An Introduction to The Viking’s Cat : The Norwegian Forest Cat

General Characteristics

The Norwegian Forest Cat is called Norsk skogskatt or Norsk skogkatt in Norwegian. This cat originated in Northern Europe. This domestic breed cat, as it comes from Norwegia, is adapted to the cool climate of Norway. As a result, this cat has a top coat, long hair anda a wooly undercoat for heat insulation. This is one of the “fluffy cats” you will love.

The Norwegian Forest Cat has resemblant characteristics to the Maine Coon Breed. Physically it is included as a big-sized cat. It weighs around 4.5 to 9 kgs for males, and 3.5 to 8 kgs for females. It has long legs with a bushy tail. Its body is sturdy and strong-looking. It has a triangle-shaped head with almond-shaped eyes. Its average body length is from 30 to 46 cm, and its height is 23 to 30 cm.

This breed is among the cats that are very good at climbing. It has a feature of strong claws that help it. This cat can also descend a tree head first. It can live up to 14 to 16 years. From the time it is born, it needs around 5 years to become fully mature.

It can have white black, ebony red, orange blue, gray, lavender, silver cream, beige, or tan colors. The patterns often shown are solid bi-color and tri color. The shade of its eyes are copper, green-gold, gold, or green.

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The Origin

Historically speaking, in the Vikings era around 1000 AD, it is predicted that the ancestor of this cat might have been a landrace of short-haired cats brought by the Vikings to Norway. It is also predicted that the Vikings brought long haired cats such as Siberian cats and Turkish Angora along.

This cat was going through a hard time in World War II. It was facing extinction until the Norwegian Forest Cat Club helped create an official breeding program. The Norwegian Forest Cat is registered as a cat breed by Carl-Fredrik Nordane in the European Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe). This cat is now most popular in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and France.

Habit and Training

The Norwegian Forest Cat is not quite vocal like average cats. You might find it meows at you only when it needs some food. However, even when it is pretty quiet, it can be energetic. This cat can have a burst of energy to release and will have a long nap suddenly after. Pretty spontaneous, isn’t it?

This cat is suitable for first-time pet owners since it is friendly with human and other pets.

Like the Vikings, this cat also loves to chase and ambush its toys. The Norwegian Forest Cat is adventurous. It loves to wander outside despite the cold weather since it has a thick coating protecting its body heat.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is among the independent cats. You need to win its trust before it finally gets pretty emotionally attached to you. It is pretty sociable once you gain its trust. This cat, though, might wander around your lap at its own term.

As mentioned before, this cat is adept at climbing. If you let it outdoors you might find it climbing on tree branches. If you keep it in you might find it napping on high places such as on top of your cupboards. Surely, you want to keep your stuff’s scratch minimum as the climbing activities are prone to leave scratches all over the surface. If you have a high sofa, you might want to train your cat to behave around it.

One great news about this cat is that it is intelligent. It responds well to training, especially the positive reinforcements. Make sure you toilet or litter train this cat before it leaves its mother.

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Diet and Nutrition

As a native Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat, as you can tell from its name, has a hunting history. It was not uncommon for them to hunt for food in the wild. You can see the result of this habit from its sturdy boning and thick hair that protect it from the cold hunting season. That habit also forms the food this cat is eating nowadays.

Like common cats, you can feed this cat with animal protein found in wet or dry cat food. You can follow the serving written in the cat food packaging. You can mix both dry and wet food and add raw or cooked meat by turns. When choosing food, consider giving it food containing taurine as it is an essential amino acid needed for the cat’s vision and common health.

The recommended portion for a cat of 2 to 4 kg is ⅔ cup a day. You can give it to  your cat ⅓ a cup in the morning and another ⅓ a cup at night.

For fish, you can give it to the cat rarely. It is a common thing to do because fish tends to have high levels of fatty acids. The rampant schedule of fish can lead to cholesterol or fat problems in your cat. For specific recommendations, make sure you consult it to your veterinarian.

Hygiene and Grooming

The Norwegian Forest Cat has thick hair. You will want to brush its hair weekly, at least once a week with a special brush for cats. Use a wire bristle brush to comb its comfortable sides, the back, sides, tummy, chest, and tail. The brushing process would have been easier if you had managed to brush the cat since it was a kitten, so start as early as possible. Claws trimming, teeth brushing, and bathing can be done regularly as you do with other cats.

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Common Health Problems

The Norwegian Forest Cat is not genetically mutated by humans. In other words, it is a natural breed. By that, it has evolved by natural selection. This caused the Norwegian Forest Cat to not inherit many health problems. It might have common cat health problems such as Glycogen storage disease type IV, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and Hip dysplasia (HD). However, it is also pretty common for this cat to have kidney and heart disease prior to death. Consult your veterinarian for specific handling.

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