Norwegian Forest Cat (NFO) history
During the first course of The Paw Academy (G1) we had to do an special assignment regarding the Norwegian Forest Cat and its origen and evolution. We would like to share this information with you part of our assignment. If you notice that something is wrong or not completely true, or if some parts need improvements , please do not hesitate and contact us for letting us know so. We will be grateful! Please find a video with more information about the Norwegian Forest Cat below.
The Norwegian Forest Cat have its origin, as its name indicates, in Norway referred to as the Norsk Skogkat and they have been living in the Scandinavian forest thousands of years ago. This breed is characterised for its long-hair which has been found in the Viking legend and methodology.
It is not known exactly how it all started, but they guess that these cats have been survived the extreme climate of Norway, where the sun shines from May till August and the winters are cold and the nights long. Due to living in the woods, the cat has developed hard constitutions and large bones and quick wits, and well-honed survival instincts. The characteristics of the cat fur (long, dense, water resistant coats) have been developed due to the typical Norway climate and natural selection since a cat with short fur would not survive the cold climate.
It was at the 20th century that this breed was at risk of extinction which leaded to plans to ensure this national cat in the 1930s and make the breed recognizable, but, unfortunately, the second world war interrupted these plans and almost led to the disintegration of the breed and threatened to dilute its bloodlines since they cross bred with Norway’s shorthaired domestic cats.
In 1963 a Norwegian Forest cat association was founded, called the Norse Rasekattklubbers Riskforbound (NRR). However, before to start an official breed, a breed standard may had to be agreed on, in which it is described how the perfect Norwegian Forest cat looks like. With this standard at hand, a breeding program could be started and the animals which should be included were determined. The cat that was taken as an example of the breed was Pan’s Truls. Two judges and the secretary of the NRR decided he was the prototype of a Norwegian Forest Cat, resulting in the fact that the breed standard was established according to his looks.
Once the war was finished, in 1970, in order to protect the breed, a special breeding program was planned and King Olaf designated the Norwegian Forest cat as the official cat of Norway. In this year as well, two Norwegian Forest cats went from Norway to the United States, since it was still possible to have long-haired cats from Norway of unknow origin registered as Norwegian Forest cat and included in the breeding program. These types of cats are called novices. This was open until 1987 when the Swedish cat – breeding association did not accept any novices anymore, since the gene pool was large enough to develop a healthy breed from the animals already registered.
In December 1975, a society called Norsk Skogkattring was founded with the object to preserve the breed and to develop breeding programs. One year later, the breed had recognition in the Fédération International Féline.
In 1976, the breed standard from Norwegian Forest cat was established and in 1999 a new standard from the breed was established since the first one was described specifically. From that moment onwards, the standard from this breed is as followed (source FIFE):