The Norwegian forest cat is a natural breed which features prominently in Scandinavian folklore. An active, athletic cat with its thick double coat, gives the impression of great strength and power, . It is said that the Vikings carried these fearless cats on their shoulders as they rode into battle, to attack and to ‘cat-scratch’ the faces of their enemies.
It is believed that long, long time ago this formidable and fearsome cat of the northern forests was taken by the Vikings to guard their homes and to live alongside their families as vermin-hunters and household pets.
Many old Scandinavian folk tales featured these fearsome cats who were much admired by the Norsemen for their agility and strength. That the marauding Vikings took these cats on their voyages to the known world and beyond is also believed to be genuine. As the Norwegian Forest Cat bears a strong resemblance to the Maine Coon on the east coast of the US, this could indicate the extent of the seafaring forays of the Norsemen.
In Norse mythology, the chariot of Freya, goddess of beauty, love and fertility, is drawn by two large, longhaired cats – these creatures are often connected with powers of creativity, Earth-Mother and fertility goddess. Utgard-Loki, King of the Giants, was said to own one such giant cat. The Norwegian Forest Cat, or Norsk Skaukatt, is probably the main character in Scandinavian’s own version of ‘Puss in Boots’ in which the orge is a troll – in mythology, trolls die in the sunlight – so that to help its master, this intelligent cat kept the troll chatting throughout the night, letting the early morning sunlight destroy him.