Norwegian Forest Cat – A Small Puma

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed native to Northern Europe. The cat is adapted to a very cold climate with top coat of glossy, long, water-shedding hairs and a woolly undercoat for insulation. Although this is uncertain, their ancestors may have been short-haired cats brought to Norway by the Vikings around year 1000 AD, and the long-haired Siberian and Turkish Angora.

During World War II, the cat became nearly extinct until efforts by the Norwegian Forest Cat Club helped the breed by creating an official breeding program. It was not registered as a breed with the European Fédération Internationale Féline before the 1970s: A local cat fancier, Carl-Fredrik Nordane, took notice of this beautiful Norse cat and made efforts to register it. Currently, the Norwegian Forest Cat is very popular in Norway, Sweden, Iceland and France.

It is a strong, big cat, similar to the Maine Coon breed, with long legs, a bushy tail, and a sturdy body. Due to its strong claws, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a very good climber. The lifespan is usually fourteen to sixteen years.


The Norwegian Forest Cat is adapted to survive Norway’s cold weather. Its ancestors may include black and white short hair cats brought to Norway from Great Britain sometime after 1000 AD by the Vikings, and long haired cats brought by Crusaders.

The Siberian and the Turkish Angora, long haired cats from Russia and Turkey, are also possible ancestors of the breed. Norse legends refer to the Skogkatt as a “mountain-dwelling fairy cat with an ability to climb sheer rock faces that other cats could not manage”.

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Norsk skogkatt1

Many people believe that their ancestors served as mousers on Viking ships. They lived in the Norwegian forests for many centuries, but were later prized for their hunting skills and were used on Norwegian farms. The Norwegian Forest Cat continued as mousers on Norwegian farms until they were rediscovered in the early twentieth century by cat enthusiast.

Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews

Source: Wikipedia

Photo by: Flickr/ dbphotofile

Categories: Nature, Vikings

4 replies

  1. i have a cat like this and i was reading the history and facts and it looks and sounds just like mine. mine has extra claws on all four paws and is very large for his age.his coat is waterproof. i got this cat from a family member whos cat had kittens. so it is prob half forrest cat cause the mother is small. any comments on how i can tell

  2. Hi Christa!

    Maybe this can help you – but it sounds that you are the proud owner of a Norwegian Forest Cat.

    The Norwegian Forest Cat is a medium/ big sized cat, but the female cats are significantly smaller than the males. The head shape viewed from the front fits in an equilateral triangle with ‘spikes’ on the chin and ear tips, straight nose, bulging forehead, oval, slightly slanting eyes and long ear tufts (like a lynx). The body is muscular, tall, powerfully built, long legs with large round paws, and the hind legs are longer than the forelegs. The tail that is long and bushy should reach to at least the shoulder blades and preferably to the neck. The coat is two-fold, with a dense undercoat and water repellent outer coat. A Norwegian Forest Cat has sideburns, collars, and are found in almost all colors and patterns.

    The Forest Cat is known for being able to climb down trees head first, but this is not quite correct. It climbs down in a spiral around the trunk, head first, instead of reversing as most other domestic cats do.


  3. Hey Thor, I do believe my cat is a Norwegian Forest Cat: everything you describe matches her- also the double claws as Christa describes- She’s was a very young mother when we adopted her- she had been found in a barn with her four newborn kittens. She’s incredibly territorial to the point of any new cats running away- so looks like we’ll be a one very beautiful cat family for a while…
    Thanks for your website- I don’t know how to post photos here but let’s just say she’s black and white with dual-layer fur, some of which becomes chocolate brown in summer…


  1. 10 Furry Facts About Norwegian Forest Cats

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