Monday, 10 October 2011

The eyes of the Norwegian Forest Cat

In the Standard of Points for the Norwegian Forest Cat the eyes are given 10% of the total points. This doesn’t sound a lot, but of course there are so many other things to take into account when assessing the overall cat. However if an otherwise near-perfect NFC has round or over-dominant eyes the whole appearance of the cat is spoilt and just doesn’t look “right”. Maybe this is because the eyes are one of the first things you notice about any cat. Maybe it is because the eyes are the window to the soul! 

The Norwegian Forest Cat’s eyes should be slightly oblique in set, and the effect should be that of an alert and capable hunter. The standard describes them as large and well-opened, but in my experience they should not be over-large or they will look too sweet.  I'd say Hermione's eyes (above) are just right.

The males in particular should never have a sweet look – these cats should have an air of wildness about them, even though their natures are anything but wild. The females do have a different expression sometimes – I would say that my best girls’ eyes have a noble and intelligent look.

Kohinoor's eyes, whilst a beautiful colour ('odd eyed') are perhaps a little deep-set.
It is easier to disguise eye shape in a tabby cat, and more difficult to get the eyes to look good in a solid coloured cat. I am lucky in that my white cats, although they have no eye make-up at all to “help” the shape of their eyes, without exception have beautiful expressions. White cats’ eyes come in several different colours: blue, green, gold, or (my favourite) odd-eyed meaning one blue and one green or gold.  Very often as kittens the green-eyed white NFC will look as if he or she is going to end up yellow or orange-eyed, but then they change at around one or even two years of age, so I generally register my gold-eyed-looking white kittens as green-eyed.  I have seen several novice breeders make a mistake because they do not expect the change, and then they might have to re-register the cat later.

Eye colour in the NFC doesn’t really matter at all – it is the shape and expression that counts. You even occasionally get blue eyes in a cat that isn’t solid white (for example, this handsome boy below). 

Photo of Dansbjergs Ringo by Carli Haekkerup
Mostly NFC eyes are of a colour that blends happily with the cat’s coat colour – ranging from soft hazel to bright green.  But I reiterate - it is the expression, not the colour, that counts.
Jet has particularly vivid and beautiful eyes

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