Black Norwegian Forest Cat: Facts, Genetics, Pictures & More

Young black Norwegian Forest cat standing in a garden

When a black Norwegian Forest cat walks into a room, it’s hard not to stare! With its large build, flashy mane, and unmissable eyes that contrast nicely with its black coat, it turns heads wherever it goes.

Unfortunately, black cats are still frowned upon today as they are associated with bad luck. Black Norwegian Forest cats are not an exception to this notion.

Here, we will introduce you to this wonderful feline companion. If you wish to learn about black Norwegian Forest cats’ origin, characteristics, temperament, and more, stay with us. After this, you will surely want one for yourself!

What Is a Black Norwegian Forest Cat?

Black Norwegian Forest cat on a stone

The black Norwegian Forest cat is one of the several color variations of the Norwegian Forest breed. It is most notable for its solid black coat color, which is quite rare in the United States. The black Norwegian Forest cat is calm, friendly, athletic, affectionate, and a great family pet.

Like the other color varieties of this breed, the black Norwegian Forest cat originated in the forests of Scandinavia. 

This cat breed is famously known as ‘skogkatt’ in Norway, which translates to ‘forest cat.’ When it arrived in the United States in 1979, it was nicknamed ‘Wegie.’

Black Norwegian Forest cats were believed to have occurred naturally without people’s intervention. Their predecessors served as mousers for Vikings, traveling by ship from one place to another.

For the untrained eye, it’s difficult to set apart a black Norwegian Forest cat from a black Maine Coon. Some would even say that the Maine Coon originated from the Norwegian Forest cats.

While both have large, proportionate bodies and noticeable manes, they are entirely different breeds. 

When differentiating the two, the key is to look at their heads. While the black Maine Coon has a round head, the black Norwegian Forest cat has a triangular-shaped head. 

In case you need more help identifying a Wegie from a Coon, check this video out:

Maine Coon Vs Norwegian Forest Cat - How To Identify Them

Are Black Norwegian Forest Cats Rare?

In general, Norwegian Forest cats are considered rare in the United States. This is due to the small population of Wegie breeders in the country.

However, this breed isn’t considered rare in some parts of the world, like the Scandinavian regions, France, China, etc.

Black Norwegian Forest cats, in particular, are rarer than the other colors. This status could be blamed on the long-standing superstition that links black cats with bad luck.

Because of this, you can expect that finding black Norwegian Forest cat breeders and rescues will be a challenge. And if you do find them, you better be prepared for the hefty price that this unique-colored cat comes with.

Black Norwegian Forest Cat Appearance

Black Norwegian Forest cat walking on green grass

The black Norwegian Forest cat has an appearance that truly makes an impact. This cat gives off elegance and charm in its own way, which is probably why it is such a popular breed these days.

These cats have large, proportionate, and sturdy bodies. They have long limbs, but you will notice that their front legs are slightly shorter than the back. Thus, black Norwegian Forest cats’ rumps are taller than their anterior.

On average, these black cats grow from 12 to 18 inches. In terms of weight, they can be as heavy as eight to 18 pounds. These felines are truly no joke when it comes to size.

For your reference, a black Norwegian Forest cat can be just as tall as a Persian, Bengal, and Savannah cat.

Their medium-sized ears have rounded tips and fuzzy fur coming from the inside. These are called lynx tips or ear tufts, commonly found among wild cats.

Lynx tips help black Norwegian Forest cats’ ears to self-clean — a useful feature in the wild.

Black Wegies are noticeably fluffy, thanks to their long, dense, and thick coats. These felines are able to withstand cold weather because of their shiny, water-resistant fur. 

Additionally, black Norwegian Forest cats have manes resembling that of a lion. This is one of the reasons why they are usually mistaken as black Maine Coons.

These felines have bushy tails that surely contribute to their attractive appearance. Their almond-shaped eyes may come in green, gold, copper, or blue and provide a magnificent contrast to their solid black coat color.

READ NEXT: Black Cats With Blue Eyes: History, Genetics, Pictures & FAQs

Black Norwegian Forest Cat Color Genetics

The black coat in Norwegian Forest cats is the result of a genetic mutation. 

A solid black Norwegian Forest cat is called a self-colored or non-agouti cat. These cats possess a non-agouti genotype, which essentially prevents the formation of a tabby pattern on their coats.

This non-agouti genotype works so that black Norwegian Forest cats have a consistent pigment in their fur, making them appear solid-colored. In some cases, self-colored cats may have faded furs, which are visible under the sun.

For a Norwegian Forest cat to have a solid-colored black coat, it must be born from parents with the non-agouti allele. This simply means that both parents must be solid black-colored. 

If only one of the parents has a solid black coat, there is still a possibility of having a black kitten in its litter, but the chances are significantly lower.

READ NEXT: Torbie, Tabby, Tortie, and Calico Cats: What Are the Differences?

Black Norwegian Forest Cat Temperament and Personality

Black Norwegian Forest cat male in the park

Contrary to their rather intimidating appearance, black Norwegian Forest cats are great family companions. These felines are loving, calm, gentle, playful, and extremely outgoing.

Black Norwegian Forest cats enjoy being around and meeting new people and other animals. Hence, they won’t have a problem socializing with kids and other pets.

Though they love people’s company, they are generally fine with being alone. Black Norwegian Forest cats are great pets for busy people who need the company of independent pets.

Additionally, black Norwegian Forest cats are affectionate but not too clingy. However, they will surely be up for some snuggle time with their owners.

In terms of intelligence, black Norwegian Forest cats are pretty smart and will listen to commands without much problem. You will also notice that they are alert, energetic, and have a high prey drive. After all, they are forest felines!

With the combination of their activeness and curiosity, this cat will surely want to roam around and explore. 

Thus, it’s best if you have a fenced yard at home, where your black Norwegian Forest cat can freely walk around. However, you need to make sure that there are no predators around.

Thanks to their charming personality and amazing companionship, black Norwegian Forest cats are well-loved across the world. They are great pets for families or simply anyone who enjoys peace and quiet with a furry friend.

However, whether a black cat is affectionate or introverted, labeling them as bad luck should not be normalized. Like light-colored cats, black felines are just as deserving of people’s love, admiration, and respect.

Black Norwegian Forest Cat Lifespan and Health Issues

The black Norwegian Forest cat shares the same average lifespan as most cats. If raised well, your black Wegie cat will have a lifespan of 12 to 16 years. If you’re lucky, it may even live up to 18 years.

However, no matter how careful you are in raising your precious black Norwegian Forest cat, it may still be at risk of some health issues. 

You should be particularly wary of some common illnesses in cats, like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia virus (FelV), and allergies or other skin diseases.

Some owners also believe that these cats can develop autism. If you’re interested in reading about this, consider checking out our guide on autism in cats

Here are other health issues which black Norwegian Forest cats may have:

  • Obesity: Black Norwegian Forest cats are prone to this disease because they tend to overeat. Obesity develops when a cat’s body accumulates more fat than necessary. The key to avoiding obesity is to supervise and control your black Wegie’s meals. If worse comes to worst, obesity will put cats at risk for cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, hypertension, and other serious health issues.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia happens when a cat’s hip joints don’t form properly, causing limping and weakness. For active felines like black Norwegian Forest cats, this will significantly affect their lives. If left untreated, your cat will be in extreme discomfort and pain.
  • Cardiomyopathy: Cardiomyopathy is a life-threatening disease that affects cats’ heart muscles. This illness has four identified classes which are hypertrophic, dilated, unclassified, and restrictive. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for your black Norwegian Forest cat for higher chances of recovery.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a disease that occurs when a cat’s retina progressively degenerates. It gradually happens, so be sure to watch out for symptoms before it worsens. If left untreated, PRA can lead to your black Norwegian Forest cat’s total loss of vision within ages three to five years.
  • Renal Failure: In general, older cats are more prone to renal failure than younger ones. However, this disease is genetic, so black Norwegian Forest kittens can be born with it. Renal failure may be classified as acute kidney failure, which has no known cause, or chronic kidney failure, which gradually develops and is more difficult to treat.

These are only some of the many health issues that black Norwegian Forest cats may acquire. It’s always best to regularly consult with a vet regarding your feline’s health. When it comes to this, prevention is always better than cure.

Moreover, make sure to give your black Norwegian Forest cat the best food and supplements that it needs. Curate a diet plan that tells you how much to feed, what to feed, and when to feed your cat

How Much Does a Black Norwegian Forest Cat Cost? Kitten Prices & Expenses

Two black Norwegian Forest cat kittens for sale and adoption

Due to their rarity, black Norwegian Forest cats do not come for a small price. When bought from a breeder, a black Norwegian Forest kitten costs anywhere between $900 and $1,500.

You can opt for adoption for a much cheaper price tag. However, since it’s already quite difficult to find black Norwegian Forest kittens for sale, it’s even harder to find them in adoption centers.

If you decide to raise a black Norwegian Forest kitten, you should also consider the tools and supplies that it will need. 

Considering that you’re a first-time cat owner, I prepared a list of initial expenses that you should include in your budget.

Here is the breakdown of initial costs that comes with owning a black Norwegian Forest cat:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$20 – $50
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $25
Litter Box$20 – $160
Litter Sand$15 – $25
Collar and ID Tag$5 – $20
Cat Bed$15 – $30
Cat Carrier$20 – $60
Toys and Scratching Post$15 – $70
Grooming Essentials$25 – $35
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $250
Initial Vaccine Shots$25 – $50
Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medications$30 – $100
Neutering or Spaying$200 – $500
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$555 – $1,465

Aside from these, you will need about $106 to $217 monthly for recurring expenses. This includes food supplies, supplements, vaccinations, vet visits, and other regular expenses. 

Before you decide to buy a black Norwegian Forest kitten, make sure you are prepared for the physical, mental, and financial responsibilities associated with it. Black Norwegian Forest cats are expensive pets, but they are well worth it!

Places to Find Black Norwegian Forest Cat Kittens for Sale and Adoption

In general, there are only a few Norwegian Forest cat breeders in the United States. Thus, finding a cat breeder that produces black Norwegian Forest kittens may be a bit tough. 

In this section, I’ve rounded up a small list of places where you can find black Norwegian Forest kittens for sale.

Below are some of the breeders who produce black Norwegian Forest kittens:

  • Skogberg Cattery – Skogberg Cattery is a Colorado-based Norwegian Forest cat breeder. This cattery is certified by The International Cat Association (TICA) and Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Skogberg Cattery breeds Norwegian Forest cats of various colors, including black. Head over to their website to see if they have available litters with black Norwegian Forest kittens.
  • Viking Tails – Viking Tails is a TICA-registered Norwegian Forest cat breeder in Minnesota. Their cats are trained as house pets and come vaccinated and litter box-trained. Viking Tails’ litters often include black Norwegian Forest kittens, so make sure you check them out to get updates on their available litters.
  • Finnishline – Finnishline is a cattery established in the 1990s that produces Norwegian Forest kittens in New York. They mainly breed Wegie cats for shows, so you can ensure the quality of their litters. Finnishline has black Norwegian Forest stud cats, so their litters often come with black Wegie kittens. 

Below are some places where you can find black Norwegian Forest cats for adoption:

  • Norwegian Forest Cat Fanciers Association (NFCFA) – The NFCA is a non-profit organization composed of Norwegian Forest cat breeders and fanciers. The aim of this rescue is to preserve and protect the Norwegian Forest breed. You should check out their website to see if they have black Norwegian Forest cats available.
  • Black Cat Holistic Rescue (BCHR) – Black Cat Holistic Rescue is a not-for-profit organization that takes care of black cats bound for euthanasia. They provide shelter, vet check-ups, and care for black cats. You might want to visit their page to see if they have recently rescued a black Norwegian Forest cat.
  • Petfinder – Petfinder is a reliable adoption website with a searchable database of pet listings. Here, you can tailor your pet breed search based on your location. Since black Norwegian Forest cats don’t come so often, you better check them out before they run out!

The key to raising a healthy black Norwegian Forest cat is to get them from reputable breeders or rescues. Two healthy black Norwegian Forest parents will produce a healthy black Wegie kitten.

It’s tempting to buy from the first breeder or rescue you find since this breed is quite rare. However, it’s still better to search for more options to ensure that the black Norwegian Forest cat you get is in good shape and health.

READ NEXT: 11 Ways to Find Free Kittens in Your Area for Adoption (2023)

Frequently Asked Questions

Black Norwegian Forest cat female freezing

Do Black Norwegian Forest Cats Shed?

Yes. In fact, black Norwegian Forest cats are heavy shedders. Remember that these felines have thick and dense coats that protect them from the cold.

Thus, it’s important that you brush them every day with a slicker brush. This helps them get rid of loose fur and any dirt that is stuck on their coats. They shed more during springtime, so remember to brush them more often then.

Are Black Norwegian Forest Cats Hypoallergenic?

No, but to be fair, there is currently no proof that hypoallergenic cats don’t exist. However, since black Norwegian Forest cats are frequent shedders, people with allergies should be extra careful around them.

If your allergy is fairly manageable, you can still own a black Norwegian Forest cat. Just make sure you maintain it accordingly by brushing it every day and grooming it on a regular basis. Doing so will minimize loose hairs lying around.

What Is the Rarest Norwegian Forest Cat Color?

The rarity of a Norwegian Forest cat color typically depends on one’s location. In the United States, solid black is quite rare for a Norwegian Forest. You will mostly find black Wegies mixed with other patches of colors, like white.

However, the rarest color for a Norwegian Forest cat in the United States is solid white. But in France, Sweden, and Norway, this color is among the most popular Wegie colors.

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Final Thoughts: Is a Black Norwegian Forest Cat the Right Cat for You?

Black Norwegian Forest cats are more than just the stigma associated with their color. They are smart, mellow, lovable, friendly, and fantastic family pets! Hopefully, this guide was able to help you get to know black Wegie cats better.

These beautiful felines get along well with children and other animals as well. It’s no wonder they are popular family pets from people across the globe. Black Norwegian Forest cats are simply the perfect pets for all families.

What do you think about the black Norwegian Forest cat? Is it the right pet for you? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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