Do Maine Coons Have Short Legs?


If your Maine Coon Cat has short legs, and you’re wondering if this is normal, you may be wondering “Do Maine Coons have short legs?” You may be confused if it looks like your Maine Coon’s legs are short, especially since you’ve probably heard that Maine Coons are the largest domesticated cat breed in the world!

Maine Coon Cats do not have short legs. Their legs are proportional to their body, and, on average, are considered medium in length. A Maine Coon’s long fur and powerful muscles can, however, cause their legs to appear shorter than they actually are.

Even though most Maine Coons have medium-length legs, some might still have shorter legs. Read on to find out all about why your Maine Coon might have short legs, as well as some other cat breeds who are famous for their short legs!

Do Maine Coons Have Short Legs?

It is highly unlikely for a Maine Coon to have short legs. According to the breed standard, Maine Coon cats have medium length legs in proportion to their body, although their large size might meen that some Maine Coons have longer legs than other cats.

However, some Maine Coons might appear to have shorter than average legs due to their long fur and powerful muscles. Leg length is usually more apparent in slim breeds with short coats, such as the Siamese or the Savannah.

Maine Coon cats are actually the largest domestic cat breed in existence, with males weighing between 15 and 25 pounds, and females often weighing between 8 and 12 pounds. Compare that to the average weight of a housecat (8 to 10 pounds), and you’ll see why Maine Coons have earned the title of the “gentle giants” of the cat world!

A Maine Coon typically measures 19 and 40 inches long from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, and most Maine Coons stand at a height between 8 and 16 inches (source 1).

Factors Causing Cats To Have Short Legs

Many people believe their Maine Coon has short legs, but this is likely a result of their long fur. The upper parts of a cat’s legs can get “lost” in their long fur, causing them to look much shorter than most cats.

A Maine Coon whose legs are truly short is most likely the result of dwarfism. Here are the two kinds of dwarfism that can cause a Maine Coon to have short legs (source 1).

  • Pituitary Dwarfism: The pituitary gland produces hormones that moderate an animal’s growth. If the pituitary gland malfunctions and does not provide enough growth hormones, this can result in pituitary dwarfism, where the cat is much shorter than average. Sadly, this condition typically results in an early death.
  • Osteochoendrodysplasia: This kind of dwarfism is caused by any kind of abnormal growth in a cat’s bones or cartilage that leaves their legs significantly shorter. Cats affected by osteochoendrodysplasia are typically bow-legged, with a disproportionately large head and a curved spine.

Do Maine Coons Have Long Legs?

Maine Coons do not have long legs in proportion to their body.

According to the breed standard, everything about a Maine Coon should be evenly proportioned, with no one part of its body being apparently larger than the other. That being said, because Maine Coons are so large, their legs might be longer in comparison to other, smaller cats.

Cat Breeds With Short Legs

Here are some of the most popular cat breeds known to have short legs (sources 1,2).

  • Munchkin
  • Persian
  • Himalayan
  • Manx
  • Napoleon Cat

How To Tell If Your Cat Is A Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is a sturdy breed that originated in the cold state of Maine. They are known for their prowess at hunting mice and other rodents, and they have a distinctly wild and rugged appearance.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the chances of owning a Maine Coon are rather slim, unless you specifically purchased one from a breed. It’s estimated that less than 3% of cats in the entire world are purebred!

Are you still convinced that your cat might be a Maine Coon? Here are some physical features that might indicate your cat is one of the members of this popular breed!

  • Large Size: Maine Coons are famous for their large size. While some can still be the size of an average house cat, they can sometimes weigh up to 25 pounds! If your cat is unusually large, there’s a chance it might be a Maine Coon.
  • Medium to Long Fur: Most of the fur on a Maine Coon’s body is medium in length, but it is longer around their chest and shoulders, creating a distinctive ruff or mane. The fur on a Maine Coon’s paws and tail are also typically longer and shaggier than on the rest of their body.
  • Tufted Ears and Paws: Many Maine Coons have tufts of fur at the tips of their ears, and the fur around their paws is often much longer, as well.
  • Muscular, Proportionate Body: Maine Coons are often referred to as having a rectangular-shaped body. They are muscular, with broad chests and powerful legs, and every part of its body is evenly proportioned.
  • Rings Around the Tail: An odd yet distinctive characteristic of many Maine Coons is a series of darker rings present around the base of its tail.

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Half Maine Coon

Perhaps your cat doesn’t appear to be fully Maine Coon, but there’s still a chance that it might be half Maine Coon. If it shares a few of the physical traits mentioned above, but not very many, then you should consider its personality.

Here are some behaviors and temperaments to look for in your cat that might indicate it is a Maine Coon mix.

  • Extreme Intelligence: One of the reasons Maine Coons have become so popular is because they are known for being very intelligent. Many Maine Coons can be taught a variety of tricks, and some can even be trained to walk on a leash! A lot of owners have also noted that their Maine Coons can “read” their emotions, and will often comfort them while sad.
  • Docile Nature: Despite their large size, Maine Coons are actually quite docile and patient, which makes them especially popular in families with children, as well as dogs and other cats. These friendly cats love to cuddle, and are famous for their sweet temperament.
  • A Great Hunter: Maine Coons became popular over a hundred years ago because they were so adept at hunting mice, rats, and other vermin. Is your cat constantly bringing you “gifts” from outside or in the garage? If so, it might just be part Maine Coon!
  • Playful Even as an Adult: Maine Coons are known to retain a kitten-like behavior well into their adulthood. While many cats slow down and become less playful as they age, Maine Coons are quite different.
  • Love of Water: Most cats are notorious for hating the water, but Maine Coons often have an odd affinity for water! Does your cat follow you into the shower, or constantly try to play in the sink? If so, there’s a chance your cat might be part Maine Coon!
  • Chirping: Maine Coons are odd because they aren’t known to meow very often. Instead, they’ll let you know how they’re feeling with adorable chirps and trills, which is just another characteristic that makes this breed so popular.

How To Tell If Your Kitten Is A Maine Coon

Have you recently acquired a kitten that you think might be part Maine Coon? There are three different things you can look for that might give you an idea about whether or not it is a Maine Coon.

Firstly, Maine Coons take a lot longer to reach their full size than other cats. While most cats reach their full size at around a year old, Maine Coons aren’t fully grown until they’re around three to five years old!

Keep an eye out on your kitten’s growth rate – if it slowly but steadily grows for several years, there’s a chance it might be a Maine Coon.

The second way you can determine whether or not your kitten might be a Maine Coon is through its fur. While not all Maine Coons have that distinctive ruff around their necks, as well as the attractive “lynx tips” on their ears, it is a common trait of the breed. Kittens aren’t born with these traits, however, and it usually takes a year or two for them to grow into their fur.

Finally, another hint that your kitten might be a Maine Coon is its paws. Maine Coons are known for having very large paws, which might be even more apparent in kittenhood, when they have yet to grow into their adult bodies.

How To Tell If Your Kitten Is A Maine Coon Mix

Do you believe your kitten might be a Maine Coon mix, but you don’t have any proof? There’s only one way to know for certain if your cat is actually part (or full) Maine Coon.

Many veterinary labs offer genetic testing. All you have to do is order a kit and send back a sample of your cat’s DNA, which costs about $40. While not 100% accurate, you’ll usually know for sure whether or not your cat is part Maine Coon (source 1)

Maine Coon Leg Problems

Here are some of the common culprits of leg problems in Maine Coon cats (source 1).

  • Arthritis: Most common in older cats, arthritis causes swelling and stiffness in a cat’s legs, making it difficult to walk, run, or play like they used to.
  • Obesity: Obesity puts pressure on a cat’s limbs, which can lead to pain and even injury. Make sure your Maine Coon gets plenty of exercise and is kept on a good diet to prevent weight gain.
  • Panosteitis: Panosteitis is a condition that causes inflammation in a cat’s bones, making it difficult for the cat to walk. This condition most commonly affects young cats between 5 and 18 months old, and is more likely to affect Maine Coons and other large breeds.

Maine Coon Back Leg Problems

Here are some common issues that can specifically affect a Maine Coon’s back legs (sources 1,2).

  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy: While technically a spinal problem, spinal muscular atrophy causes the hind legs of a Maine Coon to atrophy as a result of the spinal condition. This condition presents itself during kittenhood, and the affected cat will have a swaying, limping gait, and will not be able to use its hind legs to jump or land.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is an inherited disorder caused by an abnormal formation in the hip joint. This condition is common in Maine Coons, and results in weakness, stiffness, and pain in the cat’s hips and back legs.
  • Saddle Thrombosis: Saddle thrombosis is a kind of blood clot that causes loss of movement in one or both of a cat’s hind legs. The affected cat will usually cry out in pain, and will be unable to use the leg.

Maine Coon Bow Legged

Bow leggedness in cats is the result of an angular limb deformity, often caused by unusual bone growths. This can cause the legs to bow, resulting in a slightly crooked gait. While this trait is undesirable in cats, it is not harmful (source 1).

Maine Coon Back Legs Longer Than The Front

Maine Coons, like most other cats, have longer back legs than front legs, although the difference shouldn’t be too obvious at a glance.

If you notice that your Maine Coon’s back legs are significantly higher than its front legs, your cat might actually be a Norwegian Forest Cat, a breed which is often confused for a Maine Coon! (source 1)

Maine Coon Gait

The word “gait” refers to the manner in which an animal walks. Most four-legged animals walk by placing one front leg on the ground, and the opposite hind leg on the ground, then alternating.

Cats, however, have a very unusual gait. They walk with two legs on one side of the body, then alternate to the legs on the other side of their body. As they speed up, however, cats will then switch to the usual gait of most quadrupeds, known as a “diagonal gait.”

Your Maine Coon should walk with even, sure steps. If you notice any swaying in the back hips, or limping on any paws, this could be the result of a muscular condition, injury, or other serious health problem. Contact your vet right away if you notice your cat walking oddly! (source 1)

Why Do Maine Coons Cross Their Paws?

You may have noticed your Maine Coon crossing its paws while standing, sitting, or even while lying down! Leg crossing for humans isn’t particularly comfortable, and it’s easy to lose our balance. For Maine Coons, however, being a quadruped certainly has its perks!

Having four legs means that your Maine Coon can cross its front legs into a more comfortable position without losing its balance.

While it may look odd, a cat that is crossing its paws is simply doing so out of comfort, and there’s nothing dangerous or bad about them doing it (source 1).

The Munchkin Maine Coon

Munchkin cats are the result of a genetic mutation that causes them to have very short legs.

It may seem odd, but some people have decided to breed the world’s shortest cat with the world’s biggest domestic cat, resulting in a Munchkin Maine Coon hybrid!

Not all Munchkin Maine Coons are guaranteed to have short legs. In fact, it’s hard to predict which characteristics a litter of kittens will get from the parents, because the two breeds are so vastly different from one another.

Both Munchkin cats and Maine Coon Cats are known for being sociable, cuddly, and quite playful, so you can probably expect a hybrid between the two to share those common traits.

Sadly, while Munchkin cats do look adorable, the gene that causes their legs to be so stubby can actually result in a variety of health problems, meaning that their lifespan is often much shorter than most cats.

While a Munchkin Maine Coon mix often looks very cute, there’s still a high risk of those kittens inheriting the same health problems as their Munchkin parent (source 1).

Conclusion

A look at your Maine Coon’s legs may leave you wondering “Do Maine Coons have short legs?” Maine Coons have medium-length legs, but their long fur can make their legs appear much shorter than they actually are.

Truly short legs in a Maine Coon are often the result of dwarfism.

Related Questions

Do Norwegian Forest Cats Have Short Legs?

The Norwegian Forest Cat has legs that are proportionate to its body, but because this is a large breed, its legs might be longer than the average cat.

Do Maine Coons Have Short Tails?

Maine Coon tails typically measure between 12-18 inches. Most domestic cats have tails around 12 inches long, so Maine Coon tails are usually longer than most cats.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a self-confessed CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 9 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend!

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