The Norwegian Forest cat is of Scandinavian descent. In Norway, it is known as the “Skaukatt.” It is believed that the breed is between 1000 to 2000 years old. Some stories say that Leif Erikson, the Viking explorer, had such a cat on his ship. In those early days, this cat was called the “Wegie,” or the cat of the Vikings. He was a protector of both farm and ship, killing mice and rats that would eat any available food supplies.
The “Wegie” is a cat from which legends are made
Not only was he a fabulous hunter, but he also has his place in Norse mythology. From Norse legend, we learn that the Norwegian Forest cat has quite a background. The Finns say the cat is the “mystic wildcat of the fairy tales.” The cats were the favorites of Freyja, goddess of love, fertility, and the hearth. Freyja traveled in a chariot drawn by either two white or two grey
Because Freyja symbolized domesticity, she was often portrayed with Norwegian Forest cats playing around her. Lovers wishing to marry asked the blessing of Freyja and her cats. Because of this custom, superstitions regarding weddings and cats were born. Here are a few of them:
- Girls who value cats will definitely marry.
- Receiving a black cat as a wedding gift is considered good luck.
- If a woman feeds her cat before going to her wedding, she will be happily married.
- If a single person steps on a cat’s tail, that person will not marry for a year.
- Feed your cat well and you will be guaranteed sunshine on your wedding day.
Characteristics of the Norwegian Forest Cat
These Norwegian cats were thought of as fairy cats. Because they are so large, it was said that not even the gods could lift them. Indeed, this cat is a large, heavily boned and heavily coated cat. The animal is quite muscular, having the appearance of a hunter.
His triangular head is set on a thick, muscular neck. The ears are medium-sized. The chin, slightly rounded, is strong. The cat’s hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs. These legs are heavily muscled. The large, rounded paws have fur between the toes.
This cat can be found with a solid color or patterned coat, and in a wide variety of colors. Patterns can include tortoiseshell, bicolor, calico, tabby, ticking, smoke, or shaded.
Prepared for cold Scandinavian winters
This cat withstands cold climates very well. Because the coat is so thick, the Norwegian Forest cat looks even bigger than he is. The coat is double. The dense undercoat sheds in summer. The outer coat is long and silky. This length can vary widely with the seasons. The fur on the tail is also long and quite bushy.
Because of the tendency to shed, the cat needs to be combed during the winter to spring season. The cat should be groomed daily to keep its long coat free of tangles. He generally likes grooming, so this task can be incorporated into play-time. Be sure to give a hairball remedy during the regular shedding season.
What to Expect from This Northwoods Cat
This muscular, athletic cat loves to play. He is very curious, and will explore every corner of the house, especially high places where he can contemplate the rest of the world. Though he has a reputation as a hunter, at home he is a lover, as he displays more affection than aggression. He likes people, adjusts well to newcomers and is not easily upset. He is also a vocal cat, talking to his human family long and often.
The average weight of the Norwegian Forest cat is 12 pounds. The eye color can be blue, green, gold, or odd-eyed. The animal normally lives for 8 to 14 years.
This territorial cat is an excellent hunter, as were his ancestors. He will check the boundaries of his realm several times a day to make sure all is well. Because of his high exercise needs, he requires space to run and high perches for climbing.
I gained knowledge of this cat’s ancient history from two online sources: hillspet.com and petmd.
14 thoughts on “Do You Know the Norwegian Forest Cat’s Ancient History?”
Awesome post and such a gorgeous animal. I am a fan of cats (currently have two – and they’re a handful). But it was really nice to read about this unique and historically important breed of cat 🙂
Thanks, Dave! Lucky you, to have two cats. My last cat went to Kitty Heaven last year, and so I write about cats now, instead of caring for them. I really miss them, though. Nice that you have two, so they each have a companion. Thanks for your comment; come back and visit again.
A good read on the story of Norwegian forest cats. These cats seem to be a wonderful breed and I, after reading this post, would love to have one. I’ve always tried to find the biggest cats that I could find and these look like they might just fit the bill. Thanks for bringing this breed to my attention.
Yep, I think it would be great to have one of these. What beautiful animals! Not a good choice if you have allergies, because of their long fur and dense coat. Also, they require frequent grooming. However, they would be so fun to have, watch, and interact with. Let me know if you get one, and what you think of it.
I do like cats as pets, especially my mother she is the mad cat lady haha.
Very interesting article we learn something new everyday, I did not know that a cat would find a forest as its habitat, thank you for sharing this post, have a fantastic day and take care my friend.
Dean, please send my web address to your mother. I think she would enjoy seeing it.
I have lived in Alaska for 50 years, and have been in the forest most of the time. My cats on my homestead loved the woods. We were in a forest on an island with an ocean beach. How much better can you get? The cats totally loved it. Thanks for your comment…now, don’t forget — send the web address to your mother.
Wow, I absolutely love Norwegian forest cats and absolutely want one!
However, I have had Persian cats growing up. Their fur was very long, but it became matted a lot. You have to almost brush them daily. Is this the same case with Norwegian forest cats? Some of them look like they have shorter hair and others have long hair?
Also with the temperament, you stated they are friendly with newcomers and usually don’t get easily upset. However, what about children are they usually pretty docile with children. I know children can be kind of rough with cats.
Garen, I, too, would love to have one of those cats. But there is some upkeep involved. The ones who look like they have shorter hair may have shed much of their coat. Because it is two layers, it needs a lot of attention from the owner. I would guess that brushing them daily is probably a very good idea. I think they would be fine, too, with children. Having said that, of course a child doesn’t always understand that a pet is not a doll. I believe if parents teach their children how to treat an animal and why it is important to be gentle with the animal, they will learn much faster. What fun it would be to have one of these cats! Hope you get one.
I love the NFC, have a female called Iona,she loved to get up high to watch the world go by, used to growl and let me know someone was coming to my door,so good natured, ? broke when I lost her last year aged 12,can’t afford to buy an other one.
Lucky you, to have been owned by one of these cats. Just like a watchdog, right? My cat, Carlos, didn’t growl at people, but we have frequent moose visitors, and when they came to our fenced yard, he would growl at them. Maybe you could ask the shelter to let you know if they happen to get a Norwegian Forest cat in. They do, sometimes. You might find a new baby. Thanks for the comment — come visit again.
Hey Fran! Great article on the Norwegian forest cat. I loved this breed way before I knew what they were called. I just like the looks of them. I have two cats that I’ve been in service to for around five years now. Got them at a shelter and they are supposed to be brother and sister but I’ve got doubts about that. Miss Kitty is most certainly mostly Main Coon. Fatboy (who should have been named Odd Todd) doesn’t have all the apparent qualities of the Main Coon. If they are brother and sister, their mamma must have been a hussy cuz I think they each have a different daddy. lol
If I ever get another cat, it’ll be a Norwegian. I prowl Pinterest looking for pics of them and have amassed quite a collection of cat pics called A Love of Cats if you want to check it out.
Great site, btw. I return often to read an article or two.
Oh, I am delighted that you like the site. You know, I, too, would love to have a Norwegian Forest cat my own self. I don’t think I am up for a new cat at my age, though. I picked up an elderly cat from the shelter (you may hear about him a bit in some of the Lucinda stories.) His name is Pogo. He’s 14; all black and very sweet. He looks like a Bombay, because even though he is black, in the bright light he is actually dark brown. He has big yellow eyes.
Thanks for the great comment. Please leave more — I love getting comments on the site. Tell your friends. I in turn would love to see your collection of pics. How do I access it?
We got a rescue cat that’s a wegie. She was 5 when we got her full of playfulness. On top of bookshelves, knocking everything off. Since she’s a 100% indoor kitty our house is full of toys, tunnels. She insists of drinking out of the kitchen tap. She is nearly 10 and still plays like a kitten. She is not a lap cat but wants to be near us. She has a lovely ruff or mane and two kinds of fur, some curly and long topcoat. We love her but she’s a high maintenance kitty!
I imagine she is a handful, but lucky you to have one of those gorgeous animals. Yes, lots of combing, I’d suppose. Still, what fun! You know I just had a thought — I have a Facebook group called “A Clowder of Cat Ladies.” Why don’t you join and put a picture of her on there? I’d love to see her.