Norwegian Forest Cat adult in black and white

Norwegian Forest Cat

It’s believed that the ancestors of the Norwegian Forest Cat were the household pets of the Norwegian Vikings.

About the Norwegian Forest Cat

This is a hardy, robust and athletic cat and, despite their size, they are incredibly gentle cats. The Norwegian Forest Cat is also one of the few cat breeds that enjoys water.

The Norwegian Forest Cat has an even temperament, is self-assured, friendly and easy-going. They are laid-back, calm cats, but can be very playful too. Cat owners describe them as loving and affectionate. Their very sociable character and patience make them a great pet for children.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from World Cat Congress (WCC)

Breed specifics

Medium coat
Size category
Avg life expectancy
14–16 years

Calm / Playful / Active

Key facts

  • Suited to outdoor life
  • Good with children
  • A cat tree is essential
Norwegian Forest Cat adult in black and white

Origins of the breed

It is likely that the ancestors of these cats were Southern European short-haired cats that migrated to Norway in prehistoric times. They developed through natural selection, as only those cats which were able to adapt to the harsh Norwegian winters would have survived.

It is claimed that the ancestors of this cat were the household pets of the Norwegian Vikings, who took their cats with them on their ships. They are believed to have gravitated towards farms where they were prized for their ability to control the rodent population.