Pet of the week: The Norwegian Forest cat

Jamie Buckley

Who's this? The Norwegian Forest cat, or as he's known in his native country, the Norsk skogkatt. The skogkatt stands out from the crowd thanks to his bulk and general fluffiness, physical attributes that have developed through years of evolution, helping him to thrive in the less-than-Mediterranean climate.

So he's a big boy? Indeed, he is a hefty mogg, a sizeable mouser, a ponderous puss, a weighty tabby. You get the drift. The original breed (not those bred for show) weigh up to 10kg, and they can clear a span of 8 feet from a standing position. Useful when you are pouncing on an unsuspecting Norwegian Forest rat!

He looks rather friendly. He most certainly is, and intelligent to boot, though what cat doesn't come across all clever when it is looking down on its human owners? "Wegies" enjoy the company of humans and other cats, and they make great family pets.

And what's with the coat? It is double-layered, making the skogkatt virtually weatherproof. You know how most cats go out of their way to avoid water of any kind? Well this fellow laughs in the face of rainstorms. To nature's worst excesses he says, "Bring it on – let's see what you got." His ears are fluffy as well, and as for the tail ...

Why own one? He's an indoor/outdoor kinda guy, so that coat should come in handy for the typical British summer. He loves jumping and climbing around, so of all the cats that get stuck up a tree and can't get down, the wegie is the least likely to need help.

Why he deserves a home They are great characters – true individuals and will very quickly become part of the family.

Where can I get one? There are hundreds of registered breeders the length and breadth of Britain, but for the real deal you should contact Lorraine Twyman who is based in North Yorkshire and is clearly besotted by them (norgeskaukatt.co.uk). She only breeds from original animals imported from Norway. A kitten costs £500 and comes fully chipped, vaccinated and ready to rumble.

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