Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cat – Please note: All the photographs illustrating this page (which are generally thumbnails) are by Helmi Flick, a professional photographer of repute. The copyright belongs to her. Please respect that. Sources of information are embedded in the text and referenced by “src:” or at the end of the section concerned.

The page is in section with links to the following section at the end for search engine optimisation reasons.

The Norwegian Forest Cat (“NFC”) is a distinguished and handsome cat. It is also one of the great favourites of people who like and appreciate domestic cats. Over the period of a long Norwegian Forest Cat

and objectively managed poll with a significant number of votes (1,600 at June 2009), this cat breed currently stands at 10th position. The International Cat Association register 45 different cat breeds. There are more on this site. I discuss, below, what it is that makes this cat popular.

It is arguable that it could or should be more popular but the mighty Maine Coon cat may have stolen some of its thunder. This is because the Maine Coon looks like the NFC and may have similar if not the same origins (see below). Another factor is that the biggest domestic cat “market” is America and the Maine Coon is America’s domestic cat.

Other names for this cat are:

  • Norsk Skogkatt (Norwegian for “Norwegian Forest Cat”)
  • Skogkatt
  • Skaukatt (src: The Encyclopedia of the Cat)
  • Wegie (extracted from the word Norwegian)


Norwegian Forest Cat VenusThe history is long. This cat is a part of Norway’s history and is mentioned in mythological tales. Cats were brought to Norway in around 1000 AD. Oslo was founded by the Vikings in about 1000 AD (src: . At this time the Vikings of Norway where trading with the Byzantine East (the Roman Empire – src: The Encyclopaedia of the Cat). It is accepted that the domestic cat was introduced into Europe by the Romans (e.g. British Shorthair cat). There is evidence that the first Norwegian Forest Cats came from the Roman Empire during the period that the Vikings were trading with the Romans.

The evidence is in the form of Norwegian cats with coat colours that are common in Turkey including what was then Byzantium, now Istanbul. Some of these cats would have been the forerunners of the NFC being longhaired cats. Evolution would then have gently played a part to create the moggie cat companion that became popular with famers (as was the case in America with the Maine Coon). However, some Norwegians, apparently, would prefer that their native cat’s origins go back considerably further to 4000 AD (src: When Cats Reigned Like Kings By Georgie Anne Geyer).

A quick diversion to the origins of the Maine Coon is appropriate. Although the general consensus is that the Maine Coon developed from long haired cats brought by the pilgrim settlers to North America, it is possible that they arrived some 500 years or more earlier when the Vikings discovered North America in AD 1001 or 1002 (src: There is then a relationship between these two breeds.

There is also a connection between cats and gods in Norse mythology. There is a cat that was too big for the god Thor to lift and the cats that pulled the carriage of the goddess Freya.

Norwegian Forest Cat KjeltringIn 1599 a Danish priest living in Norway described a cat he called the Norwegian Lynx. He was describing, it seems, the Norwegian Forest Cat. He wrote of the cat catching fish and liking water. It seems then that this cat breed was semi-wild or perhaps totally wild at the time.

In 1930 the Skogkatt was first shown in a cat show in Germany. This was the beginning of the NFC as a purebred show cat. The second world war intervened and cat breeding became a low priority. At this time there was also the problem of naturally occurring hybridization through the NFC mating with other domestic cats which diluted the purity of the genes (src: When Cats Reigned Like Kings). That needed to be dealt with by the cat fancy, which is what happened when Carl Frederick Nordane, as the then president of the Norwegian Cat Association (founded in 1963), organized a breed club to manage the pedigree of the NFC and by the 1970s controlled breeding, apparently, got underway.

The first cat to be assessed by the breed council of the time was a brown and white mackerel tabby (src: Legacy of the Cat). By 1977 FIFe had recognized this breed and breeding on a international level began. On 1st November 1979, the Norwegian Forest Cat was imported into the United States and into Britain about a year later. The first litter born in the USA happened on March 21st 1981. The first association to grant championship status was The International Cat Association (TICA) in August of 1984. The Norwegian Forest Cat is now recognized by all the major cat registries, ACFA, CFA, CCA, CFF and GCCF (src: The Encyclopaedia of the Cat).

18 thoughts on “Norwegian Forest Cat”

  1. My NFC “Hippy”; summer coat. Quiet, independent, thoughtful, affectionate, shy but assertive at meal time.

    • Beautiful Albert. I love the NFC. One of favorite cat breeds. I loved a NFC mix many years ago. She was the love of my life.

Comments are closed.

follow it link and logo