Norwegian Forest Cat History

Pan's Truls - First Recognized Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat emerged from the forest some 4000 years ago.  Most likely, the ancestors of the Skogkatt were Southern European shorthaired cats that migrated to Norway in prehistoric times.  Through natural selection, only those cats survived that adapted to meet the challenges posed by the difficult climate. Eventually, the Forest Cat became a working farm cat, useful for rodent control.

The Cat Fancy in Norway started in the 1930s and out of it grew a movement to preserve the Forest Cat as the Norwegian national breed.  The movement was interrupted by World War II and was not resurrected until the 1970s when changes in Norway had improved the chances of the shorthaired housecats’ survival.  Crossbreeding between the Forest Cats and the shorthaired housecat and other breeds was bringing the Skogkatt to extinction.  In December 1975, a dedicated group of breeders in Norway formed the first Norwegian Forest Cat breed club, Norsk Skogkattring, to save the breed by developing a breeding program.  The next year, a European cat registry recognized the breed with Provisional status.  Then, in 1977, it officially accepted the Norwegian Forest Cat for competition.  From then until 1990, the breeders worked diligently to find appropriate non-pedigreed examples of the breed and have them certified for registration by a panel of judges.  The goal was to develop a gene pool large enough to ensure that the breed would not have to rely on inbreeding and the risks that can be involved.

In 1979, the first breeding pair of Norwegian Forest Cats was imported into the United States.  Two years later, the first surviving litter of kittens was born in the United States.  CFA acceptance of the “new” breed was a major goal of Norwegian Forest Cat breeders in the United States. The Norwegian Forest Cat secured championship status in CFA in 1993.  This Web site explores the NFC's history in the Cat Fanciers' Association.


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