Norwegian Forest Cats, The Pets Of The Vikings
The Norwegian forest cats are a very popular breed of cats in the Nordic countries. They are one of the most popular pet choices in Norway, Iceland, Sweden and also France. It is believed that they were brought by the Vikings in Norway during the early Middle Ages from the British archipelago, and since then they became accustomed to the Scandinavian cold climate. This is why their fur had grown rather long compared to that of other breeds of cats.
The Norwegian forest cats may also be a mixture of cats brought by the Vikings from the British Isles during the Viking Age and various longhaired cats brought by the Crusaders in Norway. These longhaired cats were likely of the Turkish Angora breed. The Norwegian forest cats are also strikingly similar to their Siberian counterparts.
In Norwegian, they are referred to as ‘Norsk skogkatt’ (singular form), and several Norse legends depicts their ancestors as mountain-dwelling fairy cats with an incredible climbing skill. Furthermore, it is believed that their ancestors served on the Norse longships as mousers during Viking raids. Aside from being used on sea, these cats were prised in medieval Norway for their hunting aptitudes and their talent in regards to climbing, being an indispensable pet on farms.
Nevertheless, the breed nearly became extinct in the mid 20th century, but thanks to the noteworthy efforts made by the Norwegian Forest Cat Club they were saved through a special breeding program. The Norwegian forest cats have also been registered at the European Fédération Internationale Féline as early as the 1970s, by a cat enthusiast by the name Carl-Fredrik Nordane. They were subsequently named Norway’s national cat.
You can watch the following video briefly depicting the breed’s history:
Documentation sources and external links:
- Norwegian Forest cat on www.wikipedia.org
- Breed Profile: The Norwegian Forest Cat on www.cfa.org
- Norwegian Forest Cat Article on www.cfa.org
- 10 Furry Facts About Norwegian Forest Cats on www.mentalfloss.com
- Information on Norwegian Forest cats on www.catster.com
- Norwegian Forest Cat breed on www.vetstreet.com
- Norwegian Forest Cat on www.animalplanet.com
- Norwegian forest cats on www.norgeskaukatt.co.uk
- Presentation of the Norwegian Forest Cat breed on www.skogkattslingan.com
- The Domestication of the Cat on www.messybeast.com
- Viking pets and domesticated animals on www.vikinganswerlady.com