, paws are trimmed and hygienic places are cut).If you have a show dog, then they do not cut it, but only follow the described procedures and trim the coat on the “skirt”. If you are not going to show your dog and want to make her a fashionable haircut, or you just find it hard to care for long hair, then you can start to cut your puppy from 4 – 5 months of age.

There is only one rule here – when you are no longer satisfied with the appearance of your dog, when the pet began to look untidy, then it’s time to contact a groomer.It depends on your dog’s coat growth rate and your personal preference. On average, a groomer is contacted once every one and a half to three months. Some people cut their dogs once or twice a year, provided that they can cut their nails, shave their ears and clean hygienic places on their own.

No, we do not practice any injections when shearing animals and are categorically against this method. Our masters find an approach to each pet and cope on their own.

Grooming of cats is performed without anesthesia in the presence of the owner – the groomer performs the grooming, the owner fixes the animal. The standard complex (990 rubles) includes – haircut, ear cleaning and clipping. Washing and drying are paid additionally.

If you want to get a beautiful and even haircut as a result, entrust the washing procedure to our masters. Groomers will wash your pet with professional cosmetics, dry and stretch the coat properly.

Yes, our groomers can provide a “no wash” service – you must bring a clean and dry dog ​​to the salon.

Yes, home visit is possible. On your side, you need a stable table next to the outlet. Home visit is paid additionally – in Yaroslavl + 200 rubles for a haircut. Departure outside the city is discussed individually.

90,000 Norwegian Forest Cat – General Features, Nutrition and Care

General characteristics and birthplace of the breed.

Norwegian Forest cats are distinguished by their large size, endurance and kind, docile nature. Being of Scandinavian origin, these pets rarely show aggression, calm and patient even towards small children and other animals in the house.

These are rather large animals weighing from 5 to 9 kg, they have a massive constitution and muscular legs, but at the same time they are very fast and resourceful. From their ancestors who grew up in harsh climatic conditions, the Norwegian Forest cats inherited a very thick, long coat with water-repellent properties.The neck is decorated with a beautiful “collar”, and there are tassels on the ears. Another characteristic feature of cats of this breed is a very long fluffy tail, proportional to body length or even more.

Love for freedom and the need to communicate with humans – this is how the Norwegian Forest Cat can be characterized.

Friendly and affectionate pets are absolutely not vindictive or aggressive, they get along well with other pets, play with children with pleasure, make good contact with guests or strangers, but they value freedom and independence very much.If you let a Norwegian cat out into the street, she can disappear for the whole day and appear when she sees fit. At the same time, these cats do not tolerate loneliness and if you are rarely at home, the pet can become withdrawn and shy.

Birthplace of the breed: Norway.

Breed nutrition and care.

Norwegian forest cats have a unique ability to adapt to any living conditions, are hardy and unpretentious in their care. Of course, Norwegians, like other long-haired cats, are prone to strong shedding, but their hair is not dry, but silky, dense and smooth, which does not roll and turn into “woolen” tubers on the floor.During molting, in spring and autumn, pets need to be combed out daily, at other times it will be enough to grab the comb 1-2 times a week. If the cat lives in an apartment, she should regularly trim her nails, and do not forget to keep your pet’s ears and mouth clean.

When composing a pet’s diet, give preference to high-quality super-premium or holistic food with a high protein content. For example, Royal Canin Maine Coon dry food is specially designed for breeds such as Siberian, Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon, taking into account their physiological characteristics and needs for nutrients and vitamins.If you prefer to cook on your own, choose beef, veal, chicken, or rabbit meat. To avoid infection with helminths, the meat must first be frozen for several days and only after that it should be given to the pet in boiled or raw form at room temperature, also in the diet it is necessary to include offal, vegetables, rice, buckwheat, fermented milk products, and also periodically add a small amount of vegetable oil for animal hair health.

Country of origin Norway
Life expectancy about 16 years old
Height 40 cm
Weight 4-9 kg

Potential illnesses and necessary preventive measures.

These are healthy pets with high immunity, however, some representatives of this breed may have problems with the cardiovascular system. The doctor will help to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

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