Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Norwegian Forest Cats

I’m not really a cat person or a dog person. Generally I am more container oriented. So I keep Sea Monkeys. I’ve considered small fish. However, if I ever lived in a small cottage along some peaceful estuary, I would probably get a Norwegian Forest Cat.

When I first heard of the breed, I thought it was some kind of joke name. Like a cartoon cat or something like that. (Remember the Viking Kittens song?)

But Norwegian Forest Cats are real. Cats descended from cats that fended for themselves in the forests of Norway.

Cool cats!

I’ve even exchanged some e-mails with people who own a Norwegian Forest Cat. I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about the breed. However, everyone has said they are loving and playful. The only caution I’ve heard more than once is that the cats are very loving. They become attached to people and expect to spend every free moment either playing with someone or just being with someone.

Loving cats!

I like that combination in a cat that’s bigger than many dogs . . .

The Norwegian Forest Cat is an ancient breed that has probably been around for centuries but it is only relatively recently that it has been recognised as a pedigree breed. Norway is a large and picturesque country of mountains and forests which experiences long, dark, and extremely cold winters and short, cool summers. It was in this environment that the Norwegian Forest Cat (or Norsk Skogkatt as it is known in its native country) evolved. In such a harsh environment only the strongest survived and kittens that survived their first winter were the ones that went on to produce the next generation.

Over the centuries the Norwegian Forest Cat adapted well to the harsh climate of the forests and fjords of Norway but, although it was well equipped to live in the wild, the Norwegian Forest Cat was not a "wild" cat and was prepared to be friendly with humans. So there evolved a relationship between humans and cats whereby the humans benefited from the cat's rodent-catching abilities which protected the food stores and the cats benefited from the shelter provided by the humans. Bit by bit they made their way to the farms and fireplaces of the Scandinavian people, into their folklore as well and, finally, into the modern cat fancy where they enjoy an ever-growing popularity.

Companions of Vikings, Gods, and fairy folk, the Norwegian Forest Cat is equally at home purring on the foot of the bed, helping you sort paper clips and answer emails, or hunting wild animals (like butterflies!) in the garden. These are lively and curious cats with a mischievous streak and are intelligent, very brave, athletic and agile as necessary for their survival in Norway's extreme climate. The Norwegian Forest Cat quickly becomes an indispensable part of the family, adapting well to life with dogs and other cats and making a gentle playmate for children.

Known as Norsk Skogkatt in its native country, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed that has developed naturally as demanded by its environment. It is large and sturdy, standing high on its legs, with huge "snowshoe" paws adapted for climbing on rocks and walking on deep snow and ice. The head is triangular with a straight profile, open alert eyes set on a slight slant and giving an "all-seeing" expression, and large ears which are well tufted against the cold and have elegant lynx tips. Its body is lithe and muscular, ready to meet any challenge and it has strong legs and thighs for the speed to streak away from danger or to climb to the top of the tallest tree. Its long bushy tail is often carried high and proudly and looks most impressive but it also helps the cat with balance and can be used as a muffler to keep its nose and face warm in the snow and as a warm blanket for a mother cat's kittens.

The Norwegian Forest Cat's fur is unique consisting of a woolly, insulating undercoat topped by long, glossy guard hairs which provide year-round weather-proofing. In full winter coat the adult cat has an impressive ruff surrounding the face and shoulders and the back legs are also covered with long hair.

The Norwegian Forest Cat comes in a wide variety of colours ranging from solid black to pure white and includes blues, silvers and smokes, reds, tortoiseshells and the various tabby patterns. All are found with or without white markings of varying amounts and any amount of white or colour is equally acceptable. Colours which are currently not accepted in this breed are: chocolate, lilac, fawn, cinnamon, and the colourpoint pattern.

Winterfyre Norwegian Forest Cats

Jaymlynkatz Norwegian Forest Cats

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