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Maine Coons vs. Normal Cats – The Key Differences


Have you thought about owning a Maine Coon cat and wondered how they compare to regular cats? They are one of the most popular breeds especially for their thick shaggy fur and beautiful eyes. Knowing what makes them stick out compared to other cats can help you make the right decision when it comes to pet ownership. So, what are the differences between Maine Coon vs normal cats?

Compared to normal cats, Maine Coon cats are significantly larger, have a faster growth rate and other distinct features. They are affectionate and have a unique personality. Maine Coon cats are highly intelligent and can survive in unique climates due to their thick fur.  They are also healthier than other breeds.

Maine Coon cats are not always easy to distinguish right away when they are kittens. In this guide, we’ll break down what to look for when you first get a cat and ways you can raise your Maine Coon to be healthy and strong. 

What Makes A Maine Coon Cat Different

When comparing a Maine Coon to a regular house cat, it’s important to know what makes a Maine Coon cat different. It really comes down to the following characteristics:

  • Size
  • Fur
  • Personality
  • Intelligence

A regular house cat would consist of a domestic shorthair or something of that nature. Nothing exotic, nothing too visually appealing, just a normal shorthair cat. On the flip side, a Maine Coon cat has an unbelievable amount of fur. They are shaggy and can feature tabby coloring and patterns too. Combine that with their signature ears, long whiskers, and gorgeous eyes and you have a unique cat. 

Most regular house cats are small in size. The average house cat weighs around 18 inches in length and 7 pounds in weight. Maine coon cats are the complete opposite though. They are huge and can weigh north of 18 pounds! We’ll talk more about their body structure later in this article. 

Normal house cats are affectionate in their own right, but they lack some of the unique characteristics you’ll find in a Maine Coon. Every cat has its own unique personality. You may find that a normal cat can do all of the things your Maine Coon does. Learn more about a Maine Coons personality here

Maine Coon cats are highly trainable while most house cats are not. This cat has the ability to learn tricks on the fly and are usually more family-friendly. Whether it’s a normal house cat or not, how your cat responds to training, their affection, and more all come down to how you raise them. 

Is My Kitten A Maine Coon?

Unless coming from a reputable breeder, it can be hard to figure out what breed of cat you have when they are kittens. A lot of kittens are going to look very similar in the beginning. There are the most telling factors that will help you narrow down the type of cat you have.

Size

Maine Coons are much bigger than the average cat. These kittens will also be a bit larger and have a bulkier bone structure than other cats. Maine Coon cats, and kittens, have rectangular bodies. This means they might night appear slim or dainty. Their paws will probably be larger and look a bit awkward for a kitten too. 

Fur

A distinct feature of all Maine Coons is their long and shaggy fur. Not many cats in the kitten stage have this, but they do.

That being said, they are not the only cat to have long and beautiful fur. The most significant telltale sign that its the fur of a Maine Coon, is the shagginess. Some parts might be longer than in other parts. For example, the belly and legs have longer hair than the shoulders, and there’s a large ruff in the chest area.

This might have to be determined later on in their kittenhood when the hair grows out more. Another furry sign is if there are tufts of fur on the tips of the ears. This is usually present early on. 

One thing to note about fur is that it is a misconception that all Maine Coons have an ‘M’ on their foreheads. That is only a trait of tabby patterned cats, which can be present in all breeds. Although tabby is the most common pattern in Maine Coons, they also are solid-colored or have a different pattern entirely. 

Growth Rate

Because of the Maine Coons large size, they remain kittens for a much longer time; however, they put on size and weight faster. That sounds backward but it’s true! The average weight a Maine Coon grows is roughly one pound per month. It doesn’t just stop there though; it is not uncommon to see a kitten put on 2 or 3 pounds per month. 

Personality

The personality might not be the official call, but it can point to the breed. Maine coons are known for being much more affectionate and outgoing than other cats. This doesn’t mean other breeds don’t have sociable cats, but it’s not as common. 

Occasionally, your Maine Coon will not be affectionate, but there are things you can do as a cat owner to help them be more sociable. 

Characteristics

The following list includes other characteristics that can help you determine if your kitten is a Maine Coon. 

● Large and round paws

● Tufts of fur within the paws

● Large and expressive eyes

● Oval shaped eyes

● Squared/long muzzle

● An extra toe

These traits and characteristics may not be as pronounced or present at all. In some cases, your kitten may only have a few of these characteristics. More than likely, they might be a mixed breed. A purebred Maine Coon will have a very squared muzzle and large paws. However, a mixed kitten may have a softer muzzle and no tufts of fur in their paws. 

Maine Coon Growth Stages

Maine Coons are both low maintenance and high maintenance. Their personalities are one of the reasons why they are such popular cats. They are extremely friendly and love their human unconditionality. They are also aloof and always playful, even as they grow older. In this sense, they are low maintenance. It doesn’t take much to keep these cats happy. 

In addition to that, they are quite sturdy cats. Like all purebred cats, they might be genetically predisposed to specific health conditions, but aside from that, they are quite healthy. They can withstand a lot! 

The high maintenance comes into play with their fur. Their fur is long and requires upkeep. This means regular brushing and grooming. Even with proper care, you are going to find hair everywhere! Not only is your cat going to keep frequent upkeep, so is your living space. Lint rollers are going to be your new best friend. 

What Makes a Maine Coon Unique

When compared to normal cats, a Maine Coon will stick out for two very distinct reasons: personality and body structure. 

Personality 

The biggest appeal of having a Maine Coon is their personality. These cats are often noted as being aloof, goofy, and dog-like. They’re one of the few cats that can be trained! If you know anything about training a cat, it’s near impossible. The fact you can get somewhere with a Maine Coon, teach it tricks and behavior patterns is fascinating!

They also are some of the most affectionate cats out there. It’s a great family pet and they tend to get along with other animals too. Regular and less exotic cats don’t seem to have this trait as much. Maine Coons like to be around people and know what’s going on in your life. It’s common to find them waiting (not so patiently) outside the bathroom door or on the couch when you get home from work. They are definitely family cats.

Body Structure Of A Maine Coon

Maine Coons are the largest breed of cat. On average, they can weight anywhere between 8 and 18 pounds! They are also long cats. It’s not uncommon for these cats to be 3 feet long. Generally, females are smaller than males. 

These cats are also sturdy and can withstand a lot. Their thick coats and tufts of fur, keep them well insulated during cold weather. 

Are Maine Coons Good Cats Pets

Short answer, yes! But it depends on you and your situation.

Like all things in life, there are going to be pros and cons of having a Maine Coon. In this case, these cats are good with kids, affectionate, smart, and playful. They can take care of themselves, but prefer to have company. The downside is their coat is a major upkeep, and you have to be okay with finding hair on your clothes. They are anything but hypoallergenic, so expect plenty of dander throughout the home.

Here are a few considerations:

  • If you don’t like clingy cats, this might not be a cat for you. 
  • If you have a family and kids, this cat would fit right in. 
  • If you enjoy cats who are cuddly and affectionate, this is the cat for you. 
  • If you need your space to be clean and tidy, a Maine Coon is not for you. 
  • If you spend a lot of time traveling or away from home, this is not the cat for you either.  

Before committing to a Maine Coon, make sure you can spend the time to give your new cat the attention they crave, and you have invested in enough lint rollers to last a lifetime. 

Average Lifespan Of A Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coons generally live between 10 and 15 years. They are a sturdy breed, so it’s no surprise they live on the longer side. Some factors go into the average lifespan of a pet. Just like people, certain things can decrease a cat’s life. 

Diet and exercise are two things that can be easily managed to ensure a long and happy life for your pet. However, Maine Coons are predisposed to specific health concerns that may shorten their life. 

If you suspect your pet might be unhealthy or have a condition, please see your vet. All pets need to get regular check-ups to make sure they can live a long life.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Maine Coon cats offer so much more than your average house cat. They look incredible, have a high level of intelligence, and are generally fun to raise. 

If you have a new kitten that you’re unsure of, check the size, personality, and fur first. Over time, you will see how the kitten grows and can make a better assessment if it’s a Maine Coon or not. If you choose to keep your Maine Coon kitten, be aware of the different pros and cons of having a Maine Coon. In general, these cats are unique and loved by many. 

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