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The Norwegian Forest Cat is an ancient breed which originated in Norway over 500 years ago. Some believe 

the breed is 1,000 to 2,000 years old. Known as the Wegie, Norskogkatt, Skogkatt or Norskskaukatt, these 

cats are a direct descendant of the fairy-cats mentioned in Norse Mythology. In the myth, The Death of 

Balder, Freya - the goddess of love and fertility - drove a carriage pulled by skaukatts (literally meaning 

forest cats and originally used in a derogatory way) to Balder's funeral. In Thor's Journey to Utgard,Thor 

fails to lift Jormungand - disguised as a Skaukatt - completely off the floor, and thus is defeated in a 

contest of strength.

It is entirely possible that the ancestors of the Skogkatt are Turkish longhairs, since several Byzantine  emperors had Scandinavian guards - the Vaeringer. Cats have been farm animals ever since, usually living  outdoors with shelter wherever they could find it. Possibly the Skogkatt evolved here since it is very well  adapted to such a life. There is speculation that the Maine Coon, the Siberian, the Turkish longhairs and the  Skogkatt are related, having a common ancestral base somewhere, but this is still just speculation. It may  equally likely be a case of parallel evolution under similar living conditions.  The Cat Fancy in Norway got started as late as 1934, and not until 1938 did anyone think of the Skogkatt as  a special breed. Then, with the advent of World War II, all pedigree cat activities came to a temporary halt.  The Skogkatt was almost forgotten until the beginning of the seventies, when a group of fanciers started  breeding programs in earnest. In December 1975, Norwegian cat breeders started Norsk Skogkattring - The  Norwegian Forest Cat Club - to attempt to preserve the breed. By 1976, the breed was officially recognised  by FIFe. There was now a great deal of work ahead, finding appropriate breeding stock, ensuring that the gene pool  became large enough to ensure against the risks involved with inbreeding. This work went on in Scandinavia  until 1990 when it was decided to stop recognition of new animals from the countryside, the so-called  novices. All Skogkatts can be traced back to novices from the original program. The first two cats exported were sold to Sweden, and the United Stated received their first pair in  November 1979. Although there have been Skogkatts brought into Australia previously, the first registered  cat arrived in December 1998 in Western Australia with others in Queensland and subsequent imports into  Western Australia and New South Wales in 1999. Description- The Skogkatt is a relatively large, double coated cat that can come in any colour or pattern  except Himalayan pattern and lilac or chocolate colours. Their head is a triangular shape with a straight  profile, large tufted ears, and almond shape eyes. A medium length and squarish body with legs and tail as  long as the body - a male Skogkatt can grow up to 10kgs. Their distinctive double coat has a coarse, glossy  overcoat covering a thick woolly undercoat, which surprisingly does not knot. When mature, a profuse ruff  develops around the neck and down the chest to form a 'shirt front'. The tail is long and bushy.  The most common pattern in Skogkatts are tabby patterns, although spotted, patched, bi-colours and solids  are also commonly occuring. The tabby pattern occurs in classic, mackeral and spotted. The colours include  brown, tortie, red, blue, white, black, silver, smoke, blue-cream and cream. Tabby or tabby and white are  the most popular patterns/colours although the solid black is quite stunning. Their eyes can be any colour -  yellow, green or blue - and are not coat colour related.The semPong fur sometimes needs brushing and even  combing, but mostly the cat can handle its fur on its own. It may need help in removing twigs and other  debris though. The common wire brushes should be used when the cat is sheding, to help prevent furballs,  otherwise brushing once or twice a week with a bristle brush is usually sufficient.  Characteristics - When we talk temperament, the Skogkatt does not quite resemble other breeds. A feral  cat must be intelligent and inventive if it is to survive. In bad times when food is short or the weather is  bad, only the intelligent individuals who are able to use unorthodox methods to get food and shelter will  survive.The Skogkatt is courageous and fearless. For generations it has learnt that the best kind of defense  is an attack. This gives it a very strong will and robust nerves. Skogkatts do not become nervous or restless. They accept every change with surprising equanimity and easily adjust to new situtations.  At the same time, the Skogkatt is playful, lively, affectionate and alert cat. They have a loving and gentle  disposition. There is no reason a Skogkatt cannot live inside permanently, but it will be necessary to provide good facilities for climbing and/or scratching. A tall scratching post and a shelf high up will provide for the  cat's need for exercise. It is of course also possible for the cats to go outside. You will find the Skogcatt  appreciates climbing trees, usually the tallest ones, and you may see that they almost run down and not  rarely head first. Skogkatts are amazing hunters. They are curious as well as fearless and must be shown  what is acceptable prey. They can easily catch a bird in flight. If they are kept indoors, their favourite prey  will be flies and the like.  The Skogkatt agrees well with other breeds of cat, dogs and with children. Usually attaching themselves to  one particular person, Skogkatt will stay with that person through thick and thin. It is not unfriendly or  uninterested in the rest of the family, as long as it can be with its favourite member in quiet moments, in  times of stress and during illness. The intelligence of the Skogkatt and its energetic and lively behaviour naturally makes certain demands on  its owner, if the cat is to thrive physically and mentally. The Skogkatt loves to learn through play. It quickly  learns to walk on a leash, to fetch a 'prey' or to jump on command - just to mention a few things. Turning  knobs and flipping latches are also popular. If you make sure that the Skogkatt has something to play with,  and that it gets to use its' muscles, your reward will be a happy, beautiful and interesting friend for both  children and adults.  Click here for link to FIFe PDF file of breed standard. 
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