Is Your Cat a Maine Coon Mix?

How To Tell

by: / Author, Mainer, Maine Coon Mama!

Are you wondering if your cat is part Maine Coon, or a Maine Coon mix?

Maybe you've learned about these purebred cats, their characteristics, and now you're wondering about your unique kitty!

Or maybe your large cat has a personality and physical traits quite different than any other you've known.

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fluffy black and white kitten.

Sometimes a friend or family member asks the owner of a big cat with a shaggy coat if he or she is part Maine Coon, and that question begins a quest!

Without a cat pedigree, the only way to know for sure is with a DNA test. But even without genetic testing, you can research and make an educated guess as to your cat's lineage!

Where did these beautiful cats come from?

This kind of conversation harks back to the old days, generations ago, when big shaggy barn cats with bushy tails roamed free. They interbred, and some became beloved house cats.

Of course, this was many generations ago. Back then, here in Maine, a big fluffy tabby barn cat was referred to a Maine Coon. The Maine Coon lineage is really interesting.

Later as time went on, while devoted people were refining the breed, some of these cats still mingled with the general cat population, both longhaired cats and short hairs, to create random litters of Maine Coon mix-looking kittens.

four mixed breed cats.

Today, a mixed Maine Coon cat is not more likely than a mix of other recognized cat breeds. Maine Coon mix is not a style of appearance, or term given to rugged-looking medium haired or longhaired cats.

So, how do you know? And, what are the chances that your cat is a Maine Coon mix? First, check out the physical Maine Coon characteristics. They are pretty specific.

Then, learn about the Maine Coon personality, and visit our fun traits page for our Top 10 Maine Coon Traits!

Fun Fact: currently, 95% of all pet cats are non-pedigreed Companion Cats. They are just as special as a purebred cat, of course!

This includes the domestic long hair cats and domestic medium haired cats. They have interbred for generations, and like a good gumbo, they are a variety of mixed ingredients!

"How could a purebred cat end up available and without a pedigree or a family tree?"

This is a popular, and very unique subject to this breed. How often do you hear someone wondering if their cat might be a Himalayan, or part Siamese, or maybe he's a Persian mix? Rarely!

Why is this? Because Maine Coons are a natural breed, and since they did originally develop in the "wild," there is still a commonly held belief that the Maine Coon breed is still more, oh, how shall we say .... uncontrolled?

fluffy brown and white maine coon kitten.

They are perceived as still roaming around, spreading their genes to the general cat population now and again.

Or perhaps due to our cold weather and rugged climate, any cat who thrived and developed here in Maine might be seen as being a tough breed.

Of course, this is no longer the case! Back in the "old days," the very beginning, they did live in barns and reproduce freely, creating the breed that started it all. But that was a long time ago.

For many, many generations now, this has been a fully recognized show cat, and there is a breed standard adhered to by experienced Maine Coon breeders. In 2021 they were the second most popular breed!

Maine Coon mixes will happen sometimes, just as a Golden Retriever mix will happen sometimes. That's why we have our sections on figuring out if your cat is a Maine Coon mix, or if your rescue cat is a Maine Coon. It surely can happen!

But they are not as prevalent as some think! There aren't "more" mixed Maine Coon out there than, for example, mixed breed Persians.

It's just easier to think a cat has some Coon in him because Coons don't look strikingly "different." Since Maine Coons are not bred to an extreme, but instead have a more balanced look, a long haired domestic house cat with a fluffy tail can more easily be mistaken for a Maine Coon mix.

In this case, it's totally ok to call your cat a Maine Coon lookalike, or your honorary Maine Coon!

That's what I did with my first medium haired cat, a sweet, friendly ginger named Clyde who inspired me to learn about the breed and eventually get in touch with a breeder.

  • "Is my rescue kitten a pure Maine Coon? S/he seems to fit the bill."
  • "Someone on Craigslist sold me a kitten calling it a Maine Coon, but now I'm not sure. How can I tell? Can you tell me if he's a true Maine Coon?"

The situation with kittens is different than with adults. If you get a kitten from a shelter, rescue group, or someone is just giving them away, how could he be a full Maine Coon?

When would a purebred kitten be given away for free? If someone who's not a breeder winds up with Maine Coons, would they then send these kittens off to the local shelter?

The kitten would need two purebred parents. Presumably, they would have pedigrees. If an experienced breeder produced the litter, they'd be for sale, the traditional route.

The only other way it would happen is if two full Maine Coon cats were not spayed/neutered, (unlikely I hope!) and got together either by accident or on purpose.

The inexperienced owners have broken their breeder contract and have a litter of Maine Coon kittens on their hands.

This scenario, as you can imagine, is unlikely. If it did happen on purpose, these would be backyard breeders. They may be well intentioned, but they don't have the expertise to produce healthy kittens who represent the breed standard.

They may also be breeding a cat or cats who someone said was a Maine Coon, but is either a domestic long hair, medium hair, or mix.

All new owners of registered Maine Coon cats agree with their breeder to spay/neuter their new pet kitten. They're able to afford their purebred kitten, so these owners are likely to follow through with the vet visits.

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Why do breeders always sell with a spay/neuter agreement? They've spent years developing the genealogical lines of their kittens. They know which kittens are "show quality," "pet quality," and which ones have the potential to be bred.

Additionally, they regularly test and screen for inherited health issues like hip dysplasia, spinal muscular atrophy, and feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

These may sometimes be sold with "breeding rights" to a trusted person, another breeder. Someone who understands the breed standard, breed conformation, and how to breed to the standard.

A possibility, if you think your kitten resembles a Maine Coon, is that he is a Maine Coon mix. Just one parent (or grandparent) was a purebred Maine Coon who didn't get spayed/neutered in time.

"What about my shelter cat? He looks just like a Maine Coon!"

He could be. This is more likely than with kittens. Unfortunately, many pets are abandoned, given away, or dropped off at the shelter every year.

This does include purebred cats. His pedigree may be lost, but that doesn't make him less of a Maine Coon. These cat do have a very distinctive look. If he's a Maine Coon cat, you probably won't need to ask.

"What are the physical characteristics to look for?”

As I'm sure you know, they are one of the largest breeds of domestic cats. So, large size is a clue. They are well proportioned, with a long torso and large bodies. A full size Coonie is well above average in size. Your vet can help you determine whether your cat is overweight or just large.

Most people are familiar with their ear tufts! The tufts of fur on their ears are very distinitve, and can be really spectacular.

They may have large paws but do not necessarily have extra toes. Some do, but it's not actually a breed trait.

Long fur is a given, with a ruff of fur like a lion's mane, as the cold Maine winters helped originally develop their traits!

They can be a variety of colors. Some of the more common colors include brown, red and silver tabby, with or without white, or a solid color, calico, or black and white. There are a few colors not allowed, for example pointed (like the Siamese), lavender, and chocolate. Maine Coons that are white or part white may have blue eyes or odd colored eyes.

M is for Maine ... Right?

brown tabby with markings on forehead

Is a cat a Maine Coon if it has an 'M' on its forehead? This common belief has circulated widely, and it's time to clarify!

This continues to come up regularly in the comments sections. It seems like many, many folks have heard it!

"If he's not a Maine Coon Mix, is he a Norwegian Forest Cat Mix?"

Perhaps! I'd recommend you do the same kind of research on that breed. They are different breeds, but can look similar to some people.

Maine Coon Mix Cats and Kittens

If your cat or kitten is "different" enough from other cats you've owned to make you wonder, but doesn't look strikingly like a Maine Coon, he certainly could be a Maine Coon mix.

Of course, without a pedigree or a family history, you can never be absolutely sure whether he's a Maine Coon mix. He'll always be a bit of a mystery. Just learn what you can, and then it's up to you as to how to introduce him to your house guests!

"Can you look at my cat/kitten's photo and tell me if s/he is a Maine Coon mix?"

Do you have a cat you've been wondering about? This is our most commonly asked question, both in email and here on the site!

We have many photo galleries of Maybe-Maine Coon mixes you can visit. We add them to our monthly photo albums, so the community can take a look and give input!

mixed maine coon kitten laying belly up on persons lap.

Go ahead and send in your photo, we'd be happy to add it to our gallery! This is the place to do it.

This is Moose. His owner, Sarah, was asking if he may have some Coon in him.

I can see why, can you? Do you think he's part Coon? He is posted in a recent photo gallery here.

Check it out and comment, and add your maybe-Maine Coon mix, too!

So, where does a Maine Coon mix come from? What about kittens, feral cats, and shelter cats?

Well, now we understand is that all full Maine Coon cats are bred in a cattery by a breeder and then sold to their new owner. That's the only way a full Maine Coon is born.

With that said, purebred Maine Coon cats do occasionally end up in need of a new home. Their owners may become elderly, may move, give them away (to someone who gives them away) or may just abandon them (as hard as that is for us to understand.)

That's how a purebred Maine Coon can end up in a shelter. But they still originated from a breeder. And they had a pedigree when they were born.

Top 10 Maine Coon Cat Traits

black fluffy cat on soft bright background

Please check out our sister article if you suspect your cat is a Maine Coon mix and still have questions.

It shares the physical characteristics and personality traits of these gentle giants.

Still not sure? There's only one more thing to do. Send in a photo, and share your cat with the world! Tell us about his or her personality, how he or she came to you, and what makes you think you may have a Coonie.

And due to overwhelming interest in this topic, we have an exciting announcement to make!

Since so many folks want to find out if their cat is a Maine Coon Cat or Maine Coon mix, there is now an official E-Book in the works!

It will give you the background, information, and knowledge to figure out for yourself if your cat is indeed a Maine Coon, along with a fun grading system.

Even if you never know for sure, it will give you the power to decide for yourself how to label your beloved kitty.

So before you go, make sure to sign up for our free newsletter. Invitations are throughout our pages. You will be one of the very first to know when our E-Book launches. And I promise your email address is completely secure. 

So leave a photo of your possible Maine Coon mix for other cat lovers to check out, and while you are here, make sure to comment on the photos of others!

Wondering If You Have a Maine Coon?

Have you been wondering if your cat or kitten "has some Coon in him?" Tell us about your cat, share a picture, and see what others think. What makes you think he might be a Maine Coon or Maine Coon Mix?

See More Maybe-Maines and Maybe-Mixes

'Mixed Maine Coon' is our current album of Mixes and Maybes. New kitties are added to the top regularly! Hop on over to visit and comment on them.

2024 Album of Mixes and Maybes 
I just got this sweet little kitty yesterday, 5/22/24. His name is Obito. I haven't observed his traits yet, but I know his mother is a short-haired …

Click here to write your own.

Community Pages Regarding Mixes and Maybes:

Previous Photo Album of Mixes and Maybes: So many beauties to see here!

Identifying Mixes and Maybes: These reader submitted questions span just about every different way you can ask this question!

If you are researching your cat or kitten's breed, you may find commonality with some of these community conversations to help you figure it out.

Top of Maine Coon Mix

About this site: Welcome! Founded in 2010, MCCN has been helping owners and future owners of these gentle giants worldwide for over 14 years. With our regular additions of breed-specific articles, this has become the ultimate online location for breed information!

Thanks to our many interactive pages and our twice weekly email roundup, we are blessed with an amazing community of fellow pet parents. If this is your first time here, hop on over to our homepage to see all our categories.

And when you're ready for even more, check out the offerings in our Member's Area, too!

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