2023 Author: Alex Livingston | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 11:39
Long and dense hair, large size, sturdy build: these are the physical characteristics that stand out most when you are in front of a Norwegian forest cat. But in its appearance there is an even more distinctive trait that not everyone is aware of, and it is the webbed paws. In this article we investigate the because the Norwegian is endowed with this peculiarity and what advantages it has given him.
In order to adequately explain the causes that caused the appearance of webbed paws in this cat breed, it is necessary to know at least part of its history: these causes have in fact to do with its evolution and with the geographical area in which it initially spread.
The Norwegian Forest Cat or Norwegian Forest Cat is a natural breed, i.e. it has evolved over time via natural selection and it is not the result of crosses made by human beings. This means that it had to adapt to the environment in which it lived by developing certain physical characteristics, and only the specimens with these characteristics managed to survive.
But what kind of environment is it exactly? While it is true that numerous archaeological finds document the presence of domestic cats in Scandinavia as early as 1000 AD, it is likely that many of them were already long-haired when they arrived there from the Middle East. Surely this requirement has proved to be a fundamental resource in cold forests of Norway that they have inhabited for centuries, but not the only one available to them.
The slightly webbed paws constitute another valuable advantage available to these cats, as they allow them to move more easily on icy or snowy surfaces, ensuring greater grip on the ground. The fact that between the pads of the paws (as well as on the inside of the ears) there are showy tufts of hair constitutes a further ace in the hole for the Norwegian: in fact they provide an additional level of insulation and protection from the cold allowing him to bear even the most severe climates.
It is therefore not surprising that many scholars consider the Norwegian's webbed paws to be response to an evolutionary need of the animal, together with its dense water-repellent coat and its robust musculature, which made them excellent predators long before they became domestic cats.
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