THE NORWEGIAN FOREST CAT

The Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest cat — nickname Wegie — originated from Norway. This magnificent cat breed is known as the Norsk Skogkatt, and was considered a stray cat breed for many years.  It is almost lynx-like in appearance — similar to the Maine Coon. The Norwegian

Brief History

It is thought that the Norwegian Forest cat breed may be descendants of cats that the Vikings brought to Norway from the U.K and the long haired cats brought in by the Crusaders. These are forest cats that had to survive the harsh, cold winters of Norway on their own.  In 1938, the Norwegian Forest Cat Club was formed. The breed was growing extinct after WWII, and the club’s aim was to prevent this from happening. In 1975, the Norsky Skogkattrino Association was formed, which estabished a breed standard for the Norwegian Forest cat. In 1993, the CFA board accepted the breed for complete championship status. The Norwegian Forest Cat was registered with the American Cat Fanciers Association in 1994.

Physical Features

The Norwegian Forest is an active breed, much larger than most cats. The head is triangular and long. They’re known for their ears, which are large and triangular with hair tufts. Their eyes are almond-shaped and a wide-range of colors. They typically have a strong stature with heavy bones — especially with their long legs and fluffy tail. Their coats are waterproof, thick and long with an wooly undercoat. Their voice tends to be very quiet, but very vocal around dogs.

Average Height:

9 to 11 inches

Average Weight:

9 to 16 pounds

Life Expectancy:

14 to 16 years

Temperament

The Norwegian Forest cat is a playful, sweet and intelligent breed. They do very well with people, gentle dogs, other cats and animals. They greatly enjoy climbing and being both indoors and outdoors. The Norwegian Forest cat does require a lot of attention, and will follow you around the house just to be close.. The Norwegian Forest needs an environmentally stimulating home with plenty of cat climbers, scratching posts and feline toys. This breed does well going for long walks with his pet parent. Consult with your veterinarian as to the best cat leashes and harnesses for your Norwegian Forest cat breed.

The Norwegian Forest Cat

Special Needs

This breed matures late, and will be playful for many years.

Possible Health Concerns

The Norwegian Forest cat is a healthy and moderately active cat breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): This is a heart muscle disorder where the heart walls of the left ventricle thicken. This results in the walls becoming stiffer. This is a common primary heart disease in cats. It tends to noticed at around 3 months to 17 years of age. Most cats will be middle aged when this disorder occurs. This disorder tends to affect males more than females, and it is an inherited genetic defect. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs. Fluid may also accumulate in the lungs, and in the space between the lungs and chest wall. Veterinary treatment will aim at improving cardiac function, and reducing blood clots. There is a good longterm outlook for mildly affected cats. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  • Hip Dysplasia: This is rare in domestic cats, and is common in purebred cats. This occurs when the hip joint is loose, and leads to degenerative joint disease. (osteoarthritis) Symptoms include lameness that can be mild to severe. Cats generally need no surgery for hip dysplasia. Weight reduction can help reduce discomfort.
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type IV: The body converts glycogen to glucose for energy. Cats with this disease may weaken progressively, until they cannot get up. Kittens can die from this. This disease usually can be noticed by 4-5 months, and is deadly. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease. This occurs when the polycystic kidney has numerous cysts within the functioning part of the kidney resulting in enlarged kidneys. Consult with your veterinarian if your cat vomits frequently, has a decreased appetite, and increased thirst or urination.

Exercise

The Wegie needs daily exercise combined with plenty of active play and interaction with people. Finding a variety of mentally stimulating cat toys will allow for your cat to lead a well-balanced life with the right amount of exercise. Cat harnesses also allow for daily walks.

Nutrition

All cat breeds need high- quality fat and protein in their diets. They also need amino acids, including taurine. There are numerous specialty diets for your cat that are formulated specifically for certain medical problems like urinary tract disorder, obesity, or kidney disease.

When looking for a high-quality cat food, here’s what to look out for:

  • No low-quality fillers
  • No artificial additives
  • Low grade ingredients or toxic ingredients
  • Meat-based
  • No garlic
  • Plant-based ingredients should be listed after the protein-based ingredients

Consult with your veterinarian for the best dietary advice for your cat.

Grooming

The Norwegian Forest Cat

Your Norwegian Forest cat may be susceptible to skin diseases originating from flea bites, mites, yeast and other bacterial infections. Opt for natural cat grooming products to help resolve these skin irritants.

This cat will also need daily grooming to remove shedding hair, and to prevent hair from matting. Because this breed has a long and thick double coat, extra care is required. Stainless steel combs help to remove dead hair. The Wegie  sheds the most during the summer, so increased grooming may be necessary during those months.

Daily cleaning with pet wipes beneath the tail is necessary. Ears should be checked weekly for cleanliness and sensitivity. If there is a buildup of wax and dirt, organisms can lead to an ear infection. Consult with your veterinarian about safe and gentle ear cleaning techniques. Nail trimming is necessary every few weeks. Eyes should also be cleaned gently every morning with cotton wool or a soft wipe. Each eye should be cleaned with different wipes or cotton balls to avoid eye infection contamination in both eyes.

With their super sweet personality and upbeat attitude, the Wegie makes for a fun companion.