Norwegian Forest - breed information and advice

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, slow-maturing breed, with strong legs, a long body, a bushy tail and striking eyes, . Hardy, intelligent and muscular, 'Wegies' love to climb and hunt. With a love of water and a water-repellent coat, they're great at fishing, too. They are sociable and friendly, enjoying the company of their human family and that of other pets, and are unhappy when left alone for long periods.
Take a look at our cat insurance policies to ensure your Norwegian Forest cat is protected in the case of an emergency.

Breed information


Colour: A wide variety of colours, patterns and markings can be found, including those with white flashes.

Coat: Semi long-haired with a double-layered coat: a woolly first coat and a longer, coarser 'guard' coat. It needs weekly grooming (but never bathing), and daily brushing during shedding.

Life span: Maturing at five years, life expectancy is 12+ years.

Eye conditions

There are many kinds of eye disorders in cats. Norwegian Forest Cats may experience problems with the light-sensitive part of their eye known as the retina. This can result from inflammation or detachment, due to trauma or high blood pressure. They may also suffer from conjunctivitis (inflammation of the insides of a cat’s eyelids); glaucoma (caused by increased pressure inside the eyeball); cataracts (opacity of the lens); or entropion (inward rolling of the eyelids). Treatment of each eye condition depends on the type and severity of the problem, although many are treated using eyedrops.


We paid £3,202 to treat Lottie the cat for eye problems in 2016

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Heart disease

Heart disease in cats refers to when the heart’s structures aren’t working as they should be. There are two categories of heart disease: congenital (meaning the cat is born with it) and acquired (meaning the disease develops later in life). Congenital heart diseases include defects in the wall of the heart, abnormal valves and blood vessels. Norwegian Forest Cats are prone to a disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure. Whilst this condition is not curable, it can be treated with lifelong medication.


We paid £3,741 to treat Milly the cat for heart disorders in 2016

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Kidney disease

Kidney disease is caused by infections, toxins (especially licking anti-freeze) as well as age related changes. Although many signs of kidney disease are the same as those for any problem with the urinary tract (frequent, painful attempts to urinate, and blood in the urine for example), there may be some differences. Norwegian Forest Cats are prone to a condition of the kidneys where multiple cysts form within the organ, which compromises kidney function. Medication and special diets can be used to treat most kidney problems although surgery may be required for cysts.


We paid £3,791 to treat Marley the cat for a kidney disorder in 2016

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Conditions that affect a cat’s bladder and urethra are collectively known as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is more commonly referred to as cystitis. Norwegian Forest Cats can suffer from these conditions, which can be caused by stress, not urinating enough, infections and bladder stones or crystals. Cats suffering from cystitis make frequent, painful attempts to urinate, and blood is often found in the urine. Treatment depends on the cause, but cats diagnosed with cystitis will usually require pain relief, access to plenty of water, special diets and perhaps some help to reduce stress.


Cystitis is the second most common illness we see in Norwegian Forest Cats

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Orthopaedic problems

Cats can suffer from various joint, bone and ligament diseases, which are known as orthopaedic problems. One that Norwegian Forest Cats may suffer from is hip dysplasia, where the ball and socket of the hip joint do not develop properly. Hip dysplasia may not show until it has progressed to secondary arthritis (inflammation and bone changes in the affected joint that cause pain and lameness). Anti-inflammatory painkillers, joint supplements and sometimes surgery may be required to control arthritic pain in cats. These can be used from time to time or on an ongoing basis to make sure the cat is happy and comfortable.


We paid £2,065 to treat Purdy the cat for arthritis in 2016

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