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All about your Norwegian Forest Cat

Fun-loving and sociable, while always appreciative of praise.

The Norwegian Forest Cat, affectionately known as the ‘Wegie’, is a loving feline who enjoys being around his family, but will come and go as he pleases. Find out what you need to know about this large, long-haired cat, from his temperament and how he should be groomed, to his health and exercise needs.

A Norwegian Forest Cat Stretches On A Tree Branch

Breed information & advice

The friendly Norwegian Forest Cat is clever and independent – not your typical lap cat. As an athletic breed he loves climbing, so don’t be surprised to find him at the top of wardrobes or bookcases around your home.

  • He enjoys playing with a family, although can be a little reserved around visitors.
  • Despite having a beautiful, long-haired coat, he won’t require a huge amount of grooming – a brush once a week will suffice.
  • Typically he will weigh between 4kg and 8kg, when fully grown.
  • A healthy Norwegian Forest Cat will usually live for 13 to 16 years.

Typical size of a Norwegian Forest


The Norwegian Forest Cat is large, heavy-boned and enjoys plenty of playful exercise. Take time to incorporate regular play time into your cat’s day and allow space for him to roam about – this will help him to control his weight too. Because he loves to climb and explore, try to introduce perches around your house to encourage him to stay in shape.

Feed your cat a balanced diet of high-quality food each day – the amount will vary depending on his size and age, and always read the food packet instructions. Watch his diet carefully to help prevent him from becoming overweight.

Wild at heart

The Norwegian Forest Cat still displays hunter-like tendencies, so you may often find him chasing and ambushing toys.

Norwegian Forest Cat Stands In Shallow Snow
Norwegian Forest Cat with Himalayan Pattern

Common health problems & illnesses

There’s no reason why your Norwegian Forest Cat shouldn’t live a long and happy life. However, being aware of the ailments your cat will be more prone to, along with the associated symptoms, can help you to deal with any health issues that crop up.

1. Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. There are many causes, from infections and poisoning to foreign bodies and tumours. If symptoms persist, contact your vet who may recommend doing tests on your cat to find out the underlying cause. Antibiotics and rehydration treatment may be recommended, depending on your circumstances.

Gastroenteritis accounted for 5% of all Tesco Pet Insurance claims for this breed in 2015.

2. Urinary Obstruction

Norwegian Forest Cats may be susceptible to feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). This refers to a group of ailments concerning the bladder and urethra. It’s sometimes difficult to identify the cause, but problems may arise from bladder stones, cystitis, bacterial infections and other underlying conditions. Symptoms include abnormal and painful urination and blood in the urine. In male cats, this can lead to urethral obstruction. If you suspect FLUTD in your cat, contact your vet as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.

3. Feline Epilepsy

Epilepsy occurs due to unusual activity in the brain, which can lead to seizures or fits. A number of conditions can cause epilepsy, including kidney disorders, brain tumours or toxins (such as chocolate). Epilepsy generally takes one of two forms: partial seizures, which only affect a small part of the body, or generalised seizures, which affect the whole body. If you notice any signs in your cat, make an appointment with your vet who will be able to diagnose the issue and prescribe medication to ease the symptoms.

4. Feline Leukaemia

Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) is an infection in cats, which can lead to cancerous tumours. FeLV can also cause problems with the immune system and Anaemia. Symptoms may vary, but things to look out for include weight loss, fever, lethargy and recurrent illness. Your vet will be able to undertake diagnostic tests for the infection and advise on treatment that may include chemotherapy, supportive therapy and changes in diet. If your cat is affected, take care to keep him isolated from other cats.

5. Lameness

The Norwegian Forest Cat could develop lameness from a number of conditions relating to his joints. Look out for early warning signs in your cat such as him moving slowly or gingerly, and avoiding jumping. If investigated, you could find his limping is down to a fracture resulting from an injury, or joint problems including degenerative joint disease or arthritis. Depending on the cause, treatment can range from pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis to surgery for broken bones.

Cat name popularity

If you’re struggling to think of a name for your Norwegian Forest Cat, take a look at the most popular ones at Tesco Pet Insurance for inspiration.

Cat name popularity

Average treatment costs

Wondering whether pet insurance for your Norwegian Forest Cat is worth it? We’ve put together the top five conditions claimed for by Tesco Pet Insurance customers in 2015, and the average cost of treatment.

ConditionAverage treatment cost
Road traffic accident£1,118.07
Joint problem£134.09
Feline leukaemia virus£224.36

Tesco Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/01/15 to 31/12/15.

Considering Norwegian Forest Cat insurance?

We know your cat is an important member of the family, so give them the protection they deserve with Tesco Pet Insurance.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.

Grooming advice

The Norwegian Forest Cat’s long coat will tangle or become matted if it’s left unattended, so it’s a good idea to brush or comb it two to three times a week. This will also reduce the number of hairballs you find around the house. He will shed his thick winter coat in the spring, so you’ll need to comb him more during this period.

Kittens’ coats don’t start developing until they’re three months old, though it can take two years before their coats reach full maturity.

Keep his nails in good condition by trimming them weekly. By checking his ears every week, you will be able to spot signs of infection, such as redness or a bad smell – clean them with a dampened cotton ball to remove any dirt or debris. This breed is also prone to periodontal disease, so it’s important to brush his teeth, ideally on a daily basis, with a vet-approved toothpaste.

Try to introduce your kitten to grooming early on so he’ll learn to accept it as part of his routine.

Fun & interesting facts

  • This giant feline is Norway’s national cat.
  • The breed has been around for 4,000 years – and it’s thought he was used to keep rats off Vikings’ ships.
  • Norwegian Forest Cats are known as “fairy cats” in Norse folklore and are said to be favoured by Freya, the goddess of love and beauty.
  • He has his own built-in snow shoes – long tufts of hair in between his toes to protect him from frostbite.
  • In 2015, a Norwegian Forest Cat named Beebz helped to save his owner’s life when she had a seizure.

Important information


The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to pet breeds, but does not constitute expert veterinary advice. If your dog or cat falls ill or has an injury, contact your vet immediately. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance has a partnership with vetfone™ which means that as a customer, you can benefit from their advice as part of your policy.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

All facts and figures were correct at date of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.


Vetfone™ is a 24/7 helpline that provides expert advice from nurses qualified with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need reassurance on grooming, feeding or general advice, vetfone™ is there to help.

As a Tesco Pet Insurance customer, you can access expert veterinary advice provided by RCVS registered vet nurses as a standard benefit with your policy, and the service is provided at no additional cost. A quick call could answer any questions you have about your pet, give you peace of mind and could even save you an expensive trip to the vet.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

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