Norwegian Forest Cats have a double layer coat consisting of a warm, fuzzy undercoat topped by a water-resistant overcoat. Their warm coat would keep their ancestors warm in the frigid winters of Norway, and their overcoat would keep the damp snow from soaking through to their skin. They’re also very water-tolerant cats, and can even be caught playing in water or swimming.
Norwegian Forest Cat Shedding
As any Norwegian Forest Cat owners is well-aware, about twice a year their lovable fluff ball will shed much of that coat and leave hair all over the house. You can expect one major shedding period in the spring and one in the winter, with regular shedding in-between. This is common in any longhair cat as they prepare for warmer months and make way for new hairs to grow in their place.
But for any owner, a heavily shedding cat can be stressful, leaving hair all over the furniture and house and getting it on their favorite clothes. There are several key things you can do to significantly reduce the amount of shedding by your Norwegian Forest Cat and keep your house clean of cat hair.
Grooming Your Norwegian Forest Cat
Grooming is a necessary part of caring for your Norwegian Forest Cat, especially since they’re a longhair cat. Norwegian Forest Cats are adept at grooming themselves through licking, but excessive self-grooming can lead to excessive hairballs, which is at least very uncomfortable for your cat. Not only that, but consistently brushing your longhair cat is important to reduce tangles in knots in their hair.
It’s recommended that you groom your Norwegian Forest Cat at least once per week during non-shedding seasons and 2-3 times per week during heavy shedding seasons.
That may seem like a lot of brushing, but it’s well worth it!
Brushes for Your Norwegian Forest Cat
So that begs the question, what kind of grooming devices will I need to get the job done? There are several different kinds of brushes and combs on the market for longhair cats. You may need to get a few as each accomplishes a different task during grooming and may be better for when your Norwegian’s coat is thicker vs. more thinned out.
Also, every cat is different and may respond differently to a certain kind of brush. Try different brushes out to see how your Norwegian Forest Cat responds; after all you’ll be using it a lot!
- Dematting Tools – For long-haired cats who often get matted fur and have very thin wire teeth set on different angles designed to thoroughly groom your cat without hurting their skin.
- Slicker Brushes – For medium to long-haired cats.
- Grooming Mitts and Gloves – Made with rubber nibs on the palm area and are best for cats who are uncomfortable with brushes.
- Rubber Brushes – Made with rubber teeth for sensitive cats.
- Pin Brushes – For medium to long-haired cats that have wide-set teeth that are less aggressive than deshedding tools.
- Bristle Brushes – Distributes natural oils and beautifies the coat, often paired with a pin brush to finish the grooming.
- Tools and Rakes – For cats with thick coats who shed a lot. They have thin metal teeth that reach deep into your cat’s coat to remove all levels of loose hairs.
How to Brush Your Norwegian Forest Cat
At first, your Norwegian Forest Cat might not like being groomed or it might feel unnatural to you, but practice makes perfect!
Find a nice, calm place to groom your Norwegian that is free of obstruction and will be easy to hold the cat, such as a table, couch, or the floor. It might be a good idea to pick a familiar place to the cat so they’re more comfortable during the grooming process.
Try to make your Norwegian Forest Cat calm and happy by petting, speaking softly and scratching their favorite places. Reducing the cat’s stress and anxiety during the grooming process will make it easier on both you and the cat.
Make sure you have the right tools (see above) ready. Start with the brush or wide-tooth comb in order to get out the tangles in the overcoat. These tools won’t be able to effectively reach the undercoat just yet as their purpose is to detangle and thin out the overcoat. With the cat on its stomach, begin up at the head and work your way down to the tail.
Then, turn the cat on its back, more on one side than the other. You can now brush the underside of the cat, first on one side and then on the other. Take care to avoid the nipples if your Norwegian Forest Cat is a female. This is usually the stage of grooming that cats don’t like, and you’ll probably have to hold your cat down to keep them from squirming or running away.
To effectively hold the cat down, make a “V” with your thumb and other fingers and press down on the cat near the shoulder in head (while they’re on their back). This will effectively hold the cat in place while you groom the upper half. To hold the cat while grooming the lower half you can use your arm and elbow. Eventually you will learn what works well when grooming your cat.
Once the overcoat is brushed and detangled, you can move on to a finer-tooth comb to get the undercoat. Repeat the same process at above to brush the undercoat. You may need to move back to the brush and/or wide-tooth comb if you find a knot too big for the fine-tooth comb.
Make sure you hit problem areas such as the belly and under the arms.
Dealing with Particularly Bad Mats and Tangles
While grooming your cat often should be effective in getting rid of mats and tangles, every so often you’ll still encounter a tangle that requires extra attention.
There are several things you can do to try to get rid of the tangle, such as:
- Use talcum powder on the knot, and try to gently tease it out with your fingers first.
- Hold the tangle near the root and use the comb to tease out the knot a little at a time.
- Try a mat splitter, a tool that can effectively split up the knot to make it easier to brush out the remaining parts.
- Cut out the mat. This method is not recommended unless you have no alternate option for removing the mat.
Bathing Your Norwegian Forest Cat
Although many articles will recommend that you frequently bathe your longhair cat, this is not the case for Norwegian Forest Cats. Soaps will typically wash off the natural oil that makes their hair water-resistant, which isn’t good for the health of the cat.
Only bathe your Norwegian Forest Cat if absolutely necessary, such as if they get really dirty or there is a specific medical reason to do so.
When is Shedding a Cause For Concern?
If your Norwegian Forest Cat is losing patches of fur, shedding an excessive amount or scratching and biting at the same spot then it may be necessary to take them to a vet. Some issues that may cause excessive shedding include:
- Poor Diet
- Pregnancy or lactation
- Bacterial Infection
- Hormonal Imbalance
Removing Norwegian Forest Cat Hair from Furniture and Clothing
If you’re finding a lot of cat hair on your clothes, have no fear! There are several effective ways to remove that cat hair so you can go on with your day:
- Lint rollers are your best friend. Keep one by your door, in your car and perhaps even at your place of work.
- Put your clothes in a dryer with a dryer sheet or dryer ball for 10-20 minutes.
Likewise, if you don’t feel like bombarding guests in your home with cat hair, here are a few ways to remove it from furniture:
- Use damped rubber gloves – rub the damp rubber gloves over the surfaces of furniture and simply rinse them to clear the hair and repeat as needed.
- Spray a mixture of water and fabric softener on the furniture’s surface and then wipe off the fur.
- To target hair on wooden or hard surfaces, use anti-static dusting spray to minimize the hair’s electric charge that keeps in clinging to the surface.
- On carpet, try wiping up fur with a pumice stone.
- Vacuuming always works on carpet, you may just have to go over some spots a few extra times.
- On hardwood laminate floors, use a microfiber dry mop as a vacuum may just blow fur around.
Can I Stop My Norwegian Forest Cat from Shedding?
In short, the answer is no. Longhair cats such as the Norwegian Forest Cat naturally shed a lot, so if you don’t like how much they might shed then perhaps a shorthair cat would be more suitable for your home.