Date updated: 12 12 2018
The Norwegian Forest Cat (aka the Weegee) is built to survive in harsh Scandinavian winters - so it’s not surprising that they tend to take life in their stride. Kitted out with that thick, furry coat this breed is fearless, full of energy and willing to explore life to the full. And with their sweet temperament and sense of fun, these gentle giants will settle in quickly to become part of the family…
Average lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Weight: Males: 5.5 to 7.25 kg, Females: 4.0 to 5.5 kg
Height: Males: 37 to 45 cm, Females: 30.5 to 38 cm
Colouring: all colours of Norwegian Forest Cats are recognised by the Cat Fancy Governing Council, with the exception of Chocolate, Lilac, Cinnamon, Fawn, Amber and Oriental Pointed. So you’ll see a huge variety of colourings and patterns, from deep browns through to tortoise and cream.
Grooming requirements: pretty low maintenance, despite the thick coat!
Average purchase cost: around £500 to £600 for a pedigree Norwegian Forest kitten.
Bet you didn’t know…
A great breed option for…
Because Norwegian Forest Cats love the great outdoors, they’re a good choice for owners who live in an area where it’s safe to roam and who are looking for an outdoors cat. That said, they adapt well to their environment, so a Norwegian Forest may be kept as an indoor cat.
This is usually a friendly, sociable cat. They’re up for fun and games and the occasional cuddle, but the Norwegian Forest isn’t a natural choice if you’re looking for a lapcat; they’d rather be playing and exploring than spending hours in front of the tv. They’re quick on their feet and not easily fazed, so they make excellent playmates for the kids. They also usually get along well with dogs (especially if they’ve grown up together in the same household). Just be careful of any smaller animals as these guys have a high prey drive!
Behaviour and temperament
The Norwegian Forest will usually choose a favourite person within the family; someone who they’ll follow around more than anyone else. That said, they’re rarely clingy, and if there’s something more interesting happening elsewhere in the home, they’ll be off to explore it. They can be wary around strangers at first, but once intros have been made, this breed makes friends pretty easily.
Being a smart, athletic cat, the Norwegian Forest likes to keep active. They love climbing to the highest point in the room to get a good look at what’s going on. They’re not afraid of jumping either - and will often dive back down, headfirst. Investing in a climbing post is a good idea to keep them entertained.
Lots of toys and games will also go down well with a Norwegian Forest, but this isn’t a breed that needs attention 24/7. With toys scattered around the home, they can cope quite well with being left alone while you’re at work. This self-sufficiency is also useful if you’re heading off on holiday: if you have a neighbour who can pop round at feeding time, you can usually get away without having to book in your buddy into the cattery.
The Norwegian Forest can be let out at night - that thick coat means they’re more than capable of handling a UK winter. But just bear in mind that traffic poses a big risk to even the most street-wise cat. Especially if you live in a busy area, the safest option could be to let your buddy out in the back garden - or keep them indoors at night.
Compared to some other breeds, the Norwegian Forest isn’t usually a fussy eater. But as with all cats, take advice from your vet on quantity and type of feed to give them - depending on age, circumstances and any health issues. Given the chance, these cats will often eat way more than what’s good for them - so go easy on the treats. A strong sturdy build is normal; but pudginess is definitely something to be avoided as it can lead to a whole range of health issues, from joint problems to breathlessness.
That thick, fluffy coat is actually a lot easier to keep clean than it looks. It’s naturally designed to keep your buddy warm and not get matted. So most of the time, brushing twice a week should be enough to get rid of dead hairs and remove any tangles. They tend to shed the most in Spring and Autumn - so step up the brushing to keep on top of it.
Especially if your buddy loves exploring the great outdoors, their ears can be a magnet for dirt. Make sure you take a good look inside once or twice a week - and gently wipe away any debris to prevent infection.
When they’re not exploring or playing, these guys love a good cat nap - so set up a few baskets or blankets in quiet, out-of-the-way places to curl up and snuggle down.
Common health issues to watch out for