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9 Surprising Norwegian Forest Cat Facts To Blow Your Mind

9 Surprising Norwegian Forest Cat Facts To Blow Your Mind

Wegies are the cutest creatures the world’s ever seen and we’re more than happy to explore what they’re all about. Norwegian Forest cats are large, lovable cats that make for the perfect pets considering that they’re obsessed with humans. What are some surprising Norwegian Forest cat facts, though?

Whether you’re planning on getting a Wegie kitten or you’re already trying to get one to come down from the top of the fridge, you probably already know a thing or two about Norwegian Forest cats. With athletic, muscular bodies and long, luscious coats, these gorgeous giants are a sight for sore eyes.

Wegies are often compared to Maine Coons. We’d argue that the resemblance seems uncanny to the untrained eye. Norwegian Forest cats are, however, slightly smaller with a more narrow frame than Maine Coon cats. Solid, bicolor, tortoiseshell, calico, or tabby, Wegies are born to attract attention.

When you add to that the fact that these cats are friendly, calm, and gentle, we’re not surprised that most humans can’t get enough of them. What are Norwegian Forest cats? Where did Norwegian Forest cats come from? What are some surprising Norwegian Forest cat facts? All that and more down below!

What are Norwegian Forest cats?

9 Surprising Norwegian Forest Cat Facts To Blow Your Mind

Norwegian Forest cats might not be as popular and prominent as Maine Coons or Ragdoll cats, but they’re an incredibly interesting and intriguing breed. Wegies are considered a natural breed, for example. They aren’t a mix of two, three, or more breeds even though they’re similar to Coons and Ragdolls.

Quite a number of today’s most sought-after breeds are a combination of cats with appealing traits, whether that be appearance or personality-related. Norwegian Forest cats, on the other hand, are OG cats rumored to have been around for centuries. Needless to say, they’re different from the rest.

Norse oral histories tell tales of large, long-haired cats great at climbing, hunting, and surviving winters. Wegies fit the bill and we’re not surprised that they’re thought to have been around for thousands and thousands of years. But because the dates are estimated through oral histories, we don’t know for sure.

What we do know, however, is that Wegies are some of the most affectionate, appreciative breeds out there. Extremely family-oriented, they’re playful, sweet, and generally accepting of humans, dogs, and other cats. Even though they’re outgoing, they’re more than happy to spend time with you.

9 surprising Norwegian Forest cat facts

1. Norwegian Forest cats are the national cats of Norway

Starting with something you probably expected to read, Norwegian Forest cats are the national cats of Norway. Many, many years ago, Norwegian Forest cats became known as “Wegies” which was supposed to be short for “Norwegian.”

Wegies were popular throughout Scandinavia and the rest of Europe at the time. We’re going to mention that a little later, but Wegies were close to becoming extinct when an official breeding program was launched to save the breed.

When these curious creatures were out of the woods (metaphorically and literally!), Norway’s King Olav V decreed the Norwegian Forest cat the national cat breed of Norway.

2. Wegies are mythical creatures

Oh, but these bad boys are much more than meets the eye.

On one hand, there’s nothing more monumental than becoming your country’s national cat breed. On the other, Norwegian Forest cats come with myths and legends galore that tell the tales of the unspeakable things they’ve achieved a long, long time ago.

Where do we even start? Norwegian myths mention a large, long-haired cat with the ability to climb rock faces and stones that other cats could not manage. Now, these cats were beloved by Freya, the Norse goddess of love and beauty.

According to one of the Norwegian myths, Thor, the god of thunder, fought the tricky god Jormungand. Jormungand won the contest of strength because he was disguised as a Norwegian Forest cat. Norwegian Forest cats played quite a part in the history of Norwegian people.

3. Norwegian Forest cats are a part of numerous Scandinavian superstitions

That’s not all! Norwegian Forest cats are a part of numerous Scandinavian superstitions, most of which go back to Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, fertility, and health.

Wegies were Freya’s favorite cats which might be the reason why people believed that being nice to cats would grant them Freya’s blessings. We’d argue that the most surprising Norwegian Forest cat facts talk about giant Wegies pulling Freya’s chariot.

With that out of the way, though, most myths talk about people doing things for Wegies hoping Freya would grant them a wish. Couples wanting to marry sought approval from Freya and her cats. Farmers fed milk to Freya’s cats hoping to be blessed with a bountiful harvest when she passed through their fields.

Women who wanted to find love became “crazy cat ladies” because they believed Freya would send them a man because of the cats. Brides-to-be fed neighborhood cats because they thought they’d have a sunny wedding day that way. Wegies had everyone in a chokehold back then!

4. The breed’s origins are a source of mystery

9 Surprising Norwegian Forest Cat Facts To Blow Your Mind

We don’t know when or where Norwegian Forest cats came from. We know they’re a huge part of Norwegian history, but we’re not sure whether they were born there or brought there by a third party. We do have theories, though.

First and foremost, Wegies might be related to black-and-white, short-haired cats from Great Britain that were found on Viking ships at the time. Furthermore, they might be descendants of long-haired cats brought to Scandinavia by the Crusaders.

Finally, they might have been roaming around the Norwegian forests thousands and thousands of years ago where they evolved into the large, dense-coated animal we know and love today.

5. They nearly became extinct

Wegies might be adored by people around the world today, but that wasn’t always the case. Back in the day, these boisterous beats were praised by farmers and sailors because they were great at catching mice and protecting people from disease, but they weren’t recognized by fanciers.

Before you ask about the timeframe, fanciers didn’t start noticing and showing the breed until the 1930s.

During World War II, the breed came dangerously close to becoming extinct due to a lack of interest in the breed and crossbreeding with other breeds. Because of an official breeding program, the breed’s lineage was preserved for future generations and the species went on to flourish.

6. They’re bigger than you might think

Wegies might not be known as gentle giants of the feline world, but they’re almost as big as Maine Coons. When you take a closer peep at a Norwegian Forest cat’s appearance, you might be taken aback by the fact that they’re typically 9 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 16 pounds heavy.

When you add to that the long, luscious coat, you get a teddy bear with a tendency to meow. Truth be told, Norwegian Forest cats aren’t Chatty Cathys, but that doesn’t stop them from demanding attention and commanding the room. What’s not to adore, right?

7. Norwegian Forest cats are waterproof

What do we mean by that? When you think of a Norwegian Forest cat, you probably think of a giant ball of fluff strutting her way on equally fluffy paws. A Wegie’s coat might be one of the biggest reasons why these precious pets are as popular as they are. And now you find out that their coats are waterproof?

Norwegian Forest cats needed to become stronger to be able to endure harsh Norwegian winters, and with time, they managed to develop extra layers of fur that protected them from the cold and the wet. So, the outer layer of a Wegie’s coat gets wet quite easily, but the rest of the layers remain warm and dry.

8. Wegies are prone to health problems

Sadly, Norwegian Forest cats aren’t as hardy as Vikings. Now, Wegies are known to have a happy and healthy life that lasts anywhere between fourteen and sixteen years of age. With that in mind, though, Wegies are known to develop quite a few health problems with time.

Norwegian Forest cat’s greatest health risks include hereditary heart problems, hip dysplasia, patella luxation, cardiomyopathy, eosinophilic granuloma complex, glycogen storage disease type IV, and a bunch of other conditions we can’t even pronounce.

With regular screening from a reputable breeder, though, the risk of contracting these diseases might be a little lower.

9. Norwegian Forest cats are related to Maine Coons

We’re not kidding! Norwegian Forest cats and Maine Coons are oftentimes compared because they’re super similar, whether we’re referring to their appearance or their personality. Now we know why that’s the case – Norwegian Forest cats and Maine Coon cats are cousins.

With genetic testing, we were able to trace Maine Coon cats back to Wegies. What that means is that Maine Coon cats are descendants of both the Norwegian Forest cat and an unknown and extinct domestic breed.

We do need to underline that the two aren’t the same, even though we’re taken aback by their resemblance, too.