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03.09.2022

Norwegian Forest cat ear tufts—a cute accessory or a necessity

Norwegian Forest cats, aka Wegies, are known for many things. They are friendly, loyal, and loving, although they don't show affection in traditional ways. Instead of cuddling incessantly, these massive kitties prefer playing with their cat parents.

Wegies also flaunt a magnificent coat available in any colour and pattern imaginable. They have a lion-like mane around their neck, making them look like Vikings. These felines are a semi-long-haired breed with strands of hair in places where you don't see them often—their paws and ears—adding to the already disarming cuteness.

Untamed explains all about Norwegian Forest cat ear tufts. You will learn about their role in your furry friend’s life and how to properly care for your Wegie's ears, coat, and overall health.

Ear tufts vs ear furnishings—what's the difference?

Some have only tufts, while others have only furnishings. I have both.

Source: pklaschka

Looking at a Norwegian Forest cat, you first notice an abundance of hair everywhere, especially their ears, which make them adorable. Wegies’ ears have two accessories:

  1. Ear tufts—Also called Lynx tips, this is the fur that grows on the tip of your kitty's ears and is usually seen on wild cats
  2. Ear furnishings—This is the fur that grows inside a feline's ear

What's the purpose of ear tufts and ear furnishings?

Ear tufts and furnishings are not there for decorative purposes only. They play a significant role in a Norwegian Forest's senses and health.

Ear furnishings help keep your Wegie’s ears free from dirt, dust mites, and allergens. Since kitties can't clean the insides of their ears, this fur traps the debris, making it easy for felines to remove it with their paws. It prevents ear infections and mites from entering the feline's ear canal. These hairs also pick up sound vibrations, improving your kitty's hearing.

Ear tufts help direct the sound into the ear, making the hearing and locating prey more precise. Norwegian Forests are avid hunters, and this is likely the reason why.

Wegies are built to withstand harsh winters, so this extra fur around their ears also ensures they are safe from the cold.

Should you cut your Wegie's ear tufts and furnishings?

Keep the scissors away from me.

Source: thabisfotowelt

Knowing the role of ear tufts, it stands to reason that cutting them is not a good idea. If you do it, you will disrupt their hearing ability and mess with the sense they heavily rely upon.

Felines are not precisely nocturnal animals. They follow polycyclic sleep-wake cycles, which means they are awake in the morning and evening, and sleep during the day and night. They are active when it's dark, so taking one of their key senses away can cause disorientation. If it happened to cats living outside, they might not be able to hear or sense the approaching danger.

What happens if you cut your Norwegian Forest's ear tufts?

If you cut your kitty’s ear tufts and furnishings, they may lose some of their hearing abilities, but it doesn't necessarily have to happen. Many cat breeds are born with minimal hair inside their ears and have adapted pretty well. To be safe, you shouldn't let your kitty go outside until they have adjusted to the potential change in their hearing.

You must also pay close attention to your Norwegian Forest's behaviour during this time. If you notice anything unusual, take them to the vet and have them checked for ear infections as their ears are not protected anymore.

Can ear tufts cause problems?

Be a doll and check my ears for gunk. 

Source: pklaschka

Ear tufts and furnishing are there to avert problems, but sometimes they can also be the source of them.

Wegies typically enjoy playing with water. Although these felines have water-resistant fur that is pretty difficult to get thoroughly soaked, if you let them go swimming or spend too much time in the water, moisture can get trapped in their ear canal, causing a severe ear infection.

Some of the signs that something is wrong with your furry friend's ears are:

  • Loss of balance (tripping over)
  • Disorientation
  • Head shaking
  • Excessive ear cleaning
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Bright pink or red skin in the ear

If the symptoms appear, take your Norwegian Forest to the vet immediately. While ear infections are not fatal, they are extremely painful and uncomfortable. They can cause permanent hearing damage or loss if left untreated.

Should you clean your Wegie's ears?

Felines generally take great care of their hygiene. Norwegian Forests are particularly meticulous when it comes to self-grooming, so there’s usually no need to interfere.

Since these felines have long ear tufts and furnishings, they do a great job filtering dirt and unwanted guests, but there is a disadvantage. These hairs can be so long that they start growing into the ear, leading to infections. Particularly long tufts and furnishings can also make it hard for your Wegie to clean them, in which case you should help.

You must react if you notice any buildup in your kitty's ears. The best course of action is to consult your vet about what cleaning solution to use. They should also show you a proper cleaning method.

As first aid, you can use a damp cloth and gently clean the inside of your Wegie's ears, moving from the inside out. Never use a wet cloth because water can leak into your kitty's ears and cause an infection. Even when you bathe your feline friend, you must be careful around the head. Instead of pouring water over it, it would be best to use a damp cloth and carefully wipe their head.

How to keep your Norwegian Forest cat's coat healthy

Proper diet and regular grooming will keep your Wegie looking and feeling fabulous. 

Source: thabisfotowelt

Your Wegie's beauty and health depend on the following:

  1. Grooming
  2. Diet

Grooming a Norwegian Forest cat

Despite being long-haired and having a dense, double-layered coat, Wegies are pretty low-maintenance.

Their grooming requirements entail:

  1. Brushing—You should brush your feline friend once a week. As their coat doesn't mat and tangle much, there is no need to do it more often, except during the shedding season when you may have to increase the frequency to twice a week. The best tool to use is a bristle-type brush, and you should always brush in the direction of hair growth. After you have finished, you can wipe their fur with a damp cloth to remove loose hair and dander
  2. Bathing—You can bathe your Wegie every two months or when they get dirty. If you suffer from cat allergies, you may want to bathe them more often, but don't overdo it because it can mess up their skin's PH values and cause dry skin, irritation, and poor coat quality. Use a shampoo made for cats because human products contain substances that can harm your kitty. You may also need to ask for a groomer's help as it can be challenging to get your Wegie's coat fully soaked due to their fur's water-resistant properties

Besides brushing and bathing, you must clean your kitty's teeth as frequently as they let you (every day would be ideal). It can prevent gum issues, teeth loss, and more serious medical issues. Oral infections can get into the bloodstream and spread to the kidneys, brain, and heart.

You should also trim their nails every two to three weeks. Your Norwegian Forest has particularly strong claws, which make them excellent climbers, so cutting them when they become too sharp is necessary.

Choosing the right food for your Wegie

Your Norwegian Forest's coat quality largely depends on their diet. Inadequate nutrition can cause skin problems and excessive shedding.

Some ingredients in your kitty's food can also cause allergic reactions. The most common allergens include:

Besides food ingredients, environmental factors, such as pollen, insect bites, and medication can also cause allergic reactions in felines.

The best diet for your Norwegian Forest cat

Your Norwegian Forest cat doesn’t need much more than meat and fish.

Image (c) Untamed

Your Norwegian Forest will look and feel fantastic if you feed them appropriate portions of well-balanced food.

A Wegie’s diet should follow their natural eating patterns. Cats in the wild hunt small animals, such as mice, frogs, birds, slugs, lizards, and large insects like moths. Domesticated felines will do well on animal protein-rich food. Whether you opt for wet, dry, semi-moist, raw, or homemade meals, make sure they contain suitable amounts of:

  1. Animal protein—High-quality cat food should contain at least 50% lean meat and fish. These ingredients deliver all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids felines need for:
    1. Energy
    2. Strong muscles
    3. Normal organ function
    4. Hair growth and strength
  2. Animal fat—Cat food should not contain more than 20% animal fat. Anything more can lead to obesity and related health problems, such as diabetes, joint pains, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, etc. Animal fat is necessary because it adds incredible taste and delivers healthy fatty acids that:
    1. Promote healing
    2. Improve the immune system
    3. Regulate inflammation
    4. Hydrate the skin
    5. Support cell integrity

Adequate food composition will deliver all the micronutrients necessary to keep your Wegie's fur luscious and healthy.

Check out the table below to see the most important micronutrients for coat health:

Micronutrient

Role

Vitamins A, E, and B complex

Promote a healthy coat and skin

Taurine

  • Controles inflammatory response
  • Supports healing
  • Increases cell turnover rate

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

  • Maintains healthy coat
  • Reduces inflammation

Collagen

  • Improves skin hydration
  • Maintains skin elasticity

Keratin

Ensures strong claws, hair, and skin

How can Untamed help keep your Wegie's coat healthy?

Keep your Wegie’s coat gorgeous with Untamed.

Image (c) Untamed

Untamed offers complete and balanced food that supports your Norwegian Forest's overall health.

Our meals are:

Order Untamed, and you will give your Norwegian Forest the best of the best. Their fur will get softer and prettier every day!

Where do I sign up?

Do you like simple ordering processes and appreciate speedy package deliveries? Untamed does that for you.

To order healthy meals for your Norwegian Forest, all you should do is:

  1. Take our Try Now quiz
  2. Create a tailor-made meal plan for your kitty
  3. Place your order

The trial pack will arrive at your door in a day. After your Wegies samples all the delicacies, we can keep you stocked with regular monthly deliveries.

Once your feline friend switches to Untamed, you can expect the following results—according to our regular clients:

Timeline

The Untamed effect

After one week

  • Neater litter tray
  • Regulated bowel movement
  • Easy digestion

After two months

Within four months

Life-long