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 .

6 theories of how the Norwegian Forest Cat came about

The Norwegian Forest Cat (NFC) is a very popular purebred cat. It is a large 'Viking cat". It is long-haired and in its homeland it has been known as the Skaukatt or Skogkatt. The cat's nickname is "Wegie" or "Wegi". And they are sometimes referred to as "Skogs" or "Norgies". These are terms of endearment as I see it. This is a well loved cat.

Norwegian Forest cat in the forest
Picture in the public domain I believe.

The hair is long and shaggy, it looks functional and they have a full ruff, tufted ears and a bushy tail. The front legs are shorter than the hind legs and its size is similar to that of the famous Maine Coon which is the largest pure domestic cat other than the F1 wildcat hybrids. 

The factual history of how the Forest Cat came to be in the Norwegian countryside is unclear but these are six theories as provided by Dr Desmond Morris in his book Cat World. 

The first theory says that Viking ships brought Scottish wild cats to Norway where they gradually evolved into the non-pedigree versions of the Norwegian Forest cats that we see today. It should be noted that there are no indigenous wildcats in Scandinavia. 

An alternative theory is that domestic cats were transported from Europe into Scandinavia on-board trading ships. They escaped the ships and mated with imported Scottish wild cats and in the process their coat thickened and their bone structure became larger. 

The third theory is that Angora cats were carried on ships from the Middle East to the ports of the Mediterranean and thence to Scandinavia in the 16th century. They mated with the descendants of the imported wildcats creating a large bigger-boned and heavier-coated Angora which became the Norwegian Forest cat. 

A fourth theory is that Angora cats escaped ships and travelled into the Norwegian countryside and evolved into bigger cats with thicker coats to adapt to the freezing climate and did so without the intervention of any crossbreeding with other cats. It should be noted that amongst the wild cat species those that live in colder climates are larger than those that live in warmer climates. This applies to the lynx and the tiger for example. Colder climates makes for bigger cats as a evolutionary defense against the conditions. 

Norwegian Forest cats
Photo: Helmi Flick

A fifth theory is that the older version of the Siberian Forest cats from Russia found their way to Norway on board ships that traded across the Baltic and North Sea routes. 

A final theory is that regular domestic cat that became feral and lived rough slowly became bigger, heavier and thicker furred because of living in a cold climate. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the last theory is the correct one. The Norwegian Forest cat was a standard, random bred cat at one time and in the 1930s breeders decided to refine them and create a cat breed from beautiful Norwegian random bred cats. This is how many cat breeds have started. Of course all cat breeds started as non-pedigree breeds. They were all moggies until the cat fancy got hold of them. 

The top picture is now in the public domain in my view. It is a nice picture as it gives us a feel for how the original NFCs looked and lived.


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