NORWEGIAN FOREST CAT – SOME BREED SPECIFIC FEATURES ILLUSTRATED

NORWEGIAN FOREST CAT, MAINE COON, SIBERIAN OR A DOMESTIC LONGHAIR?

There is still some confusion about the difference and breed specific features between the Norwegian Forest Cat, a Siberian, a Maine Coon and a Domestic Longhair. Though we love all of our cats the same, and all of the cats, for that matter,  – the same, we would like to contribute a little to clearing this confusion. Mostly because it is important to see the signs of breed, even in mixes, as it could greatly help with understanding your cat’s behavior.

We will use the latest pictures of our handsome boy Nine to illustrate some Norwegian Forest Cat breed specific features to help you with defining the differences between Domestic Longhair, Norwegian Forest Cat, Maine Coon and Siberian breeds of cats.

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In defining Nine’s breed, we could only rely on our research and extensive experience of raising all of the breeds, our vet’s expertise and also the unfortunate sighting of his Dad and little sister killed on the Highway, within the short distance of our village. (You can read the full story about how we got Nine (Ni Lille Mann Monark Undre Stovier) here: Three Catooges). Where Nine is a very good model for exploring the Norwegian Forest Cat breed specific features, he is still not pedigreed, and there is a possibility of a mix. However, he does posses enough of the characteristics for us to make our little contribution to the topic and, if all else fails, to showcase the most adorable Canadian miracle stray kitten. Enjoy! Please, remember to share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

EARS



Here is Nine lazying out the extreme cold spell we had at the end of December. Even though it did not really prevent him from having some fun outside (see the video Canadian Kittens Are Tough!), he was more true to the cat’s natural drive to seek comfort, warmth and quiet environment for the mandatory naps. In this picture he generously allows us to admire his heavily furnished ears, one of the most definitive features of a Norwegian Forest Cat (also can be found in MC and Siberians, but not in Domestic Long Haired cats).

The Norwegian Forest Cats have pointy ears, which are situated more to the side of the head. Their ears can also have lynx-like tuffs (more commonly seen in Maine Coons, and not in DLH or Siberians)

Norwegian Forest Cat Kitten Nine 6 Months heavy ears furnishings. Cute Canadian Stray Kitten.
Nine 6 Months. Note the heavy hair furnishings in his ears.

Norwegian Forest Cat Kitten Nine 6 months demonstrating the pointy ears with lynx-like tuffs situated more to the side of the head than to the topNine 6 months. Pointy ears with lynx-like tuffs are more to the side of the head than to the top. Compare with the DLH/MC mix (DLH prevails) Sky below:

Domestic Longhair Mix with Maine Coon does not have the same ears as Norwegian Forest Cat They are rounded and set further apart without heavy furnishings

Norwegian Forest Cat kitten Nine six months demonstrating the side position of ears The ears are pointed forward and inwards
Nine’s paws

Also, the ears on a Norwegian Forest Cat are slightly tilted forward and pointing inwards, almost like he is listening to something all the time.

COAT AND TAIL



Another incredibly outstanding feature of the Norwegian Forest Cat breed is their coat. Nine is too young yet and found us before his first winter. So, we can only have a slight idea of what his coat will be like when he matures. But he possesses the maximum representation of the breed’s coat expectations:

The coarse and very shiny top coat (guard hairs) that carry the water-repellant qualities. Very thick, dense undercoat (literally impossible to get through to his skin!) The tail looks like it is growing from his bum, it is so wide and fluffy at the base. We are not looking forward to spring, when all this will end up on the carpets and furniture… Oh, well, just have to get the brushes and lint rollers ready:)

Norwegian Forest Cat kitten Nine six months showing off the beautiful shaggy coat and the base of the most luxurious tail any cat can have.
Nine showing off the beautiful shaggy coat and the base of the most luxurious tail any cat can have.
Norwegian Forest Cat kitten Nine six months has the breed specific dense guard fur which makes the coat very glossy
Note the mirror-like reflection on Nine’s back coat. The hairs (outer guard hairs) make this gloss effect because they are very dense, positioned very close to each other.

EYES AND FACE



Oh, the eyes of a Norwegian Forest Cat! It is that type of cat that when you look at her, will make you wait for the cat to start talking human. Beautifully shaped almonds, changing the color in the nice spectrum of bright green and golden hazel. The outer corners are higher than the lower. They are the most expressive eyes you would ever see on a cat.

The head is a perfect triangle, or to be precise – one equilateral triangle (chin to bases of ears on each side) inside another (chin to tops of ears on each side). Found in Norwegian Forest Cats only, this is, arguably, the MOST definitive characteristic of the NFC breed.

Norwegian Forest Cat Kitten Nine six months demonstrating the incredibly beautiful eyes

Norwegian Forest Cat Kitten Nine Distinctive shape of the eyes with perfect straight nose decorating the triangular shape of his head

PAWS

The Norwegian Forest Cats have a very distinctive and very captivating feature: their paws are very heavily tufted, pretty much leaving no open skin.
Norwegian Forest Cat Kitten heavily tufted paws

Norwegian Forest Cats have heavily tufted paws to help them stay warm in the snow
Nine’s paw

We hope you enjoyed our little illustration tour, and we would love to hear back from you!

NINE PLAYING SKY DRUMS IN HIS SLEEP

In the early stages of life kittens twitch or make other funny motions simply because they are growing! They grow fast, and their muscles need to be constantly engaged in motion. This happens even when they sleep!

Nine is a very fast growing kitten and is already a big boy at the sweet age of 5 ½ months. He is a Norwegian Forest Cat, and he will take about 3 years to fully grow. He is very active when he is awake. So, he does exercise his muscles a lot, promoting their growth while he sleeps as well.

Most of the time Nine (Ni Lille Mann Monark Undre Stovier) sleeps on his back. Naturally, he stretches his paws into the air. In this video he amused us with a drumming session on his invisible sky drums.



It is hard to say for sure if kittens dream at the early age. Since the cat sleeps about 16 hours a day, then majority of growth happens during the sleep. Some kittens would rotate their paws more often than stretch them. Some kittens would “suckle” on air. As long as the kitten is not suddenly twitches and “freezes” – which could be a sign of a seizure, or does not move at all (some say this could be a sign of a kitten being unhealthy), enjoy while you can! When they grow older, they usually just snore really loud.