Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a sturdy and strong cat, which came to existence hundreds years ago as the result of a natural selection. This breed is characterised with excellent health and sociable, playful demeanour. The combination of its nice character and relative unpretentiousness in grooming makes it highly suitable for the role of a family pet.
Photo: © cattery Azure Blue (forestcat.net)
There is an old tale that the specimens of the Norwegian Forest Cat dragged the chariot of the goddess Freya across the sky. Actually, this cat was a rather common character in lots of Norse legends. It’s believed that the Vikings kept it in their ships for their outstanding skills in killing rats and mice. In its native land this breed is called a skogkatt, which is loosely translated as a forest cat.
The history of the Norwegian Forest Cat began in the Norwegian forests more than 4 000 years ago. Thanks to natural selection this cat gradually acquired dense, water-resistant coat, which made it impregnable to harsh Scandinavian climate. Its unsurpassed hunting prowess helped the breed to procure subsistence even in the densest forest. Nonetheless it oftentimes exchanged its service as a ratter for a shelter and companionship of local farmers. Norwegians treasured this independent and self-assured cat as a reliable vermin exterminator and a loyal four-legged friend.
In the early XX century the population of the Norwegian Forest Cat in its homeland shrank to a dangerously low level. The 30s of the XX century were marked with the beginning of several breeding programs, which were aimed to preserve and resurrect this ancient feline variety. In 1938 it was introduced to public at a cat show in Oslo.
Unfortunately proper breeding practice was halted by the Second World War. The Norwegian Forest Cat eventually received the status of a pedigreed cat in the 70s of XX century when special breeding program was initiated to support and popularise this breed. In this period the late King Olaf declared it the official cat of Norway.
The first members of the Norwegian Forest Cat were brought to the United States in 1979. The breed attained recognition of the International Cat Association in 1984 and the Cat Fanciers Association recognised it in 1993. Nowadays this cat has official acceptance of most reputable feline organisations.
The Norwegian Forest has reputation of an amicable and lively cat with slightly reserved character. While it certainly enjoys being among its special people this independent cat will find how to entertain itself if left alone for a long period of time. It also tends to be a bit shy with guests in your house. This cat likes to show its affection in subtler manner and usually doesn’t appreciate excessive amount of petting. This cat is notable by a typical Scandinavian forbearing manner of behaviour and will use its melodic voice only when it wants something, for example breakfast or your attention.
This cat retains much of its wild habits and usually chooses the highest place in your house for its observation post. The Norwegian Forest Cat will keep your dwelling free from any household rodents, be it a fly or a mouse. It would definitely prefer the outdoor life over the comfort of your house but it will still be happy to live peacefully in a home environment. This cat will tolerate other household creatures if they don’t act aggressively and respect its authority.
The Norwegian Forest is an intelligent and attentive cat, which responds well to mild training methods. Its resourcefulness and playfulness will make it an indefatigable participant of children’s games. On the whole, this cat will be glad to become a member of any family that provides it sufficient amount of daily meal and care.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· glycogen storage disease IV;
· hypertrophic cardiomyopathy;
· polycystic kidney disease;
· retinal dysplasia.
The Norwegian Forest Cat has moderate grooming requirements in comparison with breeds with similar coats. Its master should brush it once a week to prevent mats and tangles from developing. Nonetheless more frequent combing or brushing will minimize the amount of cat’s hair in your house.
The medium, waterproof coat of this cat has lavish undercoat, which keeps the cat warm in long and cold Norwegian winters. In spring the Norwegian Forest sheds excessively so it’s much recommended to resort to more thorough brushing during these periods.
Other than that the breed should receive standard care. Trim the cat’s nails on a regular basis, usually weekly. Examine its ears and wipe them with soft damp tissue if they look dirty. This breed is susceptible to periodontal diseases so weekly brushing is a must for overall good health in this area.