by Jette Eva Madsen, 28.05.1999.

It is always difficult to foretell the future but that is exactly what makes it so interesting to try to.

The past

In the past the breeders of Forest Cats have been trough a lot of different breeding phases. It all started with just a few cats and for the first 15 years, there was constantly recognized novice cats. These cats came mostly from Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

Slowly the different countries in Europe ended the recognizing of novices because the genetically basis of the breed had grown to a large and stable gene pool.

The kind of breeding, which was connected to the breeding where novices and close ancestors to novices were involved, bases its success very much on lucky chances. The number of novices and the number of matings with no success were very large. This kind of breeding acquires a large number of breeding cats in order to test different possibilities and learn what is hidden in the breeding stock.

This kind of breeding need devoted breeders that can bear numerous disappointments and that are able to change path to the goal when a roadblock shows up. On the same hand, this kind of breeding often give results in not foreseen directions and in great leaps. Therefore, breeders with an opportunistic attitude towards breeding are often favored.

The present situation

Today no countries allow the recognition of novices in the breed and the genetic material the breeders work with is well understood.

This has lead to a situation where the overall quality of our breed has become quite even and stable. There is no great difference between the best winning cats and the cats that come last in their classes. Often the only thing parting the cats is the condition of the day or the phase of maturation the cats are in.

These situations give the breeder few surprises and therefore call for a new kind of breeder. Today the breed need a breeder that can keep his goal in sight and work steadily toward the goal while he is happy for improvement coming in small steps at a time.

The future

Today the production of Forest Cats is very high both in Europe and in USA. It has come to the point where there in certain areas seem to be a stagnation in the demand for the Forest Cat the breeder traditionally has provided.

On a competing markets such a situation leads to specialization so I believe it will lead to specialization amongst the breeders of Forest Cats as well.

On the short run, we will probably see breeders specialize in:

  • colors
  • size
  • length of tail
  • ear tufts
  • pet quality kittens
  • show quality kittens

In a longer perspective, we may even see breeders that specialize in:

  • specific ancestors
  • interesting distribution of white
  • interesting distribution of colors

The kind of breeding involved if breeders try to specialize in different fields make even slower progress than the progress we see in today's breeding. The reason for this is that the more the breed approaches the optimal size, length, etc. for a certain trait the more difficult it becomes to make it even larger, longer, etc. In addition, in this kind of breeding it will happen more often that you feel you take one step forward and two step backwards.

So I believe that our breed in the future will need very patient breeders that are even willing to offer some traits in order to achieve other traits (as an example I can mention the chinchilla/shaded Persian breeders that has kept the beautiful color but that has not the same type as the other Persian cats today).

When the Norwegian Forest Cat grow into an even larger breed it will need breeders that have their specific idea on how to specialize his family of the breed and how to make his family of Forest Cats look different than all the other families of Forest Cats.

The breeder that becomes famous for having the best red Forest Cats or the Forest Cats with the longest tails will be the breeder of tomorrow.