Norwegian Forest

Origin and history

The Norwegian Forest cat has been around for a long time in Scandinavia its presence being mentioned in lots of mythological tales from this region. In Scandinavian mythology, Freya, the Goddess of beauty and fertility (similar to Aphrodite), was riding a carriage pulled by cats and the Great God Thor was defeated in a ride by Jormungand (represented as a cat) not being able to lift it completely off the ground.
We can assume without having proof though that the Norwegian Forest was brought from the vicinity of Caspic Sea by Vikings in the VIII century for extinction purpose. The race adapted perfectly to Nordic climate, especially regarding coat, and it was the main farm cat until recent.
In the 1930s a group of Norwegian scientists conducted a research with the purpose of preserving the originality of this race because it was threatened by various uncontrolled blood influences from the short hair cats. In 1972 the Norwegians established the first standard for Norsk Skogkatt (Norsk=Norwegian, Skog=Forest, Katt=Cat). In 1977 the race was recognized by the FIFe under the name of Norwegian Forest then by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.
For avoiding being mistaken for the American Main Coon the Norwegian Forest breeders modified its standard in 1987 specifying the exact points where the two races differ. On the other hand the Norwegian Forest may be the victim of counterfeiting by mating common semi-long hair European cats. For this reason it was decided many years ago to abolish the Novice class for this race and in contests are allowed only the cats with pedigree.


Norwegian Forest cat, also known as Skogkatt, is a cat of big stature, well built and elegant. This race develops slowly until the age of 4. It has a solid, of medium length and well proportioned body. The males are massive while the females are smaller and delicate. The head is triangular shaped with a strong chin. The profile is long and straight. The eyes are big, expressive and may be of any color regardless of coat color, set slightly oblique. The ears placement is high, they are medium/large sized, have a good width at the base and pointed tips with lynx-like tufts and long hair out of the ears, but not necessarily. The nose is perfectly straight and forehead flat.
The chin is slightly rounded on profile but firm and straight aligned with the nose.
Members are of medium length with strong muscular thighs. Rear legs are longer than front ones. Paws are large, round and slightly sideways oriented. The tails is long and bushy. The coat is another important feature of the race. It is double with one layer of woolly hair covered with another layer of semilong hair that falls on sideways covering the back and sides, glossy and water repellent. A fully coated cat has a shirtfront, a full frill and knickerbockers. Guard hairs start developing over the age of 3-5 months. The length and density of the coat vary with the seasons. At summer the coat is thinner and only the bushy tail reminds you that it is a semilong haired cat.
In evaluation the type and quality of the coat are most important followed by color and texture. Any colors or textures are accepted except the combinations that indicate a possible hybrid: lavender, dark brown, brown-red, lyla, cinnamon, beige or any of the colors mentioned above in combination with white. Lack of height, a round or squared head, a non-straight profile, a short tail or sparse coat are considered major flaws.

Character and temper

The Norwegian Forest cat is a balanced friend, sociable and playful, quite the opposite of it’s history of half wild cat mice hunter. The love people and grow well with their friendship. They are used to live outdoors, in backyards but they adapt very well to apartment conditions as well especially if they have a lot of space. Its sporty character requires an adequate ambient such as a garden or a tree in order for the cat to be very happy. They are very clever and reliable companions and can be very playful and friendly and they are usually very quiet.
A major role in their adult temper plays the environment the cat grows in as a kitten. A kitten grown among people that treated it with a lot of affection and care will act totally different that one grown in isolation or wilderness. Gifted with intelligence and natural curiosity the Skogkatts are calm, patient and not so easy stressful cats. Do not expect them to sit in your lap on summer time though. They would prefer to lye next to you.


The Norwegian Forest is very careful with its coat doing a very good job itself. Nethertheless minimal attention is required especially if you plan to present the at shows. If you get the cat used to combing on regular basis it will grow to like being taken care of, as part of the cat and master relationship.


Group II – NFO – semi-long hair cats

Life expectancy

10-15 years


Dry and wet food. Every cat eats differently and accordingly with its needs. In general it must not eat more than 75-90kcal/kg/day. They are easily predisposed to obesity.


They do not present specific health problems and they can live a long and active life. Just like all the other cats hey also have to be checked annually for dental and kidney problems (especially males).

Energy: Medium

Compatibility with other cats: High

Compatibility with other animals: High

Compatibility with other children: Medium


© 2007