The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large strong cat adapted to living in the cold climate of Norway.
The exact origins of the breed are uncertain, ancestors of the breed may have been brought to Norway by the Vikings. As early as the 16th century Norwegian folklore refers to a mountain dwelling fairy cat and talks of large cats with long legs, big ruffs and and ear tufts that have the ability to climb sheer rock faces, many people believe that they could be referring to the NFC.
In the late 1930’s the first Norwegian Forest Cat Club was formed but this was interrupted by World War II, cross breeding and development of roads and towns reduced the natural wilderness and the NFC became an endangered breed. In the 1960’s members set out to find true examples of the breed, one such cat was found that was regarded as an especially beautiful and typical example, the cat was called Pan’s Truls, owned by Egil and Else Nyland of Pan’s Cattery, he became the epitome of the breed and the points scale was drawn up on the basis of his appearance.
In the 1970’s the breed gained formal recognition with FIFe, as the gene pool grew and cats were shown, the breed was exported and started to gain recognition in other countries, it was first exported to Sweden and then in the late 80’s came to the UK where it later gained recognition. It is now popular all over the world.
They are also referred to as Skogkatts, or Wegies, ‘Skaukatt’ is the norwegian word which when translated means ‘forest cat’. Skogkatt and Norwegian Forest Cat is the official name adopted by FIFe/GCCF and other Cat organisations.