Norwegian Forest Cats: Cat Breed Profile

by catfood

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

The historical breed known as the Norwegian forest cats was created organically over many centuries in the wooded areas of Norway. The American term “Wegie” is also used to refer to the Norwegian forest cat, which is sometimes referred to as the skogkatt (Norwegian for “forest cat”).


Clearly at home in the wooded countryside, the Norwegian forest cat. It is large but well balanced, has a substantial bone structure, strong muscles, and is well built. But by the turn of the 20th century, the breed had almost completely disappeared as a result of reckless mixing with other cat breeds. The Norwegian forest cat’s hind legs are a little bit longer than its front legs, which causes its rump to be a little higher than its shoulders. The breed’s medium-sized to large ears are heavily furred, broad at the base, and rounded at the tips. Lynx tips, which are hair tufts that develop on the tips of the ears, are a highly desired characteristic of the breed.

A vast variety of solid, bi-color, tabby, tortoiseshell, calico, cameo, and smokey hues, tints, and patterns are available in the semi-long, dense coat. The breed standard only forbids hues that are signs of hybridization, such as chocolate, sable, lavender, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, or Himalayan-style markings.

Although it won’t spend the entire night snuggled up on your lap, the independent yet affectionate Norwegian forest cat will occasionally leap up for a little cuddle. This is not meant to suggest that the Norwegian forest cat is typically hostile—far from it. The Norwegian forest cats have a strong sense of loyalty to their owners and are involved in every aspect of family life. They prefer to be around you rather than right on you, to put it simply. The curious, lively, and quiet nature of Norwegian forest cats makes them excellent family pets. They may frequently coexist happily with other cats and get along well with well-behaved dogs.

Breed Overview

  • WEIGHT: 8 to 18 pounds
  • LENGTH: 12 to 18 inches
  • COAT: Long, glossy, smooth and water-resistant, with a dense undercoat.
  • COAT COLOR: Almost any color or pattern with or without white markings; disqualifying colors are chocolate, lavender/lilac or the Himalayan pattern.
  • EYE COLOR: Shades of green, gold, green-gold, copper or blue (in white cats or those with white).
  • LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 16 years

Characteristics of the Norwegian Forest Cats

Affection LevelMedium
Exercise NeedsMedium
Energy LevelMedium
Tendency to VocalizeLow
Amount of SheddingMedium

History of the Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian forest cat may have existed before the arrival of the Vikings. The species is prominently featured in a Norwegian folktale about the Norse goddess Freya, who is drawn by two giant Norwegian woodland cats. The 16th century saw the first depictions and written accounts of cats that resembled the Norwegian woodland cat. Although the cat should have a broad chest and a large girth, it should never appear obese. It was noted that the dog breed has long been regarded as a national treasure. King Olav V of Norway chose the Norwegian forest cat as the country’s national cat breed in 1938. Eventually, after many years of careful breeding, species enthusiasts in Norway were able to increase the breed’s population and preserve it.

The United States received its initial shipment of Norwegian forest cats in 1979. The Norwegian forest cat was awarded the championship title by The International Cat Association in 1984. The Cat Fanciers Association granted the Norwegian forest cat full championship standing in 1993.


Norwegian Forest Cat Care

The unusual double coat of the Norwegian forest cat keeps it warm during the harsh winters of Scandinavia. The longer, coarser, water-resistant outer coat has a bushy tail, britches on the back legs, a collar around the neck, and pronounced tufting between the toes. A thin, dense undercoat acts as warm insulation against the cold.

To keep the coat from matting and tangling, a thorough brushing is required every week. The majority of the undercoat of the Norwegian forest cat is shed once a year in the spring to make place for the longer days and warmer nights of the summer. Brush more regularly because shearing can be heavy during this seasonal decreasing coat. Outside of this time, the Norwegian forest cat only weakly sheds. Along with brushing, your Norwegian Forest Cat should receive a bath every few months, have trimmed nails, and have weekly ear checks and cleanings.

At age five, Norwegian forest cats reach their full adult size. They take some time to develop. They are energetic and playful even as adults, but not overly active. Norwegian forest cats are usually up for some autonomous play and love using amusing toys. Consider placing a cat tower or tree outside so they can climb it, perch on it, and scratch. You get extra points if you put these near a window so your Norwegian forest cat can enjoy the outside and observe the birds and squirrels.

Common Health Problems

Despite the fact that all cats may eventually develop health issues, some purebred cats are known to have congenital disorders that can be passed on to young. The hip dysplasia, type IV glycogen storage disorder, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are predispositions in the Norwegian forest cat. The thickening of the heart walls is a symptom of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is the most typical kind of cardiac disease in cats. Although hip dysplasia (looseness of the hip joint) is less common in cats than in dogs, it can occur in some larger, heavier breeds, such as the Norwegian forest cat. Glycogen Storage Disease Type IV (GSD IV), which culminates in organ failure, muscle atrophy, and death, is brought on by a defective enzyme. Reputable breeders avoid breeding their adult cats and keep an eye on their wellbeing. A genetic test is offered for cats that might be GSD IV carriers. The majority of trustworthy breeders typically offer some kind of health guarantee.

Food intake and diet

Norwegian forest cats are strong-built animals, thus they shouldn’t gain weight. Keeping your Norwegian forest cat lean is the greatest way to prevent weight-related health issues including diabetes, heart disease, and hip dysplasia, which can be made worse by being overweight. Give your Norwegian forest cat moderate amounts of food between meals (for adult cats). As cats who are free fed have a propensity to eat more than they should, which might cause them to become overweight, avoid leaving food out all day. Ask your veterinarian or breeder about providing your Norwegian forest cat with a healthy food.


  • Friendly to both people and animals can withstand lower temperatures
  • A calm and adaptable personality


  • Not a lap cat
  • At least once every week, the coat should be brushed.
  • When repeatedly left alone, performs poorly

Locations where a Norwegian Forest Cat Can Be Bought or Adopted

Although not the most common breed of cat, the Norwegian forest cat is not the most frequent either. The Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association both maintain lists of active Norwegian Forest Cat breeders on their separate websites. A fantastic method to meet breeders and observe cats of different sorts is to go to a local cat show. Exhibitions of cats are enjoyable, have a laid-back vibe, and welcome visitors. To find a cat show in your area, perform a web search for “cat show near me.” It’s possible for a Norwegian Forest Cat to end up in a shelter or with a private cat rescue group. Pedigreed cats are frequently rehomed by compassionate breeders to new adoptive households.

Breeds of Cats Not Listed Here and More Research

If you like the Norwegian Forest Cat, you might also like these cat breeds:

  • Siberian Cat Turkish Van Maine Coon

If not, browse through all of our other cat breed articles to find the perfect cat for you and your household.


  • A Norwegian woodland cat can grow to what size?

At maturity, Norwegian forest cats typically weigh between 12 and 16 pounds for males and 9 to 12 pounds for females.

  • How long do Norwegian forest cats live?

A Norwegian forest cat can live for 12 to 16 years.

  • How much do Norwegian woodland cats cost?

The price of a Norwegian forest kitten is expected to be between $600 and $1,200, depending on location and availability.

  • When do the adult size of the Norwegian forest cats arrive?

To reach their full size, Norwegian forest cats need more than five years.

READ NEXT: Russian Blue Cat: Cat Breed Profile




You may also like

Leave a Comment