The Norwegian forest cat, affectionately dubbed the Wegie, is a large, natural cat that hails from the harsh climate of Norway. Loving, playful, intelligent and gentle, this cat enjoys interacting with people and being part of a family. If that sounds like the kind of feline companion you want in your life, you can buy one from a reputable breeder.
Story of His Life
Called the skogkatt -- meaning "forest cat" -- in his native land, the strong and robust Norwegian forest cat has evolved and developed through natural selection over centuries. The Vikings used to take them on ships to hunt rodents, they kept villages and barnyards free of pests, and they had a starring role in Viking folklore and mythology. King Olaf named the breed the official cat of Norway. But by the 20th century, they started to become extinct because of crossbreeding with domestic shorthairs. In the '70s, a breeding program was implemented to save them. A breeding pair was finally imported to the USA in 1979, and TICA granted the breed championship status in 1984.
Know Your Cat
The Norwegian forest cat has a thick double coat that's insulated and waterproof to protect him from the harsh Scandinavian winter. The longer guard hairs are coarse while the undercoat is softer and denser. Often sporting a tabby coat, the breed also comes in nearly every possible color and pattern. He has tufted paws, a bushy tail and a full ruff around the neck. Despite the long fur, the Wegie is pretty low maintenance. He just requires basic weekly grooming with some additional brushing in the spring.
Breeders usually allow you to take a kitten home when it's between 12 and 16 weeks old. As the months go by you'll have an overgrown kitten on your hands, since the Wegie doesn't fully mature until age 5. Females end up weighing between 9 and 12 pounds while males tip the scale at 12 to 16 pounds.
Find a Breeder
There are two main cat associations in the USA: the Cat Fanciers' Association and The International Cat Association. Both allow reputable breeders who agree to uphold their standards the ability to register their catteries.
CFA breeders agree to the CFA Code of Ethics. Those who also show their cats may be members of the CFA Norwegian Cat Breed Council. TICA breeders agree to the TICA Code of Ethics. Some breeders may be registered with both organizations.
For CFA breeders, go to the Cat Breeder Referral Search page on CFA.org. Under the Breed option, click to select "one or more of the following breeds" and check the box next to Norweigan forest cat. Click the CFA Search button at the top right for a list of all CFA Norwegian forest cat breeders.
For TICA breeders, go to the Norwegian forest cat breeder listings page on TICA.org. When you visit individual websites listed, look for the TICA Online Breeders logo.