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This giant fluffy cat breed is a much-loved feline in Northern Europe and is almost as popular in Great Britain and the rest of Europe. The Norwegian Forest is similar to the Maine Coon in appearance and personality, with the prominent resemblance being their extra-large size. These giant teddy bears are super affectionate yet highly intelligent and adapt well to all homes.
Meet the Norwegian Forest
Norwegian Forest cats, affectionately called “Wedgies”, are among the largest domestic cat breeds alongside Maine Coons. Male Norwegian cats weigh 13-20 lbs, and females are a bit smaller, at 9-13 lbs when fully grown. Additionally, they will reach 12 to 18 inches in length and 9 to 12 inches in height.
Their muscular, well-boned bodies and long, thick, double-layer coat makes them appear significantly bigger than most other house cats. This uniquely large appearance is what makes them so attractive to many cat lovers.
For others, it’s simply their cuddliness as their lush, glossy fur certainly makes them look like a warm and snuggly furry friend. Luckily, as they love human interaction, they are usually happy to be their owner’s teddy bear.
Their double-layered fur consists of a dense undercoat to keep them warm in sub-zero temperatures and a water-repellent top layer to protect them from the elements. However, don’t worry about them overheating in the summer. Their undercoat sheds in the spring and then regrows in the autumn. Moreover, the thickness of their coat is not consistent throughout their body. You’ll find it is thickest around the legs, chest and head.
Wedgies have distinctive triangular-shaped heads with large, high-set ears and almond-shaped eyes. Their eyes, like their coats, can come in various colours. The most common coat shades are white, cream, brown and grey, or a mixture of these. However, they can also have black, blue, red, and gold on their coat. In addition, they may have a solid colour or bicolour, tortoiseshell, calico or tabby patterns.
The temperament of a Norwegian Forest cat
Wedgies are known for being affectionate and loving companions, thanks to their gentle and calm nature. They love to stay close to their owners, and as they are pretty quiet, you’ll often turn around to find your kitty right there, simply relaxing in your presence. Therefore, they certainly have an undemanding nature. Still, when you start to pet them, you’ll immediately notice their eyes light up and will hear an instant purr.
Norwegian Forest cats are a very intelligent breed, and they can have a lot of energy. Therefore, with this feline, you’ll need to have a bunch of games up your sleeve as they require plenty of playtime. They also love to climb, so bookshelves and cat trees are ideal to have with one of these kitties around.
Challenging puzzle games are great for them, too, as they will occupy their mind and allow them to release their energy. You’ll know if they are not feeling challenged or stimulated enough, as they will start acting particularly lazy and sleepy.
Because of their high energy, they are not massive lap cats, although they are not immune to sleeping on their owners either. However, most times, they prefer to receive love through petting and stroking. Moreover, they generally only get very vocal when they are hungry or need something.
Although they have infinite love to give to their owners, Wedgies can act slightly reserved around strangers. They don’t instantly trust new people but don’t take long to warm to them either. Once they meet someone a couple of times, they will be keen to make a new friend as they know that more humans mean more attention.
10 Reasons to add a Norwegian Forest to your family
- They love to be involved in family life - Norwegian Forest cats want to feel like they are part of the family. They adore when they are cuddled, played with, and involved in family events.
- They have British ancestors - It is thought that this breed’s ancestors may include British shorthairs brought to Norway from Great Britain by the Vikings around 1000 AD.
- They love children - Wedgies like receiving attention from all humans, including the smallest ones. They will even tolerate a child dressing them up or carrying them around.
- Even their meow is cute - They tend to have a very high-pitched meow that sounds more like a cute chirp rather than a demanding call.
- They will keep pests away - Norwegian Forest cats are natural hunters. They can catch any rodent or insect that enters the house, keeping it clean and pest-free!
- Each one has a unique appearance - Their coats can come in almost every colour and pattern, so you know that your Wedgie will look different to all the others.
- They take five years to mature - Being so slow to develop; your Norwegian Forest will possess that cute innocence of a playful kitten for years to come.
- They don’t shed a crazy amount - Don’t let their fuzzy appearance stop you from bringing this loving feline home. They don’t shed as much as you think, and they won’t cover all your furnishings in cat hair.
- They adapt well to change - If you’re someone who moves house frequently or you plan to bring new two-legged or four-legged beings into the home, your Norwegian Forest will take it all in its ever unfazed stride.
- They are so easy to love - No cat enthusiast could not fall in love with the gorgeous appearance and adorable personality of a Norwegian Forest Cat.
Best homes for a Norwegian Forest cat
Norwegian Forest cats are calm and adaptable, so they will generally find happiness in any household, providing they receive plenty of love and care. If you have young children or existing pets, Wedgies are a fab choice as they are so easygoing.
One important thing to note about Norwegian Forest cats is that they crave human attention but never demand it. Unfortunately, this hidden trait can make people think they will do fine if left alone frequently. But, in reality, prolonged periods of solitude will make a Norwegian Forest an unhappy kitty. Therefore, if you work full time, be sure to shower them with love in the morning, evening, and weekend.