History of the Norwegian Forest Cat - Norsk Skogkatt.
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. It is known that this breed were the pets of the Vikings and became established in Norway via the Viking trading routes around 1000 AD and introduced from cats of Great Britain and Asia. 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
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
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?
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
The Norwegian Forest
Cat comes in all natural colours - with or without white.
The Forest Cat at shows.
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.
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