Both Maine Coons and Ragdolls are giant-sized kitties imbued with a winning personality. They are often described as friendly, gentle and affectionate.
These two breeds share many similarities especially when it comes to personality! Still, there are a handful of differences between Maine Coons and Ragdolls, particularly with respect to their appearances and their origins.
If you’re weighing your options on whether to get a Maine Coon or a Ragdoll, understanding more about both cats – their similarities and differences – would help you decide.
Let’s paw our way into the list!
Weight and size
The average male and female Maine Coon weigh between 15 and 25 pounds (6.8 to 11.3 kg) and 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kg) respectively. In comparison, male Ragdolls usually tip the weighing scale at 15 to 20 pounds, while female Ragdolls would weigh the same as female Maine Coons.
In terms of height, Maine Coons tend to be taller, at around 10 to 16 inches tall, compared to Ragdolls at 9 to 11 inches tall. Length-wise, both breeds are typically between 35 to 40 inches.
In essence, Ragdolls and Maine Coons are roughly the same sizes, but Maine Coons – particularly male ones – can grow to be even larger and taller.
Maine Coons are muscular and sturdy, with a rectangular-shaped body, thick legs, broad chest, and a bushy, raccoon-like tail. Ragdolls also sport a muscular tone, broad chest and stocky legs, and its long tails are slightly tapered.
Both cats have a wedge-shaped head, but while Maine Coons have high cheekbones, Ragdolls tend to have chubby cheeks. A Maine Coon’s muzzle is square-ish, different from a Ragdoll’s gently rounded ones.
The paws of these cats are large, with a hint of tufts. Maine Coons also have big and puffy ears which are more much prominent than the Ragdoll’s proportionately-sized ears.
A Maine Coon has medium to long hair, with a thick undercoat (especially in winter) and a lighter outercoat. They can have a shaggy, wild look, especially if their fur is wavy. (Even though they are not wild at all as we explain here)
A Ragdoll is a longhaired breed with a silky soft fur with little to no undercoat hiding beneath. With a rabbit-like consistency, a Ragdoll’s soft coat can be described as plush.
A cool feature of a Maine Coon’s coat is its water resistance. This enables the cat to trudge through snow or even swim across water comfortably. The Ragdoll’s top guard hairs are designed for waterproofing, though not as effectively as the Maine Coon’s fur.
Both these cats have voluptuous ruffs around their neck which resemble a lion’s mane. A Ragdoll’s neck is shorter than a Maine Coon’s, though! Ultimately, this discernable ruff of hair is to provide an additional layer of protection from the cold weather.
So far, with all the descriptions given above, it’d still be quite challenging to differentiate between a Maine Coon and a Ragdoll. However, once you’ve covered the next two sections, you should be able to tell within a glance!
Pattern and color
Maine Coons come in an overwhelming multitude of patterns and colors.
Just for pattern alone, it could be Solid, Bi-colour, Tabby, Tortoiseshell, Smoke, Shaded and more; even within the Tabby variant, there are Mackerel Tabby, Classic Tabby or the Patched Tabby pattern. Then throw in the colors like white, black, brown, grey, blue and cream, and the permutations are endless!
Ragdolls, too, come in various patterns and colors, but all of them have colored points.
What does “colored points” mean, really? It means that the body color is a lighter shade than the points of the ears, tail, face, and legs.
The point color may be seal (very dark brown), chocolate, blue, lilac, red or cream, while the pattern could be Colourpoint, Van, Mitted, Bi-colour, Lynx or Tortie.
An interesting thing fact is that all Ragdolls (except minks) are born white, and their patterns and colors will slowly emerge.
There will be a time when the Ragdoll’s coat patterns and colors become distinct, with a definite contrast between the body shade and the points.
While on the topic of colors, we have yet to cover bright blue – one of the most striking colors when you look at a Ragdoll.
All purebred Ragdolls have sparkling blue eyes.
The eyes of Maine Coons, on the other hand, can be shaded in copper, gold or green.
Both cats have large eyes, but while a Maine Coon’s eyes are slightly rounded, a Ragdoll’s eyes would be more oval-shaped.
Both Maine Coons and Ragdolls are social creatures that thrive in an environment where they are able to make connections with their loved ones. In short, human companionship is essential for both these breeds.
They’re not the sort of cats that would stay curled up in a quiet corner of the house all day, minding its own business. Instead, Maine Coons and Ragdolls would actively greet you at the door and then tag along from room to room. When you’re working at home, they’d either diligently supervise your work or happily plonk themselves on your books and laptop. They just love interactions!
Maine Coons and Ragdolls are just as affectionate as they are friendly. It’s difficult to compare which cat breed is more friendly or affectionate than the other. It really depends on the cat in question, rather than the breed.
These cats will show their affection in various ways, such as by:
- Rubbing their cheek against you
- Bunting their head on you
- Grooming (i.e. licking) you
- Slowly blinking at you
- Exposing their belly to you
In return, Maine Coons and Ragdolls have a desire to feel your love too. You could show this by petting them, playing with them, and most importantly, just hanging out with them.
These furry babies are so friendly and affectionate that they’ll need an owner or family that can dedicate time to them. Ignoring these cats or leaving them alone for a long stretch of time is a detriment to their emotional health.
Both Maine Coons and Ragdolls can be shy around strangers in the house. They’ll need to familiarise themselves with the new person before warming up.
This warming up process tends to be faster for Maine Coons than for Ragdolls.
A Maine Coon’s outgoing personality would quickly emerge once they feel comfortable. They don’t mind stealing the limelight and being the life of the party.
This is in contrast to a Ragdoll cat that might scamper away and hide under the bed when you welcome in visitors. Until they get familiar with this stranger, they’d save all their love for the few people that are already in their inner circle.
(Read a more in-depth answer to this question: Are Maine Coon Cats Shy?)
Maine Coons and Ragdolls are as gentle as cats can be. In fact, they’re the epitome of the term “gentle giants”!
These kitties rarely use their claws and teeth on humans. They are absolutely non-vicious, which is why both breeds can live alongside small kids. You’ll need to make sure that the kids will treat the kitties with respect, of course, as Maine Coons and Ragdolls are unlikely to rebel and stand up for themselves, even if they are being bullied.
Rather, these cats would just play along with whatever these kids have in mind for them, whether it is a tea party or a dress-up game.
In line with their gentle nature, both cats are docile.
Are you familiar with cats that just refuse to let you carry them?
Well, Ragdolls actually got its name because the early litters have a tendency to go limp and floppy like a cloth ragdoll when they are carried!
While not all Ragdolls would behave this way, it’s certainly true that Ragdolls are docile – and perhaps even more so than the already-very-docile Maine Coons.
No matter big or small, old or young, Ragdoll cats are very playful. The same can be said for Maine Coons. When invited to a game, both cat breeds simply cannot resist!
They are known to love a game of fetch – something that is usually associated with dogs, not cats! Just try throwing a small object across the room; your Ragdoll or Maine Coon might just pick it up and return it back to you.
Other simple games they enjoy would be chasing a piece of moving string or attempting to catch the beam of light emanating from a laser pointer.
Both cats, especially Maine Coons, have a hunter’s instinct, so they’d go crazy over any game that involves a “prey” – such as catching a remote-controlled mouse or a feather that dangles from a fishing rod.
Both Maine Coons and Ragdolls have a moderate energy level. While they can be thoroughly enthusiastic during playtime, you won’t find them charging around the house and driving you crazy. They are more likely to be snoozing on the couch instead!
Ragdolls simply love to be held. They are the perfect lap cats that would spend hours lazing on their owner’s lap.
Maine Coons, on the other hand, are usually contented to be in close proximity with their favorite human. In other words, they will join you on the couch, but they would prefer to be by your side rather than on top of you.
Indoors or outdoors?
Ragdolls are more of an indoor type of cat, while Maine Coons can be kept both indoors and outdoors. This is because Maine Coons have an adventurous streak in them, plus they are good hunters – in fact, this breed used to be kept in farms for the purpose of hunting mice! Ragdolls, on the other hand, are unlikely to be able to take care of itself outdoors.
To be completely safe, you can keep both breeds indoors and only take them out on a leash, fully supervised.
You'll need to train them for this first, of course! Don´t worry, we have created two guides for you that show you how you can train your cat to walk on a leash:
Maine Coons and Ragdolls are both intelligent cats, but the former has been rated more highly for intelligence as compared to the latter.
If you’re wondering how cats display intelligence, here are the classic signs:
- They come when called
- They respond to familiar sounds (like the crinkling of a food packaging)
- They are able to communicate their wants or needs
- They can perform tricks (like high-five or jump-over-the-hoop)
- They are trainable (to walk on a leash or perform tricks)
Another measure of intelligence is the ability to socialize and play with humans, and both cat breeds fare well in these aspects.
Ragdolls are extremely very quiet cats. Some owners reportedly never hear their cat meow, and a big worry is that these cats might not vocalize when they are in pain or distress.
Maine Coons, on the other hand, don’t usually meow either – but they are very talkative.
You’re probably wondering how that could be.
Well, Maine Coons vocalize by thrilling. A thrilling sound is a combination of a purr and a meow. Maine Coons would trill when they are excited, happy, or trying to get your attention. Some would even talk all day long!
Maine Coons also growl, yowl and chirp, especially when their hunter’s instincts are let loose.
These two cat breeds are both very dog-friendly.
They are more than willing to share their home with dogs, as long as the dog is gentle and friendly with them. Maine Coons and Ragdolls have even been known to buddy up with dogs, which makes for a really cute companionship!
Maine Coons and dogs are a great idea. We explain why in this article!
Shedding and grooming
Despite their voluminous and long-haired coats, both Maine Coons and Ragdolls are surprisingly low-maintenance when it comes to grooming needs. Due to the nature of their coats, their hairs don’t mat easily.
That said, to ensure that the coat is knot-free and to prevent hairball issues, brushing the cat two to three times a week is a good practice.
This would get rid of loose fur, which is especially important during the shedding season. Yes, it’s natural that both cats shed quite generously, so grooming these cats is the best way to keep your house free from wafting loose fur.
Here are our two guides that will show you what grooming requirements both breeds have:
Given all its inherent positive qualities, both breeds are very popular. A Ragdoll cat costs anywhere between $500 to $1000, while Maine Coons can cost between $500 to $1500.
Several factors that would affect the cost would be:
- Where you’re getting it from – a shelter, rescue organization, or a breeder
- If it’s a breeder, the reputation of the breeder
- The location or area you’re buying it
- The age of the cat
- The quality of the cat, be it its beauty of temperament
If you’re getting the cat from a breeder, you should ensure that he/she practices ethical breeding. If anything, a registered breeder is more likely to sell you a healthy cat.
Many people complain that these cat breeds are way too expensive. However, in our opinion, that is not the truth. Learn here why you should be thankful for the high price for Maine Coon Kitten.
Bringing a cat into your home is a great responsibility. At the very least, you have to ensure that the basic needs of your cat will be met.
This means high-quality food, fresh water, and a litter box.
On top of that, you should get scratching posts for your kitty to release its urge to scratch; feline toothbrush and toothpaste to maintain its dental health; brushes for its grooming needs; feline nail clippers; and a cat carrier in case you need to take your cat somewhere.
When buying these items, always keep in mind the size of your Maine Coon or Ragdoll. These cats are larger than the typical housecat, which means that some of the items (like scratching posts and litter boxes) need to be large and very sturdy.
Also, if you’re thinking of installing cat perches and buying cat trees, it’s good to know that both Maine Coons and Ragdolls prefer roaming the ground level as opposed to climbing to a high vantage point. That’s why you won’t usually find these cats hiding above your wardrobe.
Then, of course, toys!
As mentioned, both Maine Coons and Ragdolls are extremely playful. To keep them entertained, you should invest in a variety of toys. Also look out for toys that engage your cat’s active mind, such as puzzle toys, since these two breeds are intelligent.
Maine Coons and Ragdolls are generally healthy breeds.
There are, however, some health issues that are rather common amongst the two breeds. Here are some of them:
Affecting both Maine Coons and Ragdolls would be feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a heart disease caused by the thickening of the heart muscle tissues. It leads to distended ventricles, ultimately causing the blood and oxygen flow to the cat’s body to be irregular.
Most pertinent to male Maine Coons, his dysplasia happens when the ligaments and muscles are stressed by the feline’s large size. It causes arthritis and less commonly, paralysis.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Affecting both Maine Coons and Ragdoll, Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a hereditary disorder that manifests in cysts present at birth. The cysts become larger in time and may eventually cause kidney failure.
Urinary Tract Issues
Ragdolls are prone to problems with the urinary tract – be it cystitis, urinary tract infection, or feline lower urinary tract disease.
While veterinarians are the best people to diagnose and treat cats that are unwell, it is the job of the cat owner to schedule routine check-ups and to watch out for signs that their cat is sick.
Alarming symptoms include:
- Changes in behavior
- Changes in eating, drinking, urinating or defecating patterns
- Regurgitation or vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
If you notice your cat displaying any of these, it’s best to get your kitty checked out.
Maine Coons live an average of 12 to 14 years while Ragdolls live an average of 12 to 15 years. These numbers may not be entirely accurate, but we can deduce that the lifespan for Maine Coons and Ragdolls is generally similar.
However, it’s important to note that the lifespan of a cat is greatly affected by many factors, particularly environmental ones.
For example, indoor cats tend to have a longer lifespan than outdoor cats, since they are sheltered from the dangers of the outside world, be it cars, animals, or diseases. On top of that, pet kitties living in developed countries with access to quality veterinarian care would live longer than those in countries where medical treatment is less accessible.
The origin of Maine Coons is shrouded in a bit of mystery. It is believed that Maine Coons are descendants of a cat breed brought by English seafarers to America. What is sure, however, is that this is one of the oldest breeds in North America, and it is native to the state of Maine.
Ragdolls are quite a new breed, dating back to the early 1960s. They came into existence also in America – more specifically in California – thanks to a breeder called Ann Baker. This lady bred an Angora Persian cat called Josephine with a Birman or Burmese-ish cat, and the offsprings with special Ragdoll-like characteristics were later in-bred to produce the distinct Ragdoll breed as we all know today.
So… Maine Coon or Ragdoll?
As a recap, both Maine Coon and Ragdoll cats can live happily with a single person, a couple, or a family. It’s also fine with the cats if you have a dog in the home.
However, the people around these kitties should have enough time to spare for interacting with them, as Maine Coons and Ragdolls alike do need attention and affection. While not extremely needy, they are not independent kitties either – and Ragdolls more than Maine Coons.
As the owner, you should be the type of person who doesn’t mind the company of a little “puppy dog”. As you know now, these cats would love nothing more than wait outside the bathroom when you’re in the shower or jump on your bed for a bedtime snuggle.
To make the decision easier for you, we have compiled some facts that make Maine Coons and Ragdolls great pets to have.
Because the personalities of Maine Coons and Ragdolls are so similar, perhaps the decision-maker for you, more than anything else, would be your preference in terms of the cat’s appearances.
Whether you pick a Maine Coon or a Ragdoll, what is sure is that you’ll definitely be pleased with the choice you make. After all, both of these cat breeds are pure gold.