The Norwegian Forest Cat is a healthy, robust natural breed that has developed over hundreds of years of natural selection in a harsh climate.
The behavior of Norwegian forest cats alternates between moments of craving for independence and the need for communication with humans.
Known as the Skogkatt in its native Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, semi-longhaired cat whose rugged appearance fits its name. Despite the hardy facade, this breed is very much a homebody that enjoys the company of other pets and particularly their human companions.
Norwegian forest cats are temperamentally typical Scandinavian children. Balanced outwardly, they rarely show emotions and prefer not to get involved in conflicts. They are friendly towards others, but do not tolerate violations of the boundaries of their personal space.
Since Norwegian forest cats have long been left exclusively to nature, they have a rather strong craving for the "wild" life. Of course, Norwegians can be kept in a city apartment, however, they will feel most comfortable in a private house, where they have the opportunity to go for walks daily and hone their hunting skills.
Do not be alarmed if your pet disappears from sight for several hours or even a whole day. Periods of independence and "vagrancy" are completely normal for this breed. But at another time, you may well get a severe reprimand for a long absence, because when the Norwegian does not want to be alone they want your company.
In general, Norwegian forest cats are very friendly and great for living in a large family where there are small children and other animals. If there is obsessive attention from the kids or dogs, you will not see aggression. The Norwegians prefer to leave and wait out the unpleasant situation in a secluded place.
If you want to train your cat to do tricks even elementary tricks, choose another breed. These wayward northerners simply ignore the trainer. They make decisions on their own and refuse to obey other people's whims.
Norwegian forest cats have a low voice compared to other cats, and they do not use “sound alerts” very often.
Their relationship with you can best be described as “on their own terms.” Yes, Forest Cats can be lap cats, but THEY will decide when to get on or off that lap. At a minimum, Forest Cats insist on being near their people in a place of their choosing: chair, bed, or desktop. A scratching post and a cat tree, preferably tall, are musts for the Norwegian Forest Cat home.
Although the Norwegian Forest Cat is a relatively new breed in the United States, it is a very old breed in Norway, featured in folk tales and mythology for centuries. The term skogkatt literally means “forest cat.” In all probability, this was the cat the Viking explorers took with them to keep their ships clear of rodents, the same job they had in the barns in the Norwegian countryside. Their first arrival on the east coast of North America may have been with Leif Erickson or his contemporaries in the late 900s.
Referred to as the "Skogkatt", the Norwegian Forest Cat has been included in Viking legend and mythology.
In the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, many Norwegian and Swedish families kept these cats as pets. In the 1930s, after their triumphal appearance at an international exhibition in Germany, serious work began on the phenotype of the breed, the purpose of which was to preserve the best natural qualities and sift unwanted traits.
But with the outbreak of World War II, it had to be forgotten about.
In the second half of the 1940s, the very existence of the Norwegians was threatened due to spontaneous crossbreeding with other cats. The situation controlled only by enthusiastic breeders. A special committee was created, which gave permission for breeding only to those owners whose animals met the standard.
The efforts of the Norwegian Association of purebred cat lovers were rewarded. King Olav V recognized the Skogkatt as an official breed of the country, and in 1977 Pans Truls received the coveted registration with the International Cat Federation (FIFe).
By the way, it was he, paired with Pippa Skogpuss, who is considered the ancestor of the modern breed. Pans Silver, born from their union, became the father of 12 litters at once, and today is mentioned in almost every pedigree of a purebred Norwegian.
Finally in the 1970s, the Norwegians put a special breeding program in place to protect the breed and the breed received royal recognition when the late King Olaf designated them the official cat of Norway.
The first breeding pair was imported into 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.
The Norwegian Forest Cat has an insulated, waterproof double coat that was designed to withstand the Scandinavian winters. The texture of this coat also matches that environment – longer, coarse guard hairs over a dense undercoat. A full frontal ruff, bushy tail, rear britches, and tufted paws help to equip this feline for life in a region that borders the Arctic.
Surprisingly, the Norwegian does not require the care that some of the other longhair breeds do.
Weekly combing along with a little more attention in the springtime should cover it.
The main requirements for the maintenance are sufficient physical activity (ideally, if it will be free walks) and the presence of its own "fortress", where the pet can retire when he wants privacy.