HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIAN FOREST CAT
The Norwegian Forest Cat (NFO) is a natural breed, its origins have not been established accurately but one thing is true, is a creation of the Mother Nature. The NFO has been with us among centuries, like a small and beautiful version of the lynx, being part of the Norway's fauna. There are many stories in the Norwegian folklore about the NFO, these cats were the pets of the Vikings and they were used to keep their boats clean from rats during their long trips.
Norway is a land of rough mountains, calm lakes and wild forests. Winters are long, rough and dark. The summers are fresh and brief. From this hard and difficult land emerge the Norse Skogkatt that literally means the Norwegian cat of the forest.
Pan's Truls, the first standard of the NFO was based on this cat.
The original cats with all the unique characteristics to the breed existed 500 years ago, although some say that the antiquity of the breed could go back to 1,200 years. There are many references in Nordic mythology that only can describe the Skogkatt. These myths were developed by the folklore and the songs of the great feats that were counted around centuries 7, 8 and 9. This cat had long and robust legs, was intelligent and brave, equipped with a double semi-long coat; the superior layer was shining and impermeable and the inner layer was smooth and cottony. This system of layers maintained it warm even when temperatures go below zero. Their hooves were great and hairy with strong claws that used to fish and to climb trees. The NFO as we know it today has been developed by natural selection, because only the most resistant cats with the impermeable layer more thickness, the longest legs, etc. could survive in the rough climate of Norway.
Already in the XXth century, this magnificent
cat had become a peculiarity and ran the risk of being extinguished due
to the crossings with domestic cats. In the middle of the 30´s Norwegians
began to formulate plans to assure the future of the Skogkatt and some
of them even appear in feline exhibitions, is towards 1938 when the NFO
began to be considering like a breed. With the arrival of 2ª World
War all the activities and events were suppressed temporarily and the
NFO returned to be forgotten. It was not until 1970 when the Norwegians
realized of the risk of losing one of his national treasures and initiated
a special program of breed to protect the NFO. After a hard work in Norway,
the Norwegian Forest Cat finally was recognized by FIFe like a breed in
1976 and accepted pedigree in the feline competitions.
At the moment Norwegian Forest Cats are living
in wild state in the Scandinavian Peninsula.....and in the Abantos mount.
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