Norwegian Forest Cat

Pans Truls

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a very old breed. They have been featured in folk tales and mythology for centuries and the Norwegians claim that the cat has been around forever.

The Forest Cat was, in all probability, the cat the Viking explorers took with them to keep their ships clear of rodents. Some people believe that these well-travelled cats may have been the early ancestors of the Maine Coon.

Norwegian Forest Cats were almost lost as a distinct breed through hybridization with the free-roaming domestic shorthairs in Norway. Interest was aroused among Norwegian cat fanciers when they realized that they were in real danger of losing the breed, but World War II put a hold on their efforts. It wasn't until after the war that a group of cat lovers began working to save the skogkatt, as it is known in Norway. (The term skogkatt literally means "forest cat.")

Their efforts were successful, resulting in the Forest Cat being not only welcomed into the show ring in Europe, but also designated the official cat of Norway by the late King Olaf. The Forest Cat was not exported from Norway until the late 1970s. A brown tabby and white male called Pans Truls became the ‘model’ cat and a standard of points were formulated.

The Norwegian Forest cat has developed over many years of natural selection into a breed able to survive the long harsh winters of Norway. It is a sturdy cat with a double coat that has protective, water-resistant guard hairs over a downy, warm undercoat. This type of coat is needed to survive the snows and moist, cold air in its native country.

The ears are heavily furnished and, although they are moderately large, they are set somewhat low on the head to prevent excessive heat loss. The feet are heavily tufted, which provides a protective layer of fur between the feet and the cold ground and snow. The rear legs are heavily muscled with strong heavy boning on both the front and the rear legs and thick claws on all four feet. The rear legs are longer than the front legs.

The cat in the wild spends a great deal of time in the trees so the strength of bone, the heavy muscle and the thick claws are needed to make the climb to its lofty perch in the forests of its native land. It is not uncommon to see the cat descending from tree trunks head first. They are slow growing breed which does not reach full development until five years of age and most will continue to gain heft as they mature. Strong boning should be seen even in young kittens.

Each year the coat will continue to add fullness after the annual moult. The head shape on a Norwegian Forest Cat is an equilateral triangle and its ears follow the line of that triangle from the chin straight up to the base of the ears. The Wegies' ears have often been described as pricked forward as though listening although they are not high on the head as in other breeds. The nose profile when viewed from the side is straight to the brow ridge, where there is a slight turn of direction to a flat frontal plane. They have a very short neck that is heavily muscled.

The Norwegian Forest Cat's eyes are one of its prettiest features: they positively glow. They are large and expressive and almond shaped and the outer corner of the eye is tilted up to the base of the ear.

The colour ranges from gold to deep emerald green, with the darker green colour much sought after but not as common as the green-gold eyes usually seen. A Norwegian Forest Cat in full coat is a sight to behold. It has wonderful long guard hairs that cover a shorter thick undercoat. The guard hairs are smooth and heavy in texture and continue on to the long fluffy tail which it likes to hold upright.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is very much a homebody and enjoys being with people and other pets and is excellent with children. They are very patient animals and are not stressed easily.

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FIFe Standard

Head:ShapeTriangular, where all sides are equally long, with good height when seen in profile.
Head:ForeheadSlightly rounded with long straight profile, without a break in line (no stop)
Ears:ShapeLarge with good width at base; Pointed tips with lynx-like tufts and long hair out of ears
Ears:PlacementHigh and open, so the outer lines of the ears follow the line of the head down to the chin
Eyes:ShapeLarge and oval, well opened, set slightly oblique
Eyes:ExpressionAlert expression
Eyes:ColourAll colours permitted, regardless of coat colour
Body:StructureLong strongly built.
Legs: Solid bone structure
Legs:PawsLarge, round and in proportion to the legs
Tail: Long and bushy
Coat:StructureSemi-long. The woolly undercoat is covered by a water repellent upper coat which consists of long, coarse and glossy guard hairs covering the back and the sides. A fully coated cat has shirt front, a full frill and knickerbockers.
Coat:ColourAll colours are permitted, including all colours with white except for pointed patterns and chocolate, cinnamon and fawn.
Any amount of white is allowed i.e a white blaze, white locket, white chest, white on belly, white on paws etc
Remarks:GeneralVery slow maturing of this breed should be taken into account
Remarks:HeadMature males may have broader heads than females
Remarks:CoatCoat is evaluated mainly on texture and quality. Length of coat and density of undercoat vary with seasons. Kittens can take up to 6 months of age to develop guard hairs
Faults:GeneralToo small and finely built cats
Faults:HeadRound or square head. Profile with a break (stop)
Faults:EarsSmall ears. Set too widely. Set too close together
Faults:LegsShort legs. Thin legs
Faults:TailShort tail
Faults:CoatDry coat, Knotted with lumps. Too silky

Scale of points

HeadGeneral shape, forehead, nose, profile, jaw and teeth, chin20
EarsShape, size and placement10
EyesShape, expression5
BodyShape, size, bone structure,legs, shape of paws25
TailLength and shape10
CoatQuality and texture20
Condition 5
Total Points - 100

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