So you think you may have a Maine Coon cat but you’re not entirely sure. Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with Maine Coons or perhaps you suspect that the kitty in question could be a mixed breed. Now, what can you do about it?
You can easily put your cat to the test by checking its appearance and personality. Maine Coons have distinct characteristics such as a large size, prominent ear tufts and chest ruffs, and they generally subscribe to certain behavioral traits related to its temperament, friendliness and sociability.
Ready? Go through this list of 30+ questions that are designed to identify a Maine Coon.
How big is your Maine Coon?
The first thought that comes to mind when a person glances at an adult Maine Coon is, “wow, that’s a big cat!”
Indeed, the Maine Coon is one of the largest cat breeds in the world. A male Maine Coon cat can weigh between 15 to 25 lbs (6.8 to 11.3 kg) while a female Maine Coon tips the scale at 10 to 15 lbs (4.5 to 6.8 kg).
If you’re wondering what’s the average weight of a typical house cat, that would be between 8 lbs to 10 lbs (3.6 to 4.5 kg).
If you’re looking at a kitten, then it would be hard to determine whether or not it’s a Maine Coon just based on size. A one-year-old Maine Coon might not appear larger than the average cat.
That’s because this breed grows very slowly (but surely); Maine Coons can continue to grow until they reach four years of age, though most of them would reach their full size at two years of age.
Does your Maine Coon have a muscular body?
Cats of this breed have muscular and firm bodies that are rectangular in shape. Maine Coons appear sturdy, robust and maybe even powerful.
Does your Maine Coon have ruffs on its chest?
A magnificent frontal ruff extends out of a Maine Coon’s broad chest. Just like a scarf you’d put around your neck, this ruff is an adaptation of the breed to keep itself warm in cold weather conditions.
This ruff tapers down as it reaches the Maine Coon’s front legs.
Does your Maine Coon have big ear tufts?
A Maine Coon also has luxurious tufts of hair in its lynx-like ears.
The hairs do not shy away from attention – they stick out from the ears quite noticeably. Its function is to keep debris out and possibly also to filter sounds efficiently into the cat’s ear canal.
A Maine Coon’s ears are also generously covered in fur which culminates in a wisp at the tips.
Does your Maine Coon have tufts on its paw?
Apart from tufts in the ears, Maine Coons also have tufts on its large paws. These tufted paws are dubbed “snowshoes” because it does fit the purpose of walking through snowy landscapes.
Does your Maine Coon have a long and bushy tail?
Another glamorous characteristic of a Maine Coon is its raccoon-like tail that is long and covered in thick fur. A Maine Coon carries its tail proudly, and for good reasons. These tails are not just for appearances but functionality too; they can be wrapped around the cat’s body when it’s feeling cold.
Does your Maine Coon have a dense coat?
You’ve probably noticed that a common theme runs through the past few questions: glorious fur!
Indeed, the bushy tail, the chest ruffs, and the ear and paw tufts are all features that allowed the predecessors of this breed to survive the harsh Maine winters. Even though you can now find Maine Coons living indoors in tropical countries, they still hold on to these physical traits.
What about the body fur, then?
Though they are classified as a long-haired breed, the Maine Coon’s fur length can range from medium to long. Apart from the ruff, this coat is longer on the stomach and flanks, helping to keep the cat’s lower body warm as it sits or walks.
This silky coat is not very prone to matting, but a Maine Coon owner still needs to brush the cat regularly to remove tangles and loose hair. Brushing would also keep hairball problems at bay.
A cool feature of this coat is its water repellency which protects the cat from getting wet (and hence, cold) in the rain or snow.
What color is your Maine Coon’s coat?
Answering this question is unlikely to help in your quest, but it helps to know that Maine Coons come in a variety of patterns and colors.
A cat of this breed is not necessarily just a solid brown or mackerel tabby.
On top of “solid” and “tabby”, Maine Coons come in patterns like smoke, tortoiseshell and shaded. Then, they could be black, red, white, cream, silver, blue-grey, or a combination of colors!
When putting together the patterns and colors, the permutations are numerous. This means that you can’t deduce the Maine Coon breed based on the just the coat of the cat.
Does your Maine Coon have oval eyes?
Maine Coon cats have large, intelligent eyes that are oval-shaped. The eyes could be in various colors, from copper to green or gold. These cats tend to have a very good vision too.
Does your Maine Coon have a big snout?
Purebred Maine Coons come with a rather big and wide snout.
Does your Maine Coon have high cheekbones?
Contributing to the beauty of the Maine Coon would be its prominently high cheekbones.
Does your Maine Coon have a square jaw?
The sweet face of a Maine Coon is framed by a large square jaw.
Does your Maine Coon have six toes?
No, your cat does not necessarily need to have six toes to be a Maine Coon.
However, as you may have heard that some Maine Coons have six toes, it’s worth covering this point for your knowledge.
Polydactyl Maine Coons are common and it’s believed to be a natural adaptation that allows these cats to climb and hunt better. Some breeders also actively aim to produce polydactyl Maine Coons, which would explain why this feature is becoming more and more mainstream these days.
However, extra toes are not exclusive to the Maine Coon breed – there are polydactyl cats in other breeds too.
Does your Maine Coon love water?
All cats don’t like water… right?
Well, Maine Coons will prove you wrong. This breed displays little or no fear of water. In fact, some Maine Coons actually love water and they can be proficient in swimming too!
Have you noticed that your cat likes to dip its paw into the water bowl? Or perhaps it likes to drink straight out of a tap (or toilet bowl)? Or does your cat show enthusiasm during its bathing sessions?
These are all signs that your cat, like many Maine Coons, is a water lover.
It is even possible to bathe a Maine Coon and play with her at the same time, read our article on their love for water here to learn more!
Is your Maine Coon friendly and sociable?
Maine Coons are a human-loving breed.
These cats treat their human family as one of their own. When you’re in a Maine Coon’s inner circle, you should be ready for friendly greetings in the form of head bumps or nose rubs.
Maine Coons are as approachable as cats can be. They have an outgoing nature and they enjoy the company of people.
Their ability to behave like a man’s best friend is one of the reasons why this breed is often called the “dogs of the cat world”.
Does your Maine Coon greet you at the door?
It’s not uncommon to find Maine Coons greeting their owners at the door.
This is an extension of their sociable and loyal nature. When a Maine Coon cat welcomes you home, it is a sign that they’re excited to have you around once again.
It’s also one of the ways you can feel that your cat really loves you.
Does your Maine Coon follow you around?
Another usual behavior of a Maine Coon is following their favorite people around the house.
When these cats are fond of your presence, they will actively seek you out and keep you within their eyeshot. With Maine Coons, you’ll find that you’ve signed up for a constant companion in the house!
Does your Maine Coon join in with your activities?
As you are slowly coming to learn, Maine Coons are not the aloof sort of feline that minds its own business.
Rather, Maine Coons don’t like to be left alone. (We have written an article on that, you should really read it here in case you are thinking about having a Maine Coon as “only cat”.)
They are very social creatures that need to feel a connection with their loved ones. When left alone for a long period of time, Maine Coons can get stressed or depressed.
That’s why you’ll find Maine Coons happy to butt in and lend a paw with your everyday activity, be it studying or cooking.
Does your Maine Coon like strangers?
If you’re wondering whether a Maine Coon will behave the same way with strangers as they would with their family, here’s the answer.
Yes, a Maine Coon can get cozy with strangers. Female Maine Coons tend to be more shy and reserved than male ones, but they will warm up to strangers once they feel comfortable.
Soon after, you’ll find these Maine Coons to be stealing the spotlight. They love nothing more than having a good time and they’d happily bask in the attention they receive from your guests.
Is your Maine Coon affectionate?
Now, we’ve established that Maine Coons are friendly and sociable.
Not only that – they are affectionate too!
These are some of the ways that your Maine Coon will show its affection:
He/ She will…
- look at you through half-closed, slowly-blinking eyes
- rub its cheek on you
- give you head butts
- lean its body against you
- twine its tail around your arms or legs
- purr in your proximity
- even lick you!
A Maine Coon’s affections may be subtle sometimes, but you’ll surely notice it. These cats will express their love for you in a variety of ways, small or big.
However, don’t mistake a Maine Coon’s friendly, social and affectionate nature to be signs of a “needy” cat. In truth, Maine Coons are still quite independent. They will not demand your constant attention.
Rather, they tend to be happy just near you, at arms’ length, not while smothering you.
Is your Maine Coon sweet-tempered?
Maine Coons are very sweet-tempered felines that would rarely scratch or bite, hence earning their reputation as “gentle giants”.
This is the reason why Maine Coons make good pets in a household with young kids. These cats will not act out, even when they are handled slightly roughly by children who don’t know any better.
Maine Coons can even seem somewhat forgiving to their human’s bad moods.
Does your Maine Coon enjoy a belly rub?
Most cats out there would swipe its claws at anyone who dares to touch its sensitive belly.
Maine Coons, however, have a tendency to enjoy a belly rub!
They might even roll over to lay on their back, inviting you to put your hands on their furry belly. This is a sure sign that your Maine Coon really trusts you.
Is your Maine Coon happy?
This might seem like a strange question but really, it’s not difficult to tell if a cat is happy.
Look out for these signs:
- Twitching tail
- Slow blinks
Maine Coon cats are a happy-go-lucky lot. You’ll hardly ever see them being grumpy or moody.
Is your Maine Coon cuddly?
Maine Coons are occasionally cuddly.
As mentioned, these cats are perfectly contented being near you. They are not necessarily lap cats – some Maine Coons can’t resist an empty lap, while others prefer the couch space beside you.
Once in a while, however, your Maine Coon will surely give you that cuddle you want. It might even set up a cuddle routine at a specific timing like before bedtime.
Is your Maine Coon talkative?
Maine Coons like to vocalize, mostly in the form of trilling and chirping rather than meowing. (If you don´t know what trilling is or what it means, read our article on that here.)
Trilling is a sound that is somewhere between a meow and a purr. Maine Coons usually trill as a way of saying hello or simply to show their happiness or excitement.
Chirping, on the other hand, is the sound that cats make when they’re interested in prey. For example, your Maine Coon would chirp when it sees a bird out the window.
Talkative Maine Coons could chat to you (or itself) throughout the day, but of course, there are also quiet Maine Coons that rarely make a sound.
Does your Maine Coon like to play fetch?
Crinkle a piece of paper and throw it to the side of a room!
Does your Maine Coon bounce up, chase the ball of paper and return it to you?
This breed is known to love playing fetch, exemplifying another quality that fits its dog-like personality.
Is your Maine Coon playful?
Apart from fetch, Maine Coons are open to all sorts of games. After all, they have a playful nature that does not quite dissipate with age.
Maine Coons are mad about playing. Plastic bags, boxes, feathers, and ropes can quickly transform into an exciting play object. They’re not reluctant to chase, pounce and jump.
That’s why Maine Coon owners are highly encouraged to buy or create toys and keep their kitties entertained by playing with them daily.
Is your Maine Coon a “hunter”?
Historically, Maine Coons are mousers that are kept in farms to catch rodents. This is an easy job for these cats as they are instilled with a hunter’s instincts.
Even if domesticated Maine Coons no longer need to hunt for food, they still love to stalk for prey or play with toys (like cat mice) that stimulate their hunting skills.
Is your Maine Coon active?
In line with its kitten-like playfulness, Maine Coons are also active – at least, more than the usual domesticated cats.
However, it still loves to nap! Maine Coons tend to be awake between dusk to dawn, but beyond that, you’ll find your kitty just snoozing around the house. These sleepy bums could easily spend two-thirds of the day just sleeping!
Does your Maine Coon come when called?
… or does it ignore you?
Being ever-so-keen to socialize, Maine Coons can come out of hiding from whichever room in the house and zoom to your side when you call its name. It might even talk as it cat-walks over to you.
(Yes, of course, a Maine Coon can recognize its own name.)
Can your Maine Coon perform tricks?
Have you managed to teach your cat a trick?
If you’ve never tried, you should give it a shot. You’ll need to arm yourself with a supply of treats, a clicker, and lots of patience. Each time your cat manages to perform the action that you aim for, you should make a clicking sound using the clicker and then reward the cat with the treat.
Over multiple short training sessions, a Maine Coon will be conditioned to perform the trick.
These are some tricks that a Maine Coon can learn:
- Sit on command
- Jump on command
- Shake hands
- Give a high-five
- Jump hoops
- Navigate an obstacle course
Is your Maine Coon intelligent?
Coming when called and being able to perform tricks are signs that your cat is intelligent.
And yes, the Maine Coon is an intelligent breed. Maine Coon owners can get this sense based on their interactions with the cat. A smart Maine Coon has its special ways of communicating its desires to its owner. For example, the feline could paw at the door if it wants to go out of a room, or it could meow by the food bowl if it wants more kibble.
There are many other ways that Maine Coons show their intelligence, of course. Here are other generic signs that you have an intelligent cat:
- It can be trained
- It has excellent social skills
- It exhibits good survival skills
- It has a good memory
- It knows how to show displeasure
Keen to know more?
Read about the five facts that show how incredibly smart Maine Coons are.
Is your Maine Coon curious?
Being intelligent kitties, Maine Coons are also curious about the world around them.
When you introduce your cat to something new, does it react to the item? A Maine Coon would typically show a keen interest.
This breed of cat is not averse to poking its head into the cabinet just to see what’s in there. And when it hears something interesting, just watch – the Maine Coon’s curiosity would show in its face and posture, and the cat will scurry to investigate like Sherlock Holmes.
Does your Maine Coon get along with other pets?
Maine Coons are not just friendly and gentle with humans but with other pets too.
Size-wise, they may be giants but personality-wise, they are far from intimidating. Instead, these kitties are very welcoming of other pets. They are more than happy to have other feline or doggy companion in the home. After all, it means an extra friend to play with.
Even so, Maine Coon owners still need to be careful and make sure that there’s a match in personality. They should also follow the usual guidelines when introducing two pets to each other in a household.
Do all Maine Coons cats have an “M” on their forehead? A Maine Coon (or any other cat breed) that comes in a tabby pattern will exhibit this “M”. Maine Coons in other patterns will not, so it’s not a distinguishing feature of a Maine Coon.
Are Maine Coon cats good pets? Well, certainly! Maine Coon cats are beautiful inside out. Their winning quality would be their angelic personality. They are friendly, gentle, sociable, affectionate, and much more.
Why do Maine Coons not meow? Most Maine Coons simply prefer to trill and chirp rather than meow. There’s no scientific explanation for this, but it’s perfectly natural for these cats to “talk” in such ways when they’re feeling vocal.