Being a centuries-old cat breed, the Norwegian Forest Cat lineage has had a lot of time to evolve a wide variety of colors and patterns.
Depending on the association, there are dozens of coats the Norwegian Forest Cat can have, from traditional brown tabby to cream smoke and white. Below you’ll find some of the more general categorizations of colors that the Norwegian Forest Cat can have.
A tabby cat is simply one that has stripes, regardless of the color. All tabby cats have lines on their face and an “M” pattern on the forehead.
Norwegian Forest Cat tabbies can be Black, Brown, Silver, Blue, Red, Cream or Tortie and the tabby pattern can further be broken down into four sub-patterns: Mackerel, Classic, Spotted or Ticked.
Red coloration in Norwegian Forest Cats is sex-linked, meaning it’s only carried on the X chromosome. Because males only have one X chromosome, if they inherit the gene for red coloration, they will be completely red (or a more diluted red).
Females, on the other hand, have two X chromosomes so they must have the red gene in both in order to be solid red in color, making it more rare in females.
As mentioned before, females have two X chromosomes so in order to get a solid color both must have the same coloration gene. If each chromosome carries a different color, then the result is usually a tortoiseshell (tortie) design, where the cat has a patchwork of color, the most common being black and orange.
However there are many different tortie color variations, including black, red, blue and cream.
Solid coloration in Norwegian Forest Cats is specifically defined as the cat not having tabby stripes or ticks. It’s actually a recessive trait for the cat to not be a tabby, therefore the default patterning in cats is tabby.
Red or cream colors do not come in solids, they are always some form of tabby pattern.
Some solid colors you may recognize are:
A common variation in any of these patterns is for the cat to have some white spotting intermixed. This white spotting can appear on the toes, feet, chin, tummy, legs, etc.
For more comprehensive information and pictures for each of the colors and patterns, visit https://www.tnfcs.co.uk/History/Colours.html