THE NORWEGIAN FOREST CAT  

The Norwegian Forest Cat emerged from the forest some 4000 years ago. Most likely, the ancestors of the Skogkatt were Southern European short-haired cats that migrated to Norway in prehistoric times. Through natural selection, only those cats survived that adapted to meet the challenges posed by the difficult climate. Eventually the Forest Cat became a working farm cat, useful for rodent control.

 

The Cat Fancy in Norway started in the 1930s and out of it grew a movement to preserve the Forest Cat as the Norwegian national breed. The movement was interrupted by World War II and was not resurrected until the 1970s when changes in Norway had improved the chances of the short-haired housecats' survival. Crossbreeding between the Forest Cats and the short-haired housecat was bringing the Skogkatt to extinction. In December 1975, a dedicated group of breeders in Norway formed the Norwegian Forest Cat breed club, Norsk Skogkattring, to save the breed by developing a breeding program. The breed was recognised the following year by the European cat registry with Provisional status. In 1977, the NFC was officially accepted for competition.

 

In 1979, the first breeding pair was imported into the USA. Two years later, the first litter of kittens was born in the USA. The Norwegian Forest Cat secured Championship status in CFA in 1993.

 

A Cat built to match its environment

 

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, heavy boned, sturdy cat with a double coat which has protective, water-resistant guard hairs over a downy, warm undercoat. This type of coat was needed to survive in the harsh Norwegian climate. The ears are heavily furnished, and moderately large, set low on the head to prevent excessive heat loss. The feet are heavily tufted, which provides a protective layer of fur between the feet and the cold ground and snow. The rear legs are heavily muscled with strong heavy boning on both the front and rear legs. The rear legs are longer than the front.

 

The head shape on a Wegie is an equilateral triangle and its ears follow the line of that triangle from the chin straight up to the base of the ears. The nose profile when viewed from the side is straight to the brow ridge, where there is a slight turn of direction to a flat frontal plane. They have a short neck that is heavily muscled. The eyes are large and expressive, almond shaped and the outer corner of the eye is tilted up to the base of the ear.

 

The NFC is a slow-maturing breed which does not reach full development until five years of age. It is very much a homebody and loves being with people and other pets and children. They are very patient and generally are not stressed easily.

 

Wegies at home and at Play

 

If you were to ask me about the Wegie's personality, I would say they are kind, friendly, alert, independent, affectionate, lively, highly intellligent, naturally curious and often demanding when they want to be loved.  That is quite a lot to be wrapped up in one big furball!!

 

Generally Wegies get on well in new environments and tend to interact easily with other cat breeds and dogs.  They are people-oriented cats that will follow their selected "special person" around and demand attention by grabbing hold of your arm or leg, often almost tripping you up.  These beauties know exactly what they are oding, why they are doing it and how to get it done so they can achieve the desired end. They have a mind of their own and are often the leader in the house.

 

They are usually quite calm and composed but can be spurred into action when their favourite toy is produced.  Their hunter instincts will kick in and they will leap after the toy in hot pursuit.  They can be quite obsessed with the toy and will often go looking for the toy themselves in order to amuse themselves if nobody else wants to play being the "hunted".

 

Wegies love the outdoors where they can practice their hunting skills, and if they are a totally indoor cat can often be found on the highest perch in the house surveying "their" kingdom!

For more information, contact Vivian at shangrilacats@gmail.com