Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest
Norwegian Forest
? The breed’s dominant personality traits. While each individual has a unique personality, breed-specific genetics affect qualities like sociability, playfulness, and intelligence.
Playful, sweet, family-oriented, affectionate
? Where this breed was first established.
Other Names
? In addition to their official names, most breeds earn a few nicknames.
Norsk skogkatt, Norsk skaukatt
? Breeds are grouped by their size and coat type.
Large long-haired
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
9"- 12"
Body Length
? The typical adult body length among individuals of this breed. A cat’s length is measured from the base of the tail to the tip of the nose.
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
12-16 pounds
Life Expectancy
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
14-16 years
? The average price.
Affection Level
? Breeds with a high affection level want to give and receive a lot of attention, while less-affectionate breeds are not as interested in petting and snuggles.
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Activity Level
? Breeds with high activity levels will engage more in active play and demand more space and attention.
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? How well the breed tends to get along with cats, dogs, and other pets.
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? Breeds with a higher rating in this area tend to be gentle and patient, while lower-rated breeds may feel uncomfortable with children.
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? Breeds with a higher sociability rating will want to spend time with you all day, while less-sociable breeds seldom seek out human interaction.
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? Breeds with higher intelligence ratings are more curious, investigative, and easy to train. Less-intelligent breeds are less trainable but often laid-back and easygoing.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area have strong hunting instincts that make them great playtime companions.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area are able to spend hours alone, while less-independent breeds require plenty of attention.
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? A higher rating in this area indicates a breed prone to plenty of meowing and other vocalizations, while less-vocal breeds are happy to stay quiet.
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? Breeds with higher grooming scores require more maintenance like brushing and bathing, while lower-scored breeds are virtually maintenance-free.
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Norwegian Forest Personality and Temperament

Striking looks and a warm personality help the Norwegian Forest Cat stand out from the crowd. This exquisite long-haired cat breed is an ancient one, with ample intelligence, fantastic social skills, and an appreciation for all of life's comforts.

Even though the Norwegian Forest Cat comes from a cold climate, these kitties love to keep warm. They appreciate an indoor lifestyle with plenty of soft, comfortable surfaces to accommodate frequent naps. They also have an appreciation for their families, but affection takes place on their terms rather than yours.

The Norwegian Forest Cat may very well decide to cuddle up in your lap or sleep on your pillow, but doesn't typically appreciate being picked up or held when it's not the cat's idea.

Despite the breed’s reputation for having quite an independent streak, Norwegian Forest Cats are loyal to their favorite people and are perfectly capable of making friends with other pets including well behaved dogs and other friendly felines.

If you see similarities between the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon, you’re not imagining things!

The two breeds do have quite a bit in common including large stature, ultra-thick fur, and exceptional hunting prowess. It’s entirely possible that some of the cats that contributed to the Maine Coon (which, by the way is a natural breed) might have been Norwegian Forest Cats.

About the Norwegian Forest Cat


Norwegian Forest Cat Care









As a relatively large breed, the Norwegian Forest Cat often requires more calories per day then the average kitty. These cats need a high-quality diet and will thrive on high-protein food with real meat or fish as the primary ingredient.

If you are able to offer fresh food, your Norwegian Forest Cat will certainly appreciate it. At any rate, consider choosing food that contains extra Omega fatty acids to support your pet's skin and keep their coat looking and feeling its best.

Because the Norwegian Forest Cat has a very thick double coat, frequent grooming is a necessity. You may need to brush and comb this cat daily to prevent mats and keep their luxurious coat looking its very best.

Additional grooming routines to consider include regular nail trimming and toothbrushing. Both should be introduced from a young age.

The Norwegian Forest Cat may be very fond of lounging, but this doesn't mean that it's a complete couch potato. These big, fluffy cats are athletes at heart, with a fondness for running, jumping, and climbing.

They have the unique ability to descend from their cat tree headfirst, and their size allows them to clear several feet in a single leap. Appropriate enrichment items are essential including tall cat trees, big scratching posts, and an abundance of toys.

Norwegian Forest Cats typically enjoy excellent health and are known for their longevity. It is not unusual for one of these kitties to live well beyond 15 years. Even so, the Norwegian Forest Cat breed is prone to a few known health issues.

Although these don't occur often, it's important to be aware of their existence. Potential problems include glycogen storage disease IV, which can be detected in parents via a DNA test. Glycogen storage disease IV often causes kittens to be stillborn or survive for under six months.

Norwegian Forest Cats may also suffer from polycystic kidney disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


The Norwegian Forest Cat is a natural breed, meaning that it developed over time without intentional intervention or human manipulation. These cats - also called Skogkatt in Norwegian - were brought to Norway hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years ago. No one knows for certain whether they accompanied Turkish traders or if they were brought back by Viking raiders. What we do know is that Norwegian Forest Cats have an intriguing place in Norse mythology. For example, the giant cats that pulled the goddess Freya’s chariot were said to be Skogkatts.

These incredible felines simply enjoyed life in Nordic countries until 1938, when a Norwegian Forest Cat was presented at a cat show. Shortly afterward, enthusiasts came together to form the Norwegian Forest Cat Club.

Like many other breeds, the Norwegian Forest Cat was nearly made extinct during the second world war. After the war however, members of the club came together to revive the breed and propel it back toward popularity. Federation Internationale Feline (FIFe) granted official recognition in 1977. It took another ten years for the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) to recognize the breed. CFA granted Norwegian Forest Cats full championship status in 1993. Today, major registries worldwide have accepted the breed with open arms.

Norwegian Forest Cat History

Did You Know?

Norwegian Forest Cats are slow to mature, taking up to five years to reach their full potential.

While many cats dislike water, the Norwegian Forest Cat isn't afraid to get wet; in fact, this cat will happily attempt to fish in a pond or cleanout all the fish in its family's aquarium.

Norwegian Forest Cats are nicknamed "Wegies." During the 1950s, the breed was declared the official cat of Norway by King Olav V.

The Breed Standard

About the Norwegian Forest Cat


The eyes should be large and expressive, with a distinct almond shape. They should be set at a slight angle so that the outer corner is higher than the inner corner. Eyes should complement the coat and are normally green, gold, copper, or green-gold. Cats with white markings as well as solid white Norwegian Forest Cats may have blue eyes or odd eyes.

Legs & Paws

The legs should be of medium length, with the hind legs being a bit longer than the forelegs. The legs should be strong and muscular, and the paws should be large and round. The front paws should appear to “toe out” and all paws should display tufting between the toes.


The Norwegian Forest Cat’s tail should be long and bushy; ideally, it should be the same length as the cat’s body. The tail should be thickest at the base, and should have ample plumage formed by longer guard hairs.


The body should be large and sturdy, of moderate length, with a broad chest and a wide (but not fat) girth. Males are typically much larger than females.


The head should form an equilateral triangle, with a straight nose, a firm chin, and a muzzle that melds with the rest of the face without forming prominent whisker pads. Males may display significant jowling.


A Norwegian Forest Cat’s ears are of medium to large size, with heavy furnishings. Lynx tips are seen as highly desirable but are not required.


Norwegian Forest Cats have thick, double coats with water-resistant guard hairs, a heavy, wooly undercoat, britches, and a bib. The undercoat is typically shed during summer.


Almost all colors and patterns are acceptable with the exception of those that show hybridization, i.e. sable, chocolate, lilac, lavender, cinnamon, fawn, point-restricted, and any blend of these colors with white. The nose leather and paw pads may be of any color.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Norwegian Forest cat cost?

Norwegian Forest cats cost between $900-$1,500.

How big do Norwegian Forest cats get?

Norwegian Forest cats tend to be large in size. A fully grown Norwegian Forest cat might weigh between 12-16 pounds or more and range in height anywhere from about 9"- 12" inches tall.

How long do Norwegian Forest cats live?

The Average lifespan for Norwegian Forest is 14-16 years.

Do Norwegian Forest cats shed?

Norwegian Forest are long-haired cats, so you do have to expect a certain amount of shedding from this breed, but they don't shed as much as other cat breeds.

20 thoughts on “Norwegian Forest

    1. Felicia

      I have a kitty that is this. He’s so playful and loveable. For the longest I thought he was part Maine coon. He’s such a wonderful addition to the our family. He’s great with kids. I will say, he is a large breed so don’t put food or things low because he will get it by standing on his hind legs lol. Also be prepared for a hefty food bill. They, well at least mine, eats a lot. By 3 months he was larger than my 10 year old silver british tabby. I would fill the cat dish 2 times a day where before I got him I could go 3 days without refilling it. He loves meat and has very natural hunting instincts. I hope you got one because they are wonderful!

      P.s this article is spot on from looks to how they act

  1. Pam Smith

    I found my wedgie abandoned in my parking lot 4 yrs. ago! Had no idea what breed she was til I took her to the Vet. Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear that! She is the most AWESOME cat I’ve ever rescued! And checking into her breed was so helpful in raising her as she was about 1 -1/2 yrs. old when I found her. Couldn’t believe someone just dumped her…I actually saw the girl that did it as she lived across the street and told me she had to get rid of it because it was eating her canaries …well DUH!! I tried to say nicely to her that cats and birds really don’t go together inside!! Hey, her loss, my GOLD as I say! I would recommend this breed to anyone that can afford one; well worth the money even tho’ I got my girl FREE!

      1. carol A. Wrzesinski

        Ours was found abandoned in an empty alley brick building. He’d been hurt. We took him in and nursed him back to health. He was about a year old. Our vet found no chip and so we kept him. He is an absolutely wonderful cat. He does not meow, but squeaks. It is an endearing sound. We imagine he may have been injured and that caused it. He is now three and BIG! He’s just as they are described on this page about them.

  2. Sir Charles Leonard Mittens III aka Babycat

    My Wegie is a sweet, loving, intelligent 9 year old male. He is huge and makes his presence known with his loud meowing; it almost sounds like he is saying hello. I often find him sitting in an upright position grooming himself or laying on his back. He snores lol
    He is shy around strangers, he doesn’t like loud noises or sudden movements.
    I love my Wegie, he is the best cat I’ve owned


    .We first found our Orange Tabby cat that we were told it was a Maine Coon and for the first 10 years we have grown to love this huge loveable Cat. One of the characteristics was he was dog like in his actions and playfulness. He will “growl” at someone coming to the door, then run and hide as we open the door. He likes to play “fetch” and is very dog like in so many ways and has all the characteristics of a Maine Coon, until we saw the Norwegian Forest Cat. I know that is his breed as it is him exactly so he is not a Maine Coon but a Wegie. one problem we are having is he keep defecating on the carpet. He will go in his box but sometimes will step out and drop it on the carpet, His box is clean when this happens as we have been wanting to try and correct this but to no avail. Does anyone have any suggestions? We keep his box clean and emptied to not encourage anything or anywhere else. He is a house only cat …. HELP

    1. JEO

      Try standing with your back toward the litter box facing away from the cat in the box. Stand tall and be quiet. When your cat is done doing it’s business, slowly walk away. Do this frequently and this will give your cat confidence that you really do love and protect it. And always keep box clean daily in fact multiple cleans a day if possible. Cats read that as a very loving thing.

  4. Sandy

    I lived on a small forested lake in Michigan, and occasionally fed the forest wild cats. I was developing a playful relationship with one of the Spring forest kittens when I noticed a fisherman’s Treble hook stuck in her mouth and gums. I figured she was hungry and smelled the bait left on the ifshing poles. After the Vet removed the lure and ‘fixed’ him, he came to live with my other cat. Little did I know this new addition to my cat family was a Norwegian forest cat. Amazing! He is loving, playful, attentive, and understands Basic Cat English 🙂 A beautiful and sweet addition to our Family.

  5. Jim

    I got Jinx at Pet Welfare on Eglin AFB for $100, which covered neutering, shots, chip, and a full exam by a vet. Back then, everyone thought he was a DSH. That didn’t last very long. 🙂 From the day I got him he’s been the most loving cat. He loves using one or both of my legs as pillows, and sleeps between them at night. Their reputation as gentle giants is well deserved. Jinx will finally be an adult in 7 months when he’ll be 5 y/o.

    If you can afford them (or get lucky like I did), don’t hesitate. But be prepared for a LOT of sweeping, as Wegies shed more in one day than most cats do in a week.

    1. Jim

      In the youtube wegie group, I don’t know jf they still do this (I left the group because of it), but in the past, they said that even if Jinx was 100% purebred Wegie, without papers, he is nothing. Totally insane, if you ask me. To me, if it looks exactly like a duck, plays exactly like a duck, acts exactly like a duck the rest of the time, and has ALL of the characteristics of a duck, it’s not a chicken, it’s a duck. 🙂

  6. Kam

    My roommate rescued and adopted one of these guys a few months ago when he saw him starving in the road during the dead of winter. He first thought it was a Maine Coon kitten but I recognized it as a Norwegian Forest Cat as one of my friends had one that lived to 21 or 22. I do like this breed, but I do have some qualms about it too. It is a very pretty cat with it’s long hair, ear tufts, big paws, derpy face, and toe hairs. It’s also a very friendly cat. The playful nature and natural hunting instinct can be trying at times though. Basil, the name my roomie and I chose for his cat, will often playfully attack people and my cat. Him play attacking wouldn’t be so bad if his claws weren’t as sharp as daggers. My cat, an older Russian blue/DSH mix, doesn’t really like to be bothered by other cats so she’s often distressed when he play attacks her too. My friend who had one also said his would do the same thing too and that lasted for about eight or so years. So, it’s definitely a beautiful and friendly cat but you have to be patient or this cat may be too much for you.

  7. Lori

    Our Wegie loves to be swept on his back with a broom. I let him walk into the raised broom and scratch his back as he coyly walks by. He will make about 20 passes until finished. We found our golden nugget at the animal rescue. He is also a great mouser and brings me “presents” of his treasures. Thankfully this happened only once that I am aware.


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