Forest cat breeds: Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, ...

The so-called forest cat breeds belong to the natural breeds. This is the name given to cat breeds that originally came from domestic cats without human intervention. However, the forest cat breeds Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, Siberian Cat and Neva Masquerade have no common history with the European Forest Cat - a wild cat species. This woolly plushie is a Norwegian forest cat and in its element - Shutterstock / Elisa Putti

Like all other domestic cats, the forest cat breeds also descend from the falcon cat and are not genetically related to the European forest cats. Nevertheless, Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat and Co. with their long fur and large, strong physique look quite wild and original. Find out what the forest cat breeds have in common and what differentiates them here.

What forest cat breeds have in common

The forest cat breeds arose from a whim of nature from regional populations of domestic cats. Through mutation, a number of long-haired or half-long-haired cats naturally developed that optimally adapted to the climatic conditions of their surroundings. In the USA this was the Maine Coon, in Scandinavia the Norwegian Forest Cat and in Russia the Siberian Cat. The Neva Masquerade is a Siberian cat with point drawing and blue eyes.

Forest cats have a thick undercoat in winter, which protects them from the cold, and a longer top coat, which repels water and protects against moisture. In summer, when changing fur, they lose their undercoat so that they don't get too hot. They were originally valued primarily for their hunting behavior, as they were and are very skilled mouse hunters. With their large, strong stature they are made to withstand the adversities of the weather in their cool home. Through their history, forest cat breeds can look back on a rather large gene pool, so that relatively few hereditary diseases have crept in. Nevertheless, you should buy your Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat and Co. from good breeders and avoid dubious breeders. Otherwise, hereditary diseases such as HCM, kidney diseases, hip dysplasia or patellar luxations can also exist here.

Maine Coon vs. Norwegian forest cat

Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat and Siberian Cat: Difference

The first representatives of the different forest cat breeds looked quite similar; however, there are a few minor differences nowadays. These have emerged over time through various breed standards. The Siberian cat and the Neva Masquerade look a bit rounder, more plush and stocky than their forest cat cousins. The ears are medium in size, the snout is curved and of medium length. The Neva Masquerade also has blue eyes and a pretty point drawing.

The Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat, on the other hand, appear slimmer and have significantly larger ears. The ears of the Maine Coon are big and wide, while those of the Norwegian Forest Cat are rather narrow and pointed. The American among the forest cat breeds also has a rather angular head outline with a long, broad snout that clearly stands out. The transition between forehead and nose is clearly curved inwards and the nose makes a slight nudge at the end. The Norwegian woman's head is triangular, her profile shows a straight transition from the forehead to the tip of the nose. In addition, the Norwegian Forest Cat has a longer, slimmer neck than the Maine Coon and its hind legs are slightly longer than its front legs.