The Norwegian Forest cat is a brilliant Feline species native to Northern Europe. They are well-suited to their environment and thrive in cooler temperatures and have an ancient lineage that can be traced back to the Vikings (and beyond). This strong, sturdy and intelligent breed is similar to the Northern American Maine Coon. They are bigger than the average house cat and are built for endurance in often-harsh climates. The breed is said to trace its roots back to the Vikings around 1000 AD. They also may have ties to Crusaders returning from Jerusalem. As the breed interbred with feral cats, they morphed into the Norwegian Forest cat primarily seen today. It’s possible that these remarkable animals served on Viking war ships hunting mice and keeping often deadly diseases away from the crew. They have an amazing hunting ability, and served on farms for hunting rodents as well. The breed suffered near extinction due to the incursions of World War II but has flourished ever since an official breeding program was started in 1938. This cat was only known in Norway until mid-1970 when it gained official recognition. Norwegian Forest cats are now flourishing in Europe and North America, and in a typical year over 400 births to the breed are celebrated.
The Norwegian Forest cat does not contain a lot of the sleek and smaller characteristics that are commonly found in domesticated housecats. They’re built a lot sturdier and have incredibly thick, water repellant coats that allow them to survive in incredibly cold climates. They also have characteristically bushy tails. The body is longer than the typical house-cat, and they have markedly long legs as well that contribute to their out-of-the-ordinary climbing ability. They have a remarkably long head/face shape that is often compared to a triangle. The ears have a noted tuft at the tip and are wide at the base. They are fabled to be able to climb cliffs by the strength of their claws alone, and many legends have been built upon this cat’s ability to climb impossible seeming surfaces. They are even able to scale rocks that normal cats would not be able to conquer.
Behavior and Temperament
Norwegian Forest cats are incredibly compatible with human companionship. Usually soft-spoken, they may become more vocal when sharing a house with a dog. They are extremely intelligent and love to play and demonstrate their hunting abilities. While these cats are usually found outdoors, they can adapt to a primarily indoor life, given the correct amount of attention, affection and enrichment. Expect to feed a Norwegian Forest cat more than the average breed. Their larger bone structure and musculature requires more nutrition than the average cat, and this need for nourishment can cause an unexpected strain on the owner’s finances if it comes as a surprise. This is a breed that is full of notable energy. They also require a lot of attention in order to be considered stable, healthy and happy.
Norwegian Forest cats have a moderate but average lifespan and typically live to be between 14-16 years when properly cared for. They are notorious for certain genetic dispositions such as kidney and/or heart disease due to certain genetic markers within the breed. Norwegian Forest cats are also genetically predisposed to Glycogen Storage Disease type IV, which can be fatal if not treated properly. This disease can be detected in DNA testing – and a lot of reputable breeders require DNA testing before an animal is free to breed. Due to their large bone structure, they may also be susceptible to hip dysplasia. Reputable breeders will check for these genetic dispositions prior to breeding and will often test the litter for health issues prior to their release for sale or adoption.
The Norwegian Forest cat is a companionable and intelligent breed. By giving them the proper amount of attention and affection these beautiful cats can be guaranteed to enjoy a long and happy life.
Velita Livingston is the founder of the Cat Lover’s Diary blog which provides rich content with great advice on cat care tips and cat training, teaching pet owners how to protect, pamper and live peacefully with their pets. Visit the http://www.catloversdiary.com to watch the Cat Lover’s Diary Movie, it contains breathtaking images and heartwarming quotes… It will uplift and inspire you! You can also visit the Cat Lover’s Diary on Facebook and Twitter.
Source: Velita Livingston