Norwegian Forest Cat – Health Problems and Basic Caring Information

There are very few cats in the world that look as good as the Norwegian Forest Cat. This is due to many reasons, such as their long hair and exceptionally beautiful shades of different coloured coats.

Their double coating is one of the characteristics that makes them unique and are adaptable to harsh weathers, especially since they have come from a country with rugged terrain and extreme weather conditions such as Norway. Click here to read more about their origins.

Legend has it they hailed from the Vikings, but there are other similar tales about these cats too. Sadly, these tough cats are not as hard as their owners and when it comes to their health problems. We look at a few of the issues you should know about when you are planning on adopting them.

Typical Health Problems of the Norwegian Cats or ‘Wegies’

This natural breed seldom exhibits any health problems but they do sometimes pop up and if you do a DNA test at the birth of the kitten or while they are still young, you can get an idea of the diseases and health issues he may be succumbed to, as well as their lineage: the mixed breed of cats usually hail from a cross between random-bred cats and not necessarily between pure breed cats. 

A few of the conditions that they are prone to include:

Hip Dysplasia:

This is a common occurrence in dogs especially, however, Norwegian cats are also at risk of getting this disease. It is a hereditary condition that gets worse as the animals get older. When your feline has this problem, they become much slower when they walk and find it difficult to run or climb things.

Glycogen Storage Disease IV:

Another inherited problem is known as Glycogen Storage Disease IV and can often be a fatal health condition in pets. It is however a rare occurrence and can lead to stillborn kittens or kittens that die shortly after birth. It can however emerge anywhere from 1 to 5 months of the cat’s existence.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy:

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a health condition of the heart and is symptomatic of the thickening of the heart muscle. It is also hereditary and is more prevalent within mixed breeds.

Caring For Your Forest Cat

Because these cat breeds have such a thick coat that is double layered it is a good idea to comb it every week. There are pet stores that sell stainless steel cat grooming combs, which should do the trick. 

If you don’t do this, they have a tendency of shedding their coat in different seasons and you would have hair all over your home and it would help them minimize having hairballs in their mouth. They would typically shed their hair in spring and again in winter so combing them at least once or twice a week is advisable.

All cats and dogs, at some point, need a good dental care routine, so brushing their teeth once a week is a helpful recommendation to avoid your forest cat from getting any periodontal diseases. They also love a clean litter box so make sure to clean it out every so often, sometimes it may take several times a week to keep it clean. 

Like their teeth, the rest of their face needs to be attended to as well. Cleaning their eyes and ears once a week should be part of the routine, as their ears may get an oily or waxy build-up and their eyes may get a discharge. This can avoid any cross-contamination between themselves as well as you. Warm water and apple cider vinegar is the best solution for this, however, do always use a gentle cloth or cotton pad to do this and never be rough with them.

One of the main traits of these cats that exemplifies their name “forest cat”, is that they love to climb on things, if you want to avoid them from climbing on the back (or front) of your sofa and other furniture, it is a good idea to invest in a cat climber or a pole made for this purpose. If you do have a tree in your back or front yard, even better. They can spend endless hours foraging and climbing trees and hunting prey, as this is an in-built instinct of these breeds. They are natural hunters.

Their other traits include them being one of the most high-energy felines around and having loads of playing equipment for them, such as laser lights or toys can help keep them busy for hours, as well as keep you active. 

They can be difficult to train, however, so you can try to do this while they are still kittening in the hopes, they may pick up a thing or two, but there is no guarantee. If you do not want a high-energy cat, perhaps you should rethink getting this cat or any of their cousins, such as the Maine Coon, Siberian or Burmese, to name a few.

All in all, these are quite laid-back creatures and get along well with children, so one advantage of their high energy is to take your kids off your hands and keep them busy for hours while you get along with your day. As they get older their claws do get sturdy so be careful of this if they are around children. Ask your vet for a solution such as slightly clipping their nails to avoid any scratches on anyone.

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