Listen, I totally understand falling head over heels for those cute fluffy Norwegian Forest Cat kittens. One glimpse of their plush coats and big curious eyes, and your heart just melts. Who can resist? Before welcoming one of these special kittens into your home though, let’s chat about how to give them the best care.
I’m Jane, and I’ve been a proud Norwegian Forest cat owner for many years. These sweet kitties have stolen my heart completely. While utterly adorable, they do have some unique needs to thrive. Consider me your friendly Norwegian Forest cat adviser – I’m here to share everything I’ve learned!
Table of Contents
In this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials – their origins, personality, ideal home, proper care and costs. My goal is to prepare you fully so you and your Norwegian Forest kitten can share a long, happy life together. Let’s dive in!
An Introduction to These Fabulous Felines
Let’s start with an overview of what makes the Norwegian Forest cat special. Here are their distinguishing features:
- Long, thick water-resistant coat adapted for cold climates
- Sturdy, muscular build yet extremely agile
- Wedge-shaped head with alert triangular ears
- Vivid green or gold eyes that pierce your soul
- Desire for human interaction – they bond deeply with family
- Playful and adventurous nature – they stay kittenish for years
- Intelligent and energetic but not hyperactive
A Norwegian Forest cat’s majestic lush fur and wild appearance instantly captivates. But their sweet, loyal personality will make you fall in love for life. Keep reading to learn more about their origins and personality.
History and Origins of the Breed
Curious about how the Norwegian Forest cat developed such a rugged yet endearing nature? Let’s explore their history:
Born to Roam the Harsh Scandinavian Wilds
For centuries, Norwegian Forest cats roamed the pine forests, mountains and farms of Norway. The unforgiving Nordic climate shaped the breed into mighty hunters with adaptations like a thick water-repellent coat and muscular build for climbing rocky terrain. Their appearance and hardy spirit allowed them to flourish in the wilds. Local folklore described them as “fairy cats.”
Near Extinction and Revival
Sadly, Norwegian Forest cats almost vanished entirely during World War II due to overhunting and interbreeding with other cats. But fanciers later revived the breed using cats found in remote regions that still exhibited the distinctive Norwegian Forest traits. Selective breeding restored their wild beauty and friendly personality. Today’s Norwegian Forest cats remain closely linked to their rugged natural origins.
Growing Popularity as a Friendly Breed
While still somewhat uncommon, the friendly temperament and wild beauty of the Norwegian Forest cat has attracted more devotees worldwide. They are gentle family companions who retain their skillful hunting abilities and desire to fearlessly climb and explore. If you seek an athletic, adventurous cat with a loving spirit, the Norwegian Forest cat is a perfect match!
Personality and Temperament
Now that you know their fascinating history, let’s dive into what Norwegian Forest cats are like to live with:
Intelligent, Inquisitive Nature
With active, discerning minds, Norwegian Forest cats constantly observe and investigate their surroundings. They pick up tricks quickly and know how to get what they want! You’ll need to channel that intellect into productive activities.
Athletic and Agile
This breed retains its legendary strong, muscular build and sharp reflexes. They love climbing cat trees to impressive heights and can sprint and jump with astounding speed. Interactive playtime suits their physical nature.
Deeply Bonded with Family
Norwegian Forest cats thrive on positive human interaction. They will eagerly greet you at the door, follow you from room to room, and snuggle up close beside you when it’s time to settle in and relax. But they aren’t demanding of constant attention and enjoy solo playtime as well.
The strong hunting drive remains! Be prepared for your Norwegian Forest kitten to attack ankles, bat around toys, and get the zoomies at all hours. They take an exceptionally long time to outgrow that energetic kitten phase. Interactive play and environmental enrichment are musts.
Is a Norwegian Forest Cat Right for You?
Not every home is suited for these special kitties. Consider the following:
- Active owners who can dedicate time for daily play and enrichment
- Those wanting an affectionate yet independent minded cat
- People who appreciate their strong-willed nature
- Families with respectful older children
- Owners willing to keep up with grooming demands
Not Ideal For…
- Elderly or frail owners who can’t handle their energy
- Families who travel frequently or are away long hours
- Those wanting a calm lap cat
- Anyone looking for an extremely mellow, quiet cat
- Those unwilling to provide ample playtime and stimulation
Take time to reflect – a Norwegian Forest cat will thrive with an owner committed to their care and activity requirements. Let’s chat more about that.
Caring for Your Norwegian Forest Cat Kitten
Ready to welcome one of these kittens home? Here are some care essentials:
Kitten-Proofing Your Home
Before bringing your fluffy baby home, meticulously kitten-proof your space. Remove anything hazardous they could swallow or knock over. Secure loose items and electrical cords. Set up a safe confined area with bed, litter box, food/water and toys. Catify your home with climbing structures and scratching posts so they can unleash their energy in positive ways.
Nutrition for Proper Growth
As a rapidly growing kitten, feed a portioned high protein diet specifically formulated for kittens. Keep food and water bowls clean and full at all times. Around 12 months old, gradually transition them to adult cat food. Avoid free feeding, as obesity is a concern. Discuss optimal diet with your vet.
Comprehensive Health Care
Get your kitten checked by a vet within days of adoption or purchase for a general wellness exam. Discuss vaccine schedules – kittens need a series of core shots for protection. Have the vet prescribe effective flea/tick and parasite prevention to use year-round. Schedule spay/neuter at around 5-6 months old. Stay current on all annual wellness checkups and care.
The Norwegian Forest cat’s long coat requires thorough daily brushing to prevent painful mats and knots. Use a slicker brush and steel comb. Bathe only when necessary – their thick fur takes forever to dry. Trim nails every 2-3 weeks. Check ears and teeth weekly. Make grooming positive with praise and treats! Set a routine early.
Lively Play and Exercise
Norwegian Forest kittens seem to have a bottomless well of energy! Make time to play interactive games like fetch and wand teasing for at least 30-60 minutes daily. Set up cat trees, tunnels, scratching posts and window perches to climb and explore. Use food puzzle toys and clicker training for mental stimulation too. A tired kitten gets into less mischief!
Positive Handling and Socialization
Gently handle your kitten frequently from day one – touch toes, tail, ears and mouth daily so they become accustomed to human interaction and grooming. Socialize your kitten by gradually exposing them to new sounds, people, pets and experiences in a calm, positive way. Reward desired behaviors with treats and praise. Build their confidence with patience.
With the right care in these areas, your precious Norwegian Forest kitten will blossom into a friendly, polite adult cat – the perfect family companion!
When and Where to Adopt Your Norwegian Forest Kitten
Eager to start the search for your perfect Norwegian Forest kitten? Here are some tips:
Choosing an Ethical Breeder
Seeking a pedigreed kitten? Make sure to find a registered, responsible cattery that health tests breeding cats and screens buyers. Avoid pet stores and backyard breeders. A quality breeder wants the best homes for their kittens. Ask lots of questions!
Check local shelters, rescues and Norwegian Forest cat breed organizations for adoptable adults and kittens needing homes. Although not pedigreed, they can exhibit many Norwegian Forest traits. Give an orphan kitty a second chance!
Selecting a Healthy Kitten
Whether adopting or buying, choose an active, energetic kitten with clear eyes, glossy coat and healthy weight. Make sure they are socialized and handled frequently by the breeder or shelter staff. Shy or fearful behavior may indicate issues.
Preparing Your Home in Advance
Before pickup, fully catify and kitten-proof your home with safe restricted areas, climbing structures, and all needed supplies. Read up on introducing a new kitten properly. With a thoughtful transition, your Norwegian Forest kitten will adjust quickly.
When the timing and circumstances align in your life, visit local ethical breeders or shelters to find your ideal Norwegian Forest kitten companion!
Norwegian Forest Kitten Health and Care
My goal here is to prepare you for the realities of Norwegian Forest kitten ownership – it’s not always smooth sailing! Let’s go over some common health issues to be aware of:
A hereditary heart disease causing abnormal thickening of the heart wall. Lethargy, breathing issues, or fainting require prompt vet attention. Reputable breeders screen for it.
Improper hip joint formation leading to arthritis and mobility issues over time. Maintaining lean body weight helps.
Glycogen Storage Disease IV
A genetic deficiency causing low blood sugar levels. Symptoms include lethargy, reduced appetite, trembling. Manage with proper diet.
Norwegian Forest cats’ long fur makes tooth brushing challenging. So dental decay is common without daily scrubbing. Signs include bad breath and yellowed teeth. Professional cleanings and extractions may be needed in severe untreated cases.
Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are more prevalent in Norwegian Forest cats. Watch for symptoms like straining to urinate, blood in urine, excessive thirst/urination. Untreated infections can progress to dangerous blockages.
With attentive daily care and annual vet visits, you can help your treasured Norwegian Forest kitten live a long, healthy life and avoid serious issues. I know it’s a big commitment, but worth every moment!
Norwegian Forest Kitten Behavior and Training Tips
Here are some pointers for handling typical Norwegian Forest kitten antics and teaching good manners:
Boundless Kitten Energy
Expect your fluffy bundle of energy to race, wrestle, attack and play at all hours – waking you from a sound sleep! Schedule interactive playtime before bed to burn off steam. Offer lots of safe solo toys too. Their lively kitten phase lasts longer than many breeds. Patience is key!
These smart kitties need ample mental stimulation. If bored, they will find “entertainment” throughrascal acts like shredding toilet paper, knocking over plants, opening cupboards, etc. Set up puzzle toys and use clicker training to channel that cleverness productively.
Norwegian Forest cats are independent thinkers who don’t always obey commands. Use rewards-based training. Punishing or yelling does not work and will break trust. Show your kitten what to do instead of what not to do. They want to please you – meet their needs and behavior issues decrease.
Excessive Meowing and Chattiness
While not usually over-the-top vocal, Norwegian Forest kittens do enjoy “conversing” with their people. Try not to reinforce demanding meows by responding. Reward quiet moments. Increase playtime and enrichment if their “talking” spikes.
Use clicker training and treats to positively reinforce desired behaviors like climbing approved spots only, coming when called, not scratching furniture, and tolerating handling/grooming. Be patient – Norwegian Forest cats are intelligent but stubborn! Short 5-minute sessions work best.
With consistent positive reinforcement training and diligent care from the start, your clever Norwegian Forest kitten will grow into a polite, well-mannered cat who thrives in your home.
Norwegian Forest Cat Costs and Expenses
Before getting your heart set on one of these magnificent kittens, let’s have a frank money talk. Prospective owners need realistic expectations of the costs involved!
Purchase Price/Adoption Fees
- Pedigreed kitten from an ethical breeder – $1000 to $2000
- Adopted kitten or adult from rescue/shelter – $50 to $200
Initial One-Time Expenses
- Supplies like litter box, food bowls, bed – $200 to $500
- Litter box, scoop, carrier – $100 to $300
- Scratching posts, cat tree, toys – $200 to $500
- Initial food, treats, litter – $100 to $300
- Initial vet visit for wellness check – $75 to $200
- Spay/neuter surgery – $100 to $500
- Microchipping for ID – $25 to $75
- Vaccines – $75 to $150
- Bloodwork – $60 to $150
Monthly Recurring Costs
- High quality food – $40 to $100
- Litter – $20 to $50
- Toys/treats – $20 to $50
- Grooming tools/shampoo – $10 to $30
- Routine vet care – $30 to $50
- Flea, tick and heartworm prevention – $20 to $80
- Emergency medical fund – $50+
Total Annual Costs
Expect to budget $1000 or more per year for food, routine vet care, supplies, litter and medical emergencies. Kittens also require additional vet visits for spay/neuter, vaccine boosters and preventatives.
I hope this cost overview assists you in budgeting wisely for your Norwegian Forest kitten. Please reach out if you need help estimating any other expenses! Bringing one of these marvelous kittens home is a commitment, but their companionship is priceless.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Norwegian Forest Cats friendly?
Yes, Norwegian Forest cats tend to be very friendly and social when raised properly. Unlike some breeds, they actively seek out human interaction and playtime. They become very bonded and affectionate with their families. Just don’t expect them to be lap cats – they like playtime on their own terms!
Why did Norwegian Forest Cats almost go extinct?
During World War II, Norwegian Forest cats were nearing extinction. Food shortages led many starving people to hunt and eat these cats or sell their thick pelts for warmth. Their populations plummeted. Only concerted breeding efforts later on saved the breed from vanishing. Today, their numbers have recovered.
What are the disadvantages of a Norwegian Forest cat?
Potential downsides of the Norwegian Forest cat include their need for frequent brushing and grooming, tendency to be talkative and vocal, high activity level requiring interactive playtime, climbing that can lead to mischief, and moderate shedding. They may not be suited for very young kids or owners who are away long hours. Do your homework before adopting one!
Why are Norwegian Forest Cats so big?
The Norwegian Forest cat has a large, muscular and sturdy physique that developed over centuries as an adaptation to survive in the harsh Scandinavian wilderness. Their thick coats, strong bodies, and large paws equipped them for climbing trees and hunting in rocky forests and frigid winters. That athletic heritage means they are naturally a robust, solid cat.
I hope this realistic outline of the costs helps you plan your budget if you decide to welcome one of these magnificent Norwegian Forest cats into your home. Please reach out if you need any other pet budgeting information!
Disclosure: This post may contains affiliate links. Your use of these links may result in a small commission for us, at no extra cost to you. These affiliate links don’t affect our content or recommendations; we only promote products and services we believe in. Your support through these links helps us maintain our website. We appreciate your trust and readership. If you have questions or concerns regarding our use of affiliate links, please contact us for clarification.