Can Norwegian Forest Cats Go Outside? (Practical Reasons)

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The Norwegian Forest Cat is well-known to have a double coat of fur combined with an exceptionally affectionate personality.  Even though Norwegian Forest Cats are loving and playful, they also have a robust body.  So, can Norwegian Forest Cats go outside?

Yes, Norwegian Forest cats can go outside. Norwegian Forest cats are exceptionally robust cats that are agile and enjoy climbing. However, Norwegian Forest cats should be monitored while outdoors for safety due to their ability to climb incredibly high.

While this breed can certainly benefit from a balance of being indoors and spending time outside, there are still plenty of risks and safety factors that caregivers should consider.

Cat Product Note:  I will talk about and recommend some cat products in this article, which will hopefully provide your cat with a more enriching life.  These are Amazon affiliate links, so I receive a commission from Amazon, with no added cost to you.  These are my honest recommendations, so if you are interested in checking them out, please click below!

  • This cat stroller on Amazon I recommend for the Norwegian Forest Cat since it can go pretty much anywhere you need to and is quite large (Affiliate Link):  Click Here.
  • This is the cat backpack on Amazon I recommend for the Norwegian Forest Cat since it has excellent airflow and is really big (Affiliate Link): Click Here.
  • This is the Catio on Amazon that I recommend for the Norwegian Forest Cat since it provides a big area for this energetic cat to jump around and hang out (affiliate link): Click Here.

Stick around to find out everything you need to know for taking a Norwegian Forest Cat outside and what precautions you should put in place to ensure that your large cat friend stays safe. 

Can Norwegian Forest Cats Go Outside?

Yes, Norwegian cats can go outside; however, I do not recommend letting your cat run freely outside. There is a wide range of health and safety hazards outdoors, and unfortunately, cat owners have limited options for ensuring safety. Significant dangers include vehicles that pose the risk of running over your cat and other animals that may be aggressive or territorial.

One animal that cats can run into while outside is the raccoon.  To learn more about whether cats and raccoons can get along or if raccoons are a danger, check out our article:  Click Here.

Norwegian Forest Cats are much larger than the average feline, and their coat is much more protective as well. This large breed cat is adapted to cold temperatures with its long water-resistant topcoat and undercoat for insulation. 

Unlike other cats, a Norwegian Forest cat has a similar personality to a dog with its brave and inquisitive nature. Their bodies are heavily boned and muscular, traits from its ancestral lineage that allow it to be a very thorough hunter. The Norwegian is also highly active and loves to run, climb, and play.

We explore more about the hunting ability of cats and if they actually enjoy hunting in our article:  Click Here.

This cat breed is ultimately made to survive in the outdoors, but you should always consider whether your outdoor situation is the best for this type of cat or not.

Can You Keep Norwegian Forest Cats Outside?

I do not recommend keeping a Norwegian Forest Cat outside for the same reasons I do not recommend keeping any cat outside.  While a Norwegian Forest Cat is larger than other domestic cats and can probably protect herself a little better, there are still too many dangers for cats that roam freely outside.

Many factors like nearby roads, large predators, and heavy machinery all play a role in exactly how safe (or unsafe) it may be to keep your Norwegian Forest Cat outside.

Additionally, sometimes stray cats are roaming around outside.  Sometimes felines will engage in fighting if they are in the same territory.  Cat fighting can lead to injury and sometimes death.  We talk more about if cats will fight to the death:  Click Here.

It is also important to note that it usually isn’t recommended to keep any feline fully outside. The best option is to find a proper balance between indoor and outdoor time.

Some people will install cat doors so their cats can go inside and outside the house as they please.  A cat running around freely sounds nice, but there are many dangers outside the home.  I do not recommend using a cat door.  We talk more about cat doors and if they are safe:  Click Here.

Can an Indoor Cat Survive Outside?

If you’ve raised your Norwegian Forest Cat indoors, it’s normal to be concerned with whether your cat can survive the unknowns of the outdoors. Contrary to what people may think, it’s quite beneficial to let your indoor cat have some outside time.

Cats that spend time outside increase their physical agility tap into their curious nature, and are less likely to become overweight.

If you’re nervous about letting your indoor cat outside, try giving your cat some short trial periods and supervise them, in the beginning, to see just how they react. The more time any feline spends outside, the more adaptive and strong, they will become towards their environment.

My recommendation for enriching your cat’s life through outside time is to use a cat harness and leash, cat backpack, cat stroller, or catio (or a combination of these methods).

Can Norwegian Forest Cats Be Good Indoor Cats?

Video: Norwegian Forest Cat Indoors

Yes, Norwegian Forest Cats can make good indoor cats.  Although the Norwegian Forest cat is large and robust, it can also make a great indoor companion. Norwegian Forest cats have a sweet, loving personality and make very personal connections with their owners.

While this breed may enjoy having regular outside time, if your outdoor environment is not safe enough to do this, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of ways to keep your feline happy indoors.

Norwegian Forest Cats can be territorial, however, so it’s important to give them a space of their own and lots of toys to keep them busy. One good way to enrich a cat’s life (even a Norwegian Forest Cat’s) indoors is by providing a cat condo or cat tree so they can climb, scratch, and lounge at their leisure. 

We talk more about if cats like cat condos in our article:  Click Here.

Ways to Take Norwegian Forest Cats Outside More Often

Video: Norwegian Forest Cat in a Cat Harness and Leash

My recommendation is to use a combination of the below options to enrich your Norwegian Forest Cat’s life by exposing her to the outdoors.  For example, you could do the following:

Cat Harness and Leash

If your cat prefers a little more adventure, a harness and leash are another great choice. Just like with a dog, the harness and leash provide a little more freedom to your feline while still allowing you to keep it close and safe.

To learn more about whether cat harnesses are cruel, check out our article: Click Here.

Cat Backpack

These specially created backpacks with ample space to fit your cat inside are a great way to introduce them to the outdoors without having to worry about them escaping or getting lost.

  • This is the cat backpack on Amazon I recommend for the Norwegian Forest Cat since it has excellent airflow and is really big (Affiliate Link): Click Here.

Cat Stroller

If you’re not keen about carrying your cat on your back, cat strollers are another great alternative. These strollers are great for providing a little extra space while keeping your cat protected while it gets some fresh air.

  • This cat stroller on Amazon I recommend for the Norwegian Forest Cat since it can go pretty much anywhere you need to and is quite large (Affiliate Link):  Click Here.


If you have access to a yard, you can buy a cat enclosure (Catio) or build one with chicken wire and wood. You could technically convert your apartment balcony into a playpen if you secured it properly so your cat would be safe.

  • This space should have a strong cover, and the wire should be partially buried to prevent predator attacks.
  • Your cat should never be out in extreme weather conditions, and you should be nearby to watch them.
  • The space should include a variety of toys and perches. If you look to purchase a catio, you will often see places for a cat to perch or lay.
  • Make sure you keep it clean.
  • Make sure your cat always has access to freshwater. Lots of people underestimate how much water a cat needs to drink.  If you take your cat outside, bring water.
  • This is the Catio on Amazon that I recommend for the Norwegian Forest Cat since it provides a big area for this energetic cat to jump around and hang out (affiliate link): Click Here.

Things to Consider If You Let Your Norwegian Forest Cat Outside

You will want to consider some key questions when considering taking your Norwegian Forest Cat outside.  These will help your cat stay safe and healthy.

Is your Norwegian Forest Cat Microchipped?

Video: Microchipping Your Cat

 No matter how hard you try to avoid this situation, sometimes cats get free and run off. Cats are curious by nature, and at some point in their lifetime, they may wander a bit too far.

There’s no need to worry too much about this situation, however, as long as your Norwegian is chipped. If your cat gets lost, having a chip allows them to be found once again to a safe return.

Another good idea is to have good identification on your cat’s collar.  This will allow someone who finds your cat to quickly call you instead of going somewhere to get a microchip read.  We talk more about cat collars and if they are inhumane:  Click Here.

Are You Leaving Water Out for your Norwegian Forest Cat?

Water is extremely important for any living being, so if you take your cat outside for any length of time, I suggest you bring some fresh water with you.  This way, if your cat gets thirsty, you will have fresh water for her to drink at her leisure.

If your feline becomes thirsty while exploring, and there is no fresh water available, they will most likely seek water from another source, which could potentially be harmful.

Did You Bring the Norwegian Forest Cat in at Night?

If you let your Norwegian Forest Cat run freely outside, which I advise you not to do, I recommend bringing this cat (or any cat) in at night.  The likelihood your cat will run into danger increases in the evening, and run-ins with other animals can lead to fights or catching diseases.

Should You Give a Norwegian Forest Cat a Bath After Going Outside?

I would not recommend bathing the Norwegian Forest Cat too often, although you should probably do it if she is quite dirty or smelly. Their long hair may collect some small bits of nature (like leaves), but a simple combing should do just the trick.


Video: Norwegian Forest Cat

Taking the Norwegian Forest Cat outside can be incredibly beneficial for their overall lifestyle, activity levels, and happiness. This cat should love going out, and you will probably enjoy seeing your cat interact with nature.

With some well thought out safety precautions, proper training, ground rules, plus lots of love and patience, your Norwegian Forest Cat could be enjoying all the outdoors has to offer in no time.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out a couple of other interesting articles, such as:

  • American Shorthair vs Scottish Fold (Best Big Comparison): Click Here.
  • American Shorthair vs Maine Coon (The Best Beautiful Cats): Click Here.

Christopher Carlson

I have an Domestic Shorthair Tabby named Charlotte. She is full of energy when she isn't sleeping most of the day. I share what I learn about cats on this site.

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