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Norwegian Forest Cats and Genetics

by Jette Eva Madsen.

The world of cat genetics is full of strange beliefs and advises. The world of the Norwegian Forest Cats even more so since it is a new breed and a natural breed that is commonly believed not to follow the rules of the established cat genetics.

Especially with regard to colour and tabbypattern breeders often make a mistake thinking that NFC’s have their own rules of inheritance.

It is understandable because being a nature cat that has only been cultivated by breeders for a few generations, we still rarely see the same kind of clear, bright colour and excellently defined tabbypattern as we see on the older breeds.

Adding to the lack of clear colours and tabbypatterns is the fact that in the counties of origin of the NFC the standard allow for all colours, pattern and amounts of white (excluding only masked pattern, chocolate and lilac).

This means that breeders do usually not consider the outcome of the colour and pattern of the coat when they plan their matings. More so because many breeders find the fact that it is possible to mix all colours and pattern vary charming. They also love their tarnished silvervariants or black cats with small white medallions.

We have breeders amongst us that want to go on with the colours like nature have done for centuries. They believe that wild female NFC looked more at the strength and self-confidence of their lovers than at the clearness of his colour and the definition of his tabbypattern! I believe they are right and I understand and respect their point of view. In spite of this the trend amongst breeders nowadays is to look more and more at pattern and colour. It is a well known fact that with today’s enormous competition, amongst the NFC at the show bench, the colour of the cat does mean something when two cats are equally good.

In the future we will probably see breeders both in the countries of NFC-origin in FIFe and in the other clubs (TICA, CFA, GCCF etc.) work more and more with colours and pattern. Some of the original charm of the breed will perhaps be lost but maybe that is the cost of being recognised as a popular international breed?