Norwegian Forest Cat
What is it?
Hip dysplasia is a moderately common condition that affects both domestic cats and dogs. When it occurs, the hip joint is not aligned properly, causing the ball and socket to grind together instead of working smoothly as normal.
This disease can be hereditary or developed due to injury or other conditions. It’s important to have your Norwegian cat's DNA tested for inherited diseases, including hip dysplasia. Responsible breeders can provide this information, as can some shelters when it is available.
Unusual gait (limping, hopping, or swaying), lethargy, hesitance to climb/run/jump, grating sound from hips, decreased muscle mass or range of movement
Weight management, medications, medical therapy, or surgery: triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), juvenile pubic symphysiodesis (JPS), total hip replacement (THR), or excision arthroplasty (EA)
Surgery may not be suitable for all cats, depending on age, weight, and other factors
What is it?
Patella luxation is a condition in which the patella (kneecap) is, either through injury or inherited malformation, dislocated so that it can not protect the delicate structures beneath it on which the limb relies for movement.
In other words, without a properly formed and located patella, your pet’s knee and ability to move are inhibited and at great risk for further damage.
Abnormal gait (limping), intermittent lameness, avoidance of affected limb, reduced activity, the extension of the affected leg
Surgical correction, weight management, anti-inflammatory medications, joint supplements, diet therapy
Risk of other injuries, including torn cruciate ligaments, if untreated or severe
You might expect a cat with ancestors from a harsh, cold forest landscape to be fierce and standoffish, but Wegies are the opposite. Soft-hearted and super social, these cats are happy to welcome anyone.
Norwegian cats love a good cuddle, and grooming for some individuals is also a pleasant experience. This breed is generally considered a good lap cat, although they also have plenty of energy to play.
Many affectionate cats come with a caveat of being clingy, but not this breed. An innate independence means you can choose when you go to them to initiate cuddles.
Norwegian cats aren't very talkative, which might disappoint some owners, but could be a perfect trait for others. An occasional, high-pitched chirp is the most you will likely hear from them.
These cats have big coats, big bodies, and big brains. They are capable of learning quickly and making decisions, which can be great when it comes time to train.
This breed has a long, thick, water-resistant double coat, with a dense undercoat and large ruff built for the harsh winters of their nordic homelands.
Their thick coats come in a large variety of colors, including lilac, bi-color, sable, cinnamon, fawn, tortoiseshell, or tabby.
No, Norwegian cats are not hypoallergenic.
Longhaired cats need plenty of brushing and combing to keep their fur clean and free from matting, tufting, and tangles. Cat owners should brush their Norwegian cats three times a week at a minimum and more during shedding season (which occurs twice a year).
Intelligence is in no short supply with these cats, so you can pursue behavior and potty training with a bit of dedication and lots of positive reinforcement.
Norwegian cats are adaptable to large homes or small apartments, but keep in mind they are fairly active. Tight spaces might be more of a challenge if you don't like them climbing everywhere.
Daily brushing, occasional bath, regular nail trims
Easy to train.
Life Time Care Cost:
Norwegian Cat: Breed Information Guide
A number of popular, longhaired cat breeds come out of regions in northern Europe, including the Maine Coon, the Siberian cat, and more.
Not to be confused with those breeds is the Norwegian forest cat.
As with every cat breed, these felines have a whole range of unique traits and needs to consider if you might be adding one to your home. To properly fulfill the responsibility of pet parentage, diligent research and careful consideration is needed to make sure any breed is a right fit for your home.
That's why we write our Spot Pet Insurance breed guides. With a bit of help, you can prepare to give your cat the home they deserve.
Today, we turn our attention to the Norwegian forest cat.
Meet the Norwegian cat
Often called simply the Norwegian cat or “Wegie,” this breed is easy to confuse with its compatriots from nearby regions of the world.
You can typically tell a Norwegian cat by its triangular face and long, straight snout. The breed also has a unique temperament which makes them ideal for many families.
If you’re looking for a breed that balances playfulness and calmness, the Norwegian cat may be perfect for you. However, consider the grooming needs of longhaired cats and other care concerns before adopting them straight away.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about Norwegian cat parenting!
Where does the Norwegian cat breed come from?
Cat breeds being named for their origin is a common trend, and Norwegian cats do not deviate.
This breed descends from cats of the cold, harsh, nordic lands of northern Europe. It is possible they date back more than 1000 years, having come from short-haired cats brought by Vikings.
These cats also have some of the earliest dedicated cat associations, their first having been formed in 1938 in Oslo, Norway. They were designated the official cat of Norway by King Olaf in the 1950s.
The breed was almost lost, unfortunately, as its genes became muddied through crossbreeding. In the 1970s, dedicated breeders saved the pure Norwegian forest cat breed. Soon after, it began to spread around the world and gain formal recognition with major associations.
Today, the breed is extremely popular throughout Europe and to varying lesser degrees in other parts of the world, including the U.S.
What are the potential health problems for Norwegian cats?
Norwegian cats have a good bill of health overall but, like all breeds, can be predisposed to certain conditions, especially those that pass down genetically.
There are a few health risks to be aware of for this breed, namely hip dysplasia, patella luxation, and heart diseases such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
Whether you buy from a breeder or adopt, you should ask for proof of health screenings for major conditions in your Norwegian forest cat. Responsible breeders will not breed cats that are known to have a disease in their genes.
This breed doesn’t have any especially concerning issues with weight but may need a helping hand to stay active since they can become somewhat lazy.
Are Norwegian cats affectionate with family?
Affection as can be, this breed is often considered a lap cat breed. They are happy to cuddle up with family.
However, they show love in their own unique, sometimes subtle ways. Whether watching you with a pleasant expression from a high perch or quietly joining you on the sofa, they are gentle and sometimes indirect in the ways they love.
However, many owners will be relieved to know the breed generally isn’t clingy. They have an easy-going, undemanding temperament, which can be perfect if you need to get some work done at home or simply like your alone time.
At the same time, Norwegian cats shouldn’t be left home alone for more than a few hours, especially without another pet as a playmate.
Are Norwegian cats intelligent?
Yes, this breed is exceptionally intelligent. They can adapt and learn quickly, which includes training or behavior regimens you wish to instill.
Thankfully, they rarely wield this intelligence to mischievous ends, as some other breeds do. Opening doors and sabotaging table decor is not a favorite pastime, although this can vary from cat to cat (as with any trait).
Do Norwegian cats do well with children?
Children and Norwegian cats mix superbly well. This breed is tolerant of being picked up and loves to be stroked. The potential for playfulness is high as well, so children often have a blast with one of these cats around.
How are Norwegian cats with strangers?
These cats are generally friendly with everyone they meet. That said, socialization from a young age is the best way to ensure social interactions go as well as possible.
This breed is gentle and doesn’t demand attention, instead, accepting it gladly when it is given. Most strangers will find this demeanor pleasant and easy to approach.
Do Norwegian cats get along with other pets?
Other pets are warmly welcome by this breed, but it may not always be mutual.
There is one exception: small animals – especially creatures like mice or birds. This breed has a high prey drive (more so than most cats) and is very skilled as a hunter. It’s likely best not to let this cat share a home with a hamster, for example.
How to be the best pet parent for a Norwegian cat
Knowledge is power for a diligent pet parent, and your Norwegian cat can thrive when you are prepared and know how to approach its every need.
From care costs to health conditions and lifestyle, our Spot Pet Insurance Blog has the content you need to help throughout your journey.
For today, let’s cover a few more areas you should know about before adopting a Norwegian forest cat, including costs, training, and exercise.
Remember that costs can vary depending on the type of pet insurance you choose (if any), how much you wish to spoil your cat, and what your budget looks like. Rescues are generally much less expensive to adopt than cats from a breeder as well.
How much does a Norwegian cat cost?
Adoption fee: $800-1,500
First year: $710-2600
Following years: $660-2400
Basic training and behavior etiquette for your Norwegian cat
Norwegian cats are not particularly mischievous, nor are they aggressive. Nonetheless, training is still beneficial for them.
Socialization should always be the starting point, as well as behavior training to prevent unwanted activities.
Positive reinforcement is your best tool for cats, as they tend to be sensitive to harsh treatment or punishments.
What types of foods should Norwegian cats never eat?
In addition to providing a good diet as recommended by your veterinarian, there are also foods you should be keeping away from your cat at all times.
Varying levels of toxicity for cats make these foods an absolute no, so don’t give them to your cat or leave them out in the open.
Exercising tips to keep your Norwegian cat staying fit and healthy
Norwegian cats can be playful but sometimes need a push to stay active. Be sure to provide plenty of interaction and stimulation to keep your cat moving and fit.
Cat trees are a great start, as they are safe perches around the house for your Norwegian cat to climb. Feel free to get creative, especially if you are on a budget!
Toys should also be provided, including mice toys, which these natural hunters love.
If you’re willing to take the time to train your cat to leash walk, taking them outside can be a fun way to get some serious exercise for them and work on socialization.
Norwegian cat life stages
Kitten: 0 - 4 years
Adult: 4 years - 12 years
Senior: 12 years - end of life
Norwegian Forest Cat | The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), Inc
Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Information & Characteristics | Daily Paws
Norwegian Forest | TICA
Norwegian Forest Cat Cat Breed Information | VCA Animal Hospitals
Hip Dysplasia in Cats | PetMD
New Knowledge and New Treatments for Feline Hip Dysplasia | College of Veterinary Medicine at MSU
Luxating Patella In Cats | VCA Animal Hospitals
The Norwegian Forest Cat | Life in Norway
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Human Foods That Are Dangerous for Cats | PetMD