Norwegian Forest Cat About the Breed

About The Norwegian Forest Cat

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The History of the Norwegian Forest Cat - Norsk Skogkatt.

It is not known exactly for how long the Norsk Skogkatt has lived in the Norwegian forests or indeed when it approached the Norwegian people for the first time. What is known is, that through the ages this cat has shown a marvellous way of adapting to the harsh climate of the northern regions of Europe. According to  Norwegian folk tales, the Forest Cat has been known since the 16th Century. Magical qualities was attributed to the "fairy cat" or "troll cat" - and  wrapped in a veil of myth, for example The Old Norse Goddess Freyja's chariot was drawn by two large cats with bushy tails.. For a long time people thought that the Forest Cat was a cross breed of the Lynx and ordinary cats. In the second half of the 16th Century a historian named Peder C. Friis made notes on wild cats in Norway. He states: "Where in Norway we have a certain kind of wild cat living in the mountains, which is big, shaggy and with a tail like a marten". However, the truth probably is, that the Forest Cat became a "farm cat" at a rather early stage in history. A cat with a hardy disposition and an invincible aptitude for mousing, was exactly what was needed on a Norwegian farm.

Extermination and cross breeding to ordinary cats have threatened the existence of the Forest Cat several times. This is why,  since 1973, Norway has worked systematically for the preservation of the breed.

The mini lynx

Looking like a longhaired miniature lynx, the Forest Cat is still the true "troll cat" in the Norwegian fauna. To the Norwegian people it is the fairy cat they chance upon and hope to meet in their wanderings. It is a proud cat - and still with plenty of the wild inside. Yet, it is not aggressive and not at all unwilling to establish affectionate relationships to people and other animals.. Healthy, robust and playful to an old age, it is a most enjoyable companion. The Norwegian Forest Cat is a natural breed - unique to the country,  known as Norway's National Cat. A breed the Norwegians are very proud of and will continue to care for in the future.

What does a Forest Cat look like?

A  full coated Forest Cat is an impressive sight, it is large and heavily built, a long body on high  strong legs with big paws. The coat is special, very  thick warm and magnificent when full. It has two layers, a  woolly undercoat (normally shed in the Spring) is covered by a long, glossy and water repellent overcoat. Excellent against rain snow and wind, or when the temperature falls towards minus 20c. The head is triangular with straight sidelines a straight profile and a firm chin. Large  pointed ears (set at 10 to 1 on the clock face) - with lynx-like tips  and long hairs growing out of the ear (to protect the inner ear)  crowns  the chiselled features. Alert and wild expression with slightly oblique eyes  set an extra touch to the magnificence and give the cat its wild look. Finally, a long bushy tail  swaying triumphantly over everything and everyone. A cat that is ready to meet any challenge and climb to the top of the highest trees.

The Norwegian Forest Cat comes in all natural colours - with or without white.

The Forest Cat at shows.

The Norwegian Forest Cat was officially recognised as a pedigree breed by the European Cat organisation FIFe in 1977. It was then ready to enter the international show scene. But.... how is it possible to fit a tough creature from the wilderness in among all the refined pedigree beauties? In fact, it has been a great success. Norwegian Forest Cats have been the best of all breeds in shows all over the world. and at the Second World Championship show for cats in Innsbruck, who else but a shaggy Norwegian became the Sovereign World winner. The name  of this cat was European Champion (N) Flatlands Bjornsterne DM (Distinguished merit) gaining the title WW-91. In the same year in the USA another magnificent Forest cat named Mainline's Tord became International Cat of the year under TICA.  This breed success  contributed to an increased interest in the Forest Cat. It has become extremely popular and therefore in high demand both in Norway and abroad. Today, Norwegian Forest Cats are exported to and from countries all over the world.

Quite a triumph for the nature cat from the deep forests in the North, - where, in spite of everything, it may still thrive best.

Article written by  L Twyman Norgeskaukatt Norwegian Forest Cats UK and Copyright  2010

 

 

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