Huge Norwegian Forest Cat the size of a large Maine Coon

On average, the Norwegian Forest Cat (NFC) is smaller than the Maine Coon but there are exceptions and this is one of them. Not all MCs are larger than NFCs. This TikTok video illustrates the point. This NFC is very classic in terms of 'type' meaning desired appearance as per the breed standard. Super appearance. Huge Norwegian Forest Cat the size of a large Maine Coon. Image: MikeB from screenshots. Here is the video. For me it is a bit irritating because of the soundtrack. Horrible for me. But the point is made about size. This is a great NFC. A classic in terms of coat: a grey tabby-and-white. It is his size which is untypical for this breed although they are one of the largest domestic cat breeds challenging the supremacy of the Maine Coon sometimes .

Norwegian Forest Cat History

I have illustrated this post about Norwegian Forest cat history with some photographs including those of white Norwegian Forest Cats (see below) taken by their guardian/owner. She labels the photographs "Noé et Oracio des Fines Terres". Fine Terres is her breeding cattery. "Noé" is apparently French for "Noah".

They are beautiful cats and the photographs are reproduced here under a creative commons license for which I thank her.

ULRIC — Huge Norwegian Forest Cat. Photo: Laura Dale BNPS

The Norwegian Forest Cat history is long and distinguished. I love this cat for its naturalness and established origins in the cold landscape of Norway. This is a truly natural cat until the cat fancy got involved in the middle of the 20th century.

This cat breed is a part of Norway's history and is mentioned in mythological tales. It is said that cats arrived in Norway around AD 1000, over 1000 years ago by way of the Vikings who had trade routes with Byzantium. Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas1. The coat colours of Turkey that were rare across Europe are commonly seen in the NFC. It is possible that the history of this cat breed started with long haired Turkish cats (Turkish Angoras and/or Vans - see  The Turkish Turkish Angora what does it look like? and Are Turkish Vans and Turkish Angoras the same cat?)

There may be a direct connection to the Maine Coon, a cat very much associated with North America. There are three cats that are similar in appearance, the Norwegian Forest (NFC or Skogkatt - this means Forest Cat in English) , the Maine Coon and the Siberian. It is thought (and a lot of cat breed history is a bit vague) that the Vikings brought the NFC from Norway to America and that the Maine Coon is descended therefore from the NFC. Well, that is one theory.

Norwegian Forest Cats - copyright noeoracio

This cat has evolved naturally over a long period of time to become suited to the cold environment. The NFC developed a coat well suited to the cold. Being a forest cat she has powerful hind legs and is a fine jumper able to climb trees well and climb down them equally efficiently. In fact they sometimes come down from a considerable height head first running down the tree trunk as if on the flat. I have seen this myself as I lived with a NFC hybrid.

In 1599 a Danish priest living in Norway described a cat he called the Norwegian Lynx. He was describing, it seems, the Norwegian Forest Cat. He wrote of the cat catching fish and liking water. This is totally to be expected. Lots of current wildcats live by water courses and fish for their food. The Asian Leopard for one (the wild founder of the Bengal Cat) and another is the Asian Fishing Cat that can swim as well. It seems then that this cat breed was semi-wild or perhaps totally wild.

Norwegian Forest Cat
Norwegian FC. Picture in the public domain

By the 1930s the Norwegian Forest cat had become a domestic (moggie) cat probably in similar circumstances to that which occurred in the United States with the Maine Coon. Cats will migrate to where there is food. That is why they learned to fish and like water. Farmers keep grain and grain attracts rodents so it is to be expected that this cat came out of the forest to feed on the rodents and a relationship struck up with humans.

Also about this time the cat fancy was developing into something serious although it was early days. There was it seems a realization of the value of this cat being a part of the heritage of the country which lead to the desire to preserve and develop the breed. The cat fancy became involved and the beautiful but humble Skogkatt was to become a show cat and purebred cat. There was also the problem with naturally occurring hybridization by the Forest cat mating with other domestic cats which diluted the purity of the genes. That needed to be dealt with by the cat fancy.

In 1930 the Skogkatt was first shown in a cat show in Germany. The second world war intervened and cat breeding became low priority. The second world war had a very bad effect on a number of cat breeds including the Chartreux, for example. However by the 1970s controlled breeding apparently got underway. The Norwegian National Association of Pedigree Cats having been founded in 1963.

By 1977 FIFe had recognized this breed and breeding on a international level began. In Norway it was recognised as a "distinct pedigree" (a purebred cat breed) in 19772. The biggest cat fancy market became involved in about 1979 when the Norwegian Forest Cat was imported in the United Sates. The cat is nicknamed the "Wegie" by the Americans . I am not sure where this name came from but it must be from the shape of the head - distinctly wedge shaped and handsome to boot.

The Norwegian Forest Cat History is one of normal and anonymous domesticity for centuries and then a comparative rush in development and recognition over the past 40 years or so. The Norwegian Forest Cat History has ended in the full recognition of this cat by all the major cat associations (for example GCCF (UK), CFA and TICA) which is to be expected as she is a natural cat of real distinction and handsome appearance.

Related Page: Cat History - complete discussion on cat history.

Norwegian Forest Cat History to Home page

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  1. I can't beleive there are no comments here. These cats are so beautiful. The links at the left that let veiwers look at the different breeds are great. Nice web site. My sympathies for Missie are with you. It's difficult to lose a beloved pet.

  2. Hi thanks. This is blogger sub-domain to the main site. It never really took off so I am letting it drift. Thanks for the comment though. The main site get more comments! It is here:

    Pictures of Cats

  3. You speculate that the US nickname "wegie" is something to do with the word "wedge" - but I think it's simply a shortening of "Norwegian" ....
    thanks for the site - we have a lovely NFC!

  4. Thanks Pablo for your input. Sorry it took me months to get back!

  5. just so amazing these felines are grand species of felis domesticas , and im so proud to own one ,, !

  6. I'm pretty sure I have a Norwegian Forest Cat at home. I thought that he was a Maine Coon for the longest time but now I'm not so sure. He's all white and simply beautiful, he's a little overweight (22 pounds) but he's a big baby and loves attention. He especially loves cuddling us as much as he can.

  7. I have the most beautiful creature I've ever seen that I adopted from the shelter. He was born at my vet clinic to a mother that was brought in with a gun shot wound. Mother recovered and had the kittens. I do not know that he could be pure bred anything, but he is the sweetest, most loving cat we have ever owned (or, as they say owned us). He is quite large, solid white, pointed chin and thick LONG white hair that forms a mane framing his sweet face. I love him so much. How do you distinguish the maine coon, NFC, and the siberian?

  8. My mum has a white NFC but he is deaf. Funny when he wants your attention... he yells at you or bites :-) I don't know how he got to Australia but he was found in a pet shop with his bro.

  9. Our cat Howard is a Wegie. I didn't know it when I got him. It was summer and he had a short shiny coat. He shedded it, or more like molted in fall and grew this long thick silky coat in its place. He looked like a totally different cat. Then molted again in spring. I had never heard of such a thing happening. I started doing research and found it could only be a norwegian forest cat. He is not yet 2 yrs old and already weighs 13 lbs (very tall and long). He loves to climb and doesn't too much mind water. He would climb to sit on top of doors. We finaly built him an 8 foot hollow tree, branches, leaves and all (out of heavy cardboard tubes)and he is now satisfied to climb it... He is extremely smart (says mama, plays fetch), ornery (always stalkin us and attackin on his hind legs)(hides things in our shoes, opens cuboards and puts his toys in there)and just beautiful. We love him very much. Haven't run into anyone that has ever heard of them.... I love reading about them, their history and the folklore surrounding them....

    The short hair in summer and thick long hair in winter is the one characteristic specific of a NFC.... the short hair is double layered. winter coat has three layers. It is true that the american nick name of "wegie" is a shortened version of "Norwegian". Solid white is not the common. They were more tiger stripped, with white faces and necks, large ears. Folklore calls them fairy cats and that is what the Vikings called them, they had them on their ships. In many paintings of the Norse Goddess Freya: Shapeshifter, Mistress of Cats and Queen of the Valkyries, shows her having Skogkatts pulling her chariott or standing around at her feet....

  11. I have a White Norwegian Forest too. He was a rescue and going on 14 years old now. The same thing happened when I got him as a kitten, he had a short coat and it 'bloomed' when he turned 2. He also had odd habits, like he LOVES to play with water, 'sings' to me to turn on the tub faucet so he can drink from the tap - or he 'asks' for ice cubes (or he'll keep tipping my ice water glass over to drink from it)

    He's one of the sweetest cats I've ever had, but it took him many years before he stopped being aloof and really trusted us. (Perhaps from being out in the scary world before I got him) I have pictures of him posted on my Pinterest board:

    He's so gorgeous I should have 'Modeled" him over the years - but instead, he's just been all mine. Now I'm seeing more of them on the internet and I almost wish I could locate another. He's been an angel.

  12. I would call this cat Merlin if he was mine, I think it suits him quite well

  13. Hi, we have 2 Norweigan Forest cats we bought in Northern China. They def loved the cooler climate. Now we live in Thailand and they are so lethargic here. One of the boys still catches birds and gets into fights but the other one is content to laze around the pool.
    Thanks for your page!!

    1. I am interested to hear that you bought 2 Norwegian Forest Cats in China. I would like to hear more about that. Could you email me at:

      mjbmeister[at] - change [at] for @


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