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Norwegian forest cat cost a whopping $5,200 per year to care for
But they can run in $18,000 to $19,000 with boarding fees
Breeding program a success, officials say
Cats are meant to be outdoors, the old saying goes.
And that's certnly true if you're the forest cat, a cat native to Norway who spends his days happily prowling around in the leafy forests, looking for fish and mice.
The problem is, Norway's forest cats are more comfortable eating grass than going fishing or looking for mice.
"You can imagine what the situation is like," sd Olav Johannessen, an animal specialist at Norwegian University of Life Sciences. "They've been bred to be cats. The reason they are out in the wild is because of human interference."
Those human interferences have included hunters who set traps to catch wild cats.
But in the last decade, scientists and wildlife officials have started to look at the forest cat's life in a new way.
Cats, they say, are meant to spend their days outside, chasing their prey and lounging in the sun.
What if that prey was something like fish? Could a cat spend more than a few hours a day at the water's edge? What about when it rns?
"We've got a cat that should be outside in the wild, running around hunting," sd David Dorn, an official with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. "Not a housecat."
More: Norwegian forest cat: No longer prey to hunters
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So this past summer, officials started looking into how well forest cats could survive in the wild.
They looked into the possibility of putting some of the cats in Norwegian forests and some of them in small enclosures near farms. They even started talking to Norwegian cat owners about the idea.
After much back and forth, there are now two enclosures that hold Norway forest cats. The animals spend their days lounging by water.
They look at the fish and are ready to pounce. And they are curious. "We've seen one cat just walk in the water and jump up on the fish," Dorn sd.
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This summer, four of the cats were sent to one of the enclosures. The other four were left in the wild to see how they would do.
All but one of the wild cats did quite well in the enclosures.
But the lone outlier died soon after arriving at the enclosure. It was a female cat. Officials were surprised, because the female cat was a good-sized cat with a large tl.
Dorn has heard of other captive Norway forest cats that didn't survive. That might have something to do with the fact that all four of the wild cats were young adults.
The cats who are still in the wild don't look to be having any problems.
"They are just exploring and doing what wild cats do," Dorn sd.
The cat owners are happy to know that at least some of their cats survived the harsh Norwegian winter. They've named the enclosures "Cat's Dream."
More: Where Norway's wild forest cats come from
Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller.