“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
Robert Frost

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Norwegian Forest Cats and Runestones

My kitty Guy is eight months old now. He has gone through quite a transformation as he has grown.  I am including a few new photos of him. He is getting to be a big Guy now.  He has turned fluffier as me move into the winter season and his tail is gorgeous. Here are a few photos of him after I woke him up from his nap.  We have been wondering what kind of cat he is ... because I have known and owned a lot of cats and I have never come across anything quite like him.

With my photo editing program, I turned this somewhat blurry photo of Guy into a "painting".



Guy relaxing
After doing some research as to what kind of cat he might be, I came upon three breeds that he is similar to. They are the Maine Coon Cat, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Siberian Forest Cat.  Of course, he also has some plain old barn cat in him. I discovered that the full name of the 'Siberian' cat is the 'Siberian Forest Cat'. It  is an ancient breed that is now believed to be ancestral to all modern long-haired cats. The cat has similarities with the Norwegian Forest Cat, to which it is likely closely related.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed that came from Northern Europe.  Maine Coon Cats are probably a combination of the older breeds of the Siberian or Norwegian forest cats. The Norwegian Forest Cats ancestors may have been long-haired Siberian and Turkish Angora cats brought to Norway by the Vikings around 1000 AD.

It is believed that the ancestors of the Norwegian Forest Cat served as mousers on Viking ships.  Since we all know that the Vikings visited Minnesota and left what is now known as the Kensington Runestone, around 1362 AD, I feel that Guys ancestors may have jumped ship and followed along. This is entirely possible if the Vikings came from Greenland via the Hudson Bay and the Nelson and Red Rivers or via the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. (My husband thinks they came via the Red River), most people don't realize it flows north. If you have never heard of the Kensington Runestone, click on the links above and check out the sites. I have been to the museum in Alexandria where the stone is kept and know people in the area and have visited that part of Minnesota quite a few times. It is a very interesting and special place. There is a place called Inspiration Peak that is really quite weird. Maybe next year I will do an in depth post about this. But, on with my cat story.... after the cats decided they had been cooped up the Vikings ship too long, I think they were ready for a new adventure.

 Kensington Runestone replica



                        The Kensington Runestone


Guy wondering why I woke him up.
I can just see a couple of strong, sturdy Norwegian Forest Cats heading off to explore the forests of Wisconsin and Minnesota and deciding to stay. Pretty soon there were forest cats all over the place and next thing you know (OK a few hundred years later), I have one in my living room.







I'm Watching You!!!

Siberian Forest Cat






norwegian forest kitten

Norwegian Forest Cat


From one of the sites I learned that when a black cat's fur is exposed to sunlight it turns a bit brown and is called 'rusting'.  The professionals who show pure bred cats use a special shampoo to keep their black cats black. I doubt they let them outside either. I personally love the brownish tone. Guy has what breeders call a 'black smoke' fur color, he is not pure black and has a lot of lighter fur on his sides and tail.


Guy's body is 12 inches long and his glorious tail is 12 inches long.

Why do I think Guy is a forest cat? Let me tell you. The Norwegian Forest Cat is strongly built and larger than an average cat. The breed has a long, sturdy body, long legs and a bushy tail. The tail is usually as long as the cats body. The long tail is useful in cold climates because it can curl over the shoulders and face. The coat consists of a long, glossy, thick and water-repellant top layer and a woolly undercoat and is thickest at the legs, chest and head. Remember the pictures when he was a kitten, and the weird fur.

Guy and his unusual fur.


Norwegian Forest cats generally have a quiet voice unless kept with a dog (he spent about a month in an animal shelter with dogs barking all the time). Maybe that explains the excessive cat talk! They are friendly and intelligent. They have almond shaped eyes, ear tufts, strong claws, long bushy tails and lots of energy. So that describes my cat.

We will never know for sure what kind of cat he is. So ....  I love the story of him being a descendant of some escaped Norwegian Forest cats who jump off a Viking ship over six hundred years ago and have been living in Minnesota all this time.

It's my story and I'm sticking to it!



18 comments:

  1. He's such a pretty cat, I love that tail :o)
    Very neat and interesting post, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I had a Maine Coon that lived for almost 17 years she was beautiful too and her tail was so big and fluffy she was lighter colored more white and lighter browns. I now have a brother and sister(max & Molly) that are some kind of maine coon mixes with stripes and a russian blue(Emmie) and then our last one is a everyday black and white alley cat(Rosie)...LOL! I love cats and dogs, can't imagine a house without them :o) Have a great day! Hugs Jennifer

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  2. By the Goddess Bast, you must be right! I'm sure Guy is descended from Svend and Brunhilda Viking-Forest-Katz. And yes, the Red River flows north -- north to Hudson's Bay. It goes right through Winnipeg, Manitoba where I used to live.

    Guy is a magnificent beast, he certainly is.

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  3. I love your header of kittens in mittens! Guy is just a stunningly beautiful boy. I have a Maine Coon myself (22lbs of fur & fluff!) and I also love Norwegian Forest cats. Guy's tail is wonderful, and the reddish hue to his coat is lovely. I must read up on the runestone.

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  4. Guy, you heartbreaker you! I bet you flirt with and tease all the ladies with that beautiful fluffy tail.

    During your next photo session, please thank your Mommy for me for her sweet comment on my blog.

    Kristin

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  5. Fascinating history! I couldn't help but notice the brown in Guy's coat - and interesting to think a cat's coat will fade in the sun - not something I'd ever considered before. He's a beautiful cat.

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  6. He is absolutely gorgeous! He looks like a king. And just his size alone convinces me that he's a descendant of vikings :) That is a cool story of his ancestry. I like it! My black cat is small, long and slim, and we're sure she's part siamese; she has many of the features of those cats.

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  7. Wow, he is beautiful. His tail is glorious and I bet the talk around the neighborhood ;-) He was such a cutie when he was a kitten with his frizzy fur...look at him now. The girls will be coming soon!

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  8. Thanks for your comments! I will let Guy know you found his story interesting. I will try to tone down the parts about you thinking he is a king and magnificent etc., there will be no living with him if his ego gets too big! He already is starting to take over around here! Heeheehee! Seriously, I've always found cats very fascinating and maybe he does descend from royal Viking cats! I read that these cats don't reach their full size for 2-3 years, so we shall see how big he gets! ~~Diane~~

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  9. Guy is so darn handsome! It really makes me miss having a cat!
    Yes, I'm sure he's a true Norwegian...aren't we all, here in MN?
    Great Post!
    Erica :)

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  10. I can't tell you how much I LOVE THIS POST ! It is way too interesting and I love your Guy ... if you've followed my blog you know we have four kitties in our house and all are rescued. Love, love, love the story about Guy being a Viking ... I mean, how cool is that. Thanks so much for sharing all the info and the wonderful pictures.

    Happiness always,
    Jan

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  11. Guy is lovely. I am such a cat lover, if I pass one on the street I have to stop!

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  12. Dear Diane - this is such an interesting post. I had a stray that was brown when she came to our place and when she started living indoors she turned totally black. We thought it had something to do with just having a better diet. We called her Tootsie and she was so special! Your Guy is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your pictures of him. I just love kitties.

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  13. Guy is a beautiful cat! Wow!!! And, I love his history! I would be sticking to that story too! It's so interesting!! Love you Guy ;o)

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  14. Guy is super adorable ! Wow,this cat
    looks quite professional in all the pics.

    I have am a total cat lover,have a cat of my own,
    a domestic grey tabby,but she is sooooo cute.

    Thank for sharing your pics.:)

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  15. Diane, you have a beautiful cat. Guy reminds me of my cat Shadow, only because he is black. I had a Maine Coon cat, Bobby, who passed away a few years ago. He was the best cat I ever had. He was like a person & so smart. I miss him very much. Give Guy xoxo from me.

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  16. Its a lovely story and he certainly is a handsome lad. I love that long and fluffy tail! I'm looking forward to your post on Inspiration Peak and the Runestone - sounds absolutely fascinating!

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  17. Thanks for all your sweet comments and letting me indulge in my little fantasy about my cat! Sharon I promise I will write more about the Runestone in the future. I would love to get some pictures of the area first, so it may be a few months down the road.

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  18. Oh Guy is just GORGEOUS! How I would love to touch that soft fur!
    Jess x

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Thank you for leaving a comment! I do read them all and will try to respond if I'm able. Please know that all comments are appreciated, I love to hear your thoughts on my posts! ~ Diane