Norwegian Forest cat, between myths and legends

The history of the Norwegian forest cat is full of legends related to the Vikings

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Norwegian Forest cat, between myths and legends

The history of the Norwegian forest cat is full of legends related to the Vikings. In fact, it is said that they used to keep the cats of the woods near their homes at home and that they took them on ships, during travels, as mouse hunters.

Some Norse legends tell that Freia, goddess of love and fertility, wandered around the world on a chariot pulled by two large long-haired cats looking for her consort Óðr and that Thor, god of thunder, was also subjected to a test of force which consisted of lifting a large cat.

The first writers to systematically collect and transcribe the ancient legends were the folklorist Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and the poet Jørgen Moe. In 1835 they published a collection of Norwegian stories and songs that made them famous as the Norwegian Brothers Grimm.

In 1912 the artist Olaf Gulbransson made a drawing of a large Skogkatt type specimen in his autobiography; the drawing dates to around 1910. In the 1930s, due to the de-ruralization of the wild environment, domestication led to a crossbreeding with short-haired house cats.

As the short coat gene is dominant, the typical Skogkatt coat became increasingly rare. In November 1977 Carl-Frederick Nordane traveled to Paris to participate in the FIFé general assembly, bringing with him several photos of what would soon become a new breed.

The judges recognized in Pans Truls, brown tabby with white, the standard by which the entire breed would be identified and assigned the standard number 13 NF. The news caused a stir in the country of origin, where the television broadcast Truls' photo, announcing the official recognition of the Norwegian forest cat.

Large in size, long, robustly built and with solid bone structure. The head is triangular with all sides equal, of good height seen in profile, slightly rounded forehead, straight profile without interruption, strong chin.

The ears are large, wide at the base, pointed, with tufts similar to those of the lynx and long hairs protruding from them. The eyes are large, oval, well open and oblique and the color varies from green to green-gold. Careful expression.

The legs are robust, high, with hind legs higher than the front ones. The hair is semi-long. The woolly undercoat is covered with a glossy, water-repellent topcoat which is made up of long, thick, glossy hairs that cover the back and flanks.

A full coat cat has a ruff, full mane, and shorts on the hind legs. They can be found in all colors, including all varieties with white. Point (Siamese) designs and chocolate, lilac, cinnamon and fawn colors are excluded.