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Standard of Norwegian Forest Cats Around The World

by Jette Eva Madsen.

The name seems to be the same: Norsk Skogkatt - Norsk Skovkat - Norse Boskatten- Norwegische Waldkatze - Chat de Forêt Norvegienne - Norwegian Forest Cat.

Also we seem to agree on the fact that a Norwegian Forest Cat has long fur but from here on the agreement seems to stop. In the different organizations we have different written standards for the Norwegian Forest Cat. In Europe alone we have at least 3 different European standards. One in FIFe, a different one in GCCF (United Kingdom) and a third one in WCF. During the last years also TICA and CFA have founded clubs in Europe but the number of NFC shown in these clubs are still limited for reasons that will be clear later in the article.

Generally the 3 European standards are very similar and cats from the three different associations show well in the other associations.

Most similar are the two standards of FIFe and GCCF. This is a fact that help very much when Englishmen and Scandinavians change cats. I believe though that there is a greater interest in colors in GCCF than in FIFe. Especially the English Breeders have a great interest in the diluted colors (blue, cream and bluecream variants).

The standards of FIFe and WCF were identical until two years ago but after the change in FIFe’s standard the two associations have a slight disagreement as to how the ideal ear-placement should be. The FIFe breeders of NFC discovered some years ago that the look of the NFC was changing towards a more refined, sweet look and at the same time the ears seemed to move upwards on the head. Therefore the standard was changed in order to emphasize that the NFC look alert and that the outer line of the ears should follow the line of the cheeks. After this there has been a clear difference in the preferred ear placement between the WCF that now wants the ears placed much higher on the head than FIFe wants. Also there seems the be a preference for a more elegant cat in the WCF than in FIFe.

When we try to compare the standards from FIFe, CFA and TICA we see that they differ in a lot of aspects. An attempt to explain the reason behind this can only be a qualified guess, so here it comes: When you construct a new standard you try to relate to something you know. When the FIFe’s standard was written breeders looked at the standard of the Persian cat. Compared to the Persian the NFC was a big cat with a long body, big ears, high legs, rather high placed ears, etc. These observations made the basis for today’s standard. A few years later the first NFC were sent to USA. Breeders wanted them to be recognized as a separate breed and wanted to construct a standard that would make this possible. In USA however there was a similar breed called the Maine Coon so when they looked at the NFC it looked like a medium sized cat with moderate length of body, and rather low placed ears of medium size.

This leaves us where we are today. We have a situation where breeders in USA and Europe focus on and select for two very different set of characters. We have now two different types where one type usually will do very bad at shows from the other organizations and visa versa.

I believe though that this situation will change in the future. There is a great interest in cats from other organizations and the traffic with kittens to and from different organizations is also rapidly growing. The fact that TICA and CFA has now gained root in Europe will clearly also lead to a more uniform standard. Last the breed is now growing incredibly fast and more breeders means more ideas, more experience, more exchange of genetic material and a greater challenge to all of us.