Norwegian Forest Cat Breed

The Norwegian Forest Cat makes a loving and communicative companion.
By: PawCulture Editors
Norwegian Forest Cat

About the Norewegian Forest Cat Breed

A born athlete with a large body and a dense, long-flowing coat designed to protect it from harsh winter weather, the Norwegian Forest Cat makes a loving and communicative companion.

Norewegian Forest Cat Physical Characteristics

Its body shape and double coat are what makes this cat so unique. The Norwegian Forest Cat’s well-balanced body structure, equilateral triangle-shaped head and bright emerald green eyes (with a band of gold) also gives it an aura of mystery, while its broad chest and well-developed muscles display the cat’s power and strength.


Though they commonly are seen in brown tabby and white, the Norwegian Forest Cat can come in every possible coat pattern and color combination (with the exception of the colorpoint colors).


The breed’s dense and long-flowing hair provides excellent protection in the winter (and makes it a soft cuddling partner).

Norewegian Forest Cat Personality and Temperament

Activity Level



Even though this breed has spent years in the wilderness, it prefers to cuddle rather than display any aggression. Behind this rugged exterior lies a cat with a sweet disposition and affectionate nature. Moreover, the Forest Cat is able to quickly adjust to new people or environments and is not easily upset. This breed is also vocal. It prefers to communicate with its human companions long and often.

Things to Consider

Curious and playful, the breed will explore every nook and corner of the house, including the top of cupboards and book cases. 

Norewegian Forest Cat Care

Ideal Living Conditions

Though it is adaptable, the Norwegian Forest Cat is an active breed that requires plenty of exercise and stimulation throughout the day.

Special Requirements

The breed is unique in its ability to change its coat dramatically in accordance with the weather. During spring, it molts its heavy winter coat and dons a lighter one. In the fall, the cat will again molt and shed its summer coat. When it molts, the breed needs a thorough combing. During the rest of the year, however, it requires very little grooming.

Norewegian Forest Cat Health

Health conditions commonly seen in the breed can include:

Norewegian Forest Cat History and Background

As its name suggests, this breed originated in Norway. The Norsk Skogkatt (Norse for Norwegian Forest Cat) appears to have come out of the Scandinavian forests thousands of years ago, corroborated by all the large, long-haired cats found in Norse mythology. Some accounts even put the cat on the boat of Leif Erikson, a famous Viking explorer, as his traveling companion and as pest control.

These tough cats managed to survive the extreme climate of Norway, a land where the sun does not set from mid-May until August, and where winter nights are long and bitterly cold. Because of this they developed long, dense, water-resistant coats, hardy constitutions, quick wits, and well-honed survival instincts.

During the 1930s, an attempt was made to get the Norwegian Forest Cat breed recognized. The first Norwegian Cat club was established in 1934, and the first Forest Cat was exhibited at a show in Oslo, Norway. However, the destruction of World War II nearly led to the annihilation of the breed, and crossbreeding with Norway’s shorthaired domestic cat (called the hauskatt) threatened to dilute its bloodlines. After the war, Norway’s cat fanciers began a breeding program. And with a new sense of resiliency, the Forest Cat was named the official cat of Norway by the late King Olaf.

In 1980, the Forest Cat was introduced to the United States, thanks in part to the newly established Norwegian Forest Cat Fanciers’ Association, a small group hoping to get this breed officially recognized. The International Cat Association was the first to recognize the breed, accepting the Forest Cat for Championship competition in 1984. The breed later attained championship status for the Cat Fanciers Association in 1993, and for the American Cat Association in 1995.