Myth & Mystery
The Legend of the
Norwegian Forest Cat

Borealis Fergus, enjoying the Australian here to see his page
Myth and mystery - the legend of the Norwegian Forest Cat

Out of the depths of time, stalking over the snow that swirls through the old Norse sagas like mist through a forest, comes the Norsk Skogkatt.

Legends tell of forest spirits shaped like huge cats, magnificent creatures so massive that even mighty Thor, God of Thunder, son of Odin Allfather, could not lift one of them from the ground (although it may be that Loki the trickster had a hand in that!).

The legends also tell of Freya, Goddess of Love and Fertility, who owned the necklace Brisingamen, and was leader of the Valkyries.   Freya, also known as the mistress of cats and the Goddess of the Aurora Borealis, drove a chariot hauled by two huge cats, Bygul and Trjegul.

So much for myth.   What is known is that for many, many centuries, the deep forests of Norway have been inhabited by large, long-haired cats, and still are, even today.   Where they came from, just when they arrived, no one can say.   Some believe that they are the result of breeding between shorthaired cats, from England, and long haired cats, possibly from Turkey, who travelled back home to Norway with the far-reaching Vikings.   It is well established that several of the Roman Emperors in Constantinople had Norse bodyguards (the Vaeringer, or Varangian Guard)

But no one knows their true origins.

What we do know is that, as a result of living in the forests, surviving the bitter winters and deep snows of Norway, the Norwegian Forest Cat that we see today came into being.   Wide chested, heavy boned, long legged, double coated and tuft-footed, the Skogkatt is superbly adapted to a life hunting in the forests of it's native country.   Stories of a forest cat descending from trees face forwards are not apocryphal – this cat has the physical equipment that allows just such behaviour.

They really are cats from the forests of Norway.

And they are beautiful.

For all their special adaptations to a wild life hunting in the cold countries of Scandinavia, they are also wonderful companions for we city-living humans.   Friendly, loyal, fearless and loving, Norwegian Forest Cats are a special gift to the world.

DPF © 2005

Note:  the names Bygul (Bee gold, i.e. Honey) and Trjegul (Tree gold, or Amber) are almost certainly very recent inventions or additions - there seem to be no reference to them in the old eddas and sagas.    Regardless of their provenance, they are wonderful names for honey-cooured cats...especially cats from the Norwegian Forests!

Note:  On 17 April 1974 the first ‘official' Forest Cat litter was born to Edel Runas' Pippa Skogpus & the Nylund
family's male
Pans Truls.   The kittens were named Pjewiks Forest Nisse and Pjewiks Forest Troll,
and their birth marks the 'zero' moment of the Norsk Skogkatt as a breed.


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