Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cat compressed 768x384 1
Norwegian Forest Cat compressed 768x384 1
Norwegian Forest Cat Compressed 768x384, The Cat 24
Temperament           Playful, sweet, family-oriented, affectionate
Origin                        Norway
Other Names            Norsk skogkatt, Norsk skaukatt
Group                       Large long-haired
Height                      9″- 12″
Body Length            12″-18″
Weight                     12-16 pounds
Life Expectancy       14-16 years
Price                        $900-$1,500

About the Norwegian Forest Cat

Striking looks and a warm personality help the Norwegian Forest Cat stand out from the crowd. This exquisite long-haired cat breed is an ancient one, with ample intelligence, fantastic social skills, and an appreciation for all of life’s comforts.

Even though the Norwegian Forest Cat comes from a cold climate, these kitties love to keep warm. They appreciate an indoor lifestyle with plenty of soft, comfortable surfaces to accommodate frequent naps. They also have an appreciation for their families, but affection takes place on their terms rather than yours.

The Norwegian Forest Cat may very well decide to cuddle up in your lap or sleep on your pillow, but doesn’t typically appreciate being picked up or held when it’s not the cat’s idea.

Despite the breed’s reputation for having quite an independent streak, Norwegian Forest Cats are loyal to their favorite people and are perfectly capable of making friends with other pets including well behaved dogs and other friendly felines.

If you see similarities between the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon, you’re not imagining things!

The two breeds do have quite a bit in common including large stature, ultra-thick fur, and exceptional hunting prowess. It’s entirely possible that some of the cats that contributed to the Maine Coon (which, by the way is a natural breed) might have been Norwegian Forest Cats.

Cute Norwegian Forest Cat, The Cat 24


Norwegian Forest Cats, The Cat 24
Nutrition Icon, The Cat 24

As a relatively large breed, the Norwegian Forest Cat often requires more calories per day then the average kitty. These cats need a high-quality diet and will thrive on high-protein food with real meat or fish as the primary ingredient.

If you are able to offer fresh food, your Norwegian Forest Cat will certainly appreciate it. At any rate, consider choosing food that contains extra Omega fatty acids to support your pet’s skin and keep their coat looking and feeling its best.

Grooming Icon, The Cat 24

Because the Norwegian Forest Cat has a very thick double coat, frequent grooming is a necessity. You may need to brush and comb this cat daily to prevent mats and keep their luxurious coat looking its very best.

Additional grooming routines to consider include regular nail trimming and toothbrushing. Both should be introduced from a young age.

Exercise Icon, The Cat 24

The Norwegian Forest Cat may be very fond of lounging, but this doesn’t mean that it’s a complete couch potato. These big, fluffy cats are athletes at heart, with a fondness for running, jumping, and climbing.

They have the unique ability to descend from their cat tree headfirst, and their size allows them to clear several feet in a single leap. Appropriate enrichment items are essential including tall cat trees, big scratching posts, and an abundance of toys.

Health Icon, The Cat 24
Norwegian Forest Cats typically enjoy excellent health and are known for their longevity. It is not unusual for one of these kitties to live well beyond 15 years. Even so, the Norwegian Forest Cat breed is prone to a few known health issues.

Although these don’t occur often, it’s important to be aware of their existence. Potential problems include glycogen storage disease IV, which can be detected in parents via a DNA test. Glycogen storage disease IV often causes kittens to be stillborn or survive for under six months.

Norwegian Forest Cats may also suffer from polycystic kidney disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


The Norwegian Forest Cat is a natural breed, meaning that it developed over time without intentional intervention or human manipulation. These cats – also called Skogkatt in Norwegian – were brought to Norway hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years ago. No one knows for certain whether they accompanied Turkish traders or if they were brought back by Viking raiders. What we do know is that Norwegian Forest Cats have an intriguing place in Norse mythology. For example, the giant cats that pulled the goddess Freya’s chariot were said to be Skogkatts.

These incredible felines simply enjoyed life in Nordic countries until 1938, when a Norwegian Forest Cat was presented at a cat show. Shortly afterward, enthusiasts came together to form the Norwegian Forest Cat Club.

Like many other breeds, the Norwegian Forest Cat was nearly made extinct during the second world war. After the war however, members of the club came together to revive the breed and propel it back toward popularity. Federation Internationale Feline (FIFe) granted official recognition in 1977. It took another ten years for the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) to recognize the breed. CFA granted Norwegian Forest Cats full championship status in 1993. Today, major registries worldwide have accepted the breed with open arms.

The Norwegian Forest Cats, The Cat 24

Did You Know?

Norwegian Forest Cats are slow to mature, taking up to five years to reach their full potential.

While many cats dislike water, the Norwegian Forest Cat isn’t afraid to get wet; in fact, this cat will happily attempt to fish in a pond or cleanout all the fish in its family’s aquarium.

Norwegian Forest Cats are nicknamed “Wegies.” During the 1950s, the breed was declared the official cat of Norway by King Olav V.

The Breed Standard

The Norwegian Forest Cat, The Cat 24


The eyes should be large and expressive, with a distinct almond shape. They should be set at a slight angle so that the outer corner is higher than the inner corner. Eyes should complement the coat and are normally green, gold, copper, or green-gold. Cats with white markings as well as solid white Norwegian Forest Cats may have blue eyes or odd eyes.


The legs should be of medium length, with the hind legs being a bit longer than the forelegs. The legs should be strong and muscular, and the paws should be large and round. The front paws should appear to “toe out” and all paws should display tufting between the toes.


The Norwegian Forest Cat’s tail should be long and bushy; ideally, it should be the same length as the cat’s body. The tail should be thickest at the base, and should have ample plumage formed by longer guard hairs.


The body should be large and sturdy, of moderate length, with a broad chest and a wide (but not fat) girth. Males are typically much larger than females.


The head should form an equilateral triangle, with a straight nose, a firm chin, and a muzzle that melds with the rest of the face without forming prominent whisker pads. Males may display significant jowling.


A Norwegian Forest Cat’s ears are of medium to large size, with heavy furnishings. Lynx tips are seen as highly desirable but are not required.


Norwegian Forest Cats have thick, double coats with water-resistant guard hairs, a heavy, wooly undercoat, britches, and a bib. The undercoat is typically shed during summer.


Almost all colors and patterns are acceptable with the exception of those that show hybridization, i.e. sable, chocolate, lilac, lavender, cinnamon, fawn, point-restricted, and any blend of these colors with white. The nose leather and paw pads may be of any color.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Norwegian Forest cat cost?

Norwegian Forest cats cost between $900-$1,500.

How big do Norwegian Forest cats get?

Norwegian Forest cats tend to be large in size. A fully grown Norwegian Forest cat might weigh between 12-16 pounds or more and range in height anywhere from about 9″- 12″ inches tall.

How long do Norwegian Forest cats live?

The Average lifespan for Norwegian Forest is 14-16 years.

Do Norwegian Forest cats shed?

Norwegian Forest are long-haired cats, so you do have to expect a certain amount of shedding from this breed, but they don’t shed as much as other cat breeds.