There are numerous different types of large cats, but are Maine Coons the biggest cats?
Maine Coons are the largest domestic cats in the world. They can grow as big as they are because they have a prolonged growth rate of 3-5 years. Additionally, many think they are descendants of the Norwegian Forest cat, another large type of cat.
Now that you know Maine Coons are the biggest cats, you are likely curious to learn the mysterious reasons why they are so big.
Read on to discover if all Maine Coons are extra-large, enormous cats, and whether there are any other cat breeds that can compare to the Maine Coons size?
Are Maine Coons The Biggest Cats?
Maine Coons are the largest domesticated cat breed.
Although all Maine Coons are large, the males are typically bigger than the females.
The average male Maine Coon cat weighs between 15 – 25 pounds, is about 10 – 16 inches tall, and can be anywhere from 19 – 40 inches long.
By comparison the average female Maine Coon typically weighs between 8 – 13 pounds, is around 8 – 14 inches tall, and can also be 19 – 40 inches long.
Whilst the history of the Maine Coon is somewhat mysterious and uncertain, this has not stopped people from discussing the many myths and theories about the beginning of these cryptic creatures.
But where did Maine Coons come from?
1. Ship Cat Myth
The Maine Coon is a native cat to America and was known for bearing the harsh winters of Maine.
Some people believe that the Maine Coon cat descends from the European ship cats that ship captains kept aboard their ships to keep their boats free from mice and rats.
2. Part Raccoon
One of the more outrageous myths is that the Maine Coon breed was created by a cat and a raccoon (or bobcat) who mated.
This has been scientifically proven to be false as the DNA between these animals is too different for them to breed.
Are Maine Coon cats really part raccoon? Find out here.
3. Norwegian Forest Cats
The most common theory about Maine Coons is that they are descended from the Norwegian Forest cat, and were kept as Viking ship cats.
It is thought that the regal Maine Coon cat started out in Scandinavia; but was then left in Maine, United States, when the Nordic explorers came to America.
If this theory is accurate, then the Maine Coon breed is actually much older than initially believed, since Nordic explorers came to the United States before the Europeans did.
Maine Coon Size Compared To Normal Cat
When people think about the size of a cat, they usually picture a petite and sleek animal. However, the Maine Coon is quite the opposite!
Maine Coons are notably larger than the average house cat.
The average cat is usually between 9-10 inches tall. By comparison, the Maine Coon can be 8-16 inches tall.
Female Maine Coons are typically 8-14 inches tall, which is closer to an average cat’s height than the male Maine Coon, who can grow up to 16 inches tall.
The average weight for a typical cat is around 9-11 pounds.
This is a stark contrast to the Maine Coon cat breed that can range from 8-25 pounds.
In fact, male Maine Coons can be almost two and a half times the size of a regular cat!
The length is one of the most significant differences between the Maine Coon vs Normal cat.
Whilst your average cat is only about 18 inches long, the gigantic Maine Coon can reach anywhere from 19-40 inches long!
Learn more about the Maine Coon size in my article ‘How Big Can A Maine Coon Cat Get‘.
The Maine Coons’ ears are more like a lynx’s ear because they are wide and pointy, with a tuft of fur.
By comparison, an average cat’s ears are smaller and can have a variety of shapes and types of fur on them.
Many people ask me if the Maine Coon is part lynx cat, and this is what I tell them.
Do all Maine Coon cats have lynx tips? Find out, here.
Maine Coons paws are significantly larger than the average cat and have tufts of fur on them.
They are also known to have an extra toe on their feet.
If you are interested to learn more about the ‘Polydactyl Maine Coon‘, make sure you read my article.
Do Maine Coon cats have big paws? Click here to find out!
An average cat’s tail usually doesn’t exceed 11 inches long, whereas the Maine Coons minimum tail length is 11 inches.
A Maine Coon’s tail can grow up to 16 inches! (source 1,2).
There’s more to the Maine Coons tail than you might first think, here’s why.
Why Are Maine Coons So Big?
There are numerous factors that contribute to the large size of the Maine Coon, such as:
1. Slow Growth Rate
Maine Coon cats have a prolonged growth rate.
They usually won’t grow to their full size until they are between 3 to 5 years old.
The slow growth rate is beneficial for this large cat breed since it allows the Maine Coon cat’s bones and muscles to get even larger than a regular cat is capable of.
2. Descended From Norwegian Forest Cats
One popular folklore tale suggests that the Maine Coon cat came to be when a Norwegian ship cat bred with a domestic cat when the Vikings came to America.
The Norwegian ship cats were extremely tough, with a high prey drive, as they were kept on board ships to control the mice and rat problems.
The Norwegian Forest cat is another one of the biggest breeds of cats, so the Maine Coon was bound to be big if they are descendants.
3. Surviving In The Wild
Before the Maine Coon cats were domesticated, they were wild cats in the forests of Maine.
In Maine, they had to live in an intense climate and elements, so they needed to have the physical features to survive. This is where their size and long, bushy fur came in handy.
Biggest Maine Coon Cat Weight
Now that we have established how big Maine Coons are, you may be wondering what the biggest Maine Coon cat is on record (source 1).
Here are the names and details of the biggest Maine Coon cats recorded:
Stewie is the original world record holder, from the United States.
He sadly passed away from cancer in 2013, but was recorded as measuring over 4ft long!
Stewie also held the record for the longest tail. His tail measured a staggering 16.3 inches.
Samson is next on the biggest Maine Coon cat list.
He is from New York.
Samson measures exactly 4ft long and was also awarded the biggest cat in New York award.
Barivel the Maine Coon cat is another one of the biggest Maine Coon cats, and he is from Italy.
Barivel measures 3 ft and 11 inches long, according to the 2018 Guinness World Records where this cat was named the longest household cat, in the world.
This massive Maine Coon cat also claimed the most recent title for the world’s largest cat in the Guinness World Record.
Learn about Barivel in this article.
Are Maine Coons Really That Big?
Maine Coons are the biggest domestic breed of cats and can be up to two and a half times the size of the average house cat. But are all Maine Coon cats big?
It may be a shock to some people, but not all Maine Coon cats are as enormous as they have been known to get.
The majority of Maine Coons (particularly the males) will grow bigger than an average cat, though a small female Maine Coon cat can measure the same size as a regular large ‘normal cat’.
There are a few factors that might contribute to a Maine Coon cat being on the smaller side. These include:
- Small Parents
- Mixed Breed
- Health Issues
- Not A Proper Diet
To learn more about what causes a Maine Coon cat to be small, make sure you read my article ‘Why Is My Maine Coon Small?‘.
What Cat Is Bigger Than A Maine Coon?
There are numerous large domestic cat breeds in existence, and many people often mistake the Norwegian Forest Cat for being the largest.
This is likely since the Norwegian Forest Cat typically weighs between 12-16 pounds, and is 9-12 inches tall.
Although Norwegian Forest cats are giant cats, the Maine Coon is still the biggest.
Considering their similar looks and build, plus the folklore myths are the Maine Coon cats lineage, it isn’t the least bit surprising that these two large cat breeds are confused for each other.
There are a few telltale signs that make it easy to spot you are looking at a Maine Coon Vs Norwegian Forest Cat.
Read my article to discover what these physical and character differences are.
If you are interested in owning a large cat breed, then consider one of these 12 largest cat breeds in the world.
Can Maine Coons Be Small?
These giant cats are not typically known for being small.
In fact, it is pretty rare for a purebred Maine Coon to be under 8 pounds.
Therefore, if your Maine Coon is smaller than you expected, here are some potential causes:
1. Slow Growth Rate
Maine Coons have a small growth rate and take approximately 3 to 5 years to reach full size.
So, if your Maine Coon cat seems exceptionally small right now, it is possible that your treasured feline might be younger than you thought, or not yet fully developed.
2. Mixed Breed
Another factor that can cause your Maine Coon to be small, is being mixed with another breed.
If you suspect that your cat is a Maine Coon mix, why not use this list to determine whether your cat matches the other common part Maine Coon attributes.
Since it is rare for a Maine Coon to be under 8 pounds when fully grown, you may want to check the pedigree paperwork the breeder gave you to validate that you purchased a pure Maine Coon cat, rather than a part Maine Coon.
Alternatively, if your Maine Coon is five years or older; under 8 pounds, or does not have the classic Maine Coon features and personality traits (like these), you may wish to get a DNA test to ascertain if your adorable cat has mixed breed genetics.
3. Insufficient Diet
All cat breeds require a diet packed full of the correct nutritional ingredients.
This is especially vital for larger cat breeds, like the Maine Coon who grow into such large majestic felines.
You want to ensure you are feeding your cat quality food and that they are eating enough each day.
If you are unsure how much to feed your Maine Coon cat, read this article or ask your vet what the appropriate portion size for your cat is.
It is important your Maine Coons body gets the correct vitamins and nutrients, to ensure their growth levels are not stunted, and they have enough energy to play and grow.
My Maine Coon loves these dry foods.
I also personally love the reassurance that these cat foods give me, as I know these dry foods contain the correct levels of nutrients and vitamins that my cat needs and have been specifically designed for the Maine Coon.
4. Medical Issue
If your Maine Coon is abnormally small, they may have some kind of medical problem that needs to be checked out.
It is important that you take your Maine Coon to the vet for checkups regularly, especially if you notice any signs of illness or change in behavior.
5. Runt Of The Litter
Your cat might be smaller if they are the runt of the litter.
This means that they are the smallest kitten in their litter. Science tells us that this occurs when the mother has a Y-shaped uterus, and the kitten is pushed to the small side.
Maine Coon Lifespan
If you own a Maine Coon, then you are likely curious to discover how many years you will have your feline friend with you.
The lifespan of a Maine Coon is anywhere between 10 to 15 years, though some owners report that their own cat has lived up until 20 years!
However, before you start to panic that you might lose your Maine Coon cat too early, please take comfort in the fact that it is possible to increase your Maine Coons lifespan by:
- Taking your Maine Coon to the vet frequently
- Feeding them quality food
- Regularly grooming your feline with suitable brushes like these
- Ensuring your cat gets the necessary amount of daily exercise.
If you are interested in discovering over methods of extending the life of your feline friend, make sure you follow these tips.
Maine Coon Lifespan Vs Normal Cat Lifespan
Something commonly asked is, do large breed cats live longer than normal cats?
To help answer this query, the table below lists the life expectancy ranges of some other large cat breeds:
|Maine Coon Cat||10 – 15 years|
|Norwegian Forest Cat||14 – 16 years|
|Ragamuffin Cat||12 – 18 years|
|British Shorthair Cat||14 – 20 years|
As you can see, the lifespan of large breed cats varies.
However, what is the lifespan of normal cats?
The table below lists the life expectancy ranges of some other cat breeds:
|Siamese Cat||15 – 20 years|
|Singapura Cat||9 – 15 years|
|Munchkin Cat||12 – 15 years|
|Nebelung||15 – 18 years|
As you can see, size is not really a huge factor for cats, when it comes to lifespan.
Instead, the lifespan of your feline is determined more in relation to how well your cat is taken care of (source 1).
Largest Domestic Cat Breeds
As you will now appreciate, the Maine Coon is considered to be the biggest domestic cat breed.
But, how do they compare in size to other cat breeds?
Here are some other big cat breeds that you will likely have heard of (source 1,2,3):
The Persian cat has a very unique appearance.
They have a round head with a flat face, and they are covered in long hair. Their eyes are huge, and their ears are small and cute!
The Persian cat is also unique in its behavior because it is unlike the usual big cat:
- Love lounging around the house and sleeping for most of the day, whereas most bigger cats can be pretty hyper.
- Typically, they are very sweet and docile cats
- They will only be cuddly to people they trust
Persians usually weigh between 7 to 12 pounds, and range between 10-15 inches tall.
Their life expectancy is around 10 to 17 years.
Read my article ‘Maine Coon Vs Persian Cat‘ to see which cat breed will best fit your family.
The Savannah cat is a mix between a domestic cat and a wild cat from Africa.
These cats have a leopard-like appearance with large ears and spots and stripes all over their body.
Savannah cats are not for everyone. But they are friendly, affectionate towards their owners, and brilliant.
It is important to be aware that since they are mixed with a wild cat, they carry many traits, so they can be a lot to handle and are not the best fit for a novice pet owner.
These cats weigh between 12-25 pounds and reach between 14-17 inches in height.
Savannah cats also have a life expectancy of 12 to 20 years.
To learn more about the differences between a Maine Coon Vs Savannah Cat, click on the link.
Norwegian Forest Cat
Throughout this article, we have talked a lot about the Norwegian Forest Cat because they are very similar to Maine Coons, and a possible relative.
If we look a little closer at the Norwegian Forest Cat, we can see that these cats have:
- Long, thick fur on their vast bodies
- Pointy Ears
- Round Heads
- Almond-Shaped Eyes
The Norwegian Forest cats are both brilliant and very friendly.
They enjoy spending quality time with their family or simply playing with them.
These large cats have a lot of energy and a high prey drive.
Norwegian Forest Cats typically weigh anywhere from 8-20 pounds and range from 12-16 inches in height. Their average lifespan ranges between 14-16 years.
These physical and personality differences make the Maine Coon instantly recognizable when standing next to a Norwegian Forest Cat.
Can you spot the difference between these two breeds?
The Chausie is another exotic breed of cat that almost looks like a cross between a lion and a leopard.
They have a distinctly chiseled face shape with beautiful big eyes and ears.
Chausies are very loving and affectionate cats, and great with dogs due to their playful nature.
However, it is not recommended that you have a Chausie around small children because their wild nature can come out, causing them to quickly become overly playful and harm a young child.
The Chausie is a genius with a natural hunting instinct.
Chausies can weigh anywhere between 12-25 pounds and are approximately 14-18 inches tall. Their life expectancy is around 15 years.
They originate from Egypt.
Big Maine Coon Cats For Sale
Now that you know all this information about Maine Coons, you might be interested in buying one of these gentle giants!
But, how much does a big Maine Coon cat cost?
The price of Maine Coons varies depending on what you are looking for:
- Purebred Maine Coon kittens come at a premium price of between $1000 to $2000
- Maine Coon show cats will cost you anywhere from $2500 +
If this is not in your budget, do not let it discourage you!
One cheaper alternative to buying a Maine Coon cat is either adopting or rescuing one:
- You can adopt an older Maine Coon for around $600
- Mixed breed Maine Coon are also cheaper
Learn more about Maine Coon rescue centers in my article Maine Coon Rescue Centres In The United States.
Finally, you can buy Maine Coons from numerous places, including online websites, shelters, or registered breeders.
Here is the definitive list of Maine Coon cat breeders in the United States, by State.
Black Maine Coons
Although there are over 74 Maine Coon color options to choose from, the black Maine Coon is the most popular. Here’s why …
There are a few different color classes of black Maine Coon, including:
- Solid Color Class
- Bi-Color Class
- Shaded And Smoke Color Class
- Shaded/Smoke And White Color Class
While there is no difference in size, price, behavior, or attributes, black Maine Coons are the most desired because they both look distinctive and beautiful.
So are Maine Coons the biggest cats … The simple answer is YES!
Although there are many other great big breeds of domestic cats, the Maine Coons size and weight wins every time.
Weighing 8-25 pounds, having a height of 10-16 inches, a length that reaches up to 19-40 inches, and a great big loving personality to match, the Maine Coon cat genuinely lives up to its reputation for being a gentle giant.
While their history is a little mysterious, the theories behind why they are so big do make sense; they needed to survive in harsh climates.
These friendly felines, although large, make excellent pets and are great with kids, adults, and other animals.
If you are interested in adopting a big breed cat into your family, the Maine Coon cat is the best option.