As new breeders, as well as cat parents, our hope and belief as we begin our breeding journey is to uphold the wellness and happiness of all our cats. All of our cats will be tested before breeding, to ensure the best outcome possible. Genetic tests all cats will be tested for are: GSD IV, PK-Def, FeLV, FIV, FIP, and FHV.
Though we would love to journey on without hiccups, our cats will tell us if this is for them or not, and we will listen. Being they’re our children first, their happiness and well-being will be first priority in our breeding. We hope to contribute to the current existing pool of Norwegies, by bringing in new lines to the West Coast of USA. Our cats roam free range in our home, as well as have access to an outside enclosure when weather permits. All three of our breeding cats are harnessed trained to go on walks, and our boy Norman is an expert traveler when it comes to car rides, trains, or planes.
We are still new to showing cats, as work demands our attention when we’re not home with our furbabies. We hope to remedy our experience in the next year or two, but for now we will continue dedicating our time between work and our cats, as the year moves forward.
Since moving to the USA, we learned Norman has an intolerance to all chicken. Most kibble in USA has chicken by-product, or chicken fat, even if the protein is listed as turkey, duck, rabbit, or fish. We have tried numerous high protein kibbles such as Applaws, Instinct Raw Boost, American Journey, and Blue Buffalo Carnivora. While these brands may work for other cats, we made the final decision to switch Norman entirely to raw feeding to do what’s best by him. His stools are now more solid, less smelly, his coat has improved, and he seems a lot happier. Though Norman wishes his meals were bigger, we currently feed him 8-12oz of raw feeding a day.
Because we live outside a small town, our resources for raw food are limited and mostly chicken products are the only thing available. Currently, ourselves, we are not confident in being able to provide Norman a complete raw diet of meat, organs, bones, and supplement. At a local pet shop we have been able to source a premade raw option Vital Essentials (Turkey). The ingredients are very limited, and have certainly benefited Norman’s life I think. Norman still has difficulty gaining weight despite us feeding more than the recommended amount, so I do wish there was a beef option with Vital Essentials. To help offer a different protein, we will sometimes treat Norman with a package of Instinct Wet Food in rabbit.
Cats are natural carnivores, unlike dogs who are opportunists. Some premade raw options will have vegetables and fruits, which is okay for dogs maybe, but in my opinion, not for cats. The occasionally pumpkin is perhaps okay for upset tummies, but I’m not a cat nutritionist by any means. Based on my own research, I quite prefer offering our cats protein based options when it comes to diet.
Our girls Berenice and Stella are fed Instinct Raw Boost in chicken, and when pregnant, given Instinct Kitten. Though I would prefer all our cats be on a raw food diet, I still haven’t decided for myself if this is a safe option for our females, when they are pregnant and nursing. I am still researching better options for kibble when it comes to our kittens, but for now they will be given the same Instinct Kitten kibble as their momma, and when still bottle feeding, we give Breeder’s Edge Formula. All of our cats are also offered this formula, especially nursing mom’s to help prevent calcium deficiency.
If you are interested in learning more about raw feeding as an option for your cats, feel free to see some of the resources I’ve listed below.
One of our favorite things to do in our spare time is to travel. Norman has grown accustomed to traveling by car, train, plane, and backpack. He was harness trained at 6 months old to prepare for his travel to the USA, as he would travel in-cabin with us and would be required to vacate his carrier when going through security. At first he didn’t like it, but he learned quickly and now loves walks! Since puberty, he’s grown more used to being interested in smells, but he does great on hikes in his cat backpack. In 2018, we even had the opportunity to take him through a corn maze with us! Though I’m sure he doesn’t understand the novelty of it, it was great having him experience that with us.
Norman is also great and respectful when traveling to Airbnbs, whether it’s a trip to Portland, or in Prague Czech Republic. We travel with a travel litter box, toys, food bowl, blanket, and a cardboard scratchy. Also some catnip for some relaxation! After exploring all parts of our temporary abode, he will usually make himself at home on the bed or in a window. We’ve had no incidents with marking, or scratching. To be sure we have no accidents of our kitties scratching furniture, we always make cardboard scratchies available as they’re the preferred method to their cat trees. We’re not sure why our cats don’t care much for their scratching posts, but it has been wonderful to know they love cardboard so much – an easy travel necessity!
Berenice and Stella started their harness training at 10 and 11 months old. Berenice was trained to wear a harness at a young age thanks to the help of her breeder, and she immediately was open to the idea of walks when started our training in Oregon. Both girls have different experiences when it comes to car rides, walks, and hiking via cat backpack.
Berenice does as great as Norman when traveling in the car, and hiking in our cat backpack. She prefers being out on her harness, and keeps a fast pace when walking. She will do circles though when she’s hunting in the trees! She loves exploring new areas, and climbing rocks. Berenice will beg to go outside on a walk, alongside with Norman. She has only flown once with us, and did exceptionally well, comforting Stella the whole journey to the USA.
As for Stella, she enjoys walking on a harness, but will usually sit in the shade surrounded by grass to eat. She keeps a slower pace, and is more hesitant in new environments. Car rides are still unpleasant, and she is not a fan of our cat backpack. The plane ride was also not easy for her, but she managed, though I don’t think we will torture her with future international travels. Stella’s favorite way to be outside is in our cat enclosure, where it’s familiar and a more relaxing pace to watch for birds and squirrels.
Berenice and Stella have only experienced one Airbnb trip with us, with no incidents. Berenice spent the time exploring on her own, before settling in bed or in a window. Stella chose to hide under furniture to let us know how displeased she was, and would occasionally make an appearance where food was involved.
Currently we have no trips planned with our three cats, but in the summer we will continue training them to ride along on biking trips in our new pet trailer.