Siberian Cat vs Norwegian Forest Cat: Comparing Cat Breeds - MyMoggy (2023)

Being a fan of cats is not easy, especially if you are planning to own one. There are various types from which you can choose from and all of them are undeniably adorable and filled with cuteness! Two of the most talked-about cat breeds that are constantly shaking the internet are the fluffy Siberian and Norwegian Forest Cat.

If they sit beside each other, you might have a hard time identifying each cat. And, even if they are quite alike in physical appearance, both cats seem to have different traits which you should consider before ultimately buying one from a breeder or adopting from a shelter home.

Get to know both breeds through this comprehensive article!

Table of Contents

Breed Origins

Siberian Cat

Siberian Cat vs Norwegian Forest Cat: Comparing Cat Breeds - MyMoggy (1)

Russia is proud to be the birthplace of the renowned Siberian Cat. The country deems this feline as its national treasure! It is not very clear as to when this cat started to exist in Russia nor how it came about, but taking note of Russian fairy tales and books would lead us to speculate that the Siberian Cat has been around for hundreds of years.

The said kitty was first mentioned in the book “Our Cats and All About Them” which was written by Harrison Weir in 1871. The cat was gradually imported to several places in the world particularly during the 1990s in the US where people instantly fell in love with not just his looks but his pleasing personality.

Two major organizations namely the Cat Fanciers’ Association and The International Cat Association recognize this breed.

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Norwegian Forest Cat

Siberian Cat vs Norwegian Forest Cat: Comparing Cat Breeds - MyMoggy (2)

Just from the name, you can instantly guess right that the Norwegian Forest Cat comes from Norway! He’s believed to have been around since the time of the Vikings. Just like the Siberian cat, the Norwegian feline has been the common subject for mythological tales just like the one that talked about the Norse goddess Freya who had two large Norwegian Forest Cats as the ones pulling her chariot.

This cat from Norway almost disappeared due to uncontrollable cross-breedings, but thankfully, breeders managed to save the breed and multiply them to great numbers. This effort took several decades!

Norway’s King Olav V declared the kitty as the country’s national cat breed in 1938. Later on, many cats of this breed were imported into the US in 1979. Major cat organizations then gave high regard to Norway’s pride.

Size, Appearance, & Coloring

Siberian Cat

Siberian Cat vs Norwegian Forest Cat: Comparing Cat Breeds - MyMoggy (3)

The medium-sized Siberian Cat is built to withstand the harsh climate in Siberia. He has a muscular body that is covered by a three-layered water-resistant coat, so you can already imagine how dense his hair is. His thick coat comes in several natural colors which include:

  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Silver
  • Red

You can also see coat patterns from a Siberian Cat which can either be:

  • Bi-color
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Tabby
  • Smoke
  • Point
  • Calico

To identify a Siberian Cat, you can just look at the shape of his head. The Siberian feline has it round and the coat length is semi-long. Eyes can be in various shades between green and gold, and on rare occasions, blue. Others may have a case of heterochromia.

Norwegian Forest Cat

Siberian Cat vs Norwegian Forest Cat: Comparing Cat Breeds - MyMoggy (4)

The Norwegian Forest Cat or Wedgie is also a muscular one. He’s large and would typically weigh anywhere between 12-16 pounds. Males, of course, will always be larger than females. With this build, domestic cats will appear smaller than the Wedgie.

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One noticeable physical trait about the Wedgie is his extreme amount of fur! It is dense, shiny, and water-resistant. Such quality keeps him warm during the colder months.

His coat can be seen in a wide array of colors which can be:

  • Blue
  • Red
  • Black
  • Cream
  • Gold
  • White
  • Silver

As for the patterns, the Wedgie can sport the following:

  • Bi-color
  • Solid
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Tabby
  • Calico

The head of the Norwegian Forest cat as opposed to that of the Siberian feline is almost in an equilateral triangular head. His side profile is straight and long from the nose tip up to his round head.


Siberian Cat

It will take quite a while before the Siberian Cat emotionally and physically matures. This would mean that he will have a longer kitten phase! Expect him to be playful and extremely sweet. He’s not usually a loud and vocal cat, but at times, he will let out a soft purr to express his affection toward his owner.

This cat is sociable and tends to get along very well with other pets and kids. Even though a huge chunk of his life is allocated for his kittenhood, this cat knows how to behave.

Prey drive is prominent in this breed. He would be happy to have an adventure with you or if he’s given a challenging game. If you have problems with rodents, having an adult Siberian Cat around will bring a difference to your home.

Norwegian Forest Cat

Don’t hesitate to go for the Norwegian Cat if you are looking for a companion that can easily adapt to various kinds of lifestyles. Having kids at home is fun, but the environment gets even more vibrant with the presence of this furry feline. He’s gentle and super affectionate, so you wouldn’t have much problem when your kids and the cat interact with each other.

He is also nice with other animals, especially your dog.

The Wedgie loves to receive attention and even if he craves it, he would usually let you do the first move. He won’t be too demanding about it and would understand if you’re busy with something. Just make sure that you give him a good cuddle after work.

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Exercise Needs

Siberian Cat

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The physique of the Siberian Cat should tell you that he’s athletic enough to be given mental and physical challenges. This rugged cat breed can thrive well outdoors, but since he’s a home pet, you have to give him a regular opportunity to get his paws moving. You can install sturdy cat towers in your living room or let him climb on trees in your yard.

You can also try training your Siberian Cat as part of improving his mental strength. Use clickers and other methods to encourage him to pick up certain habits. Treats and pets work wonders!

Norwegian Forest Cat

Siberian Cat vs Norwegian Forest Cat: Comparing Cat Breeds - MyMoggy (6)

It’s best to have a yard or an area where your Wedgie can have fun. He’s pretty active, so why not let him play and run? You can purchase cat toys and play with him. Not only is he stimulated but this is also a great opportunity to bond.

You can train him since he’s intelligent and keen about his surroundings. Use positive reinforcements and never resort to harsh punishments. Moreover, don’t hold back if you think your pet needs a tower of his own. He can sweat off by climbing up and down his palace!

Grooming Requirements

Siberian Cat

The length of the Siberian’s coat is prone to matting. Commit yourself to brush him at least thrice weekly so his hair remains tidy and clean. As mentioned, the coat is resistant to water, so that means bathing him doesn’t have to occur that often.

Provide your cat with a scratch post to keep his nails on the right length, but trim them if there are any signs of overgrowth. Don’t forget to clean his eyes and ears as well.

Norwegian Forest Cat

The dense and insane amount of hair would mean that the Wedgie would need twice a week of brushing. Do this more often when the shedding season starts. Although you can always opt to bring your cat to a groomer, doing this task yourself gives an avenue to improving your relationship with your feline companion.

Health Problems

Siberian Cat

The average lifespan for the Siberian Cat is 8-10 years. Such a magnificent breed is generally healthy, but the biggest threat to his health is usually hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is when the heart is enlarged and it no longer performs normally. Other concerns include:

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  • Gum disease
  • Hereditary cancer
  • Urinary crystal
  • Kidney disease

Norwegian Forest Cat

An average of 14-16 years is expected from a Wedgie, but even though this is a healthy breed, risks are still possible like:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patella Luxation
  • Eosinophilic granuloma complex
  • Cardiomyopathy

Cost per Kitten

Siberian Cat

Adoption: $15 to $200

Reputable Breeder: $1,500 to $2,500

Norwegian Forest Cat

Adoption: $75 to $100

Reputable Breeder: $900 to $3,000

Which Cat Breed Is Right for You?

To help you decide easily, know that there is a size difference between the two. Go for the Siberian cat if you prefer a medium feline. If you like an easier-to-groom cat, the Wedgie will be the answer.

They are both energetic and are almost alike in appearance. Choose well and see which one leans more on your standards!


What is the difference between a Norwegian Forest Maine Coon and Siberian? ›

Siberian cats are easily confused with Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats. However, a closer inspection reveals differences, and probably the most noticeable of these, is the body shape. The Siberian has a rounder, stockier body compared with the Maine Coon or Norwegian.

Are Siberian cats and Norwegian Forest Cats related? ›

The cat has similarities with the Norwegian forest cat, to which it is likely closely related. It is a natural breed from Siberia and the national cat of Russia. While it began as a landrace, it is selectively bred and pedigreed today in at least seven major cat fancier and breeder organizations.

Is my cat a Norwegian Forest Cat or a Maine Coon? ›

Physical traits are the most reliable way to tell these cats apart. One simple one is their face and head shape. Norwegian Forest cats have snouts that come down from their head in a singular line, while the Maine Coon's snout curves outward near their eyes.

Are Norwegian Forest Cats lazy? ›

Temperament of the Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat is an affectionate breed, prone to laziness when they aren't challenged or stimulated. This is important — they need to be kept busy to satisfy their natural instincts when in a hunting mood.

What 2 breeds make a Maine Coon? ›

Genetic testing suggests the Maine Coon is a descendant of both the Norwegian Forest cat and a mysterious extinct domestic breed, so it's likely the Vikings are responsible.

How do you tell if my cat is a Maine Coon or Siberian? ›

The Maine Coon has a square head, with high and prominent cheekbones. The muzzle is square. The Siberian has a softly rounded head. The muzzle is short and rounded.

Are Siberian forest cats smart? ›

The Siberian cat is intelligent and exceptionally playful. The breed is known to be slow to mature, taking as long as five years to graduate from kitten-like antics. This means the Siberian cat is a lot of fun to have around. This breed loves to climb, explore, and play.

Are Siberian cats rare? ›

Siberian cats are still fairly rare in the U.S.

Can Siberian cats be house cats? ›

Siberian cats are high energy and very playful but can be very happy being indoor cats as long as there's lots to entertain us and access to the outdoors for mental stimulation – there are some great catios to keep them safe and offer a taste of the outdoors, which is important for their mental health.

What cat is bigger than a Maine Coon? ›

However, there is one cat larger than a Maine Coon: the Savannah. A hybrid of wild cats like servals and domestic housecats, Savannah cats can grow to be 17 inches tall and weigh more than 25 pounds. It takes record-breaking Maine Coons like Barviel and Ludo to top that!

Are Norwegian Forest Cat cuddly? ›

Large | Cuddly | Playful. Norwegian Forest Cats or “Wegies” are ancient snow kitties. Originating from you guessed it, Norway, their thick double coat of fur keeps them toasty warm and also makes them great for cuddling.

Are Norwegian Forest Cats very vocal? ›

Strangers are usually welcomed into the home of a Norwegian Forest Cat, and they're well known for their loud, contented purring. Some are big “talkers” and chirp and vocalize much more than other cats. As a bonus, they don't require as much grooming as other longhaired breeds like Maine Coons.

How cold is too cold for a Norwegian Forest Cat? ›

The Norwegians are quite simply perfectly adapted to temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius and heavy rain!

Are Norwegian Forest Cats clingy? ›

The Norwegian Forest will usually choose a favourite person within the family; someone who they'll follow around more than anyone else. That said, they're rarely clingy, and if there's something more interesting happening elsewhere in the home, they'll be off to explore it.

Do Norwegian Forest Cats like to play in water? ›

7. Norwegian Forest cat. These gorgeous cats have a thick, water-resistant coat that's designed to keep them warm and dry, and they may partake in the occasional swim.

What makes Maine Coons so special? ›

Friendly, furry, and intelligent are general attributes of many cat breeds, but Maine Coon cats are especially friendly, furry, and intelligent. In fact, they're quite adaptable and seem to get along with everyone (kids, dogs, and other cats included).

What are the rarest Maine Coon colors? ›

The two rarest Maine Coon colours are gold and silver. They're brought about by a rare inhibitor gene that causes the loss of pigmentation in the undercoat. Even though every Maine Coon is gorgeous, the most sought after are: Gold.

Why are Maine Coons so rare? ›

The Maine Coon breed was rare in the 1950s when they went out of style and almost went extinct. However, after the breed became the official state cat of Maine, its popularity soared, and it made a comeback in 1985. Today, Maine Coons are so popular that they are no longer considered rare.

Do all Maine Coon cats have an M on their forehead? ›

When answering the question 'do all Maine Coons have an M on their forehead? ', it is safe to say that they do not. What is this? Instead, this striking marking is only visible on tabby patterned Maine Coon cats.

How can I tell if my cat is Siberian? ›

Siberian cats are distinguished by their thick, triple-layer coats. Look for long guard hairs (the outermost coat), followed by the awn hairs (or middle coat) and then a soft supple undercoat. In their native Russia, these many layers help protect Siberian cats from the intense cold.

What color eyes do Siberian cats have? ›

Eye color varies from gold to green and all shades in-between. Since Siberians are a natural breed, they come in all colors, including colorpoints that have blue eyes. The rainbow of colors includes, but is not limited to, brown, red, blue, silver, white, black and any combination of these colors.

Do Siberian cats snuggle? ›

This breed is sweet-natured and loves to cuddle. Siberians are totally devoted to their pet parents and generally get along well with children and other pets.

Do Siberian cats bond with one person? ›

For example, a Siberian cat, according to one breeder, “often becomes attached to one family member … follow[ing] this person closely, if possible both in and outdoor. The cat accepts the whole family but when it comes to coziness or cuddling or the cat is ill, it chooses one person.”

Do Siberian cats like baths? ›

Siberian cats have a water-resistant, triple-layered coat. Many of them enjoy water and may try to jump into the bath or shower. Even if your cat doesn't like water, bathe him if the coat gets dirty and the cat can't clean themselves.

Are Siberian cats lazy? ›

Another large, heavy breed, the Siberian Forest Cat is social with people and other cats but is generally mellow, quiet and very laid back.

Are Siberian cats destructive? ›

You may have also noticed these characteristics: Can be destructive and eager to get into trouble. Needs to be brushed regularly to keep coat mat-free.

What is the rarest color of Siberian cat? ›

White Siberian Cat

This cat is completely white, which is a very rare occurrence in the feline world. The fur on a white Siberian cat is usually very thick and dense, which helps to protect the animal from the cold weather.

Do Siberian cats sit in your lap? ›

Siberians are mellow cats who tend to get along with everyone. They're great for families, single people, older people, and get along well with other pets. An intelligent and playful little soul, the Siberian is also content to sit on your lap and purr quietly.

Should I let my Siberian cat outside? ›

Generally, a Siberian cat will live very happily with other cats and even cat-friendly dogs, so they're suitable for a multi-pet house. They can cope better outdoors than most cats, but it's still recommended to keep them indoors if you can as there are many risks to any cat as soon as they step outside.

Why do Siberian cats chirp? ›

"It's more of an excited sound and less of a sound used to hunt.” This means that cats chirp when they're super excited about something — so if you notice your cat making these adorable noises as you're flinging about her feather toy, it's probably just because she's excited to play with you.

What cats are mistaken for Maine Coons? ›

If you are wondering what cats look like a Maine Coon, then the Norwegian Forest Cat is the closest you will ever get. These two cat breeds look so similar, you might even be wondering if there are different breeds of Maine Coon.

What big cat are house cats most like? ›

The biggest and perhaps most fearsome of the world's big cats, the tiger shares 95.6 percent of its DNA with humans' cute and furry companions, domestic cats. That's one of the findings from the newly sequenced genomes of tigers, snow leopards and lions.

What is the strongest domestic cat? ›

Strongest Domestic Cat Breed: Maine Coon

It is the largest non-hybrid domestic cat and is nicknamed America's cat, originating in the state of Maine. As one of the strong cat breeds, it was used for its expert vermin hunting ability and adapted to harsh, cold weather with a rugged build and hardy constitution.

Do Norwegian Forest Cats like being picked up? ›

Norwegian forest cats are eager to be close and interact by playing or just observing, but they prefer not to be picked up all the time. Their dense coats require more care than shorter-haired breeds, and they are prone to certain health conditions, but these cats are well worth the effort.

What is Taylor Swift's cat breed? ›

What kind of cats does Taylor Swift have? Taylor Swift has two Scottish Folds, Meredith and Olivia, and one Ragdoll, Benjamin.

Can you walk a Norwegian Forest Cat? ›

As they are quite a clever breed, the Norwegian Forest Cat is typically quite easy to train. Many Wegie owners even train them to walk on a leash and harness.

Do Norwegian Forest Cats have big eyes? ›

The Norwegian Forest Cat's head is shaped like an inverted triangle, topped with heavily tufted medium-to-large ears. Large, almond-shaped eyes vary in color from stunning green to gold and copper. They have a large chest, muscular thighs, round paws, and a long, bushy tail.

What is the nickname for a Norwegian Forest Cat? ›

Physical Characteristics of the Norwegian Forest Cat

Referred to as The Norse Skogkatt in its native Norway, and nicknamed wegie (pronounced “wee-gee”) in the US, the breed is a muscular, semi-longhaired cat that resembles the Maine Coon cat in build.

Why don't Norwegian Forest Cats meow? ›

They prefer to stay at home and being curious of what's inside. They aren't stressed easily and also a very patient one. This is also why The Norwegian Forest Cats aren't very vocal.

Should you bathe a Norwegian Forest Cat? ›

You don't have to bathe your Norwegian Forest cat often unless they get dirty (which they might if you let them play outside). A professional groomer might be a wise choice because Wegies' coats are water-resistant, and getting them thoroughly soaked may be challenging.

Do Siberian cats like winter? ›

Their coat consists of three layers of fur that helps them cope with extreme cold weather. These stunning looking cats live in a rural area of Russia. When winter comes, they go out in the snow with their human to play. It seems to be their favorite season of the year.

Should I shave my Norwegian Forest Cat in the summer? ›

If your felines have an indoor-only lifestyle, shaving cats should not be necessary for heat reasons, even if they have long or dark fur. It is unlikely that your home will become so hot that they won't be able to find a comfortable place to rest.

What is the most clingy cat breed? ›

Burmese are often considered to be the most affectionate cat breed. They love being with people at all times and crave close physical contact, making them the ultimate companion cat for a devoted family. They will follow their owner from room to room and prefer to cuddle up on the sofa or sleep in bed with them.

Why are Norwegian Forest Cats so fluffy? ›

The coat is both thick and long. This coat provided natural protection for the breed when she was actually living in the forest. The coat has a silky feeling and the length of the coat varies widely with the season. The fur on the tail is also long and bushy in appearance.

Are Norwegian Forest Cats bigger than Siberian cats? ›

The Siberian is a medium-large cat. Males weigh between 5 and 8kg (11-17 lb) and females between 3.5 kg and 5.5 kg (8-12 lb). The Norwegian is a large cat. Males are around 6-9 kg (13-20 lb) and females are 4-6 kg (9-13 lb).

Are Norwegian Forest Cat smart? ›

Norwegian Forest Cat Personality

They are intelligent and fairly affectionate, some have described their character as “dog-like”. The cats are generally adaptable, inquisitive and bold. The Norwegian Forest cat temperament is that they are often good with children and other animals, making them perfect family pets.

Which big cat swims the best? ›

Tiger. Tigers are excellent swimmers and do not avoid water.

Which is bigger Norwegian Forest Cat or Siberian cat? ›

The Siberian and Norwegian Forest Cats are both breeds of domestic cat. They are both considered to be large cat breeds, with the Norwegian being a little bit larger. They share a number of similar features, including their long fur coats, which can help them stay warm in cold climates.

Which is bigger Norwegian forest or Maine Coon? ›

Size. The Maine Coon is a bigger breed even if the Norwegian is not a small cat. Maine Coon: males are around 7-12 kg (15-26 lb) and females are 5-8 kg (11-18 lb). Norwegian: males are around 6-9 kg (13-20 lb) and females are 4-6 kg (9-13 lb).

How can I tell if my cat is a Maine Coon mix? ›

Analyze the cat's size, eyes, tail, fur, paws, personality, body frame, and ear tufts, for clues, the cat is a Maine Coon mix. Genetic testing is the only foolproof method of identifying if you own a mixed Maine Coon, or not.

How do I know if I have a Norwegian Forest Cat? ›

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, heavily boned, heavily coated cat. She is a muscular and looks like the hunter she used to be. She has a triangular head, set on a thick, muscular neck. The ears are medium sized and the chin is strong, but slightly rounded.

Are Norwegian Forest Cats talkative? ›

Personality of The Norwegian Forest Cat

Wegies have a soft voice, but they are chatty and are not afraid to make their needs known. Their large paws and climbing ability make them excellent hunters.

Are Siberian forest cats cuddly? ›

Affection-wise, they are devoted but not clingy. Siberians will follow you from room to room but patiently wait until you have time for cuddles. They don't mind noises or strangers as much as most cats, and if introduced properly, they are happy to cohabitate with kids, dogs, and whoever else may live in your home.

Are Norwegian Forest Cats good as house cats? ›

Norwegian Forest Cats love the great outdoors, they're a good choice for owners who live in an area where it's safe to roam and who are looking for an outdoors cat. That said, they adapt well to their environment, so a Norwegian Forest may be kept as an indoor cat. This is usually a friendly, very sociable cat.

What breed of cat is bigger than a Maine Coon? ›

However, there is one cat larger than a Maine Coon: the Savannah. A hybrid of wild cats like servals and domestic housecats, Savannah cats can grow to be 17 inches tall and weigh more than 25 pounds. It takes record-breaking Maine Coons like Barviel and Ludo to top that!

Why are Maine Coons so different? ›

Maine Coons are naturally big felines because they directly descend from Norwegian Forest Cats. Their natural lineage as wild cats living in Wiscasset, Maine contributes to their large size. Maine Coon are also big as a result of their slow growth rate which enables their bones structure and muscles to develop larger.

Do all Maine Coons have pointed ears? ›

The simple answer to this question is no. Whilst some Maine Coons will have long impressive pointed tips that extend upwards from the more narrow and pointed tip of a Maine Coons ears, another Maine Coon might only have very short lengths of hair growing out of their pointed ears. What is this?

How can I tell what breed my cat is? ›

To tell what breed your cat is with absolute certainty, you need a cat DNA test. These kits use your kitty's DNA (obtained through a cheek swab) to decode his genetics and give you in-depth information on his lineage.

Do Norwegian Forest cats have blue eyes? ›

Norwegian Forest cats can have green, gold, copper or blue eyes.

What color eyes does a Norwegian Forest Cat have? ›

The Norwegian Forest Cat's head is shaped like an inverted triangle, topped with heavily tufted medium-to-large ears. Large, almond-shaped eyes vary in color from stunning green to gold and copper. They have a large chest, muscular thighs, round paws, and a long, bushy tail.

Do Norwegian Forest Cats get big? ›

Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Traits

Once they reach full maturity, which can be as late as five years of age, both male and female Norwegian Forest Cats possess significant muscle and bone mass. Males weigh on average between 12 and 16 pounds, with females typically ranging from 9 to 12 pounds.


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