The Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed of domestic cat native to Northern Europe. It is a natural breed adapted to a very cold climate, with a top coat of glossy, long, water-shedding hairs, and a woolly undercoat for insulation. Although this is uncertain, this breed's ancestors may have been a landrace of short-haired cats brought to Norway by the Vikings around 1000AD, who may also have brought with them long-haired cats, like those ancestral to the modern Siberian and Turkish Angora breeds. Many people believe that the ancestors of these cats served as mousers on Viking ships. They lived in the Norwegian forests for many centuries but were later prized for their hunting skills and were used on Norwegian farms. They would continue acting as mousers on farms until they were discovered in the early twentieth century by cat enthusiasts.
During World War 2, the breed became nearly extinct until efforts by the Norwegian Forest Cat Club helped the breed by creating an official breeding programme. It was not registered as a breed with the Federation Internationale Feline until the 1970s, when a local cat fancier Carl-Fredrik Nordane, took notice of the breed and made efforts to register it. Currently the Norwegian Forest Cat is very popular in Norway, Sweden, Iceland and France.
It is a big, strong cat, larger than an average cat and similar to the American Maine Coon breed, with long legs, a bushy tail and a sturdy body. It is every good at climbing since they have strong claws. Their lifespan is usually 14 to 16 years, though kidney and heart diseases have been reported in the breed. It is well adapted to survive Norway's cold weather.
Norwegian Forest Cats have a quiet voice but can develop a loud voice if kept in a house with a dog. They are friendly, intelligent, and are generally good with people. They have lots of energy and can be very demanding of attention. Those that live outdoors become swift and effective hunters, but they can adapt to indoor life. If bought from a registered breed in the USA they tend to cost from $550 to $800. As they are heavy-boned and tall they require more food than most other domestic breeds. Males are considerably heavier and larger-boned than females.
These kittens range in age from 1 week to 18 months.
Thanks once again to Wikipedia for the information and beautiful photographs.