Four Norwegian Forest Cat Kittens
“There are no ordinary cats.” — Colette – cat quotes. And this is no ordinary cat photograph. However, for Helmi Flick it is all in a day’s work and one of many thousands of outstanding cat photographs that she has taken. The kittens are pretty stunning too. It was taken perhaps around 15 years ago. Helmi Flick is one of the premier cat photographers. Her photos illustrated the pages of TICA.
In their homeland they are referred to as the (a) Skaukatt (b) Skogkatt (c) Norsk Skaukatt (d) Norse Skogkatt (e) Skogs or (f) Norgies. In 19th century Norwegian folk tales, it is referred to as the fairy cat. In France it is called the (a) Chat de Bois Norvégian (b) Chat des Foréts Norvégiennes.
Sturdy bones, a solid body and a heavy double coat tells us that the Norwegian Forest Cat (NFC or in Norwegian: Skogkatt) is built for the Norwegian winter and comes from semi-feral stock many hundreds of years ago. American and British (primarily) breeders have refined the appearance but I hope not too much because the original NFC was superb.
The NFC shares these characteristics with the similar looking Siberian cat. And why not? Siberia is similar to Norway in respect of climate and habitat (for semi-feral cats).
The NFC also has long legs for jumping and climbing and this breed, in my opinion, is possibly the most adept climber and/or the most interested in climbing of all the breeds with possibly the exception of the Bengal cat.
History – Legend
There are folktales surrounding this cat. Perhaps they were inspired by the real Norwegian Forest Cat. In one legend the cat was so heavy that even the god Thor could not lift it off the ground.
And you probably know that the blue-eyed, blond-haired goddess of love and beauty, Freya, employed to powerful Norwegian Forest Cats to pull her wagon.
Anybody who placed cans of milk in their cornfields for her cats to drink would have their crops protected by Freya whose name is the origin of the word Friday (“Freya’s day”). It became a popular day for marrying. If the sun shone on her wedding day it was said that the bride had fed the cat well which meant that she had not offended the goddess who in turn bestowed upon the bride good weather.
History – factual
We don’t really know how the cats that are the origins of today’s Norwegian Forest cats came to Norway. There are six theories apparently!
- Vikings brought Scottish wildcats to Norway where they gradually evolved into Norwegian Forest cats. Let’s remind ourselves by the way that the Norwegian Forest cat was a random bread farm cat until the mid-1900s.
- Domestic cats from Europe (an earlier from the Middle East) were imported into Norway on-board trading ships. Some were brought onto land and some escaped and some became domestic cats in Norway. They began the long process of evolving into Norwegian Forest cats.
- Two of the stories concern Angora cats. In one they were brought from the Middle East to the ports of the Mediterranean and from there to Scandinavia. They were crossed with imported wildcats to make them bigger and better able to cope with the cold weather.
- The other tells a tale of Angora cats arriving by ship and escaping into the freezing Norwegian countryside where they gradually evolved into a bigger cat to cope with the freezing conditions.
- A fifth story maintains that Russian cats i.e. modern Siberian Forest cats found their way to Norway on-board ships.
- And the sixth story is that ordinary domestic cats became feral and slowly evolved into the bigger and more heavily third Norwegian Forest cat.
My mind drifts to Norway. Are the Norwegians as keen on this cat breed as they are in America? This is a popular breed of cat being just outside the top ten most popular cat breeds from well over 70 breeds. Answer: probably not because in Norway the cat fancy is not so well developed. In general, they probably see cats more as domestic cats, random bred cats, than purebred.
Internet research indicates that there are fewer NFC breeders in Norway than Maine Coon breeders! I might be wrong but this is the impression I get. The NFC is more popular in the USA than in its country of origin. This cat is a great ambassador and an export for Norway.
Below is another article in the NFC. Note that people often shorten the full name to this acronym as it is a long name.