The Mighty Norwegian Forest Cat: Legendary Warriors of the North

Norwegian Forest cats, also known as warrior cats or “wegies,” are not only the national cat of Norway but are also creatures of mythical proportions. These incredibly large cats excel at tree climbing and thrive outdoors while also making great family companions. They are intelligent and independent, with a laidback family attitude. This breed is not particularly healthy, but they can be kept with dogs and children and are very vocal. The Norwegian Forest cat is a creature of legends, appearing in numerous tales where it is referred to as a “Fairy cat.” According to mythology, this longhaired tree-climbing cat was beloved by Freya, the Norse goddess of beauty and love. Outside of myths, it is believed that the Norwegian Forest cat is the offspring of longhaired “ratter” cats brought to Scandinavia by crusaders. Over time, the Norwegian Forest cat became a popular breed among locals who were impressed with its ability to catch rodents. The Norwegian Forest cat is a heavy-set cat with thick bones, high muscle mass, and a dense coat. Females weigh between 9 and 12lbs, where males weigh in between 12 and 16lbs and sometimes even top out at 25lbs! This breed has a particularly triangular shaped head with large but low set tufted ears. The lifespan of this large cat averages between 14 and 16 years.

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The Norwegian Forest cat has a unique coat that was developed to protect them from the harsh winters in Norway. Their long, thick double coat and hair-covered ears help them maintain body heat, while annual molting prevents matting and weight gain. Although their coat length can vary, they typically have a longer bib on their chest that tapers around the neck and longer hair on the back of their hind legs, giving the appearance of pants. During the colder months, their coat is thick, but as the seasons change, they lose it and look slimmer. This breed comes in a variety of colors and patterns, except for pointed, lavender, chocolate, or lilac coloration.

The Norwegian Forest cat is known for its large, copper, green, or gold eyes. They’re a relaxed breed that enjoys companionship and likes to be close to their human family members, but also likes to have control over when and for how long. They still harbor natural instincts and require a scratching post and climbing tree to exercise their need to climb and scratch. This breed should be kept indoors as outdoor life can be risky for any cat. This breed will do well in any home environment as long as they are provided with stimulation and companionship. They’re very tolerant of children and other family pets, but still require respect and proper handling. Owners of Norwegian Forest cats must keep in mind that this is a large breed and requires more food than the average housecat. They also require regular grooming due to their thick long fur and need for exercise through toys, climbing trees, and scratching posts. Despite their ability to thrive outdoors in extreme temperatures, there are a number of health conditions that affect this breed, such as hip dysplasia, Glycogen storage disease type IV, polycystic kidney disease, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It’s important to prevent these diseases through proper breeding practices and testing potential parent cats before breeding. This breed is often confused with other longhaired breeds, but it’s a unique cat with no link to other breeds.

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