How to Tell a Norwegian Forest Cat From a Tabby?

The easygoing, mild-mannered Norwegian forest cat loves to play.

The easygoing, mild-mannered Norwegian forest cat loves to play.

Ludvik the Mighty stretches majestically across the back of your sofa, as your family pops in for a visit. "Wow, that's a big cat," your mother-in-law exclaims, "What kind of tabby is he?" Bristling slightly, you may reply, "He's not a tabby, he's a Norwegian forest cat."

Compare Ludvik's color to that of other cat breeds. Tabby is not a breed or a color, it's a pattern. A tabby cat may be an Abyssinian, an American shorthair, a Maine coon, a Manx or a Norwegian forest cat. While Ludvik may have a tabby-patterned coat, Norwegian forest cats are available in nearly every color and pattern except the color points found in Siamese and Himalayan cats.

Weigh Ludvik. Male Norwegian forest cats are a large, sturdy cats that weigh 12 to 15 or more pounds. Female cats are smaller, weighing in at 8 to 13 pounds.

Run your fingers through Ludvik's fur. A Norwegian forest cat's fur is fairly long, but not as long as a Persian's, and dense. Ludvik has a double coat, with a heavy, woolly underlayer and a longer, waterproof layer of guard hairs on top. In addition to his double layer of fur, Ludvik also has a full ruff around his neck and britches on his legs.

Look at Ludvik's tail. He has a large, bushy tail that he carries high over his body. His tail is full even in summer, when he sheds much of his heavy winter coat.

Look closely a Ludvik's ears. Many Norwegian forest cats' ears have lynx tips and extremely long tufts of hair extending out of the ears.

Examine Ludvik's toes. He has large feet, with tufts of hair between the toes that provide extra protection from cold, wet weather.

Items you will need

  • Bathroom scales

Tips

  • Tabby cats generally have an M-shaped marking on their foreheads.
  • Norwegian forest cats take up to five years to fully mature.
  • Brush Ludvik weekly except when he sheds his winter coat; brush him daily during the spring shedding.

Warning

  • While Ludvik may allow you to handle him, not all cats like to be poked and prodded. Use caution, a cat's teeth and claws are sharp.
 

About the Author

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui also worked in the Napa Valley as a high-end catering assistant. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement, pet rescue and social issues.

Photo Credits

  • Michael Loccisano/Getty Images News/Getty Images