Norwegian forest cats

norwegian forest cats

Norwegian forest cats ideal weight and nutrition

Female Norwegian forest cats usually weight 12 lbs (5.5 kg) and need 70 grams of dry food on a daily basis, meaning 300 kcal/ day. Male Norwegian forest cats weigh 12 - 20 lbs (5.5 - 9.0 kg) and need 70 - 120 grams of dry food per day, meaning 300 - 500 kcal/ day. This of course varies as per the cat’s weight and lifestyle.

A balanced and rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber nutrition will help prevent most Norwegian forest cats health problems. You may want to try formulas specially designed for Maine Coon cats, as these two breeds have a lot in common. These meals contain adapted levels of magnesium, sodium, potassium, arginine, EPA and DHA, taurine, L-carnitine, and antioxidants (vitamins E and C, green tea and grape polyphenols) that support and maintain their cardiac (heart) function. Moreover, they reinforce the barrier role of the skin and reveal the natural beauty and color of their coat. They also encourage a good oral-dental hygiene and support the joints of their powerful skeleton.

norwegian forest kittens
Norwegian Forest kittens - Photo by

Norwegian forest kittens care

When you introduce Norwegian forest kittens to your home let then find their own way out of the basket and allow them to explore one room at a time. Make sure that all doors and windows are shut, to prevent kittens from escaping.

Norwegian forest kittens are very often frightened of children or other pets that are new to them. Children should therefore be recommended to be quiet and wait for the kitten to adopt to the new environment, while other animals should be introduced later, gradually and one at a time. Remember that adult cats might attack to the baby cat, since they confront it as a competitor and therefore as an enemy.

Talk to your kitten and encourage it to play with a toy but do not overwhelm it with extreme attention.

Kittens need warmth. If there is not some form of heating in the room at all times, buy a heated bed from a pet shop.

Norwegian forest cats grooming

Although Norwegian forest cats are longhaired, their fur does not need to be groomed more than once a week. Use a brush with metal bristles, that also helps detangle hair as it works. The brushing movements need to be repetitive, however delicate. Special attention needs to be paid to the underarms and under the tail and tummy, areas where the fur may rub and knots occur more commonly. Work through the fur from head to tail to remove dead and loose hair. Be extra-gentle near her chest and belly to avoid injuring your Wegie. Regular grooming will improve the blood circulation and help avoid many unpleasant and long-lasting infections and allergies.

However, be aware that the extremely plush coat of Norwegian forest cats sheds considerably during the seasonal change. Extra brushing is beneficial at this time to remove as much loose hair as possible before your cat swallows it and develops hairballs.


Tapeworms are parasites that live in the small intestine of cats. They will cause severe diarrhea, poor or extreme appetite, avitaminosis, lethargy, coughing and abdominal distention to your cat.

To find out more, check our tapeworm treatment guide.

Hairball treatment

When a cat grooms itself by licking its own fur, it will swallow some of its own hair. Most of the hair passes all the way through the digestive tract with no problems. But if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hair ball.

To find out more, check our hair ball treatment guide.


Even clean cats can pick up fleas, especially during the summer months. They get fleas through the contact with infested pets or through the contact with fleas in the environment (e.g. from an infected bedding).

To find out more, check our flea treatment guide.

Norwegian forest cats care

Their ears require a great deal of hygiene as they are prone to serious infections. Consult your vet on choosing the proper ear cleaning solution for your Norwegian forest cats and use it to remove the excess of wax, debris and dead tissues.

The teeth of the Norwegian forest cats should be checked periodically and brushed with a special wipe to prevent teeth and gum diseases. In the market there are also a lot of cat toys, specially designed to remove food wastes and prevent teeth irritation.

A litter tray must be available at all times and kept in the same place. Solid matter and wet lumps should be removed from the tray frequently and the litter renewed when necessary. The tray should be washed and disinfected frequently. Rinse thoroughly after disinfecting and allow drying before use. Norwegian forest cats are very fussy and will not use a dirty tray.

Never give forest cats any drugs that have not been prescribed for them; many human drugs are poisonous to cats. Seek veterinary advice immediately if you suspect any form of poisoning.

Make sure that cats toys or parts of them cannot be swallowed. Plastic bags and rubber bands can be extremely dangerous, since they do not show up on an X-ray.

Norwegian forest cats health and lifespan

Norwegian forest cats live to be 14 years old on average and are generally healthy cats. Their commonest health issue is Hip Dysplasia, a condition caused during the cat's skeleton development, when the hip joint grows improperly and results in a loose fitting and malformed ball-and-socket joint. It is aggravated by excessive use of the joint and it eventually develops into arthritis

Hip Dysplasia is not curable. If your cat does not suffer severe pain, neither experiences a worsening of the condition, you can take measures at home to make your Norwegian forest cat more comfortable. Keep the environment warm and dry, don't let your cat jump or exercise heavily, neither become overweight.

An X-ray is enough to diagnose Hip Dysplasia. Nonsurgical options include giving your cat painkillers whenever his pain becomes severe, acupuncture and gold bead implantation. The combined use of nutritional anti-oxidant supplements and glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate are very helpful in treating the condition and reducing joint pain. However, in severe cases you may consider joint surgery.

Norwegian forest cats history

The Norwegian forest cats breed has evolved naturally. Forebears were probably Southern European shorthaired cats which spread to Norway, other Scandinavian Countries and parts of Europe in pre-historic times. When the Crusaders brought longhaired cats (most likely Turkish Angora cats and Turkish Van cats) back from the Middle East the two types mated indiscriminately. Through natural selection and given the harsh climatic conditions in the Scandinavian peninsula, only the individuals with thick fur survived.

A lot of reference regarding the certain breed is also made in the ancient Norwegian folk tales. Norwegian Forest cats are said to have accompanied the Vikings on their sea-faring journeys, in order to control and reduce the rodent population on board their ships. Maybe this is the explanation for the large numbers of half-wild semi-longhaired cats, which were found in France, in particular Normandy.

In 1599 a Danish born priest living in Norway called Peter Friis documented the Norwegian Lynx into three classes: the wolf-lynx, fox-lynx and the cat- lynx. The cat-Lynxes were most probably the Norwegian Forest Cats that bear a lot of similarities with the lynxes, such as the large appearance with high legs, the big ruffs, manes and ear tufts, the love for water and the ability to catch fish in lakes and streams. In "Norwegian Folk Tales" by Asbjornsen and Moe, the forest cats appears several times, being called "Huldrekat" which translated means “Fairy Cat”. However, later in the book the cats are described as "wood or forest" cats with thick bushy tails.

Breeders in Norway first started to take notice of the Forest Cat in the 1930's and realized that they were diminishing because of the indiscriminate breeding of the Forest Cat with the local short-haired domestic cats. In the late 1930's an attempt was made to set up a breeding program to save the breed, which was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. In the mid1950's the breeding program was taken up and formalized by a group of people including Karl Eggum, Liv Loose, and Egil Nyland who in 1975 established the first Forest Cat Breed Club (Norsk Skogkattring). Egil and Else Nyland bred Pan's Truls the magnificent male Forest Cat who served as a model for the FIFE Norwegian Forest Cat standard. In 1977 the FIFE rewarded them with acceptance of the Norwegian Forest Cat for Championship status.

Norwegian forest cat personality

Norwegian Forest Cats (also called Wegies) are mild and well-mannered cats. They are known for their kindness and for being tolerant with even the most annoying children and dogs. Wegies are gentle, friendly and family-oriented cats with a large supply of affection for their human companions. They love sitting on their side, to lounge by a warm fire and accept treats and caresses from loving hands.

Highly intelligent, brave and playful, Norwegian cats will always find ways to amuse themselves, retaining their fun-loving spirit throughout adulthood. Thanks to their curiosity, they have become quick learners. They can be taught to walk on a leash and some will even learn to fetch a thrown toy. They are also eager and relentless hunters, so if you wisely keep your Wegie indoors, be sure to satisfy its desire to hunt and need for play by providing a steady supply of fetching and interactive toys.

Because of their muscular physique, Norwegian cats are natural athletes who love to investigate the highest places in the house. A tall, well-built cat tree for climbing and scratching is a must if you don’t want your Wegie wedged on top of your tallest bookcase or highest window treatment.

Norwegian forest cats can be shy towards strangers due to their strong survival instincts. However, once they find out you can be trusted, they demonstrate their loyal and loving loving nature.

Unlike most cats, Norwegian forest cats tend to enjoy the whole family rather than bond with only one person. They are not lap cats and prefer sitting or curling up beside their human fellows. They make it quite clear they don’t like to be held, cuddled, restrained or participate in any form of affection that involves human lips. Petting is warmly welcomed, while most enjoy being groomed.

Norwegian cats haven’t lost the versatility and skills that enabled them to survive the climate of their mother country. The ability to adapt to almost any situation is one of the traits that makes them such delightful companions.

Norwegian forest cats breed standards

According to the Fédération International Féline, Norwegian forest cats possess a triangular head, where all sides are equally long. The profile is long and straight, without a break in line. The forehead is slightly rounded and the chin is firm.

Their ears are large, with good width at the base and pointed tips. They are well tufted, with lynx-like tufts and long hair popping out of them. The ears are placed high and open, so that their outer lines follow the lines of the head down to the chin.

Their eyes are large and oval, well opened and slightly oblique. They have an alert expression, while all colors are permitted, regardless of the coat color.

Norwegian forest cats have a long and strong body, with a solid bone structure.

Their legs are strong and high, with the hind legs being higher than the front legs. Their paws are large and round.

Their tail is long and bushy and should ideally reach to the neck. Otherwise, it should reach at least to the shoulder blades.

The forest cat coat is semi-long, with a woolly undercoat which is covered by a water repellent upper-coat. The upper-coat is consisted of long, coarse and glossy guard-hairs and covers the back and the slides.

All coat colors are permitted for the forest cat, including those with white. The only exception concerns the pointed patterns with chocolate, lilac, cinnamon and fawn.