Norwegian Forest Cat | Cat Breed Guide

Norwegian Forest Cat | Cat Breed Guide

by Scritch

The Norwegian Forest cat is a large, friendly yet independent cat that makes a great family pet. He’s good with children and with other pets. 

Weight: 9-16 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Temperament: sweet, friendly, curious

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

Norwegian Forest cats originated thousands of years ago in Norway and are tied to numerous legends and Norse fairytales. For example, the “Wegie” was said to have pulled Norse goddess Freya’s chariot. It’s also believed they kept Viking ships free of rodents.

The Wegie looks very similar to the Maine Coon, and research shows he is a distant cousin of the breed. He’s a large cat with a muscular build, lush bib, thick long coat and plumed tail.

He’s the independent type, so he doesn’t require a lot of attention. He can be a lap cat – when he wants to be. Otherwise he is happy just to be near you. He is a great climber and loves to perch in high places so he would be happy with a tall cat tree. He is playful and can be content playing with a toy all by himself.

The Wegie is very mellow, even-tempered and adaptable, so he’s great with children and other pets. He’s not excessively chatty but may talk to you with quiet chirps or mews.

The Norwegian Forest cat became the official cat of Norway in 1977, as declared by King Olaf V and continues to be one of the most popular cat breeds in Europe, especially in Norway, Sweden, and France.


The Norwegian Forest cat adapted to the cold Scandinavian winters with an insulated, waterproof double coat that comes in many colors and patterns. Twice weekly brushing will keep the coat in good shape for most of the year, with extra care needed during shedding season in spring.

Health Concerns

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Glycogen Storage Disease IV
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease

The Wegie can be susceptible to genetic predispositions. Those include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease, hip dysplasia, a hereditary hip socket defect, and Glycogen Storage Disease IV, a rare form of glucose imbalance that affects metabolism. The Wegie is also vulnerable to polycystic kidney disease, which affects the kidneys’ ability to properly function. Signing up for pet insurance while your cat is young and without pre-existing conditions could help with the costs of future unexpected vet visits.