If you are comparing a Bengal cat vs Maine Coon to see which is a better fit for your household, you will surely find a companion in one of these two magnificent breeds!
The Bengal is a cross between a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat, while the Maine Coon is purely domestic. Bengal cats are more energetic and higher maintenance, while the Maine Coon is more easygoing and relaxed. Both breeds are highly intelligent and love to play, but the Maine Coon is a better fit for families.
Both the Bengal and the Maine Coon are among the most popular cat breeds in the entire world, and for good reason!
Both are famous for their distinctive, gorgeous appearances and unique personalities, but which one is the best fit for you? Read on to find out!
Table Of Contents
Bengal Cat Vs Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is a huge cat breed with long, thick fur and a serious, wild-looking expression.
Maine Coons need lots of playtime and exercise, but they are so gentle and relaxed that they fit well in just about any household. By comparison, the Bengal is a more challenging cat breed due to its wild ancestors.
Bengals are classified from F1 to F5, which denotes how much wild blood runs through their veins.
F1 Bengals are the product of an Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat, and they are often too wild to be kept as pets.
Some cat breeders have mixed these two famous cat breeds, and created the Maine Coon Bengal Mix Cat! Read about it in our article.
Overall, Maine Coons have a stocky, rectangular build while Bengals are more sleek and tubular.
The Maine Coon has a large head with a powerful, square-shaped muzzle.
Their long, thick fur exaggerates their already large appearance, but beneath all that fur is a powerful, muscular body.
They have large, wide paws which they developed to walk more easily on snow, and they often have tufts of fur on their paws and the tips of their ears.
In comparison, the Bengal has a smaller head with large, round eyes.
Their necks and torsos are longer than the average cat, and they have slightly longer hind legs than front legs.
While they appear slightly slimmer than the Maine Coon, they are also powerfully muscled and tend to have large paws as well.
Bengals have short coats, which sometimes glitter due to hollow fur (source 1).
Fur Colors And Patterns
The Maine Coon comes in a huge array of different colors and patterns.
They cannot come in the colorpoint pattern, nor can they come in rare dilute colors such as:
However, they can come in the rare:
- Silver Smoke
- Shaded Pattern
- Shell Patterns
These colors and patterns are very rare and highly sought after.
By comparison, Bengals are the only domesticated cat breed with rosette spots, which are generally only found in wild cats.
All Bengals come in one of two patterns:
The spotted Bengal is the “classic” look, while the marbled Bengal’s rosettes look similar to the stripes on a classic tabby cat.
- Snow Lynx
- Snow Sepia
- Snow Mink
- Black (also known as melanistic).
Since Bengals are more closely related to wild cats than Maine Coons, you might want to know, is a Bengal cat bigger than a Maine Coon?
Despite their domestic ancestry, Maine Coons are the largest domesticated cat breed in the entire world, and they are even bigger than Bengals!
The Maine Coon averages between 12 and 22 pounds, with males typically being larger.
They stand between 10 – 16 inches tall and measure between 19 – 40 inches long.
The Bengal, meanwhile, typically weighs between 8 – 15 pounds and measures between 8 – 10 inches tall and 14 – 18 inches in length (source 1).
All cats are prone to health issues, but some breeds are more likely to suffer from certain conditions than others.
Below we explore the health conditions of the Maine Coon and Bengal cat breeds.
Maine Coon Health Issues
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Maine Coons are prone to Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which causes the muscles along the cat’s spine and hind legs to deteriorate, leading to mobility issues. Read more.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease: Also known as PKD, this health issue causes cysts to form within the cat’s kidneys. Some cats never experience complications from this incurable but often treatable disease, while others die prematurely from it.
Bengal Cat Health Issues
Below are the most common Bengal health problems:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This condition causes the affected cat’s eyesight to slowly deteriorate until they are completely blind. This condition typically first appears between 2 and 3 months or between the ages of 2 and 5.
- Patellar Luxation: This condition causes the knee cap to slide out of place, leading to discomfort and mobility issues. Learn more about it here.
- GI Issues: Bengal cats are more prone to stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting than most cats.
- Lymphoma: Bengal cats are at a higher risk for lymphoma, a type of cancer, than most cats.
Shared Health Issues
The Maine Coon and Bengal cat share the following health problems:
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: The most common type of heart disease in cats, HCM is an incurable and untreatable condition that causes the walls of the cat’s heart to thicken until blood can no longer pass through.
- Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency: Cats with this disorder cannot produce enough of the enzyme Pyruvate Kinase, which provides energy to red blood cells. Without it, the red blood cells die before they can be replaced, leading to weakness and anemia. Learn more.
Both Maine Coons and Bengals need a lot of exercise and playtime, but Bengals are considered higher maintenance when it comes to exercise.
Without enough enrichment and playtime, both breeds can develop so much boredom and pent-up energy that they become destructive, Bengals especially.
If your cat claws at the curtains, destroy furniture, or chews inappropriately, it is likely not receiving enough exercise.
Maine Coons typically need about 30 minutes of playtime each day in 10 – 15 minute intervals. They tend to play rough, so they need extra durable toys.
They also need plenty of interactive toys like robotic mice to chase and satisfy their strong prey drive.
By comparison, Bengals need at least 30 minutes to an hour of exercise every day, also in shorter intervals.
These cats love climbing and jumping especially, so they love wand and chaser toys.
They also have a strong need to run, so they need plenty of space indoors or even a cat wheel (similar to a hamster wheel) to get all that energy out!
Both Bengals and Maine Coons love water, so filling a tub or container with water and toys can keep fussy cats entertained. They also need furniture to climb and jump on.
Bengals and Maine Coons are among the most intelligent cat breeds in the world.
Both have an uncanny love of water, and they both tend to learn fetch even without their owners teaching them!
They also pick up on tricks and commands quite easily, and many owners find that clicker training keeps them focused and less likely to become destructive out of boredom.
The Bengal’s intelligence can often get it into trouble, though. They use their paws rather similarly to humans and have a knack for opening doors and drawers!
Both Maine Coons and Bengals are even known to turn on faucets just so they can play in the water!
If you want to Teach Your Maine Coon To Play Fetch, here’s how.
Unlike most cats, the Maine Coon has a rather unique voice. While most cats are known to meow, Maine Coons warble, trill, or chirp like a bird!
They are very vocal creatures and often vocalize when they want something, such as food or attention.
By comparison, most Bengal cats meow like regular cats, but not all are vocal.
Still, this breed is more likely to be outspoken than the Maine Coon, particularly if its high energy levels are not met with proper playtime and enrichment (source 1).
Both Bengals and Maine Coons have incredibly high prey drives.
Due to the Bengal’s wild origins and the Maine Coon’s rich history as a ratter, these cats are excellent at keeping mice and other vermin out of the house.
As a result, however, Maine Coons and Bengals do not make the best pets if you have small mammals or birds living in your home.
If you do have pets like guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, or parakeets, keep them in a separate room from your Bengal and Maine Coon.
Even if they are kept in a secure enclosure, these cats love to paw at any small thing that moves and will end up causing your small animals a lot of stress.
The Maine Coon’s long, thick fur sheds heavily year-round, and even more during the spring and fall as their coats transition.
Maine Coons are not considered hypoallergenic and are more likely to aggravate one’s allergies than a shorthaired cat.
The Bengal cat’s short coat sheds quite a bit less than the average shorthaired cat, making them a great option for those who do not want their furniture covered in fur.
Bengals produce the same amount of Fel d 1 as most cats – the protein that typically causes allergic reactions in humans.
However, their short coat makes them a much better option for those with allergies than the Maine Coon.
We will now compare the Bengal Cat Vs Maine Coon origins:
Maine Coon Cat History
The Maine Coon has a mysterious past, but genetic testing shows that they are most likely descended from Norwegian Forest Cats, which were once kept by Vikings.
The most popular theory is that some Vikings traveled by ship to what is now called the state of Maine in North America.
The Norwegian Forest Cats aboard the ship may have escaped or been traded to local Indigenous people.
Over time, these large, fluffy cats mated with local feral and domestic cats, until a new breed that was better suited to the cold climate emerged.
In the 1800s, farmers and sailors were impressed by these cats’ size and hunting abilities, and they became prized companions for pest control.
Eventually, they were seen as valuable not only due to their high prey drive but also for their affectionate, social nature.
Bengal cat History
While there has been a history of creating hybrid cats between domestic and wild cats, including the Asian leopard cat, since the early to mid-1800s, it was not until the 1960s that the Bengal was created.
Doctors discovered that the Asian leopard cat was immune to feline leukemia.
Since feline leukemia is rather similar to leukemia in humans, doctors hoped that creating a hybrid between domestic cats and Asian leopard cats might help their understanding of leukemia and other cancers in the human body.
While the research ultimately proved unhelpful, a woman named Jean Mill ended up acquiring some of these hybrid cats for an entirely different purpose.
The beauty of wild cats, particularly those with rosettes such as leopards and jaguars, caused many people to keep wild cats illegally.
Jean Mill hoped that if she could refine these hybrid cats enough, they could make suitable family companions and reduce the number of cats being captured illegally from the wild.
With the help of other cat fanciers, Jean Mill was eventually able to create the Bengal as we know it today, and by 1983 it was officially recognized as a breed by The International Cat Association (source 1,2).
The average Maine Coon lives between 12 and 15 years while most Bengals have a lifespan between 9 and 15 years.
Personality And Characteristics
The Maine Coon’s personality is the perfect balance of energetic and relaxed. They play hard and usually act like kittens well into their senior years.
When they are not busy running or playing, though, they prefer to spend as much time with their owners as possible.
The Maine Coon is steadfastly loyal, and they often follow their owners around from room to room.
While they do not tend to get underfoot, they can be a bit clingy at times, and they may demand snuggles when you are least expecting it.
By comparison, the Bengal is a firecracker of a cat! They are so intelligent and mischievous that they often learn how to open drawers or cupboards!
While F1 Bengals are often unsuitable as pets, Bengals from generations F2 to F5 are still much higher maintenance than the average cat.
The higher the number, the more domestic ancestors they have, and the further they are removed from their wild Asian leopard cat ancestors.
Therefore, an F5 Bengal cat will likely be much calmer and easier to care for than an F2 Bengal.
While Bengals are social and affectionate, they usually dislike being held or snuggled. This makes them best suited to active, independent owners who have plenty of time to play but do not mind being snubbed now and then.
Maine Coons are much higher maintenance when it comes to grooming. Their long, thick fur needs to be brushed at least twice a week.
You’ll need to use a:
- Slicker Brush
- De-Matting Tool
They need to be brushed even more during the shedding season in the fall and spring.
Finally, you may need to trim the longer fur in the following places, if they are prone to tangles and mats:
- Hind Legs
The Bengal’s coat is short and fine and only needs to be brushed about once a week if that.
Both Bengals and Maine Coons should have their ears cleaned every so often, and it is important to trim their nails every few weeks.
Maine Coons and Bengals are both social and playful enough that they get along well with dogs.
In fact, their energetic and sometimes rough playstyle can be better suited to medium dogs than other domestic cats!
Maine Coons are highly affectionate, sensitive cats.
They are well attuned to the emotions of their family members and form close bonds with everyone in their household.
They are especially relaxed and gentle, making them perfect for families with small children.
The Bengal is not as well suited to families with children.
While they can fit in well in households with older children who have experience with cats, their excitable nature can make them a bit rough and unpredictable.
The more wild blood is in your Bengal cat, the less family-friendly it will be.
When comparing the Bengal cat vs Maine Coon, both breeds have wildly different needs.
While the Maine Coon is higher maintenance when it comes to grooming and coat care, the Bengal needs a lot more attention and playtime.
If you are looking for an energetic, entertaining cat but do not mind having a cat who will not let you pet it or pick it up, then the Bengal might be the best option for you!
The Maine Coon, on the other hand, is more easygoing and affectionate, and they’re better suited to families with children.