Norwegian Forest Cat

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The Norwegian Forest Cat is also known as the Skogkatt in Norway, or more commonly and affectionately referred to as ?Wegies? amongst those that are lucky enough to be owned by one?or more of these rare, true treasures.This breed has been around an estimated four thousand years, traveling with the Vikings as both companion and working cat to keep the rodent population under control on the ships. To this day, the Wegie can be seen foraging in the forests of Norway. Wegies back legs are longer than the front legs. This unique build gives the Wegie a decided advantage in climbing and leaping. Wegies rarely just jump. Anyone owned by an indoor Wegie will tell you that his or her first purchase was in a tall and exceptionally sturdy cat tree. It is with ease, grace and agility that the Wegie comes down out of trees head first.Only achieving championship status in TICA in 1984, October 2004 marked the 25-year anniversary celebration of the Wegie in America. CFA also recognizes the Norwegian Forest Cat for championship status. The written Breed Standard of the Norwegian Forest Cat, which is a written description of the ideal Wegie used by judges, states that the front feet of the Wegie should ?toe out.? This results in the Wegie having a very unique walk. Also, the Norwegian Forest Cat is the only breed to have a Standard regarding the proper positioning of the front feet.To this day, Wegies contentedly live in the forests of Norway as feral cats. As in ancient times, the modern day farmer is always happy to see his native Forest Cat roaming his barnyard. This means that the Forest Cat is doing what it's ancestors did thousands of years ago -- helping the farmer by keeping the rodent population down.Wegies are a feast for the eye and for the heart. Agile, strong, muscular, intelligent, loving and affectionate are but a few of the adjectives that come to mind when describing this semi-long hair cat. Wegies often bond to one person and have been known to happily follow their person in the ?heel? position. Although not really a lap cat, the Wegie is a proximity cat; artfully keeping their favorite person in view at all times. Don?t turn around too quickly because you are likely to trip over your Wegie who is silently padding along behind you. Males can reach up to 20 pounds, females about 12 pounds. Life expectancy is 15-20 years, with good care and a stress free indoor life. It takes five years for the Wegie to mature.The voice of the Wegie is pure music to the ears. Wegies do not have the conventional meow. No, indeed. Conventional meowing is for conventional cats and the Wegie is far from conventional. Wegies sing to their people. Their voices are soft, melodic, often times combining several tones. Wegies are fairly quiet, both in activity and voice. However, when a Wegie speaks, the beautiful music entices the human ear to listen.Norse Mythology:Mythology speaks of a cat so big and heavy that even the god Thor could not lift this magnificent cat. Mythology also speaks of a carriage effortlessly pulled by two large cats. This carriage belonged to Freya, the goddess of love and fertility. Norse legend says that even today, there are large cats in the forest that appear out of thin air. It is further said that these cats have uncanny vision, as they are able to see things that men cannot.First Impression:This cat should strike the human eye as being strong, well muscled and heavy boned. Impressive, massive and intimidating, belied only by its slanted, almond shaped, luminescent green eyes, showing its sweet and lovable nature. Thick double coat, shaggy in the winter. Males will sport heavy mutton chops, dense bib and ruff. The head should have the shape of an equilateral triangle. That is, the point of the chin lines up with the outside corners of the eyes, which line up with the outside corners of the ears.ÿDescription:Breed standard according to CFAHEAD: equilateral triangle, where all sides are of equal length as measured from the outside of the base of the ear to the point of the chin. The neck is short and heavily muscled.NOSE PROFILE: straight, from the brow ridge to the tip of the nose, without a break in the lineCHIN: firm and should be in line with the front of the nose. It is gently rounded in profile.MUZZLE: part of the straight line extending toward the base of ear without pronounced whisker pads and without pinch.EARS: medium to large, rounded at the tip, broad at base, set as much on the side of the head as on top of the head, alert, with the cup of the ear pointing a bit sideways. The outsides of the ears follow the lines from the side of the head down to the chin. The ears are heavily furnished. Lynx tips are desirable but not required.EYES: large, almond shaped, well-opened and expressive, set at a slight angle with the outer corner higher than the inner corner. Eyes should be luminescent green.BODY: solidly muscled and well-balanced, moderate in length, substantial bone structure, with powerful appearance showing a broad chest and considerable girth without being fat. Flank has great depth. Males should be large and imposing; females may be more refined and may be smaller.LEGS: medium with hind legs longer than front legs, making the rump higher than the shoulders. Thighs are heavily muscled; lower legs are substantial. When viewed from the rear, back legs are straight. When viewed from the front the paws "toe out." Large round, firm paws with heavy tufting between toes.TAIL: long and bushy. Broader at the base. Desirable length is equal to the body from the base of tail to the base of neck. Guard hairs desirable.COAT: distinguishing double coat, consisting of a dense undercoat, covered by long, glossy and smooth water-resistant guard hairs hanging down the sides. The bib consists of three separate sections: short collar at neck, side mutton chops, and frontal ruff. Britches are full on the hind legs.

Grooming: 

Contrary to popular belief, Wegies do need their human to comb (not brush) through the dense undercoat, removing the dead, loose hair at least once a week. Otherwise, the shedding undercoat will tangle and snarl in the topcoat and long guard hairs, creating some very challenging mats. Also, Wegies are naturally oily, which creates the waterproofing of the topcoat. If your Wegie gets too oily, then a bath is in order. Be prepared to use water, lots of water. Remember that this cat is waterproof. Shampoo will help the water become heavier. Brushing, instead of combing, will only encourage the oil glands to produce more oil.

Temperament: 

Sweet, loving, gentle, affectionate, intelligent, and non-aggressive with other household pets. Not demanding of attention. Content to be near, rather than on their person. Wary and sometimes not friendly with strangers. Wegies are brave, inquisitive, dog like in their actions. Wegies have a tendency to form a special bond with one person in the home. Whole males are territorial, not only with space, but with ?their? person as well. Kittens are lively, especially females. To be owned by this rare and beautiful treasure is a unique experience. The love and devotion these beautiful cats unconditionally give is almost indescribable. Heaven comes to mind.

Information supplied by: 

Debra Baker - Amorino Cattery