Among most domestic cat breeds, the Norwegian Forest Cat stands out with its thick coat, large size and muscular body. At first it may seem to be easy to identify a Norwegian Forest Cat, but sit one next to a Siberian Cat, Maine Coon or Ragdoll and you may suddenly not feel so sure.
But if you examine closely enough you’ll discover that the Norwegian Forest Cat is distinct physically and personality-wise from these other breeds, and even genetic testing will show a very different lineage that has developed separately over thousands of years.
The Norwegian Forest Cat has a double-layer coat consisting of a warm, fuzzy undercoat and a water-resistant upper coat of longer hairs. Their hair is designed to keep them warm in cold climates, which their ancestors had to navigate in the frigid forests of Norway. Even their tails are a solid ball of fur and they have fur between their toes to keep them warm in the snow. The hair all over their bodies is about the same length, which differs from other longhair cat breeds.
If you gaze into their eyes long enough, might might just fall in love with them. The Norwegian Forest Cat’s beautiful eyes are very round, but have a distinct almond shape to them.
They may also have green, gold or copper eyes, and some all-white Norwegians have blue eyes.
The head of a Norwegian Forest Cat is recognizable by any well-versed cat enthusiast. They have a more triangular face, and the line from their forehead to their nose is very straight.
The ears on a Norwegian Forest Cat are medium in size and rounded with tufts of fur on and around them to keep them warm.
Norwegian Forest Cats are large cats, to say the least. They are usually between 9-16 lbs depending on the gender, and their fur coat will make them appear even larger.
Their muscular builds contribute a lot to their hefty size, and they have big paws.
Their Colors and Patterns
Norwegian Forest Cats have a wide variety of colors and patterns. From tabby to tortie, red to black, you can find just about every color and pattern in this breed with the exception of the pointed pattern, which you fill find in most other breeds.
Breeds that Closely Resemble the Norwegian Forest Cat
Indeed, there are other breeds out there that seem to closely resemble the Norwegian Forest Cat. The Siberian Cat also wears a thick coat and is around the same size, but look closely at the ears, face structure and coat color and you’ll notice they are certainly not the same cat.
Similarly, the Ragdoll also has a thick coat, but doesn’t get nearly as big as the Norwegian Forest Cat and has a very different face structure and coat pattern.
And finally, the Maine Coon might also be comparable in terms of ruggedness and coat length, but they can be much bigger than the Norwegian Forest Cat and their lion-like face is unmistakably different.
You can read further for more information on the differences between these breeds in these articles: