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Norwegian Forest Cat Breed – Vikings Cat

January 14, 2022

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As a cat lover, you might be wondering if any cat breeds are specific to colder climates. If so, the Norwegian Forest cat is probably at the top of your list. This breed is known for its thick fur coat, which helps protect it from cold weather. But what else do you need to know about the Norwegian Forest cat? Keep reading to find out!

Norwegian Forest cat breed
9 - 12 inches (22 - 32 cm)
9 - 18 pounds (4 - 8 kg)
Life span
14 - 16 years
Sociable, affectionate
Activity level
Coat length
Breed standards

A Brief History of the Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest cat is thought to be one of the oldest natural breeds in Europe. They have developed from cats that lived on farms and hunted mice, rats, and birds. This allowed them to develop their distinctive long fur. Over time, these cats became highly prized by local farmers who frequently set out milk and fish for them.

The Norwegian Forest cat was officially recognized as a breed in 1970. Over time, these cats spread throughout Europe and eventually to the United States and Canada. The first pair of these cats arrived in America in 1974 and were shown at an American cat show that same year.

However, in Norway, they are known as skogkatt, which translates into “forest cat.” Other common names for these cats are vikinge katt in Denmark, skau katt in Sweden, and metsän peura or metsäkissan peura in Finland.

The Norwegian Forest cat is still quite popular in all three Scandinavian countries mentioned above. This breed has become less common in other areas of Europe, though.

Norwegian Forest Cats and Norse Myths

The Norwegian Forest cat is frequently referred to as the “Viking’s Cat” because of its links to Norse mythology. In fact, there are many references to large, furry cats in both fairy tales and sagas from medieval times.

During this time, the Forest cat roamed the forests of Norway and was seen as a symbol of good luck. It is even believed that Skogkatts (Forest cats) helped protect homes from evil spirits and other creatures, such as witches and trolls.

Physical Characteristics of the Norwegian Forest Cat

One of these cats’ most distinctive physical characteristics is their facial structure. Their large ears are covered in thick fur that helps keep them warm during cold weather. Even when it’s hot outside, though, these cats typically have less body fat than other breeds.

Norwegian Forest cats have short coats that are thicker during the winter months. They also have water-resistant undercoats to easily repel rain and snow. Their thick, fluffy tails are characteristic of Norwegian Forest cats as well. Thanks to their long fur, these cats should feel heavier than they actually are.

Norwegian Forest cats are known for their long, thick coats. They have a weatherproof double coat that consists of a dense, woolly undercoat and longer layers of fur on top. Their coats come in four colors: solid red, tabby, silver/grey, and brown with white highlights.

The Appearance of the Norwegian Forest Cat

Male Norwegian Forest cats breed typically weigh between 13 and 18 pounds. Females are typically smaller, usually weighing between 9 and 12 pounds. The size of these cats varies depending on the gender, with males measuring anywhere from 19 to 22 inches in length. Females tend to be slightly shorter, reaching heights between 17 and 20 inches. These cats have an average lifespan of between 15 and 18 years.

Norwegian Forest cat on a tree

Norwegian Forest Food

What Norwegian Forest Cats Eat

When it comes to what Norwegian Forest cats eat, their nutritional needs depend on several factors. These include age, gender, metabolism rate, and activity level. As with most breeds of cats, the best thing for these cats is a high-quality food that includes all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Feeding Norwegian Forest Cats Kitten Food

When they are young, Norwegian Forest cats should eat kitten food made for all life stages. This ensures that their nutritional needs are met as they grow into adults. After about one year of age, you can switch to an adult cat food diet. Once your cat reaches the senior stage, you should feed them food for senior cats at least twice a day.

Feeding Norwegian Forest Cats Dry or Wet Food

It’s generally best to store and feed dry food in airtight containers. This helps prevent it from going stale and losing its flavor and moisture content. Moist food spoils if left out, leading to digestive problems. Wet food should be thrown out at the end of each day, but dry food may last for up to 24 hours if it’s tightly sealed.

What Norwegian Forest Cats Shouldn't Eat

Norwegian Forest cats are prone to certain health conditions, making some foods inadvisable. For instance, these cats are especially sensitive to additives, preservatives, and dyes. This is because they have a naturally low tolerance for these things. They also don’t handle grains very well, making them unsuitable for adult cats with diabetes or food sensitivities.

Norwegian Forest Cats and Allergies

Some Norwegian Forest cat breeds tend to suffer allergies to certain ingredients, including red food coloring. These cats may also suffer allergic reactions to foods containing high soy and beef levels. In some cases, allergies to these foods lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. This is why owners need to know the signs of an allergic reaction in their cat. If your cat exhibits these signs, you should immediately take them to the vet.

Behavioral Characteristics

Norwegian Forest cats are intelligent and highly active. They tend to be quite curious, so they’ll want to check out every nook and cranny in your home. These cats can usually entertain themselves, but you may need to put some toys or scratching posts around the house if you don’t want your belongings to pay the price.

Norwegian Forest cats are also very territorial and tell you when they don’t like something. They’re bold, brave, and confident around other animals. These three traits can sometimes lead to confrontations with dogs, rodents, or even people who don’t respect these cats’ personal space.

One of the most endearing qualities of the Norwegian Forest cat is its love for the water. These cats are excellent swimmers, so you may see them swim in your bathtub or sink if they find themselves in a situation where they need to “swim for their lives.

A Protective Breed

Norwegian Forest cats were given their name due to their protective nature. These cats are typically quite large, with males reaching up to 9 pounds in weight. They are also very strong for their size and are very affectionate. Many owners of these beautiful cats report that they will go out of their way to protect them from dangers, such as strangers or other animals.

A Friendly Breed

The Norwegian Forest cat is known to be very active. They are also known for their intelligence and ability to learn quickly. These cats love to play, especially with toys that can be moved around on the ground. Additionally, they require at least an hour of exercise each day – this doesn’t have to include playing; it could simply be running around indoors.

The Norwegian Forest is also known for its sociability. These cats love to play with other animals, including dogs and rodents. They are incredibly loyal and affectionate towards their owners. The Norwegian Forest Cat can be very vocal. Thus, they may meow loudly to get their owners’ attention when they want something or if they feel lonely.

The Grooming Requirements

Grooming the Norwegian Forest cat is relatively easy. These cats are known to shed year-round, but their shedding varies depending on the season. These cats typically do not require a lot of attention in terms of grooming because they take care of most of it themselves. However, these cats should be brushed daily to help keep their coats healthy.

Norwegian Forest cat breeds are known for their thick, water-resistant coats that protect them from the harsh Nordic winters. The cats’ undercoats are medium-length and soft, while their topcoats are long and coarse. They typically appear in various colors, including gray, red, black, and brown.

Living Needs

Norwegian Forest cats usually require large spaces. Living in smaller homes will not suit them because these cats love to run around and explore. They need at least an hour of exercise every day. However, they can develop behavioral problems if they’re not active enough. These cats also enjoy playing with other animals, such as the family dog.

Should you cat tree for Norwegian Forest cat?

Yes, Norwegian Forest cat breeds need to have a cat tree because they are active cats who love to climb. These cats enjoy playing on objects that allow them to be close to the ground while also providing some degree of elevation.

What cat toys do Norwegian Forest cats like?

Norwegian Forest cats have excellent hunting skills. They are typically very energetic and love to play with interactive toys like mice, balls of yarn, feathers, and flopping fish – anything that allows them to stalk prey.

Additionally, they may enjoy playing with catnip toys because these contain their favorite herb.

Health Issues Specific to the Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest cat can run into health problems with many purebreds. Unfortunately, this breed is currently at risk of being affected by two conditions specific to its bloodline. The first condition is Feline Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency. These cats have fewer white blood cells, making them more susceptible to infection.

The other condition is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that can lead to irregular heartbeats and sudden death. Additionally, they can develop Myasthenia Gravis, which causes muscle weakness.

Most problems involving this breed are either genetic or linked to their lineage. There haven’t been any significant health issues involving this breed that aren’t related to their bloodline.

What is the lifespan of a Norwegian Forest Cat?

On average, the lifespan of a Norwegian Forest cat is 14–16 years. However, there have been cases where these cats have lived up to 18 years.

Generally, this breed of cat is incredibly healthy and resistant to disease. The only genetic conditions that are easily passed on to these cats are Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and Feline Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency.

Similar Breeds To Norwegian Forest Breed

There are similar breeds to Norwegian Forest cats, such as Maine Coon cats. Also, these cats can be compared to Norwegian Forest dog breeds, such as the Norwegian Elkhound and the Karelian Bear Dog.

Which is larger, Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest?

The Maine Coon breed is typically larger than the Forest cat, but both breeds are quite large. The Norwegian Forest weigh between 7 to 18 pounds and measure up to 15 inches tall at the shoulder. Maine Coon cats rank #6 for biggest domestic cat breeds, with only the Ragdoll, Savannah, Scottish Fold, and Ragamuffin being larger.

Norwegian Forest Cost

A Norwegian Forest cat can cost anywhere between $500 and $2,000.

Norwegian Forest breeders are reasonably easy to find. Still, you should make sure to research the breeder before agreeing to the purchase.


These links can assist you in finding your ideal match if you intend to adopt a Norwegian Forest cat from a shelter!

Norwegian Forest cat winter

Frequently Asked Questions About Norwegian Forest Breed

Yes, the Norwegian Forest breed makes a great companion for people and children of all ages. These cats typically get along with other pets and children, but they can sometimes be aggressive toward dogs that aren’t on their same playing field size-wise.

Norwegian Forest cats aren’t typically vocal, but they make various sounds to communicate with you and other pets. These cats tend to be soft-spoken, but if they’re angered or trying to attract your attention, they will most likely express themselves through meowing.

Norwegian Forest cats are heavy shedders during certain seasons. Still, they typically only lose a small amount of hair daily. You can help keep their shedding under control by brushing them regularly and investing in a high-quality vacuum cleaner.

These cats are very social and typically get along with other household pets. They can sometimes be aggressive toward dogs that aren’t on their same playing field size-wise, but they may also bully smaller breeds of dogs due to their larger size.

Norwegian Forest cats enjoy playing in the water (sometime with toys). Still, they’re typically more intrigued by running water, such as a flowing stream or faucet. They can easily be taught to take showers and baths with their family!

These cats are very affectionate, and they enjoy being near humans, but they aren’t typically considered lap cats.

Yes, because Norwegian Forest cats are so active, they typically do well as indoor pets. They enjoy having plenty of toys to keep them entertained indoors, but they can also spend time outdoors in warmer climates.


Suppose you’re looking for a large, beautiful cat breed with an affinity for water. In that case, it’s time for you to learn about the Norwegian Forest cat breed. This is a unique breed with many endearing qualities, such as loyalty and affection. Norwegian Forest cats also require quite a bit of attention and exercise, but they’ll love you for it!

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