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Why Are Maine Coon Cats So Big – Size & Facts

Why Are Maine Coon Cats So Big – Size & Facts

Maine Coon cats are widely admired for their beautiful coats, large body size, and many colors. These cats are loved for their outgoing and sometimes even goofy personalities. I love it when my Maine Coon trills happily about a toy or when he’s spotted a bird. But how did they get to be one of the largest domesticated cat breeds? We did some research to answer the question, so, why are Maine Coon cats so big? 

Maine Coons are big because they mature slowly which allows them to develop larger muscles and bone structure. Their large size is also attributed to their ability to hold in more body heat, however, this theory hasn’t been proven yet. Maine Coon cats are naturally big because of their native environment. 

There are many theories, from the disproven notion that domesticated cats might have bred with local raccoons to the idea that Maine Coon cats might be the descendants of Norwegian Forest Cats first brought here by early Vikings. Even though we don’t know why Maine Coons get so big, we know a lot about the breed in general and what you can expect from these popular cats.

How Big Is A Full-Grown Maine Coon

Maine Coon cats come in a range of sizes, but you can expect them to be reasonably large cats overall. Males are bigger than females and weigh anywhere between 13-20 lbs. on average. Female Maine Coon cats average about 12-14 lbs. Male Maine Coon cats are also more likely to get bigger than their weight average than female cats.

But that’s just the average. There are have been individual Maine Coon cats that weighed as much as 30 lbs without being overweight!

The huge range of possible size makes it difficult to predict how big your Maine Coon will be, so you should be prepared for a cat the size of a small to medium dog (cats tend to be bigger than dogs of the same weight because of differences in their body plan). You might end up with a Maine Coon that stops growing long before that, or then again, you might not.

It’s also important to note that Maine Coon cats grow longer than other breeds of cats. While most cats are as big as they’ll ever get sometime between a year and a year and a half old, Maine Coons are known to keep growing until they are between 3 and 5 years old.

That longer growing cycle can also make it harder to predict when your Maine Coon will grow. They might hit certain development milestones differently than other cats. For instance, it’s possible for a Maine Coon to stay in the leggy teenage phase longer than other cats or to skip that phase entirely!

Don’t worry if your Maine Coon has a couple of awkward periods while growing. Getting all that extra size takes time and can mean a few lopsided growth spurts before everything starts to even back out.

As long as you’re taking your cat to the vet for regular checkups and the vet doesn’t seem concerned about your Maine Coon’s growth, you shouldn’t be either.

Do All Maine Coons Get Big

While Maine Coon cats are known for their size, the truth is that not all Maine Coon cats are very big. There are plenty of members of this breed that are only average size (for other cat breeds) and even some Maine Coon cats that are relatively small domesticated cats.

Many factors determine whether a Maine Coon will reach the large size their breed is known for, including their diet and living conditions, ancestry, and more.

Your cat’s parents are probably the best gauge of how big you should expect your Maine Coon to get, but even then, there’s always a chance that your kitten will grow up to be significantly bigger, or much smaller, than his or her parents.

It’s also relatively common for cats sold or adopted as Maine Coon cats to have only partial Maine Coon ancestry.

Especially in the United States, breeders will commonly sell ‘Maine Coon’ cats that are only partially Maine Coon.

There are a few reasons for the practice of selling mixed ancestry cats when it comes to Maine Coons. For one thing, many pet owners like the look and personality of a Maine Coon, but don’t necessarily want to deal with the hassle of owning a cat that large.

After all, the bigger your cat is, the harder it will be to find cat trees, beds, and other enrichment items that suit your cat’s size. Mixing Maine Coon cats with a smaller domesticated breed tend to result in slightly smaller cats that still have a good chance of having the Maine Coon’s distinctive coat and personality.

Purebred Maine Coon cats are also generally more expensive than more common breeds like the American Shorthair. Breeding a Maine Coon to a more affordable cat can help breeders save money while still producing valuable cats.

It’s also common to breed other types of cats to help prevent inbreeding and maintain good genetic backgrounds for the kittens.

So, there’s a good chance that your smallish Maine Coon is a mixed cat with one or more other breeds in their genetic makeup. But that doesn’t mean that they are any less adorable! But don’t worry too much about the size of your cat. Even purebred Maine Coon cats can be smaller than the breed average.

How Big Should A Maine Coon Be At 6 Months

With all this talk about how inconsistent in size Maine Coons are, it can be hard to tell how big your cat should be when. Fortunately, the six-month milestone is a pretty good age to tell if your cat is hitting expected milestones because it’s before hormones and other growth factors start differentiating individuals too much.

Young Maine Coon cats in this age bracket should all grow largely the same, though you’ll start to be able to tell larger Maine Coons from smaller individuals around this age.

6-month-old Maine Coon cats will tend to be almost the same size for both males and females. You should expect your Maine Coon to be between 7-10 lbs at the six-month mark, with some males weighing as much as 13lbs by this age.

Maine Coon Size Chart

While Maine Coon growth can be somewhat unpredictable, we’ve put together this chart to help you track your Maine Coon’s expected growth. Now you have to remember that large male cats will likely outgrow this chart, while mixed-breed Maine Coons and females may be slightly smaller by nature.

  Male Cats Female Cats
Newborn .2-.4 lbs. .2-.3 lbs.
Three Months Old .4-.6 lbs. .3-.6 lbs.
Six Months Old 8-11 lbs. 7-10 lbs.
Nine Months Old 12-16 lbs. 9-12 lbs.
1 Year Old 13-20 lbs.* 10-15 lbs.
1.5+ Years Old 15-25 lbs 12-18 lbs.

 *Male Main Coon Cats can reach close to their full weight earlier than female cats, but they will continue to grow slightly and fill in for the next 2 to 4 years.

These numbers are an estimate based on breed trends, but some Maine Coon cats have their main growth spurts later in life, while others will reach their full size quickly and stop growing younger than others.

Are Maine Coons The Biggest Cats

Well, if you’re talking about all cats, then the biggest cat trophy would go to Tigers. They’re quite a bit bigger than Maine Coon.

But if we limit the competition to domesticated cats, well, then Maine Coon cats are certainly near the top. They aren’t considered truly the biggest domesticated breed, but that’s mostly because several other breeds reach similar sizes. Maine Coon cats sometimes look like the biggest though because of their exceptionally long and thick fur coats.

Several other breeds, like Ragdolls, Siberian cats, Norwegian Forest Cats, and Chausie cats can reach similar sizes in weight, length, and height. Norwegian Forest Cats and Siberian cats even have similarly long fur with reasonably similar coloring.

That said, the largest domesticated can currently living is a Maine Coon. His name is Barivel. Don’t worry; we’ll talk more about him later.

Maine Coon Size Compared To Normal Cat

Weight is one of the fastest ways to measure a cat, which is why weight is often used as the standard size measurement. After all, a cat’s weight can generally tell you more about its size and wellbeing than the length of their legs.

When it comes to weight, Maine Coons average between 15-25 lbs. depending on their gender and diet. Most domesticated cats average somewhere between 11-13 lbs. A few breeds are smaller and average 6-10 lbs, and a few breeds that are large and match Maine Coon cats for weight.

A perfectly average cat would be about 18 inches long, not counting their tail in terms of length. Of course, many cats and both smaller and larger than that average.

An average Maine Coon, on the other hand? Well, they are about 3 ft from nose to tail or 36 inches.

With all that extra weight, you can also expect that your Maine Coon will have larger than average paws holding them up. Maine Coon tails aren’t necessarily proportionately longer than other cats, but they will generally match that cat they’re attached to.

Maine Coon cats also often have larger ears than other breeds of cat, with the possible exception of Savannah cats and Bengals since both breeds are also known for larger ears than average.

Not to mention that Maine Coon cats often look quite a bit bigger than they are, thanks to their thick and luxurious coats. Maine Coon cats can have fur that’s several inches long, which often means that they need more help with grooming than most cats. Getting your Maine Coon used to brushing is likely to be more helpful in the long run than it is with other cat breeds, even other long-haired cat breeds

What Is The Largest Maine Coon Cat On Record

The Largest Maine Coon Cat on record, and the largest domesticated cat on record, is an Italian Maine Coon named Barivel.

Barivel, at two years old, was measured just under 4ft long, netting him the record not only as the largest cat living but also the largest domesticated cat ever recorded.

Of course, the history of large cats can be difficult to track at times. Weight used to be a standard measure of cat size, but it’s no longer considered a good measurement because very muscular or very overweight cats could both outweigh a cat that is larger in other dimensions.

So, when Barivel got the record, he joined the ranks of other historically large cats, but he was particularly large even for one of the record holders since the change to measuring length and height was relatively recent.

There is one other cat that comes close to (and may possibly beat) Barivel’s record. Another Maine Coon named Ludo is less than an inch shorter than Barivel as of their last measurements. But, Ludo was a year older when his measurement was taken, which means it’s relatively likely that Barivel will keep his record since he’s had less time to grow than Ludo.

Both Barivel and Ludo are known to be gentle giants, thankfully. Barivel enjoys a good walk through his Italian neighborhood from the comfort of his stroller, while Ludo is a doting fur-brother to his family’s two young boys (and he’s about their same size too!)

Can Maine Coon Cats Be Small

Yes! While Maine Coon cats are prized in part for their large sizes, Maine Coon cats can be small. It’s not common among purebred members of the breed, but the occasional runt is born, and some cats have slower or more stunted growth over time.

Unfortunately, smaller Maine Coon cats can also be the result of poor diet or mistreatment. That’s often one of the factors for rescued Maine Coon cats and even some feral Maine Coons.

Don’t worry too much if you adopted a small Maine Coon as long as they’ve gotten a good health check and regularly see a vet. Depending on the age of the Maine Coon they may grow more later, after a few months of good diet and care, but many Maine Coon will stay smaller if they don’t have access to adequate nutrition early.

As we mentioned before, smaller Maine Coon cats are sometimes the result of breeding several varieties of cat together, resulting in a smaller hybrid that isn’t a true Maine Coon. These animals are also generally smaller, but even purebreds can have a smaller stature than average.

Try not to worry about your Maine Coon’s size too much. Even if you have a record-breaking cat on your hands, the most important thing is to enjoy the time you have with them and make sure they get all the loving care and attention any cat deserves!