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Maine Coon Traits in Mixed-Breed Cats

Maine Coon Traits in Mixed-Breed Cats

Posted by Armarkat on 12th Jan 2024

If you have a mixed-breed cat that’s especially fluffy, you may be wondering if your kitty could have Maine Coon genes. A Maine Coon’s neck ‘mane’ and iconically poofy tail are not always passed on to their mixed-breed descendents, though their thick coat often is. However, there are other traits prevalent in Maine Coons that you might not have thought about, both physical and temperamental.

Coat color is much less of a breed indicator for Maine Coons than other types of cats. According to ASPCA Health Insurance, Maine Coons “have up to 75 unique color combinations that range from slate gray to tortoiseshell.” That’s why if you have an adult mixed-breed cat, size is a much better indicator of whether your cat may have Maine Coon ancestry.

The feline enthusiasts at the Cat Town blog report that when it comes to Maine Coons, “Males can weigh up to a whopping 18 pounds, while females weigh in at between eight and 12 pounds.” The largest Maine Coons can grow to nearly four feet long (when tail length is counted), “leading to some even being mistaken for bobcats.” While an average cat fully matures by twelve months old, a Maine Coon will not stop growing until it is at least three years old, and sometimes even keep growing until age five.

If your cat is still quite young, there are other factors to think about regarding the possibility of being part Maine Coon. Cat Town writes that Maine Coons may have an increased chance of having extra toes: “Most cats have 18 toes; five on their front paws and four on their back ones; but some cats have an extra digit or two—they’re known as polydactyl cats. Experts estimate as many as 40% of early Maine Coons were polydactyls, which some people said helped the cats use their paws as ‘natural snowshoes’ during snowy Maine winters.” Cats of any breed can be polydactyl, but if your cat has extra toes and exhibits what are regarded as typical Maine Coon behaviors, there is a stronger chance that your cat could be part Maine Coon.

The best-known Maine Coon quirk is their fondness for playing in water. However, it is important for your cat’s well-being that you do not put your cat into water or otherwise force them to experience water on their fur. A cat that likes water will not only sit and observe water coming out of faucets, as many cats do, but will also choose to enter a tub of water accessible to them.

But loving water isn’t the only odd behavior Maine Coons are known for. According to Only Maine Coons Rescue, they often display habits more commonly associated with dogs, such as meeting their cat parent at the front door when their cat parent comes home or bringing their favorite toys to their cat parent, and they are even capable of playing fetch. Furthermore, “Like a dog, it is usual for the Maine Coon to stretch up on its back legs resting its front paws above the waist to demand a stroke from the owners.”

According to Schertz Animal Hospital, Maine Coons are very active cats with a lot of energy. If your cat is part Maine Coon, they will need more toys and activities to keep them occupied. Caring for a Maine Coon mix may also require the same special attention needed to maintain a pure Maine Coon’s coat. A Maine Coon’s coat should be brushed at least every other day and purebred Maine Coons may “need a diet with high levels of natural fatty acids” intended to maintain a healthy coat, though not all cats will benefit from that regimine. If your mixed-breed kitty sheds a lot, it could be another indicator of possible Maine Coon ancestry. Maine Coons shed frequently and their hairs can build up quickly on furniture and floors. Experts at Schertz Animal Hospital recommend preparing a lint roller for cleaning up, and they also advise that “You may want to refrain from wearing black around Maine Coon cats.” Be aware that if your cat is part Maine Coon, they may not live as long as cats of most other breeds. Schertz Animal Hospital writes that Maine Coons rarely live longer than 14 years.

Investigating your mixed-breed cat’s potential breed connections can be fun, but don’t limit your search to just a few popular breeds. For example, many cat-focused publications list nine or 10 cat breeds that actually enjoy being in water, but most of those breeds, such as the Eyptian Mau, are much rarer than the Maine Coon. The International Cat Association currently recognizes 73 cat breeds, so there’s plenty of possibilities to explore.

Quote to remember: “One day I was counting the cats and I absent-mindedly counted myself.”

- Bobbie Ann Mason


ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, “Maine Coon Facts”

Cat Town, “4 Interesting Facts about Maine Coon Cats”

Only Maine Coons Rescue, “How Can you Tell if Your Cat Really is a Maine Coon?”

Schertz Animal Hospital, “Is My Cat a Maine Coon Cat?”

The International Cat Association, “Meet Our Fabulous Breeds”