Maine Coon Characteristics:
Personality Traits & Breed Info

by: / Author, Mainer, Maine Coon Mama!

What are the unique Maine Coon characteristics? Get to know this popular breed through their physical traits, personality, and wonderful temperament.

It's time for a head to tail analysis of the Maine Coon breed!


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awesome brown tabby maine coon cat

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

What makes this breed consistently one of the most popular cat breeds?

Whether you are interested in these gentle giants because you have one, are getting one, want one, or think you may have a Maine Coon mix, there are so many unique and special traits to learn about them!


Originating from barn cats and seafaring felines, these charming cats evolved to adapt to the harsh winters of Maine.

With tufted ears and large paws for navigating snow, they thrived in the rugged Northeast New England environment.

Over time, their friendly nature and distinctive features propelled them into the spotlight, making them one of America's most beloved and iconic cat breeds.


Physical Maine Coon Characteristics:

Murphy, a gorgeous Silver Maine CoonMurphy, a gorgeous Silver Maine Coon

These cats are renowned for their impressively large size and majestic appearance.

They are among the biggest domestic cat breeds, often described as "the dogs of the cat world."

From their robust build to their striking coats, they possess several distinctive physical characteristics that set them apart.

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

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

In other words, 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.


Starting From The Top:

One of the most defining Maine Coon characteristics has to be those amazing ears. They are large and wide, with long tufts of fur coming out of them.

brown tabby maine coon with ear tufts

Even more distinctive are the lynx-like tufts on the tips. These striking tufts were the first thing I noticed on my Maine Coon kittens. I knew they would be there, but seeing them in person for the first time was something else!

The well-tufted ears of a young Maine Coon kitten who hasn't quite grown into them are nothing less than adorable!

While some domestic medium haired (DMH) or domestic longhaired (DLH) cats may have small tufts, Maine Coons will have definite, distinctive tufts.


Facial Features:

pretty longhaired brown tabby maine coonPretty Brown Tabby Lady

One of the most distinctive Maine Coon characteristics has to be their intelligent gaze.

They are known for their large eyes, which are set at a slightly oblique angle, adding to their enigmatic gaze.

These expressive eyes can range in color from green and gold to amber and copper. White cats might have odd-colored or blue eyes.

The nose is noted for being straight, not at all flat like other long-haired breeds may be.

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


Size and Stature: 

One of the most notable features of Maine Coons is their impressive size and sturdy build. Everyone loves to see a massive Maine Coon Cat! 

Bear in mind that massive size 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. 

Adult males typically weigh between 13 to 18 pounds, while females range from 8 to 12 pounds. Their large size is complemented by a muscular body, giving them a powerful and imposing presence. 

It's not uncommon for these cats to continue growing until they are around three to five years old, reaching their full size and stature gradually. And by that time you'll be so attached, it won't really matter.


classic silver maine coon kittenClassic Silver Maine Coon Kitten

So even if you have your heart set on a gigantic, large cat, you'll be completely content with any Coonie.

A Coonie of any size, with that sturdy body and shaggy fur, will be quite a specimen to behold.

The body is described as rectangular. It's a strong, sturdy body, well proportioned. The neck is medium in length, the chest is full, legs are medium, all contributing to a balanced appearance.

No feature is overemphasized or out of proportion when it comes to Maine Coon characteristics.


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The Coat:

It's easy to see why the Maine Coon Cat 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. Coonies boast a luxurious coat that is dense, water-resistant, and soft to the touch.

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.

The fur around the neck is called the ruff. It can 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! Their semi-long fur comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including tabby, solid, smoke, bicolor, calico, 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, or lavender, pointed patterns or ticked patterns. Looking upon one of these beauties, their natural heritage is quite apparent!


red silver cameo male maine coon catRed Silver Cameo Male Maine Coon Cat


Extremities:

Another defining characteristic is large feet with tufts of fur coming out of them, and coming out from between their toes. They are quite unusual, and most would agree, endearing.

Speaking of feet, many people wonder where to find one that is a polydactyl cat. "Back in the day," many were polydactyl, or as we say in Maine, double-pawed. It's a Maine Coon 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.

The most magnificent of the Maine Coon characteristics would have to be that unbelievable tail. 

One of their most distinctive features, their bushy tail is long and plumed, adding to their majestic appearance. Like the feathers of a peacock, it is his pride and joy, his trademark which can be duplicated by none other.


young tabby and white maine coon with bushy tail

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!


The Maine Coon Personality:

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.


Sociability and Interaction with Humans and Other Pets:

small black maine coon kitten curled upLittle Black Girl Maine Coon Kitten

Coonies are renowned for their amiable nature and sociable demeanor. They form strong bonds with their human companions, often seeking out interaction and companionship.

These cats are not just content to share a living space; they actively engage with their human family members, displaying an innate curiosity and desire to be part of daily activities.

Additionally, Maine Coons are known for their compatibility with other pets. Their friendly disposition extends to fellow feline or canine companions, fostering a harmonious environment in multi-pet households.


Temperament of a Maine Coon Cat:

maine coon cat sleeping on cat tree

One of the endearing qualities of this breed is their affectionate nature.

These cats enjoy being in close proximity to their human family members, often seeking out snuggles. Many of them are lap cats!

Their gentle demeanor and loving disposition make them wonderful companions for anyone who wants a cat that craves and reciprocates affection.

Whether it's a gentle head bump or a soft purr, they excel in expressing their love, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in any home.


Communication

Vocalizations and Different Sounds:

Coonies are chatterboxes with a wide array of vocalizations. From chirps to trills and even melodic meows, they express themselves vocally. Each sound carries its unique meaning, adding a layer of communication between cat and owner. Understanding these nuances enhances the bond, making for delightful conversations and interactions.


Body Language and Gestures:

Equally expressive through body language, these felines communicate with eloquent gestures. Tail position, ear movements, and subtle facial expressions convey their feelings.

A raised tail signifies contentment, while flattened ears may mean discomfort. These gentle giants use their entire bodies to express emotions, creating a non-verbal dialogue that strengthens the unique connection between Coonies and their human companions.

Paying attention to these cues deepens the understanding of their needs and enriches the rewarding relationship with these sociable feline companions.


Common Genetic Predispositions

While this is generally a healthy breed, any purebred pet may be predisposed to certain health concerns. Responsible breeders will use genetic testing to avoid breeding kittens with these health issues:


Hip Dysplasia:

Hip Dysplasia is a hereditary condition that can affect their hip joints. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to identify and manage this condition early.

Providing a well-balanced diet and encouraging moderate exercise can contribute to maintaining joint health.


Spinal Issues:

Maine Coons may also be susceptible to Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) due to their size and elongated bodies.

Responsible ownership involves monitoring their physical activity, ensuring they have proper support during rest, and consulting with a veterinarian if any signs of discomfort or mobility issues arise.

By staying vigilant and proactive, pet owners can play a crucial role in maintaining the overall well-being of their furry family members.


Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy:

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a heart condition where the muscle thickens. Regular vet visits help monitor heart health.

Though it's more common in the breed, early detection and care can contribute to a longer, happier life for these big-hearted furballs.


closeup of dark grey maine coon on a dark background

So what makes these beauties 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, Coonie or not. Our lives wouldn't be quite the same without them. Which is your favorite of the Maine Coon characteristics?


Top of Maine Coon Characteristics


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