The Maine Coon cat has a large and wild-looking appearance. They have big personalities to match their memorable first impression. Everything about this cat is large—it’s undeniable. They are easy to point out simply due to their magnetic appearance.
Maine Coons are often cast in a very mysterious light, as they are a natural breed that sprang to existence in New England. These striking cats are reminiscent of a fantasy tale, with their broad chests, lush coats, and all-encompassing presence. Some say that their cuddles are magical (not backed by scientific evidence, but we are inclined to agree).
Just looking at a Maine Coon is probably enough to identify their breed, but can you tell a Maine Coon by their coat color? Probably not. There are over 75 different Maine Coon colors and patterns that these big cats can display, so you won’t be able to distinguish their breed based on their coat coloring alone. However, their coat does have a lot to do with how easy they are to pinpoint.
What are the origins of the Maine Coon?
There is a lot of mystery about how the Maine Coon cat came to be. Are they part-cat, part-raccoon? Did they sail to the U.S. with the Vikings and Leif Erikson? Or did they descend from Queen Marie Antoinette's Turkish Angora cats?
If you thought any of the above sounded plausible, you'd be wrong! It’s more likely that the Maine Coon cat originated when a domestic American Shorthair and a long-haired cat from Europe mated in the U.S. With natural selection, these cats adapted wonderfully to the cold New England winters. The cats that survived developed thick coats and became excellent hunters.
This established their breed as incredibly valuable: These kitties knew how to fend for themselves and utilize their mouser abilities for humans. It’s what brought Maine Coon cats into homes. People saw how useful they could be in their barns and houses to keep them clear of vermin.
This new encounter was a big deal for both humans and Maine Coon cats. Humans got nice, rat-free homes, and Maine Coons got a roof over their heads and lots of pets. Today, these big domestic cats are one of the most loved and sought-after cats in the world.
What does a Maine Coon look like?
Maine Coon cats are one of the largest breeds of domestic cats, and also one of the most gentle. They can weigh up to 25 pounds, and some have been known to weigh even more. Their long, thick coats also add to their appearance, but they’re big nonetheless.
Maine Coon cats are also one of the longest breeds out there, even reaching record numbers for longest cat alive. They can be between 30 and 40 inches long. Compared to many other cat breeds, this is almost double the length of your average domestic cat.
The Maine Coon’s coat is another part of the cat that stands out. They have thick and protective fur that helps keep them warm in the winters and well-regulated in the summers. Their coats aren’t as high maintenance as you might think, and with regular brushing, you should be able to keep these glorious floofs tangle-free.
Maine Coon Cat Colors
Many Maine Coon coats are a brown tabby, but there can be over 75 different combinations. The one exception for a Maine Coon’s coat is that it isn’t a colorpoint pattern, and isn’t lavender or chocolate in coloring. As for the rest of the options, they are fair game!
Because there are so many different color possibilities, breeders and cat associations have divided them into a variety of color class groups. This makes it a bit easier to classify a specific Maine Coon colors with just one look.
Solid-colored Maine Coon cats are magnificent. They look rather different from other Maine Coons, who have a variety of colors and patterns. From the tips down to their roots, solid Maine Coons will only show one color throughout their coat. There won’t be any markings, stripes, or patterns.
There are 5 different colors that a Maine Coon can come in, but this is how they present when solid:
The black Maine Coon cat is one of the more common solid-colored Maine Coons. They are a coal black with no deviation in color from their roots to their tips. Their nose leather will be black, and their paw pads will be either black or dark brown
White Maine Coons are the exact opposite of the black Maine Coons. They are a glistening pure white and will have pink nose leather and paw pads.
Solid blue Maine Coons are quite the sight to see. They are a vivid blue color that sometimes is mistaken for grey. Their nose leather and paw pads will be the same color blue as the rest of their body. However, blue is a pretty rare Maine Coon color overall.
Cream Maine Coons display a buff cream color throughout their entire bodies. They will have pink paw pads and nose leather and no additional markings.
Red Maine Coons are a vibrant red color that sometimes is mistaken for orange. Their nose leather and paw pads are the same color as the rest of their bodies.
A tabby Maine Coon cat is very common to come by. They are one of the more popular coats for a Maine Coon to have; you might envision them when someone asks you what a Maine Coon looks like.
The Maine Coon that we all know and love today is said to come from tabby Maine Coons that were found in Maine in the 1800s, making them a dominant pattern. You might come across three tabby patterns: classic, mackerel, and ticked. All of these patterns still have the tabby “M” marking on their foreheads that is usually easy to identify.
- Classic tabby pattern: The classic tabby Maine Coon has dense and defined markings across their bodies. They have blotches on their sides that are often referred to as “targets” and swirls on their faces. These cats will also have vertical lines that go from their heads to their shoulders in a butterfly pattern. Classic tabbies have unbroken necklaces that lead down their neck to their chest.
- Mackerel: Mackerels get their name from the dense and defined parallel stripes on their bodies that resemble the Mackerel fish. The lines that lead from their heads to their shoulders are thinner than a classic tabby pattern. They will also have necklaces that go down their necks and chests.
- Ticked: These Maine Coons stand out because from above, as it doesn’t look like there is a pronounced pattern on their body. Yet, from different angles, the ticked fur stands out more, showcasing the actual pattern.
Tabby with white
This sub-class refers to Maine Coons with tabby coats but white paws and chests. Other tabbies will have the pattern all the way down to the end of the feet, so this is one way to differentiate between the two.
Tortoiseshell or calico
Maine Coons can also come in a tortoiseshell pattern or calico pattern, which is rare and beautiful. Part of the reason these patterns are so rare is that they mainly present in female cats. That gene is passed through the X chromosome, so 99.9% of tortie and calico cats are female. As a result, these are rare Maine Coon colors and may be difficult to find.
Tortoiseshell Maine Coons will have a base color of black and patches of red and/or cream throughout the body. Calico Maine Coons look similar, but have larger white patches of fur.
Maine Coons can also be bicolor, which is a pattern of white and one other solid color (such as black and white, or tuxedo). You might be picturing a tabby, but a bicolor Maine Coon cat will typically have white that goes high up on their side, paws, stomach, chest, and even facial area.
Smoke Maine Coons are very similar to solid Maine Coons because they display only one color. In this case, the color fades towards the chest and in the undercoat. Their undercoat is a silver color, which helps give this smokey effect. This is also one of the most rare Maine Coon colors.
Taking care of a Maine Coon
Maine Coons have long coats that need to be kept clean and tidy. As long as you brush their fur regularly, it shouldn’t mat together, but it can begin to drag in the litter box. With the help of a self-cleaning litter box like Litter-Robot, you don’t have to worry about your cat’s hair getting soiled.
Maine Coons like to be motivated and playful, but they might need a push to get them started. Once you figure out what suits your Maine Coon best, it’s so exciting and fun to see their personalities shine through.
No matter your Maine Coon color, you will be sure to love them immensely!
- Maine Coon Cat | Breed Of Cat | Britannica
- Maine Coon Cat | Maine Secretary Of State Kids' Page
- Maine Coon Standard | CFA
- Amber Kipp via Unsplash
- Kanashi via Unsplash