About the Norwegian forest cat or Skogkatt

The story of the Norwegian forest cat is a beautiful blend of history and myth. The roots of this fantastic animal lay back in ancient, magical times, and are associated with beautiful legends. The skogkatt appears in the Norse mythology ; there it is told that he was so strong, that the Thor couldn't lift him, and that he was the companion of the Goddess of love, Freya, whose carriage he was pulling. He appears as a cat with a fantastic intelligence - and here, we are close to reality !

Now, the real story : for centuries, natural selection as well as the selection made by the hand of farmers and seamen, who used this big, strong and clever cat to hunt down the mice devouring corn in the boats, made the skogkatt to what he is now. Unlike many, many breeds, the Norwegian forest cat wasn't created artificially by breeders. The rough winters of Norway gave him his bushy and long tail, his thick and water-repellent coat, his "snowshoes" under his paws, his strong and muscular body. In the 20th century, cat lovers feared that this cat, who had always lived alongside the farms and woods of Norway, might disappear or be mixed with cats from other breeds, who started to be imported to Scandinavia. They decided to preserve the exceptional characteristics of this cat. They fought a long battle for the Skogkatt to be recognized by FIFe, and then at last, they succeeded ! In 1977, Pan's Truls was the first Norwegian forest cat to get a pedigree.

To read more about the story of the Norwegian forest cat in English, you can look here : Skogkattslingan

His temper

Once you get to know the Skogkatt... you cannot imagine live without one anymore. It is hard to describe how special this cat is to someone who haven't experienced them yet ! This magical cat puts a spell on you. He is extremely clever, close to humans, playful, cuddling, always exploring, always seeking to discover what you try to hide, always wanting to have fun. He is a very active and talkative cat. He can live in an appartement without any problems ! but he will need a cat tree : this cat loves to climb and jump, and he is passionate about all toys you can offer him. He loves his master to play with him. Feather lures, noisy balls, lasers, carton boxes, balls in a loop... everything is a great source of fun for him. It is better for him to live with another cat : the Skogkatt loves company and solitude is hard to bear for him. He is a very sociable cat and he has no problem accepting other cats (other Norwegians, or cats from any other breed, or of course non bred cats : he likes everyone !)

His physical appearance

Here is the standard of the Norwegian forest cat, according to FIFe : click here . To help you understand the standard, here is an illustration with pictures of my own cats :

A very triangular head...

...a perfectly straight profile, with a rounded forehead and a chin following the lower jaw...

... ears which are following the lines of the triangle, wide open at the base...

...with lynxtips...

... "snowshoes" under the paws...

... a big collar around the neck...

... a big, strong-boned body, with large and powerful paws...

... a very long tail...

... almond shaped eyes, oblique, with a wild expression...

... a fantastic look ...

... that's how a Norwegian forest cat should be !


The Norwegian forest cat is generally a healthy cat without big problems ; he is strong, he has no particular weaknesses. There is only one genetic disease which is specific to the breed, GSD4 (see below). But like ANY cat - of any breed or non-bred -, he can be touched by a heart disease called HCM or to kidney diseases. As a breeder, we think it is our duty to fight against these diseases.

GSD4 : GSD IV (Glycogen Storage Disease type IV) is an inherited disorder affecting the glucose metabolism. It is a recessive gene, which means that only homozygous mutated cats will die of the disease. In that case, the disease is always letal and the cat usually dies before reaching the age of one year... Heterozygous carriers will not be sick ; they will live a normal, long life. They can be pets without any problem. If they are used in breeding, they should be ONLY mated to non-carriers, to avoid seeing some kitten die a slow and painful death... A simple genetical test (with a sample of blood or saliva) can tell if your cat is carrier or not. All our cats come from tested lines and are all negative for the mutation. It means that our cats and kittens can never have GSD4.

HCM : HCM or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a genetic disease which affects cats, dogs, pigs and people. How it is passed on in generations is still not clearly discovered. Since the 1970's it is known that HCM is the common cause for heart failure, thrombus and sudden death in cats. A major study has been done on Maine Coon cats in the USA which indicates that HCM in these cats seems to be inherited by a single dominant gene. HCM is characterized by an abnormal thickness of the heartmuscle, mainly at the height of the left side of the heart. Because of the thickening of the heartmuscle the heart becomes less elastic, through which the heart can fill itself less easy. A second consequence is that there is less space for the blood left in the left ventricle, which causes a smaller amount of blood to be pumped around at each heartbeat than normal. The thick heartmuscle can create turbulence in the blood, or the leaking of some valves. (source : Pawpess) More info on Pawpeds.
HCM can affect any cat from any breed. That's why it is important to test our cats and to use only tested lines in breeding. All my cats come from tested lines (parents, grand-parents, sometimes great-grand-parents) and I test them myself every 18 months. Since HCM is still mysterious, I cannot guarantee 100% that no one among my cats will ever get sick, but by using only tested lines, informing myself a lot about the ancestors of my cats and of course, by testing regularly, I try to put all chances on my side to breed only with healthy cats. All my breeding cats are tested before their first mating. I also contribute to the Pawpeds programm : the results of my cats, who are scanned only by approved cardiologists, can be found in the database.

Kidney diseases : Every breed and every cat can unfortunately be subject to kidney diseases. You can find very useful information about kidney diseases here : Feline Chronical Renal Failure. Chronic Interstitial Nephritis (CIN) is probably the most common cause of CRF in cats and it may be because it is often the end result of other kidney diseases. The kidneys become shrunken and normal kidney tissue turns into dead scar tissue. It is most likely that there are some genetical forms of CIN, which are hereditary. When CIN appears at a young age, it is most likely that the disease is genetic. We scan the kidneys of our cats every 18 months and would remove any cat with sick kidneys from breeding.

Colour genetics

There is a fantastic colour diversity among the Norwegian forest cats. Nearly all colours and patterns are accepted - except the seal and fawn patterns. We made a page about colours, which is unfortunately only in French, but you may use Google translate, and more over, see pictures of Skogkatts in every possible colour on it ! All the cats featured on that page are the ancestors of out cats. => Genetics page


Many informations are to be found on the French version of our homepage only... we apologize for that, it's a big amount of work to translate everything ! You may use Google translate and discover our pages about :

- early neutering : =>here
- living with a Norwegian forest cat, what food to give, how to take care of his coat : => here
- most important ! : how to ensure the security of your cat, how to make your garden, your balcony, your windows, and also your house safe : => here

Until we find the courage to translate everything... here is an useful list of links :

- Skogkattslingan, everything about the Skogkatt
- Pawpeds features dozens of fascinating articles about genetics, diseases, breeding, and it is also the best database for the pedigrees of all Norwegian forest cats.
- Feline Health Care Corner, about all cat diseases
- Cat Care, about everything, food, grooming, safety....

~All those texts and pictures belong to Cattery Eperon NFO, please respect the copyright :-) ~

Eperon Cattery
Alexandra Besson
26290 Donzère, France
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