Norwegian Forest Cat Breed: All You Need to Know

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Norwegian Forest Cat Breed

Whether a cat is short or large, short-haired or long-haired, cat lovers are lucky to own a cat with many characteristics and personalities. They love cats most because they are the perfect loving creatures who make great family pets!

Today, we will explore the well-loved, beautiful and charming Norwegian Forest cat breed, also known as Wegie. These cats are amazing pets and are easily recognizable by their huge size and gentle temperament. They are affectionate and undemanding companions who love a lot of love and attention from their owners. Wegies are popular worldwide and especially adored in their innate land Norway.

Let’s explore more about this friendly giant feline so that you can make a better decision about whether to add Norwegian cats to your family or not. Let’s get started!


This breed, as the name suggests, comes from Norway. These cats are possibly around since the Vikings because the image and a written description of some cats were found in the 16th century that resembled the Norwegian Forest cats. However, in the early 20th century, the breed was nearly lost due to their cross-breeding with other cats. People then noticed and realized this breed was their national treasure.

Norwegian Forest cats were considered the national cat breed of Norway by King Olav V in 1938. It took many years to save this breed, and somehow, breed fanciers managed it and increased the breed number through careful breeding programs.

In 1979, the first cat of the breed was imported into the US, and in 1984, the cat was accepted by The International Cat Association for championship status. The Cat Fanciers Association accepted this breed for full championship status in 1993.

Breed Overview

  • Weight: 8 to 18 pounds
  • Length: 12 to 18 inches
  • Coat: Glossy, long, smooth, and water-resistant dense undercoat.
  • Coat Color: Any color with or without white markings. While disqualifying colors include lavender, chocolate, or the Himalaya pattern.
  • Eye Color: Greens shades, copper or blue or green-gold.
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years
Norwegian Forest cat looking up

The Price

This cat breed is considered rare in the United States, but it is popular in Scandinavia and China. Typically the Norwegian Forest cat price is between $700 to $1,500.

Personality Traits

Norwegian Forest cats are described as calm, friendly, and gentle and can easily involve in different families and lifestyles. They are good with children and other animals.

These cats are alert and intelligent and love being around human company. They crave attention and prefer to let you come to them. Due to their undemanding nature, Wegies are a quiet and calm breed that doesn’t meow a lot like Siamese cats. But why do they meow? Their sound pitch is almost like chirps.

The personality of Norwegian cats is extremely family-oriented. They are jolly, sweet, and playful and are adaptable to their surroundings. They like being held and petted by their owners.

These outgoing cats can become anyone’s best friend because they are extroverts who love to play with others.

Do not worry about your Norwegian cat getting bored because they are independent and can find solutions on their own to overcome boredom.

Close up of a Norwegian Forest cat

Common Health Issues

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy:

It is the most common heart problem in cats, and the signs of this disease include rapid breathing and lethargy. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but a cat’s quality of life can be improved by good treatment options to control the heart rate and improve lung congestion.

Pyruvate Kinase (PK):

Pyruvate Kinase is an enzyme deficiency that damages the red blood cells. Norwegian cats are more prone to this disease than other cat breeds.

The early symptoms are muscle wastage, anemia, lethargy, and increased heart rate. Its diagnosis involves the full checkups of a cat. Sadly, a narrow bone transplant is the only option for treating the disease.

Hip Dysplasia:

It is a genetic disease that can affect Wegies. Its treatment depends on the severity and can require hip surgery and orthopedic referral.

Sleeping Norwegian Forest cat

Polycystic Kidney Disease:

A disease in which fluid-filled cysts are developed in the cats’ kidneys that ultimately result in kidney failure. Like Wegies, many cat breeds develop this disease but don’t show any signs until middle age or older. This disease has no cure, but supportive treatment can minimize the impact in the long run.

Retinal Dysplasia:

Norwegian cats can be affected by this disease. Cats develop tiny blind spots over their retina that don’t require treatment. However, if the dysplasia covers a large area of the eyes, there are more chances of other problems such as retinal detachment that will need treatment.

Care Tips

Norwegian Forest cats require a lot of brushing because of their long water-shedding coats. Brush Wegies at least twice a week, but you will also need to brush in spring and fall because, during this time, Norwegian cats tend to shed more.

Keep your Wegie active and encourage her to do lots of exercises. Provide your cat enough room to run and play. You will need to get your cat moving, but cat trees, toys, and spending time together will keep her active.

Norwegian Forest cat grooming in the sun

Norwegian Forest cats can also be potty trained easily because they are intelligent cats, but do remember they need large litter boxes to do the business comfortably.

Cats of this breed are sturdily built, so make sure they don’t get fat. Keep your Wegie cat lean to prevent weight-related health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and hip dysplasia, the primary reasons for excess weight. Therefore, feed your cat an estimated amount of food twice a day. Never feed her out all day because cats fed freely tend to snack more than usual, leading to obesity. Discuss with your vet and ask for suggestions about healthy cat foods for your cat.

Wrapping Up

The Norwegian Forest cats are fun-loving pet animals which makes them great pets. You can make this cat breed your friend and add it to your family. But make sure to play with them because they love to play and become offended when you refuse to play. Moreover, as we discussed earlier, regarding their health issues, take the best care of this feline to keep them healthy and happy.

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