If you are looking for a breed of cat or kitten that has not been engineered by man, then the Norwegian Forest Cat may be the one for you. If you enjoy a large furry fluffy armful of fun that is super-intelligent and communicative, then this breed is definitely one to seriously consider.
The year 2008 was truly historic for the Norwegian Forest Cat breed since it won Supreme Kitten at the Supreme Cat Show which was held in Birmingham, UK, on November 22nd. This was a first for this breed and the highest honour ever bestowed on this simply gorgeous breed of cat.
This breed has several shorter ‘pet’ names. In the UK it is known variously as ‘Wegie’ (pronounced ‘wee-jee’) or ‘Troll Cat’. In Norway itself, names include ‘Huldrekatt’ and ‘Norsk Skaukatt’ whilst in Scandinavia it is referred to as ‘Norkskogkat’ or ‘Skogkat’.
Originating from Norway, Norwegian Forest cats can be traced back to the 1500’s when these cats were known to be companions to the hardy and adventurous indigenous people of Norway, the Vikings. Even at this time, this breed of cat was characterised by being huge, with very long legs, ear tufts at the points of the ears and a big ruff around the neck like a male lion.
They have a strong affinity with water and are supposed to be able to catch fish in streams and lakes. Some Norwegian children’s stories refer to these majestic animals as the “Fairy Cat”. Being so fleet of foot and yet at the same time being dainty, it is easy to see why they may be considered magical, particularly in a forest setting. They are supremely elegant creatures, and have long flowing bushy tails.
The breed of Norwegian Forest Cat of today has evolved through natural selection, as only the hardiest cats would be able to survive the Norwegian climate, which is particularly harsh. Some may have survived by befriending farmers as it is well known that they have always enjoyed being around human companions.
As man encroached upon the Norwegian Forest Cat’s habitat, the breed was put in jeopardy, and in danger of becoming extinct. A selective breeding programme began in the 1930’s to replenish and protect this Nordic national icon. The farsighted programme literally rescued this superb breed from the brink of extinction. The Norwegian Forest cat is now a firmly established breed of huge popularity.
This breed is certainly still very much around and populating its native forests of Norway. Even though these native cats are unregistered, there is no doubt whatsoever that they are genuine Norwegian Forest Cats.