Precious little is known about the exact nature of this breed’s evolution, although it is believed the Norwegian Forest Cat developed naturally in the cold Scandinavian woods, being the likely descendent of the Turkish and Siberian Angora. It is claimed that this took place roughly 4,000 years ago, with some speculating that, in fact, the true ancestors of the breed we know today were shorthairs that the Vikings brought to Norway from Great Britain, and longhairs that the Crusaders transported. If this is to be believed, then the Norwegian Forest Cat must have emerged around 1000 AD, making it one of the oldest breeds in existence. The cat was officially recognised by the International Cat Association in 1984, and by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 1993.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a distinguished large breed with many notable characteristics. First of all, it boasts a profuse double coat that is easy to maintain with regular grooming. The coat would have protected and insulated the Forest Cat against the harsh climates in Norway - where the breed originates. All coat colours are permissible, excluding chocolate, cinnamon, fawn and lilac. The Norwegian Forest Cat also possesses a slender but robust body, with nimble legs, a triangular-shaped head, wide-spaced ears and oblique eyes in any colour. The breed is also blessed with tough claws that equip it for hunting and climbing.
Although this breed is a great lover of people, it is not demanding of attention and adapts well to relaxed domestic living. Possessing a mellow temperament, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a delightful addition to the household and is compatible with both children and dogs. Despite being relaxed, gentle and quiet, communicating softly when it wants your attention, the Forest Cat can also be active and animated, enjoying a good frolic in the wide outdoors! Typically, a healthy Norwegian Forest Cat will weigh up to 25 pounds, with a life expectancy of 15 years or more.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is susceptible to a few health complaints, ranging from mild to more severe. These include cases of hip dysplasia, as well as heart and kidney disease. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common type of heart disease noted in the Forest Cat. Another rare disorder that is documented in the breed is glycogen storage disease, which is fatal.