Original History of the Norwegian Forest Cat

 The Norwegian Forest Cat History

The articles here, of which there are 6 pages,  were given to me by  Birgit Larsen of DK Kvilles Norsk Skovkatt to have  translated. This has been undertaken  by  Gulla Johnsen of (N) Isrenna's Norwegian Forest Cats from Tromso and Mrs Helle Asquith a Danish  NFC owner of which I thank very much for taking the time to do this for me.

 These are copyright and belong to me - please ask if you would like to reproduce them.

The History of The Norwegian Forest Cat

First to Norway, where it all started many years ago.


Norway is about to lose a living culture- a natural inheritance which doesn’t exist in any other country. The Norwegian Forest Cat is about to become extinct, or rather ‘mixed out’ (i.e. no longer a pure breed).

 In other countries they have in previous years started campaigns to save animals which are about to die. In Sweden, currently they are about to recreate a special type of Swedish pig and a special type of Swedish hen. Here in Norway, there is a group of people who have started the difficult task of ‘pure-breeding’ the Norwegian Forest Cat. This breed has become a phenomenon in this country and is unknown in the rest of Europe. The task of keeping this breed presents big problems as it is difficult to find good cats which both have the right coat and type.

Unfortunately, it is a common perception that all cats with a long coat (with the exception of the Persian) are Forest Cats. But it isn’t that easy. The Norwegian Forest Cat has a very particular coat quality, a so-called nature-coat: lightly ‘wooly’ undercoat, just enough to keep the animal warm, in addition to a long ‘cover-hair’ (more smooth and thick) which protect the ‘wooly hairs’ against moisture and wetness. Mrs Jack Bjoennes has characterized the Norwegian Forest Cat, and let me present some extracts from her story of "Tufsen" , written in 1969: 

"Tufsen" was called the "Norwegian Forest Cat". It should be described with capital letters and be recognized worldwide. Because the Forest Cat is a breed in its own right. It is not like other breeds and it only exists where we are.

No one knows how long we have had forest cats in Norway. The guess is that they came from the short-haired cats that came to the country with the Vikings from England, and from long-haired cats from the conquerors, but by no means do they look like bad Persians or other long-haired or short-haired cats.

They have become something in their own right!

The tough Norwegian climate was not kind to the individuals in the breed, but it has become a blessing for them. It has been created through the disappearance of weakest and those who did not have the foundation to survive the winters. The best remained. In a litter, if there were kittens with short, long and medium-long coats respectively, the last mentioned would survive - and they would breed. Those with short coat didn’t go out because of the cold, the long-coated ones became wet and cold and got stuck in bushes and such (just think how a Persian would struggle his way through the forest!).   

Since these cats had to find their own food and protect themselves against enemies, it was those who were best equipped for hunting and fleeing who become the oldest. Those who had survived the first winter were those with long legs, strong, intelligent and brave. And they had the opportunity to create families in time. In time, the ‘mixed breed’ became a special breed without the people caring about them as such. No one said, here’s a breed standard, let’s make a cat! No, this breed has been created by the snow, cold rain, hunger and fear.

You can also say that they are a piece of art that we have not yet learned to appreciate.

We don’t have to make a standard or try to make a cat from it.

We’ve got the cat, so let’s make a standard that matches it.

so far Jack. 

The committee of breeders standard has been made following Jacks suggestion, with a few more in-depth descriptions. A small group has taken on the task as the Norwegian Forest Cat’s fighters for recognition on an international basis. Let us hope that we achieve this task we have set ourselves, we can expect many tears and hard work, but we hope that our attempt will be crowned with luck, and that the world will come to know this proud breed. It is quite simply something of its own. What we have to do first and foremost is to eliminate the inclusion of other breeds, which is why we must only use the best of them for breeding. It is a very difficult task, so lets create this living culture together. The work with the Norwegian Forest Cat essentially started in 1930s. The forest cat was also shown in Oslo in 1938 before Christmas,

and we cite from the book:

"The Cat, wild animal and friend of the house"

The book was published in 1943, by Raider Alvig and Kalle Lund.


 "At the last cat show in Oslo, before Christmas 1938, it was represented by examples of the breed that made the show’s Danish judge, Knud Hansen, express himself very complimentary of the breed. A beautiful national cat, which they would very much like to show in Copenhagen, he stated. And such a statement from that side speaks loudly for the person who knows that Danish ‘Cat Sport’ in the later years has taken a leading role in international competition. The foundation is therefore here, it is simply about building on systematically from here...."


Because of the war the efforts were hindered and didn’t really get started again until 1973. Today we have 105 recognized/registered forest cats and have achieved cats that are 3rd generation on the dad’s side and 4th generation on the mother’s side. Recently, a lot of work has been done to ‘pure-breed’ the breed, in particular because of this rare harmonious cat, a wonderful animal - not only to look at but also in character.

We hope that the Forest Cat will achieve its international recognition at the F.I.F.E.’s general meeting in September. It deserves it!



Norsk Skogkattring Oslo, November 1975


Dear people interested in Norwegian Forest Cats

Finally we are here!!

We have the pleasure to invite you to a (board) meeting in SKOGKATTERING
Monday 1 December 1975, at 1900 in Folkets hus - room M


The purpose of the Skogkatteringen is to ‘pure breed’ the Forest Cat, keeping the breed and to work actively to get the Forest Cat recognized nationally and internationally.


All Forest Cat owners and people interested can become members of the ring.


Open for discussion at the meeting on 1 December. We expect that the Ring has to be led by a committee of 5-7 members. We hope to be able to elect the members on this evening.

We need your help, come to the meeting with inspiring suggestions.

You will be welcome!!


With cat greetings from the people taking the initiatives

Kari M. Eggun - Liv Loose - Egil Nylund - Edel Runås

Breed Standard 1976 - Norwegian Forest Cat

  • Type: Broad build and high/tall legs.

  • Head: Long, triangular, straight profile or slightly concave bend without a ‘stop’ or break, good chin.

  • Eyes: Large, open, colour matching the coat.

  • Ears: High, with tufts. They have to sit high on the head but not too close.

  • Coat: Long, slightly ‘wooly’ undercoat. Overcoat smooth, hanging, more of an oily quality that that of the Persian so that it doesn’t become matted. ‘Knickers’ on the back legs, ‘collar’, ‘shirt on the breast’, ‘cheek-beard’ preferably in a triangular shape from the ears. All colours allowed.

  • Tail: Long and bushy (fox’s tail).

  • Condition: muscular and strong and broad.

  • Note: the girls are very feminine and the profile usually does not become as full as that of the boys. Smaller, and finer than the boys.

Good news about the Forest Cat at the FIFE meeting!

The Norwegian Forest Cat is on its way towards international recognition! At the FIFE (Federation Internationale Feline) annual general meeting, this time in Weisbaden on 25/26 September 1976, the Norwegian Forest Cat this time provisionally became accepted as a breed of its own. At NORAK (Norwegian Club of Breeders) international show in Oslo on 16/17 April, 1977, a team of judges after the judging submit their recommendation for possible full recognition at FIFE’s general meeting in Paris during the fall of the same year.

C. F. Nordane - Norway’s delegate at FIFE


If you would like to see the History of the NFC along with the Traditional correct  appearance of this cat  then please view this Youtube video


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