10 Interesting Facts You Should Know About The Norwegian Forest Cats

The Norwegian Forest cat is a very popular pet choice in Norway, Sweden, Iceland as well as France. This cat breed originated in Northern Europe and is also one of the most adored in the whole wide world. In Norwegian, the Norwegian Forest cat is known as ‘Norsk skogkatt’ or as ‘Norsk skaukatt’ (skogkatt/skaukatt literally meaning forest cat). Below you can read a list of ten interesting facts regarding the Norwegian Forest cats.

10. The Norwegian Forest cats are adapted to survive the Scandinavian harsh winters thanks to their thick fur. They have an insulated, waterproof coat that help them withstand the cold Arctic climate. The texture of the coat does perfectly match the Northern European environment, being long and fluffy all over their body.

Blue-eyed Norwegian forest cat. Image source: www.pexels.com

9. The ancestors of the Norwegian Forest cats may include black and white cats with shorthair that were brought by the Vikings from Britain to Scandinavia during the Viking Age, as well as some cats that were brought by the Crusaders to Norway during the High Middle Ages. Another theory has it that the Siberian or Turkish Angora may actually be the direct ancestors of the Norwegian Forest cats.

8. The ancestors of the Norwegian Forest cats were likely used as mousers (ships’ cats) on Viking longships during the Norsemen’s voyages. It is as such believed that they could have reached the eastern coast of North America sometime during the early 11th century on the vessels that sailed with the famous Viking explorer Leif Ericsson.

7. Some Norse folktales depict the Norwegian Forest cats as wild animals dwelling in the mountains with the marvelous ability of climbing very high. In the Norse mythology they are also referred to as Freya’s kittens, who are believed to accompany her during her daily rounds in her golden chariot across the sky.

Norse goddess Freyja in her cat-pulled chariot, as depicted by Ludwig Pietsch. Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

6. The original landrace dwelled in the forests of Norway for many centuries, but they were subsequently domesticated and very much prized for their hunting skills. After they were domesticated, the Norwegian Forest cats were indispensable pets on farms. However, they were not popular until they were discovered by cat enthusiasts during the 19th century.

5. In France, the Norwegian Forest cat is the fifth most popular pet breed. Since 2003, there are between 400 to 500 Norwegian Forest cats born annually in France.

4. In the early 20th century The Norwegian Forest cats became endangered and nearly extinct. Fortunately, thanks to the noteworthy efforts of the Norwegian Forest Cat Club which was formed in Oslo in 1938, the breed was saved.

3. The Norwegian Forest Cats are very friendly and ideal pets for family. They can be very playful with all family members.

2. The lifespan of the Norwegian Forest cats is usually ranged between 14 to 16 years. Nonetheless, significant health problems concerning the heart and the kidneys have been reported.

1. In the 1970s the Norwegian Forest cats were given full national prestige and recognition by being named ‘The Official Cat of Norway’ by King Olav V of Norway. In 1978 they were also recognized in neighbouring Sweden, while 11 years later they were accepted as a breed in the United Kingdom by the Norwegian Cat Club of Britain.

Documentation sources, external links, and additional facts:


2 Responses to 10 Interesting Facts You Should Know About The Norwegian Forest Cats

  1. […] climate where this natural breed comes from. Indeed, Norwegian folklore has it that these cats were Viking family pets. Norwegian Forest Cats are excellent hunters, with prey including birds, rodents and fish – […]

  2. […] climate where this natural breed comes from. Indeed, Norwegian folklore has it that these cats were Viking family pets. Norwegian Forest Cats are excellent hunters, with prey including birds, rodents and fish – watch […]

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