A Guide to the Norwegian Forest Cat

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

22 September 2016

norwegian forest cat breed profile infographic


Say hello to the Wegie! Having roamed Scandinavian forests long before they were domesticated, the Norwegian Forest cat appears in countless folktales from that land; legend has it that two cats pulled the chariot of the goddess Freya, which makes sense since only a goddess could train a cat to do that. In the boring old real world, they’re famous for accompanying Vikings on explorations. Tough as they sound, this free-spirited cat breed is gentle as can be.


A healthy frame embellished with a luxurious mane, a serious neck ruff and bushy tail - by Odin’s beard, these kitties are serious fuzzballs. You can’t ride on a Viking longship in your church clothes: the Wegie’s fur is water repellant and they feel right at home in your bath or shower. We hope there’s room in there for both of you! If these kitties sound (and look) a lot like the Maine Coon, it’s because they’re related. Here’s a little tip on how to tell them apart: the Norwegian Forest cat has a head and face more triangular than the Maine Coon’s rather round skull.


Norwegian Forest cats are in a committed relationship with their naps, but expect sudden bursts of energy. Blink and you’ll miss it! They enjoy their space and you’ll often find them doing their own thing - probably immersed in some ancestral memory of pillaging a village or two. They are fairly independent cats and your cuddle-quotient, or lack thereof, doesn’t define how they feel about you. It’s up to you to engage their inner warrior; let ‘em really chase that toy they like so much. And we cannot stress enough the value of having intriguing installations set up at home. A scratching pole, for instance, ensures your warrior princess can stretch those muscles and keep her talons well-manicured.


Contrary to the belief that fluffy cats are pretty high up on the maintenance scale, Wegies are surprisingly easy to care for. Their coat may be massive but it helps that it is non-matting and water-repellent. That said, weekly brushing is a necessity, and getting some hands-on time with your Norwegian Forest cat will strengthen the bond between you and your fluff monster. Don’t forget the usual dental care, claw clipping, and annual vet check.


Springtime is shedding time for your Wegie! So warn the sneezers to keep away. And if you’re one of them, maybe consider a Russian Blue, Siamese or Sphynx instead.

Suggested Names

Blood, guts and glory: the Norwegian Forest cat motto. Well, not really, it’s probably more like food, naps and clawing, but their Viking heritage makes for great naming inspiration:

  • Björg
  • Freya
  • Gunnar
  • Astrid
  • Hemsworth

Not convinced? Let us help you fall in love with the Norwegian Forest cat. Or, if you’re ready to commit, check out our guide to adopting your first kitty.


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