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Science Diet - Vet's #1 Choice for Their Own Pets

A strong, muscular cat, the Norwegian Forest Cat is also a loving companion and appreciates the praise of guardians.

     Norwegian Forest Cat At a glance

Weight range:

Male: large: >12 lbs.
Female: large: >12 lbs.

Eye color:

Blue, Green, Gold, Odd-eyed


Longevity Range: 8-14 yrs.
Social/Attention Needs: High
Tendency to Shed: High


Length: Long
Characteristics: Straight
Colors: White, Black, Blue, Red, Cream, Silver, Golden, Red, Cameo, Tortoiseshell, Bluecream, Brown
Pattern: Solid Color, Tortoiseshell, Bicolor, Tricolor/Calico, Tabby, Ticking, Smoke, Shaded
Less Allergenic: No
Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club recognition:

Cat Association Recognition:
Prevalence: Rare

The Norwegian Forest Cat Breed

The Norwegian is a large breed and an abundance of fur makes the cat look even bigger.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, heavily boned, heavily coated cat. He is a muscular and looks like the hunter he used to be.

He has a triangular head, set on a thick, muscular neck. The ears are medium sized and the chin is strong, but slightly rounded. The hind legs of the Norwegian are slightly higher than the front legs. The legs are heavily muscled. The paws look a bit oversized; they are big and round, and have fur between the toes.

The abundance of fur makes the Norwegian look even bigger than he is. The coat is both thick and long. This coat provided natural protection for the breed when it was actually living in the forest. The coat has a silky feeling and the length of the coat varies widely with the season. The fur on the tail is also long and bushy in appearance.


The Norwegian Forest Cat is a sweet, loving cat. He appreciates praise and loves to interact with his owner. The cat makes a loving companion and bonds with his owners once he accepts them for his own.

The Norwegian has never forgotten his heritage. He is still a hunter at heart. He loves to chase toys as if they are real. He is territorial and patrols several times each day to make certain that all is fine.

Living With:

The Norwegian Forest Cat tends to control his nutrition well, increasing his exercise and cutting down on intake when he feels it necessary. If provided with adequate play times and room to run and roam, he will not usually need to be kept on a nutrition plan.

Being territorial, the Norwegian likes room to make his own. He enjoys running, hiding and ambushing his toys. Perches and room to run should be provided.

The Norwegian must be groomed daily to keep the coat free from knots and tangles, especially during shedding season. This grooming can be incorporated into play time, but generally he enjoys being groomed. As with all thick coated cats, a hairball remedy may need to be given when regular shedding is occurring.


In legend, a cat weaves his way in and out of the trees in the forest, appearing and disappearing like magic. Sometimes all that can be seen is the long, thick furry tail of this magical cat. The cat knows what is happening when man does not. He even knows what is in the heart of a man. This beautiful cat with the lovely, unusual tail is the Norwegian Forest Cat.

With a legend as beautiful as the cat itself, the breeders in Norway began to develop their magical forest cat into a breed that would be accepted for the show bench. The Norwegian Forest Cat was first exhibited at a cat show in Norway before World War II.

It took a while for the Norwegian Forest Cat to make his way to the United States where the Maine Coon, the United States' native forest cat, already held the country entranced. With a group of breeders dedicated to keeping the Norwegian Forest Cat in the show hall, this breed became well known in the United States where it has a devoted following.