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Maine Coon Characteristics

A Cat Breed Unlike Any Other!

It's time for a head to tail analysis of the Maine Coon characteristics. This breed is so unique, but exactly what sets them apart from the crowd?

From the ear tufts, shaggy coat in it's many colors, awesome size, and magnificent tail, there is so much to talk about here!

What makes a Coon a Coon?

This page is all about the physical characteristics. For more on their personality and quirks, you'll want to check out our section on their Behavior And Traits.

The Care And Keeping Of Your Maine Coon Cat
The Care And Keeping Of Your Maine Coon Cat

Starting From The Top:

beautiful young maine coon cat with dark tipped ears

One of the most defining Maine Coon characteristics would be the ears. They are large and wide, with long tufts coming out of them, and lynx-like tufts on the tips. The ears of a young Maine Coon kitten who hasn't quite grown into them are nothing less than adorable!

The face of these cats has an intelligent expression. When you look right into their large and round green, gold or copper eyes, it seems they really connect with you.

A white cat might have blue or odd-colored eyes. The nose is noted for being straight, not at all flat such as other long-haired breeds.

They are frequently described as having a feral expression. This term, meaning wild or untamed, goes completely against their actual temperament, which is mild, sweet and loving.

You may find some breeders noting their cats have the "feral look" while others say they breed for the "sweet look." Do check out some pictures of their breeding stock, as these differences have definitely arisen.

The Body:

When talking about Maine Coon characteristics, size is always mentioned. This is perhaps the most famous of all Maine Coon characteristics. No doubt about it, they are big cats! So how big do they get? Well, a male usually weighs in at 13-18 pounds, and a female at 9-12. There seem to be stories everywhere of cats weighing 25, even 30 pounds.

lovely brown female maine coon kitten

Bear in mind that this is the exception, not the rule. Most responsible breeders won't focus on breeding primarily for size. Any litter will have larger and smaller than average kittens.

One of these kitties of the usual size, with that sturdy body and shaggy fur, will be quite a specimen to behold.

Also, they usually don't reach it's full size until around three years of age. They are slow to mature. And by that time you'll be so attached, it won't really matter.

The body is described as rectangular. It's a strong, sturdy body, well proportioned. The neck is medium long, the chest is full, legs are medium, all contributing to a balanced appearance. Nothing is overemphasized or out of proportion.

PAWSitive Passages!

PAWSitive Passages!

Adorable dark silver maine coon kitten with intelligent expression

Adorable dark silver maine coon kitten with intelligent expression


Another defining characteristic is large feet with tufts of fur coming out of them. They are quite unusual, and most would agree, endearing. Speaking of feet, many people wonder where to find one that is a polydactyl. "Back in the day," many were polydactyl, or double-pawed. It's a characteristic treasured by many.

When they were accepted into the cat fancy, it became necessary for this recessive gene to be "weeded out". Then they would conform to the newly established breed standard, and become prize-winning show cats! This beloved characteristic is still carried on by a few breeders, although the kittens won't be shown.

The most magnificent of the Maine Coon characteristics would have to be that unbelievable tail. Like the feathers of a peacock, it is his pride and joy, his trademark which can be duplicated by none other. This is a tail that has to be seen to be believed. It's full, long, and heavy. It drags along the ground behind him much like a fancy feather-duster!

big fluffy maine coon with magnificent tail
big fluffy maine coon with magnificent tail

The Coat

It's easy to see why this breed has been referred to as a "Shag". The shaggy coat is longer and softer underneath. It's smooth and water-repellent on the top. Since it is not all one length like other long-haired cats, the lovely colors don't look uniform. Instead, there is dimension to the coats colors and pattern.

black smoke maine coon kitten

The fur around the neck is called the ruff. It really does resemble the mane of a lion! The ruff is another decorative accent to an already beautiful cat.

Speaking of colors, the range of colors is impressive! Patterns can be solid, tabby, tortie or torbie (a tortoiseshell with stripes of colors instead of patches).

Colors range from white to black and everything in between! The only patterns you won't find would be solid brown, lavender, pointed patterns or ticked patterns. Looking upon one of these beauties, their natural heritage is quite apparent!


There is so much to say about the awesome personality, that we have a whole section devoted to it.

They will look you straight in the eyes, and proceed to talk to you. This interaction contributes to their intelligent appearance.

Some words that come to mind are goofy, loving, sweet, cuddly, loud, friendly, demanding of attention, and family-oriented, among others.

The breed standard describes every aspect of the Maine Coon characteristics - physically. From size, and shape to color.

Each one of these traits should blend in to the "whole cat", so that all you see is a beautiful animal.

So you won't look upon a Maine Coon cat and be struck by one characteristics in particular. They should all come together, with balance, into one handsome cat.

Of course they are fluffy, and big, and beautiful. But what makes them so unique? For those who have owned a one of these special friends it's all so clear. And then, to put it into words takes a little more time.

Of course, every cat is special. Each has his own unique qualities, Coon or not. Our lives wouldn't be quite the same without them. Hopefully you've enjoyed this round-up of Maine Coon characteristics!

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Top 10 Q&A's

<< The Care & Keeping Of Your Maine Coon is the ultimate guide to all the breed-specific needs of your Coonie. This unique breed has unique needs! A must-have.

The Top 10 Coonie Q & A's >>
is the essential handbook for all Maine Coon Questions, covering topics like nutrition and weight, "Is he a Maine Coon?," size, lifespan, and more.


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