Are Norwegian Forest Cats Hypoallergenic? Breed Description and History

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Are Norwegian Forest Cats hypoallergenic? The breed isn’t totally hypoallergenic as they have thick coats which are prone to shedding. 

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a regal breed with a strong, silent temperament. They make excellent family pets, and cat lovers covet them for their large size and beautiful long fur. They developed their distinctive, thick fur to keep them warm in the forests of Norway.

Norwegian Forest cats are not hypoallergenic. Their fur contains low Fel D1 proteins, which means they trigger fewer allergic reactions than other cats might. However, their long fur and thick, rough undercoat mean that they shed and therefore may not be the best choice for allergy sufferers.

This article will answer the question, ‘are Norwegian Forest cats hypoallergenic’ in more detail. We’ve researched everything you need to know on the topic to help you decide whether a Norwegian Forest Cat is the right pet for your family.

Are Norwegian Forest Cats Hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, Norwegian Forest cats are not completely hypoallergenic. There is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat. To understand more, let’s dig into some of the science behind allergies and find out what makes a cat hypoallergenic or not.

Allergens and Cat Fur

are norweign forest cats hypoallergenic
Are Norwegian Forest Cats hypoallergenic? While these cats may triiger less allergies in sufferers, they aren't totally hypoallergenic as they do shed and drop dander.

Cats produce a specific allergen that no other animal produces. Even dogs do not produce this allergen, which is why some people are fine with dogs and yet are allergic to cats. The allergen is a protein called Fel D1. It is found in the cat’s skin, saliva, anal glands, and urine.

Interestingly, the protein is not found in cat fur. The Fel D1 protein sticks to a cat’s fur when it cleans itself. The Fel D1 protein stuck to a cat’s fur becomes an airborne allergen when the cat sheds. The word “dander” refers to this airborne protein in a cat’s fur.

Interestingly, the protein is not found in cat fur. The Fel D1 protein sticks to a cat’s fur when it cleans itself. The Fel D1 protein stuck to a cat’s fur becomes an airborne allergen when the cat sheds. The word “dander” refers to this airborne protein in a cat’s fur. 

There are many different proteins in animal saliva and fur. People with dander allergies are often sensitive to several types of protein. However, because of the unique Fel D1 protein, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies.

“Hypoallergenic” Cats

The word hypoallergenic has been misinterpreted by many to mean “allergy-free.” Hypoallergenic means “relatively less likely to cause allergies.”

Several things cause a cat to create a stronger or weaker allergic response. Some cats produce more of the Fel D1 protein than others. Some cats have less (or no) hair, meaning the protein does not have a way to become airborne.

The Norwegian Forest cat produces slightly lower levels of Fel D1 than some other breeds. This fact would make it less allergenic if it did not have extremely thick, long fur that was prone to shedding, especially in the spring.

While there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic cat, there are breeds that might trigger a less allergic response in people with the Fel D1 allergy.

Javanese and Sphynx

The Javanese cat has a single coat. The lack of an undercoat means that it sheds much less, making it a possible choice for someone with a cat allergy. The Sphynx, meanwhile, is hairless and does not shed at all. However, the Fel D1 allergen can still be found on its skin.

Devon and Cornish Rex

The Devon Rex and Cornish Rex both have very short, thin fur. This makes them less prone to shedding. They are also distinctive-looking, playful cats that make great pets regardless of their hypoallergenic status.

Related Article: Cats That Don’t Shed

Siberian and Norwegian Forest Cat

Despite their long coats, these breeds produce less of the Fel D1 allergen than other breeds do. Siberian cats shed very little. However, Norwegians are slightly more prone to shedding because of their thick fur. Regular cleaning, changing air filters, and laundering fabrics may help to reduce exposure.

Female Cats

Male cats, especially unneutered ones, produce higher levels of the Fel D1 protein than female cats do.

If you suffer from a cat allergy, adopting a female cat with a short coat like the Devon or Cornish Rex or a hairless cat like a Sphynx might be your best bet.

Related Article: Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats?

Norwegian Forest Cats Breed Description

are norwegian forest cats hypoallergenic

Regardless of its hypoallergenic status, there is no doubt that the Norwegian Forest Cat is a beautiful cat and an excellent pet. While we can not recommend it as a hypoallergenic option, we do recommend it as a family pet.

Breed History

The Norwegian Forest cat (also called the skogkatt) most likely descended from two distinct ancestors: black and white British shorthair cats brought to Norway by the Vikings around 1000 AD, and longhaired cats brought to Norway by Crusaders in the 14th century. 

It is thought that these two breeds reproduced with farm and feral cats and eventually evolved into the modern-day Norwegian Forest cat. Other possible ancestors are long-haired cats from Turkey and Russia.


Forest cats are friendly, warm, and intelligent. Owners typically describe them as energetic and as producing high-pitched chirp-like vocalizations. They are energetic and love to be around their families.

Norwegian Forest cats are known to be good with children and get along well with most humans. Of course, every cat is different in this regard, and temperament will depend not only on genetics but on a cat’s particular upbringing.

Forest cats make good hunters, but they also adapt well to indoor life. While many people assume that because of their rugged appearance, they would rather be outside, the Forest cat likes nothing more than to be indoors with its humans.


On average, the Norwegian Forest cat is larger than a typical domestic cat. They tend to weigh between 10 and 20 lbs and have thick, stocky muscles. Their coats are long, with a glossy, water-resistant top layer and thick, warm undercoat that evolved to help them survive in the harsh Scandinavian climate.

Forest cats come in many colors, with the most typical coloring being some variation of black and white.

Are Norwegian Forest Cats Hypoallergenic? Final thoughts

So, are Norwegian Forest Cats hypoallergenic? While the breed produces lower levels of the Fel D1 allergenic protein than other cats, it would be a misnomer to call them “hypoallergenic.” For starters, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat. Other breeds, such as the Sphynx or the Devon Rex, trigger allergy sufferers less.

Regardless of their hypoallergenic status, Norwegian Forest Cats are intelligent, friendly cats who make excellent family pets and love to be with their humans. As they have long fur they need to be groomed regularly.

Related Article: Are Sphynx Cats Vocal?

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