I’ve lost count of the number of people asking me if their cat is part Maine Coon, or not. Whilst I’d love to tell you for certain either way, the simple fact of the matter is that no-one can. Only genetic testing offers the answers you seek, and even then that isn’t 100% certain. So, with large degrees of uncertainty in the matter, how can owners or potential buyers ever determine if the cat they are looking at is a part Maine Coon, or Maine Coon mix? Thankfully, there are a few tell tale signs to look out for.
Part Maine Coons come in all shapes and sizes. Their physical and behavioural traits are determined by which gene is most dominant, in their genetic makeup. Analyse the cats size, eyes, tail, fur, paws, personality, body frame, and ear tufts, for clues the cat is a Maine Coon mix. Genetic testing is the only full-proof method of identifying if you own a mixed Maine Coon, or not.
Check out the clues below, that help distinguish a part Maine Coon, from a purebred.
Maine Coon Physical Traits
It can be hard to determine if you own a purebred Maine Coon, or part Maine Coon mix, unless you purchase your treasured feline companion from a registered Maine Coon breeder, such as these US ones. This is because whilst registered breeders tend to be fanatical about protecting the purebred status of the Maine Coon cat breed, other breeders are happy to mix the Maine Coons blood line with other cat breed genetics.
Thankfully, all hope is not lost! This is because purebred Maine Coons are very consistent in terms of size, nature, and personality etc. It is this predictability that makes them such a highly desirable pedigree cat to own, since owners know exactly what they are getting in advance.
Take a look at the table below, to see the key purebred Maine Coon physical traits to look out for. Compare each factor against your Maine Coon cat to determine how many of the purebred Maine Coon traits your cat shares:
|Purebred Maine Coon||Description|
|Size||Maine Coons are far larger than other cat breeds, weighing up to 25 lbs in weight|
|Tail||Large, bushy tail|
|Body Frame||Large muscular frame, rectangular in shape|
|Eyes||Large wide set eyes, slightly oblique shaped|
|Fur||Long, thick, shaggy fur|
|Mane||Thick mane of fur around their neck, like a lion|
|Ears||Lynx like ear tufts|
|Paws||Large paws, with tufts of fur|
|Growth Rate||Grow slowly, not reaching full size until between 3-4 years|
To help you determine if you own a purebred, or part Maine Coon, I shall now cover each of these physical traits in greater detail.
As one of the largest domesticated cat breeds in the world, most purebred Maine Coons will be visibly larger in size than the average cat walking down the street. In fact, it would be hard not to notice one of these large cats walking past you, since they are literally larger than some small dogs!
Here are a few average vital statistics on the physical size of the purebred Maine Coon cat breed:
- Height: 10 – 16 inches (males), 8 – 14 inches (females)
- Weight: 15 – 25 lbs (males), 8 – 12 lbs (females)
- Length: Up to 40 inches (both male and female)
If you are interested in learning more about the size difference between the Maine Coon cat breed, and that of a ‘normal’ cat, check out my other article.
Purebred Maine Coons have long bushy tails that are larger at the base, gradually narrowing as you reach the tip. Having evolved to survive the harsh Winter climates of Maine in the United States, their tails kept them warm, when wrapped around their bodies.
The Maine Coons impressive bushy tail has always been a massive talking point throughout history, since it closely resembles that of a raccoons. This similarity has even led many to question whether the Maine Coon is actually part raccoon, or not! Read more about this bizarre idea here.
3. Body Frame
Purebred Maine Coons have large muscular frames which are considered to be rectangular in shape. Their bodies are always very long, and their muscular legs should be medium in length, and proportional to their body.
One simple way of confirming if you own a part Maine Coon, is by looking at their eyes. This is because purebred Maine Coons have large, and wide set eyes that are always slightly oblique shaped. All Maine Coon kittens are born with blue eyes, but these eye color will change as they age.
According to the cat governing bodies, the most desirable Maine Coon eye color, is gold and/or green. Though, if you own a white Maine Coon then you might notice that your cats eyes are blue, or odd-eye which is where the cat has two different eye colourings. In the case of a white Maine Coon, you could expect to see one blue eye, and one that is either gold or green.
For more information on Maine Coon eyes, take a look at my article on the other interesting eye facts.
One key physical trait of the Maine Coon cat, is their long, thick, shaggy fur. They have three coats of fur in total, two of which are shorter undercoats, whilst their third is far longer and sits over the top of the two undercoats.
The purebred Maine Coons fur is semi-water repellent, so you might notice that your cat isn’t the least bit bothered sitting under a dripping tap, or in the rain.
Many people remark that Maine Coons look like ‘mini lions’ because the fur around their neck is always considerably longer than the rest of the fur on their body. This neck fur is known as the Maine Coons mane, and helps make this particular cat breed look incredibly regal and impressive.
Those keen to establish whether they own a part Maine Coon, or purebred, should look at their cats ears closely. Although not all Maine Coons will have ear tufts, the majority will and these are commonly referred to as ‘lynx tips’ since they are similar to the tufts and wisps of hair that Lynx have.
It is also common for Maine Coons to have lots of hair coming out of their ears, since this physical trait evolved in the breed so that they could survive the harsh New England Winter climate.
8. Large Paws
Even as kittens, you will notice that the Maine Coons paws are far larger than the average cats, and this will never change! Many people use the cats paws as an indicator of how big their Maine Coon cat will grow, since the cat will ultimately proportionally ‘fit’ their paw size.
The Maine Coons large paws helped them survive in the cold Winter climates, where other cat breeds could not. This is partially due to the fact that their huge pads enabled them to walk on top of the snow, rather than in it.
Look at your Maine Coons paws, and see if you can see lots of tufts of hair coming out of their paws. These tufts help keep a purebred Maine Coon warm when its cold.
9. Growth Rate
Another key way of determining if you own a part Maine Coon, or purebred, is by assessing your cats individual growth rate. This is because the Maine Coon cat breed is well known for growing incredibly slowly, not reaching their full adult size until between 3 – 5 years of age.
Compared to the standard cat, the Maine Coons growth rate is particularly slow, since most ‘normal’ cats reach full size by 2 years of age!
So, does your cat seem to be growing particularly slowly?
Maine Coon Characteristic Traits
When you are looking to identify if your Maine Coon cat is a purebred, or part Maine Coon, many people just assume that ticking off all the physical characteristics is enough. However, this is not entirely the case because there are also a large number of characteristics that this particular breed have, which are almost entirely unique to them e.g. did you know that some Maine Coons are happy to swim in water?!
Take a look at the table below of common Maine Coon characteristics, to establish if your cat shares any further similarities with the purebred Maine Coon. If they do, you likely have a purebred Maine Coon, whereas if they do not, you probably have a completely loveable part Maine Coon that is just as worthy of your love and affection.
|Love Water||Obsessed with water|
|Affectionate||Extremely affectionate, and loving|
|Follows You||They follow owners everywhere|
|Dog Like||Highly trainable, and dog like cat breed|
|Jumping||Prefer to find the easier route upwards, rather than jump|
|Voice||Cat ‘chirps’ and ‘trills’, rather than ‘meows’|
I will now expand on each of the characteristics in more detail, to help you assess if you have a part Maine Coon, or not.
1. Love Water
Maine Coon cats don’t just ‘LIKE’ water, they actually ‘LOVE’ water. Their obsession for the watery stuff has spanned many decades, and is thought to have its routes in this breeds lineage, since one of the well known myths suggests that the Maine Coons ancestors were ship cats, kept aboard viking ships to hunt and kill the ever growing mouse population on their ships.
For more on the history of the Maine Coon cat, check out my article “Where do Maine Coon cats originate from?“.
Whilst most cats dislike water, the Maine Coon seems fascinated by it. So don’t be surprised if your cat tries to join you in the shower one day, or learns how to turn on the faucet to drink water! This cat breed can spend copious amounts of time splashing in the water, so if you leave a bowl of water out for them to drink, expect wet feet when you next walk in the room!
One of the most endearing traits of the Maine Coon breed, is their hugely affectionate personalities. In fact, I don’t think I have ever encountered such a friendly, loyal, loving and affectionate cat breed in my life.
The Maine Coon adores spending time with their family, and are well known for putting a lot of effort into their relationship with their owners. Affection is not a one-sided event from a Maine Coons perspective, since they don’t just expect to be stroked and looked after by their owners like the standard cat does. Instead, they want to return the favour, and will adorn their owners with high levels of affectionate and love, repeatedly.
If you want to learn more, take a look at my article: “Are Maine Coon cats friendly?‘.
3. Follows You
If you decide to buy a Maine Coon cat, then be prepared to have no personal space ever again. You might think this is a joke, but you would be wrong! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Maine Coons are highly intelligent and curious little beings. The purebreds in particular are well known for following their owners everywhere, even if they are going to the toilet. They literally want to be involved in every single thing you are doing.
For more information on this quirky behaviour, check out my article: ‘Why does my Maine Coon follow me?‘.
Have you ever heard the Maine Coon referred to as the ‘dog of the cat world’? … This nickname is given to this particular cat breed, since they often act more like dogs, than cats.
Here are some dog-like characteristics of the Maine Coon cat:
- Highly Trainable
- Communicates With Owner
- Likes Water
- Will Follow Owner
- Highly Sociable
- Extremely Loyal
- Can be taken for a walk, on a lead!
Watch this funny video of a Maine Coon playing fetch:
Maine Coon cats are pretty smart felines, since they use their intelligence to find the easy way up to the top of the wall, rather than exerting considerable effort and force to jump straight upwards. It’s not that the Maine Coon cannot jump, they simply choose not to, unless it’s actually necessary. This characteristic is unlike most other cat breeds, so watch your Maine Coon closely, and see how they jump, or ascend upwards.
Learn more about their jumping abilities in this article I wrote ‘Can Maine Coons Jump?‘.
Never assume that Maine Coons cannot jump. Take a look at this crazy cat fool:
One of the final ways to spot a part Maine Coon, or purebred Maine Coon, is by simply listening. Whilst the standard cat likes to make ‘meow’ sounds, you will find that a Maine Coons voice is quite different since they chatter away to their owners using ‘chirps’ and ‘trill’ sounds, rather than the traditional ‘meow’ sound that everyone associates with a cat.
Now ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your Maine Coon like to chatter away to you, a lot?
- Does it sometimes feel like you are having a full blown conversation with a Maine Coon?
- Does your Maine Coon respond when called, with chirps?
Take a look of this short Youtube video of our Maine Coon cat named ‘Pippin’. Listen to his conversation with my husband!
Here’s another short clip of our chatty Maine Coon chirping at us:
So there you have it, these are the key factors to consider if you are wondering how to tell if your cat is part Maine Coon. Now it is for you to decide whether you are the proud owner of a part Maine Coon, or a purebred Maine Coon.
Finally, whilst some buyers are passionate about only owning a purebred Maine Coon cat, others are more open to the idea of buying a part Maine Coon, or Maine Coon mix. Whichever camp you sit in, both cats (whatever their genetic makeup) will make for loving, amazing feline companions.
If you are looking for greater clarity regarding the issue, why not request a DNA testing kit.