Norwegian Forest Cat: Everything You Need To Know

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Last Updated: November 10th, 2023

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Learn everything you need to know about the Norwegian Forest Cat breed!

The norwegian forest cat, sitting in the snow

Originating from the cold landscapes of Northern Europe, these felines boast a striking appearance and a big personality. With their luxurious double coats, almond-shaped eyes, and robust physiques, Norwegian Forest Cats are a popular choice among feline lovers. Let’s explore the main traits of this breed and a comparison to another popular long-haired cat breed, the Maine Coon!

Norwegian Forest Cat Traits


The Norwegian Forest Cat, originating in Northern Europe, is a breed well-adapted to cold cweather. This is evident in its physical characteristics, such as a long, glossy top coat and a woolly undercoat for insulation. These cats are large and strong, similar to Siberian and Maine Coon cat breeds, with long legs, a bushy tail, and a sturdy body.


The Norwegian Forest Cat has a predisposition for certain health issues like kidney and heart diseases, and specifically, complex rearrangements of glycogen branching enzyme (GBE1) can cause perinatal hypoglycemic collapse and late-juvenile-onset neuromuscular degeneration in glycogen storage disease type IV.


In terms of behavior and personality, the Norwegian Forest Cat is known for being warm and friendly. It is an intelligent breed with great social skills and an appreciation for comfort. These cats are independent yet loyal, capable of forming bonds with their human families and other pets, including dogs and other friendly cats. They are adept climbers and enjoy an indoor lifestyle with comfortable resting areas. The breed is not fond of being held or picked up against its will, preferring to show affection on its terms.

A scientific study on cat breeds, including the Norwegian Forest Cat, highlighted some interesting behavioral traits. The breed was found to be among those most likely to engage in wool sucking, a non-social behavior. This study also categorized cat breeds into different clusters based on personality traits like aggression, extraversion, and shyness. The Norwegian Forest Cat, along with breeds like the British Shorthair and Ragdoll, was classified in a cluster characterized by lower levels of aggression, extraversion, and fearfulness.

norwegian forest cat sleeping


The Norwegian Forest Cat requires a high-quality diet rich in protein. Their thick double coat needs weekly grooming to prevent matting and maintain its luxurious appearance. Regular nail trimming and daily toothbrushing are also recommended. Despite their fondness for lounging, these cats are athletic, enjoying activities like running, jumping, and climbing. They are known for their ability to descend headfirst from heights and leap several feet in a single bound. Providing enrichment items like cat trees, scratching posts, and toys is essential for their well-being.

Norwegian Forest Cat Price

The price of a Norwegian Forest Cat in the US varies, typically ranging from $600 to $1,200, but can go as high as $4,000 or more for cats from champion breeding lines. Factors such as the breeder’s reputation, the cat’s lineage, age, coat color, and quality (pet vs. show) play a significant role in determining the cost. While the breed is not considered rare, prices for kittens from champion or imported parent cats can be notably higher.

Norwegian Forest Cat Lifespan

The Norwegian Forest Cat typically enjoys a long lifespan, with an average range of 14 to 16 years. However, like any breed, this can vary based on various factors such as genetics, health conditions, diet, and overall care. With proper care, some Norwegian Forest Cats can live beyond their average lifespan.

Norwegian Forest Cat vs Maine Coon Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon are both large, long-haired breeds with a majestic appearance, but they have some distinct differences:

  • Physical Appearance: While both breeds are large and have long fur, there are subtle differences. The Norwegian Forest Cat has a more triangular-shaped head, a strong, muscular body, almond-shaped eyes and a double coat that is water-resistant. Maine Coons have a more rectangular body shape, with a ruff of fur around their neck, tufted ears, and large, round eyes. They also have a long, bushy tail.
  • Size: Both breeds are among the largest domesticated cats, but Maine Coons are generally larger. Male Maine Coons can weigh between 13 to 18 pounds or more, while female Maine Coons typically weigh between 8 to 12 pounds. Norwegian Forest Cats are slightly smaller, with males weighing between 10 to 16 pounds and females between 8 to 12 pounds.
  • Personality: Both are known for their friendly, gentle, and playful nature. Norwegian Forest Cats are known for being independent yet affectionate with their families and are good with children and other pets. Maine Coons are sociable, friendly, and often described as ‘dog-like’ in their loyalty.
  • Grooming Needs: The Norwegian Forest Cat’s double coat is surprisingly low-maintenance, requiring only occasional grooming. The Maine Coon’s fur, particularly the thick mane around the neck, might require more frequent grooming to prevent matting.

Choosing between the two breeds depends on personal preference regarding their subtle physical differences and grooming needs. Both make excellent, loving companions and are well-suited to families.

norwegian forest cat and maine coon cat

In conclusion, the Norwegian Forest Cat stands as a remarkable and enduring symbol of natural beauty and resilience. With its adaptability to the harsh climates of Northern Europe, this breed not only carries a strong physical appearance, but also charms with its independent, but affectionate nature. The Norwegian Forest Cat offers a blend of grace, loyalty, and mystique, making it a truly exceptional addition to any home.



Maja Sebenik is a proud owner of a Dachshund named Bimba. With three years of experience working as a researcher for a pet magazine, Maja's love for animals runs deep. Through her heartfelt writing, Maja shares practical tips, advice, and heartwarming anecdotes to inspire fellow pet lovers. Join her on a journey to explore the wonders of the animal kingdom, one paw at a time.

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