As one of the oldest natural cat breeds in America, the Maine Coon cat remains one of the most desirable cat breeds to own in the United States. With over 75 different fur colorings to choose from, prospective buyers really do have a rainbow of colors to pick from. So, what colors do Maine Coon cats come in, and which is your favourite?
According to the Cat Fanciers Association, there are approximately 75 different Maine Coon colors to pick from. Breed specialists group the varying fur colours within eight separate Maine Coon color classes, including: solid, tabbies, tabbies with white, tortoiseshell, smoke, shaded, bi-color, and parti-color.
Maine Coon Cat Colors
In the United States, Maine Coons are also referred to as the ‘American Longhair’. These large cats are massively popular, and are available in a rainbow of different colorings. According to the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) there are as many as 75 Maine Coon colors to choose from, so potential buyers are definitely not limited in options. Instead, buyers are overly spoilt for choice when buying a Maine Coon cat!
Due to the vast number of color variants and patterns, breed specialists have divided the 75 color choices into various color class groups, which helps to simplify the Maine Coon breeds color classifications.
The table below summarises the 8 key Maine Coon color classes. Click to view details:
According to the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) there is a further category of Maine Coon cat colors known as the ‘OMCCC’ (Other Maine Coon Cat Colors’). This category strictly specifies that Maine Coon colors such as chocolate and lavender are not included within the official Maine Coon color classifications.
If you are looking to buy a Maine Coon cat, readers in the United States might find my article on CFA and TICA registered Maine Coon breeders, by US state of interest.
Maine Coon Color Variations
With so many Maine Coon colors and patterns to choose from, buying a Maine Coon cat can become a baffling process. Therefore, to make life easier on potential buyers, and breed fanatics, I have listed each color class, and a short description as to how to recognise it below.
1. Solid Class
Solid Maine Coon cats are easily recognisable due to their striking appearance. Unlike many other Maine Coon colors their fur consists of just one single coloring from root to tip, across their entire body. Their color is not broken up by patterns, patching, or stripes.
They are available in the following colors:
The Cat Fanciers Association refers to solid white Maine Coons as having a ‘pure glistening white’ coloring, with pink paw pads and nose leather. By comparison, the solid black Maine Coon is thought to be as black as coal, with no tinges of rust on their fur tips, nor signs of smoke on their undercoat. Their nose leather is black, and their paw pads black or brown.
Many people often mistake the blue Maine Coon for being a ‘grey Maine Coon’. However, this is not the case with the solid blue Maine Coon because it’s coloring is extremely vivid, and somewhat exotic looking. This Maine Coon color is ‘blue’ throughout their entire body, including their nose leather and paw pads.
The solid red Maine Coon has a very deep and rich coloring, with no ticking, markings or shading of any form. They are brilliant red in colour, with chin and lips that match their fur coat perfectly. Individuals not used to Maine Coon color classifications, commonly label the red Maine Coon as an ‘Orange Maine Coon‘, or ‘Ginger Maine Coon’ cat.
The final solid coloring, is cream. These beautiful Maine Coons have no markings, and one level shade of buff cream, and pink paw pads and nose leather.
The tabby Maine Coon color is extremely popular, and common since the Maine Coons we see today are thought to be descendents of the tabby Maine Coons first identified in Maine, during the 1800’s. This coloring is available in a range of different markings, such as spots, swirls and stripes across their fur.
Due to the variety of tabby colorings, the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) divides this color class into the following groups, according to their distinctive stripes and patterns:
- Classic Tabby Pattern
- Mackerel Tabby Pattern
- Ticked Tabby Pattern
a) Classic Tabbies
Characterised by dense, broad, and clearly defined markings. They are easily recognisable by the blotches on their sides, which are often referred to as ‘targets’. They have the characteristic ‘M’ marking on their forehead and swirls on their cheeks. Additionally, you will see vertical lines on the back of their heads, which extend to butterfly wing patterns covering their shoulders. The classic tabby also has unbroken necklaces markings on their upper chest and neck.
If you are interested in reading a more detailed assessment of the tabby Maine Coon, check out my article: ‘Tabby Maine Coon: Complete Guide“.
b) Mackerel Tabbies
Mackerel tabbies have dense and clearly defined parallel stripes running down their sides, similar to the distinctively patterned Mackerel fish. They have an ‘M’ marking on their forehead, and narrow pencil lines that run down from head, to their shoulders. Like the classic tabby pattern, they have distinct necklaces around their neck and chest.
c) Ticked Tabbies
Ticked tabbies are identifiable by the pronounced ticking across their bodies, clear tabby markings over their face and legs, and a lighter underside. If you look at these tabbies from above, no pattern, blotches, stripes or spots are visible, though you will notice a darkening on their dorsal crest.
3. Tabbies With White
As you have probably already guessed, the ‘tabbies with white’ Maine Coon coloring is the same as the tabby coloring discussed above, except these cats have white paws and chest.
Below are some of the examples of ‘tabbies with white’, given to us by ‘The Cat Fanciers Association’ (source):
- Red Tabby White
- Brown Tabby White
- Silver Tabby White
- Brown Tabby White
Otherwise known as ‘tortie’, the tortoiseshell Maine Coon gets its name from the tortoiseshell turtle. Their base color is black, with red and cream patches. Statistically, there are more female torties because red and black colors are part of the X chromosome, for which the female of the species has two (XX). By comparison, the male only has one ‘X’ in their genetic makeup, since they have XY chromosomes.
Many people get confused regards the difference between the ‘tortie’ and ‘torbie’. The key difference to note is that the ‘torbie’ has stripes of color, rather than patches. Torbies are also tortoiseshell-tabbies, and commonly referred to as patched tabbies because their fur has patches of cream or red colors. If you are not too sure which coloring you are looking at, take a look at their paws, and look for red coloring, since torbies often have shades of red on their paws.
Smoke Maine Coons have a solid coloring e.g. black, blue, white, red or cream, yet differ to solid Maine Coons because their coloring fades on their undercoat, and sometimes chest.
Many smokes have a silvery colored undercoat. When stroking a smoke Maine Coon colored cat, you will notice that their fur undercoat has a lighter coloring. If you are viewing a smoke Maine Coon, the roots of the hair shaft should be silver. The color of their undercoat is not always easy to identify whilst the Maine Coon is still a kitten though, because it is less visible. The undercoat coloring does however becomes increasingly prominent with age.
Here are some color examples from the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) (source):
- Blue Smoke
- Cameo Smoke
- Cream Smoke
- Tortie Smoke
These shaded cats have pale undercoats, with a mantle of color over the top.
According to the Cat Fanciers Association, there are many different types of shaded Maine Coon cat. Some examples include (source):
- Shaded Silver
- Shaded Blue Silver
- Shaded Cameo
- Shaded Tortoiseshell
- Shaded Tortoiseshell and White
What color do Maine Coon cats come in? Well, if you thought the color classifications were complicated enough, now we are going to briefly move onto the ‘bi-color’ color class.
Maine Coons with a bi-color have one color that is mixed with white. Cats with a bi-color pattern have white coloring that goes far higher up their back legs, and can go over their facial area, tummy and chest.
Maine Coons included within the parti-color classification have two colors, for example black and red. White is often visible on the cats head, chest, tummy and limbs.
According to the Cat Fanciers Association, the part-color Maine Coon class includes Maine Coon colors such as:
So, what colors do Maine Coon cats come in?
With approximately 75 different Maine Coon colorings to choose from, the Maine Coon color list can often feel endless, and crazily complicated. In fact, I’m pretty certain even seasoned pros make color mistakes from time to tim!
Ultimately, whatever color Maine Coon you buy or own, their amazing characteristics and personalities will win you own within just a few minutes!
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, you might also be interested in my other more detailed posts:
- Blue Maine Coon: Complete Guide
- Grey Maine Coons Don’t Actually Exist!
- Orange Maine Coon: Secrets Uncovered
Finally, these gentle giants long beautiful fur will need regular grooming, so make sure you are using the best Maine Coon grooming tools.