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The Norwegian Forest Cat

| March 8, 2011
The Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat

Character: Hardy, agile, affectionate, intelligent, good-natured and independent

Care: Very little grooming required, except when shedding.

The Norwegian Forest Cat has been around for centuries. It can be found in literature and art from the early 1900’s and some of the oldest stories describe a cat that explored the world with the Vikings, protecting their grain stores on land and sea.

The “Skogkatt”, meaning Forest Cat, as it is know in Europe really did come out of the Scandinavian forests some time in the last 4000 years. They are not feral or wild, but are in fact quite people orientated. People first started thinking of preserving the breed around 1938, but when the war began priorities changed and it was not until the beginning of the 1970’s that people once again took notice of the rapidly disappearing Forest Cat. FIFe international approval was given in 1977 and the cats started spreading around the world. All registered Norwegian Forest cats are descended from Norwegian, Swedish or Finnish cats, with no out crossing allowed.

The “Wegie” as they are called by those who know them are relatively large cats, they are strongly built and have a solid bone structure. They have a triangular shaped head and a straight profile with large tufted ears ending in ‘lynx’ tips, any colour eyes are permissible, regardless of coat colour. Norwegian Forest Cats have a thick undercoat and water-repellent guard hairs. The combination of these two coat types, allows the Forest cat to resist even the harshest weather conditions. In winter, the coat is very thick, while in summer the coat is shed and only the characteristic, fluffy tail and ear tufts remain.

Wegies come in most colours from the deepest black to the purest white, with every possible coat colour and pattern in between, with the exception of the colour point colours seen in the Siamese breed such as seal, chocolate and lilac. The Norwegian Forest Cat Development Group of South Africa have decided against importing entirely white cats, or cats with white ears into the country, because of the risk of skin cancer. We have the genetic capability in our cats to produce any other colour, including red and cream females.

For generations this cat had to fend for itself, giving it a very strong will and robust nerves. Norwegian Forest Cats seldom become nervous or restless and accept change and new situations with surprising equanimity. The Forest Cat is a lively, alert and strong cat that gets on well with other breeds of cat, dogs, and children. The NFO usually attaches itself to one person in particular, whom it will follow through thick and thin.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is truly nature’s gift; it is a feast for the eyes and a delight to the fingertips!

History of the Norwegian Forest Cat in South Africa:

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a relatively new breed to South Africa, they were only recognised here in January 1994.

Fjord’s Odin, born in January 1990, bred from Naima’s Sylvester and Froya de la Pendjari, who were in South Africa for a short time before returning to Belgium, was the foundation Stud in this country.

Kyrrekat Minerva, bred from Hakon Rein Felis Jubatus and Kyrrekat Nematona, was imported from the United Kingdom and Potpourri av Trollsfjord DM, bred from IC. Unikum av Trollsfjord and GIC. Matilda av Trollsfjord and imported from Germany, were the foundation queens in this country.

For a few years, there were very few breeders of the Norwegian Forest Cat in South Africa and very few people had even heard of the breed. Thanks to the hard work of the first breeders and their beautiful cats, the breed is now more widely know and is usually well represented at shows.

The cats we have in South Africa have the genetic capability to produce any colour except white, including red and cream females.

Copyright & Credit:
Breed Profile:
Lauren Cory
Photos copyright & courtesy: www.flickr.com – Jenni Ferreira

Category: Feline Resources

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