What Is The Difference Between A Maine Coon And A Tabby Cat? (2023)

Have you ever looked at a Maine Coon and a tabby cat and wondered what the differences are? Well, you’re really looking at the difference between Maine Coons and domestic cats, as the term “tabby” refers to a coat patterning instead of a breed. Maine Coons themselves can be tabbies.

What Is The Difference Between A Maine Coon And A Tabby Cat?

Maine Coons differ from domestic cats in quite a few ways. They are considerably more prominent, highly affectionate, and intelligent felines that like to be with their people full time. They are also trainable and full of energy.

Difference One: Maine Coons Are Larger

Maine Coons are a lot bigger than domestic cats – even the large domestic cats! They usually weigh more than double what a domestic cat does. Here’s why Maine Coons get so big compared to regular house cats.

What Is The Difference Between A Maine Coon And A Tabby Cat? (1)

A domestic cat often weighs around seven pounds, and they may weigh up to ten pounds. Obviously, there is scope for a lot of variation there, but this is a good average.

A Maine Coon, by contrast, can weigh more than eighteen pounds. They are also much bulkier cats, being squarer and more solidly built than domestic cats. As a result, they do not have such a dainty look overall but are wonderfully reassuring to cuddle because of their extra bulk.

Some Maine Coons can weigh over thirty pounds, although this is a reasonably exceptional weight. It’s easy to understand why these cats are considered “gentle giants” when comparing that with a domestic tabby’s ten-or-less.

(Video) Maine Coon Cat Vs Normal Cat - So Different You'll Be SHOCKED

Maine Coons may also have larger feet, which is particularly noticeable in the kittens.

Difference Two: Maine Coons Are Fluffier

A Maine Coon’s coat is very different from the coat of most other cats. It may look somewhat similar to the coat of a long-haired domestic cat, but it isn’t very close. In general, long-haired domestic cats have neat, even fur. However, a Maine Coon’s coat tends to be much shaggier.

Maine Coons often have a ruff around their chest, where the fur is long and thick. They may also have longer fur on their legs and stomachs, while the fur on their backs and shoulders can be shorter.

Tufty ears are another sign of a Maine Coon, although not all have this characteristic. Maine Coons generally have longer, more dramatic ears than domestic cats. Their ears are wide, pointed, and often very fluffy. They look more like the ears of a wild cat such as a lynx.

Overall, the Maine Coon’s coat is quite ragged and fluffy but not sleek – although it is usually very soft to the touch.

By contrast, domestic cats usually have even fur across most of their bodies. The fur on their ears may be shorter, but on the whole, they have a sleek look. They do not often look “shaggy” the way that a Maine Coon does.

The fur and the size are probably the most distinctive differences between these cats and other domestic breeds, but they are not the only ones.

(Video) How to tell if your cat is a Maine Coon!

Difference Three: Maine Coons Have Longer Whiskers

Maine Coons have particularly long whiskers, much longer than those of other domestic breeds. This can give their faces an exquisite look and is in tune with the rest of the long fur.

With their wide faces and strong angles, these long whiskers make Maine Coons look even larger than they are. In addition, the solidity of their heads, compared with a domestic cat’s more dainty, triangular head, further lends the Maine Coon a weighty appearance.

Difference Four: Maine Coons Have Big Tails

It would be hard to confuse a Maine Coon’s tail with a domestic cat’s tail. However, Maine Coons tend to have longer tails, which is in keeping with their extra size. Their tails are usually around sixteen inches long, while a domestic cat is often closer to twelve.

More to the point, the tails of Maine Coons are immensely fluffy, unlike the slim tails associated with most cats. A Maine Coon’s tail looks rather more like a feather duster or cloud of fluff, and it is a much-loved feature of this beautiful feline.

According to TheDiscerningCat, Maine Coons often keep their tails erect, especially when walking around. You may note that it looks like they are trying to get your attention by waving their tails around in the air.

Domestic cats do also raise their tails, but usually less noticeably.

Difference Five: Maine Coons Are Very Affectionate

All cats can be affectionate, and many domestic cats will rival a Maine Coon’s loving nature, but the fact remains that Maine Coons are particularly known for being sweet, gentle, and full of love for their humans.

(Video) Maine Coon Cats - Male vs Female (Biggest Differences)

Maine Coons are often likened to dogs for their loyal, adoring characteristics. Although some may be wary of strangers, they are very much “family cats” and will bond strongly with their humans.

If you are seeking an exceptionally loving and affectionate pet, a Maine Coon is a good bet. Many domestic cats can be aloof and disinterested in their people (although many are also extremely loving). If you want a cat that likes to spend as much time with you as possible, a Maine Coon is a good choice.

Where a domestic cat may disappear for hours on end, whether you are home or not, you’ll generally find that your Maine Coon wants to be close to you and will sit in the same room as you and watch what you’re doing.

Maine Coons aren’t clingy, but they enjoy the company of others and will let you know this by hanging around wherever you happen to be.

Difference Six: Maine Coons Love Water

You probably don’t know many cats that enjoy spending time in the water, but many Maine Coons do. This may be a trait inherited from wild ancestors or because they have thick coats that help keep their skin dry, but Maine Coons are known for enjoying the water.

Some play with their water dishes, lie in the bottom of damp showers, or even turn on faucets so that they can play with the water flow.

Some exceptional domestic cats like water too, but this is considered rare – while among Maine Coons, dislike for water is rare. These cats, on the whole, love a bit of wet playtime. You can read more about a Maine Coons love for the water.

(Video) How To Tell If Your Cat Is A Maine Coon: 10 Simple Ways!

This is another reason they are likened to dogs.

Difference Seven: Maine Coons Are Trainable

Again, there are some domestic cats that can be taught tricks. Some will even play fetch the way a dog will. However, few can rival a Maine Coon’s trainable intelligence. These cats are very smart, and you can teach them all sorts of tricks, such as walking on a leash, fetching things, etc.

If you want a particularly clever cat, a Maine Coon is a great option. These cats enjoy the challenge of learning something new, and they are very playful, so any new game is a good game as far as they are concerned.

They also retain this playfulness even as they get older, which makes them wonderful long-term companions.

Final Word

You can’t compare Maine Coons and tabby cats directly because “tabby” simply refers to markings, and many Maine Coons are tabby cats themselves.

However, there are some significant differences between Maine Coons and domestic cats, and hopefully, you now have an understanding of some of these.

Related Articles

(Video) Maine Coon Vs Norwegian Forest Cat - How To Identify Them

  • Bengal Cat Vs. Maine Coon
  • Do Maine Coon Cats Need A Companion?


What is the difference between a tabby and a Maine Coon? ›

In comparison, Maine Coons are popular large breed cats with a rectangular-shaped body, long, thick fur, stocky legs, large ears, and expressive eyes with big personalities, while tabby cats are cats with distinctive 'M' shaped markings on their forehead.

What makes Maine Coon cats different? ›

So what else makes them different? Apart from their size, Maine Coon cats usually have a strong muscular build. Because of this, they typically tend to have a rectangular shape instead of the elongated, more oblong shape of the more delicate and sleek breeds.

What two breeds make a Maine Coon cat? ›

Interspecies Hybrid. This story suggests that the Maine Coon breed is the result of the forbidden love between a raccoon and a longhaired cat.

Do all Maine Coons have an M on their forehead? ›

The 'M' on a Maine Coons forehead is a dominant patterned marking found on all tabby patterned Maine Coon cats. This prominent marking is not specific to the Maine Coon breed, but is visible on every color of Maine Coon cat that you can think of, provided the cat has tabby patterned markings.

What does the M on a cat's forehead mean? ›

In gratitude, his mother Mary stroked the cat's head and left an 'M' mark on its forehead. Whereas in one Islamic legend, a tabby cat named Muezza saved his master Mohammed from a poisonous snake. To mark their special place in the feline world, all tabby cats from then on were rewarded with an 'M' on their forehead.

How can I tell if my cat is half Maine Coon? ›

Analyze the cat's size, eyes, tail, fur, paws, personality, body frame, and ear tufts, for clues, the cat is a Maine Coon mix. Genetic testing is the only full-proof method of identifying if you own a mixed Maine Coon, or not.

Do Maine Coons meow? ›

Whilst the Maine Coon cat breed is well known for being talkative, they do not characteristically 'meow' incessantly. In fact, they do not actually meow at all, instead preferring to chirp and trill as they communicate with their owners.

What color eyes do Maine Coon cats have? ›

Purebred Maine Coon cats have large, wide-set eyes that are slightly oblique shaped. Gold and/or green eyes are considered desirable by the official cat governing bodies, though a white Maine Coons eyes can also be blue, or odd-eye (blue, with gold or green).

What's special about Maine Coons? ›

The Maine Coon is known for its large size and thick double coat of long hair which is well suited for the harsh winters in Maine, the state from which they originated. Relaxed and laid-back, Maine Coons are not overly dependent, but they are people oriented.

Do Maine Coons like to be held? ›

A lot of cat owners wonder “Are Maine Coons cuddly?” especially if their own cat isn't very cuddly. Maine Coons are known for being affectionate, and most Maine Coons love to cuddle! Their patience and loving nature mean they typically enjoy being held, scratched, and loved.

Are Maine Coons good house cats? ›

Maine Coon cats are also well known for being highly social and affectionate, and they love spending time with their owners! In fact, since Maine Coons are so social, they often do best in a household with more than one family member, because they are more likely to receive more attention throughout the day.

Can a raccoon impregnate a cat? ›

Cat-Raccoon Hybrid

Some people do claim they have bred a domestic cat with a raccoon. However, there is not enough literature or evidence to support the theory that Maine Coon cats arose from the mating between a semi-wild cat, and a raccoon. Scientists argue that this is biologically impossible.

How long do Maine Coons live? ›

The Maine Coon's coat is waterproof and keeps itself in good condition, although occasional brushing will prevent matting. Life span: 13 or 14 is considered to be typical for this hardy breed.

How can I tell if my kitten is a Maine Coon? ›

If you are still wondering how to identify a Maine Coon kitten, take a closer look at their tail. Maine Coon kittens are easily identifiable by their very long bushy tails. Another physical feature to keep an eye out for is a black-colored ring around the end of the kitten's tail.

What kind of food is best for Maine Coon cats? ›

Top 5 Maine Coon Cat Foods
  • Royal Canin Maine Coon Breed Adult Dry Cat Food, 14 lb. Don't miss out on the current Amazon offers for Royal Canin. ...
  • Meowing Heads. ...
  • Iams Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Control. ...
  • Purina ONE True Instinct Grain Free High Protein. ...
  • Go Cat Complete Vitality Plus Chicken & Duck.

Do Maine Coons shed a lot? ›

Maine Coon cats do shed and because of this, are not considered hypoallergenic. However, not every Maine Coon sheds the same amount of hair. Despite their long hair, Maine Coons usually don't shed any more than the average short-haired cat.

What age do Maine Coons get their mane? ›

Maine Coons take a long time to develop their thick coat. In some cases, it can take up to four years for their long fur and distinctive mane to develop. However, the Maine Coon's distinctive mane usually begins to grow when a kitten is about nine months old.

What is a ghost tabby? ›

A ghost tabby is a genetically solid (aka not tabby) smoke cat who still shows faint tabby markings. Ghost tabby may also apply to young kittens, who often show ghost markings when they're younger even though they aren't smoke.

What does it mean when cats bump heads with you? ›

Headbutting is a way for cats to mark you with pheromones and bond with you. However, sometimes headbutting can be a way for cats to seek attention. As a general rule, cats like to be scratched under the chin and on the head, so a cat may just be presenting their head to you for some attention and good scratches.

What does it mean when a cat meows? ›

The standard meow is mid-length in duration and mid-pitched in tone and is the “asking for something” sound. The mewl, a short high-pitched meow, usually means “hello,” and can be accompanied by rubbing against your legs. A long, drawn-out meow usually means that your furry friend wants something specific, like dinner.

What breed of cats have an M on their forehead? ›

The classic tabby, also known as blotched or marbled tabby, has the 'M' pattern on the forehead but, rather than primarily thin stripes or spots, the body markings are thick curving bands in whorls or a swirled pattern, with a distinctive mark on each side of the body resembling a bullseye.

What is the personality of a Maine Coon? ›

Despite her size and history, the Maine Coon cat is sweet tempered and gentle. She loves her parents and adapts to any environment as long as she has some exercise room. When she runs, she can be quite loud but her soft, quiet voice reassures you that this lion is truly a lamb.

Do Maine Coons have big paws? ›

Maine Coon paws are much larger than the average cat, both in size and proportion. Their paws are wide and flat, which allows them to walk on surfaces such as snow. Their large paws also make them better at climbing and gripping. Some Maine Coon cats are born with extra toes, a phenomenon known as polydactyly.

Why do Maine Coon cats cry at night? ›

Some Maine Coons cry during the night simply because they miss their owners. What is this? Although it can be tempting, it is not advisable for owners to immediately comfort and cuddle their Maine Coon cat in this scenario.

Do Maine Coons sleep at night? ›

The average Maine Coon sleeps for sixteen hours a day, mostly during the daylight hours. They sleep and rest so they have the energy to be active at night. Boredom is a key cause of Maine Coons excessive sleeping. This is a common concern felt by cat owners since these gentle giants hold a special place in our hearts.

Why does my Maine Coon follow me everywhere? ›

12 reasons why Maine Coon cats follow their owners everywhere include: hunger, thirsty, attention, loneliness, feeling sick, company, safety, curiosity, sixth sense, learned behavior, treats, and separation anxiety.

Are male or female Maine Coons better? ›

They are outgoing and friendly, but not to the extent that the male Maine Coons are. The ladies are a little more reserved and laid back. They are both generally such super nice cats that ultimately it makes no difference whether they are male or female. At the end of the day it really is a personal preference.

Do all Maine Coons have ear tufts? ›

All purebred Maine Coon cats have ear tufts that grow out of their inner ears, offering protection to the cat's sensitive ear organ. Ear tufts are not necessarily present on part Maine Coons, or mixed Maine Coons though since their mixed genetics are likely to have influenced their overall physical looks.

Can Maine Coons see in the dark? ›

Cat's eyes are much better adapted to seeing in low light. However, cats cannot see in complete darkness any better than humans can.

What is the rarest color of Maine Coon? ›

While silver and gold Maine Coons are the rarest of all, a specific kind of orange Maine Coon can be quite rare, as well. It's relatively easy to find an orange tabby Maine Coon, but finding a solid orange Maine Coon is much more difficult.

Is it cruel to keep Maine Coon cat indoors? ›

Maine Coon cats can be kept either indoors or outdoors due to their very laid-back nature. They are highly sociable so need high levels of social interaction with either their owner or another pet.

How smart are Maine Coons? ›

Maine coons are also highly intelligent pets, and they can be trained to perform simple tricks on command. They like to play fetch, making them ideal for the more active pet owner.

Why does my Maine Coon cat bite me? ›

Maine Coon cats are known for their gentle, docile, affectionate temperament. However, there are ten reasons why a Maine Coon may start to bite their owner: playing, teething, defending themselves, in pain, wanting attention, enjoyment, social biting, over petting, overstimulated, or acts of dominance.

Do Maine Coons sleep with their owners? ›

Maine Coon Sleeping Habits And Positions

Cats are most likely to sleep for a few hours at night with their owners, as well as during the afternoon when the day is hottest. Maine Coons can also sleep in a variety of positions.

Why does my Maine Coon not purr? ›

Maine Coons have different sounds that they use to communicate with their owners and other animals. If your Maine Coon does not purr then try not to stress too much unless your Maine Coon is showing signs of discomfort or pain. If you suspect your Maine Coon cat is in pain, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Why you should not get a Maine Coon? ›

While the Maine Coon is generally considered to be a healthy cat, there are still a few key health problems that are commonly found in the breed. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy are the three most common health problems in Maine Coon Cats.

Can a cat and a dog mate? ›

Cats and dogs cannot mate with each other, even if it looks like they're trying to do so. Their breeding behaviors, heat cycles, and different DNA prevent them from being able to produce healthy, viable offspring. Hybrid species can be created when the animals have similar DNA to each other, such as lions and tigers.

Do skunks mate with cats? ›

But no, skunks and cats cannot mate, and should an unnatural coupling occur, they could not reproduce.

Can a cat and a rabbit mate? ›

Even if you got a very confused cat to mate with an equally confused bunny, their genes are incompatible so you won't get offspring. Closely related species can hybridize (e.g. horses and donkeys produce mules) but cats and rabbits are too distantly related.

How much should I pay for a Maine Coon kitten? ›

In the United States, Maine Coon kittens from reputable breeders cost between $400-$2000, compared to £325 – £1623 in the UK. A kitten's price is determined by its quality, age, health, pedigree status, and vaccination history. Maine Coon cats purchased for show purposes cost significantly more.

How much do Maine Coon cats cost? ›

Adult Cats From A Breeder: Adult cats are typically a bit less expensive than kittens because they have already been named and conditioned. You can usually purchase an adult Maine Coon for about $400 to $600 from a breeder.

How big is a full grown Maine Coon? ›

The Maine coon is the largest domestic cat breed, and largeness is certainly one of its defining physical characteristics. The size of a typical Maine coon comes in at 10–16 inches tall and up to an impressive 40 inches in length.

Do cats like it when you meow back? ›

Meowing at cats allows one to mock them but on a level that they can appreciate. However, I have to acknowledge that all cats are different. Some will walk away once they realise it was a human meowing, others will interrupt immediately with an angry meow, while others will join in the meowing.

What do big paws on a kitten mean? ›

Your kitten can appear to have large paws because he is physically big boned, or because he just happens to look big bones due to being underweight. Your kitten's feet will be unlikely to look skinny even when the rest of the cat is.

How hard is it to take care of a Maine Coon cat? ›

Despite being one of the largest domestic breeds of cats, it does not take much effort to keep a Maine Coon happy and you will find these impressive felines are relatively easy to care for. These large and fluffy felines are quite suited for families with young children.

Is a Maine Coon a tabby? ›

The tabby pattern is very common in the Maine Coon cat breed, since all cats carry the tabby pattern genetics, whether they are visible or not. Tabbies have mixed genes Aa, and the tabby gene is considered dominant.

What is the personality of a tabby cat? ›

When it comes to personality traits, tabbies are considered friendly, happy-go-lucky cats, intelligent, sassy, very affectionate and wonderful companions. Red tabbies, often called orange, ginger and marmalade tabbies, can be feisty and bossy.

How do you tell a Maine Coon from a domestic long hair? ›

The coat of domestic longhairs can vary in thickness and length, but it is usually thinner than the coat of a Maine Coon, and not as water-repellant. Their fur is often longer around their chest and shoulders, but it does not create as distinct of a ruff as it does on the Maine Coons (source 1).

How do I know what kind of cat I have? ›

If you're really eager to find out exactly what breeds are in your cat's DNA, you should take a trip to the vet! Your vet can help you with a DNA test. Not only will this show you exactly what breeds are in your cat's ancestry, but it can also identify any potential health issues you should watch out for.

How do you tell a Maine Coon from a tabby? ›

Check the length of the cat's fur.

The fur on the cat's back should be shorter toward the front of the cat and longer toward its rear. Fur on the cat's sides, likewise, should gradually get longer from front to back. The brown tabby pattern is the most common color pattern for Maine Coons.

What does a Maine Coon and a tabby mix look like? ›

All Maine Coon Tabby Mix have stripes of darker fur on their legs, patches of darker colors on their bellies, a darker stripe of fur along their spines, and rings around their tails. The rings around the tail remind people of raccoons hence the stories told.

Why does my Maine Coon meow so much? ›

Maine Coons are a very vocal cat breed. They chirp and trill to get an owner's attention, but rarely meow. These highly intelligent felines use a selection of Maine Coon sounds to communicate their needs. However, a Maine Coon will meow excessively if taught to, in pain, feeling lonely or hungry.

Do tabby cats attach to one person? ›

Key Takeaways. Cats tend to favor one person over others even if they were well-socialized as kittens. Cats are expert communicators and gravitate towards people that they communicate well with. Look for communication cues from your cat, such as your cat approaching you in search of food or petting.

Do tabby cats like to be held? ›

7. Tabbies Are Affectionate and Intelligent. These unique creatures are incredibly affectionate and intelligent. They love cuddles and a whole lot of attention.

What color eyes do Maine Coon cats have? ›

Purebred Maine Coon cats have large, wide-set eyes that are slightly oblique shaped. Gold and/or green eyes are considered desirable by the official cat governing bodies, though a white Maine Coons eyes can also be blue, or odd-eye (blue, with gold or green).

Are Maine Coons vocal? ›

Maine Coon cats are extremely vocal, using trills and chirps to communicate their needs. They never meow. Chirping and trilling is a sign of happiness and excitement. Maine Coons are not loud cats, but will chirp persistently if hungry, thirsty, distressed, or want attention!

Do all Maine Coons have ear tufts? ›

All purebred Maine Coon cats have ear tufts that grow out of their inner ears, offering protection to the cat's sensitive ear organ. Ear tufts are not necessarily present on part Maine Coons, or mixed Maine Coons though since their mixed genetics are likely to have influenced their overall physical looks.

What's the rarest cat? ›

The Sokoke cat is said to be the rarest cat in the world. Rather than being a man-created breed, the Sosoke is a naturally occurring, tiny wildcat that can be found only in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Preserve in Kenya (Africa).

What breed is a tabby cat? ›

“Tabby” is not a breed but a coat pattern in cats. Its appearance can vary slightly from stripes to whorls, spots, and more. These variations all have their own names, but often an “M” shaped marking appears on the head of Tabby cats, just above the eyes.

What is a Harlequin cat? ›

Harlequin. A harlequin cat is loosely defined as a predominantly white cat with small, random spots of another color, commonly on the body and legs. They usually have a colored tail as well.


1. Maine Coon or Domestic Long Haired Cat?
(Pople BackyardFarm)
2. Types of Maine Coon Colors and Pattern | Maine Coon cat types
(Animal Sector)
3. Maine Coon Cat 101 - Watch This Before Getting One (Full Guide)
(Facts about Cats)
4. 8 Annoying Things Maine Coons Do
(Life with Maine Coon Cats)
5. Maine Coon Vs Siamese Cat - Which is Better for You?
(All Cats)
6. Maine Coon Vs Ragdoll Cat Breeds, 7 Major Differences/ All Cats
(All Cats)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated: 04/15/2023

Views: 6040

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.