With all that long hair Maine Coon cats sometimes look like their legs are shorter than you’d expect. So, do Maine Coons have short legs or is this a figment of our imagination?
Maine Coon Cats do not have short legs, instead, their limbs are medium in length. Typical their legs are proportionate to their large bodies, enabling these large cats to reach 10-16 inches high. A Maine Coon’s long thick fur often causes their legs to appear shorter than they are.
Continue reading to uncover the fascinating truth about the largest domestic cat breed’s leg proportions, and if these lovely cats have short or long legs!
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Do Maine Coons Have Short Legs?
Purebred Maine Coon cats are long-haired cats not typically known for having short legs. Instead, their legs are proportionate to their large, muscular bodies.
Studies have found that a full-size Maine Coons’ height averages between 10 and 16 inches. This breed of cat is quite tall since normal domestic cats range between 9-10 inches high.
A native of the state of Maine, this healthy breed has medium leg length which contributes to their agile and robust stature.
By 3-5 years of age, these big cats reach full size and will have a long shaggy coat, a bushy tail, and tufts of fur growing from the tips of their ear.
Adult cats will also have large paws, a long body, a long tail, large ears, and a broad chest. Their legs should be in proportion at this age.
Below are the reasons why these large cats may appear to have short legs:
- Long, Thick Fur: Their abundant fur can give the illusion of shorter legs, especially if the fur extends down to their paws, obscuring the true length of their limbs.
- Body Proportions: Maine Coons are large muscular cats which can make their legs appear shorter in comparison.
- Age: A Maine Coon kitten may appear to have shorter legs as they have not yet fully developed or grown into their adult proportions. Maine Coon cats are unlikely to have short legs once fully-grown.
- Posture: Sometimes, the way the gentle giants position themselves or sit can make their legs appear shorter than they are.
Despite these visual factors, this purebred cat breed typically has legs of medium length, proportional to their body size.
A mixed breed cat, where a Maine Coon has been cross-bred with another cat breed e.g. the Munchkin cat, however, could grow to be short-legged cats.
What Causes Cats To Have Short Legs?
Short legs in cats can stem from various factors, including genetic mutations, such as those observed in the Munchkin breed, which affect limb development.
Studies like the one published in the Journal of Heredity have shed light on the genetic basis of this trait.
Additionally, cats with dwarfism exhibit disproportionately short legs due to genetic abnormalities affecting bone growth.
A Maine Coon with short legs is likely a:
- Maine Coon Mix
- Suffering from dwarfism
- The result of selective breeding
Below are the two types of dwarfism in cats:
Pituitary dwarfism is a condition resulting from inadequate production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland.
This condition can lead to stunted growth and disproportionately short limbs in Maine Coon cats.
This form of dwarfism is often caused by genetic mutations affecting the pituitary gland functions, resulting in the characteristic appearance of shorter legs relative to the body.
Osteochondrodysplasia dwarfism is a type of dwarfism characterized by abnormal bone and cartilage development, resulting in shortened limbs.
In Maine Coon cats, osteochondrodysplasia dwarfism can occur due to genetic mutations affecting the regulation of bone growth.
This condition leads to disproportionately short legs relative to the body size, contributing to the characteristic appearance of short-legged Maine Coons.
The abnormal bone growth affects the length and structure of the limbs, resulting in stunted growth and altered proportions.
The best way to reduce the likelihood that your cat suffers from these health issues is by Buying Maine Coons From A Reputable Breeder that screens their breeding cats.
Are The Maine Coons Back Legs Longer?
Maine Coon cats often appear to have longer legs in the back than in the front due to their distinctive body structure and breed characteristics.
This difference in leg length is primarily attributed to their robust and muscular hindquarters, which contribute to their powerful propulsion and agility.
Additionally, Maine Coons’ longer hind legs provide them with enhanced jumping and climbing abilities, reflecting their origins as skilled hunters and agile climbers in their native environment.
8 Maine Coon Leg Problems
The most common front and back leg problems in cats include:
- Hip Dysplasia: A condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to instability and potential pain. These are the Signs Of Hip Dysplasia In Cats.
- Patellar Luxation: Dislocation of the kneecap, which can cause lameness and discomfort. Learn about Patella Luxation In Cats.
- Osteoarthritis: Degenerative joint disease that affects the cartilage and bone, causing pain and stiffness in the joints.
- Polydactyly: Extra toes on the front or back legs, which may lead to issues with mobility or grooming. Learn more about the Polydactyl Maine Coon Cat.
- Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease: A condition where the blood supply to the femoral head is disrupted, leading to degeneration of the hip joint.
- Cruciate Ligament Injury: Damage to the ligaments in the knee joint, often resulting from trauma or overexertion.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): While primarily a heart condition, HCM can also affect the muscles throughout the body, including the legs, leading to weakness and reduced mobility. Read more about HCM, in this guide.
- Traumatic Injuries: Accidents or trauma can cause fractures, sprains, or strains in the legs, resulting in lameness and discomfort.
- Maine Coon Arthritis: This leads to cartilage degeneration and joint inflammation, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility, affecting the cat’s ability to move comfortably and perform normal activities.
- Panosteitis: Also known as “growing pains,”. This condition affects the long bones of young cats and is characterized by inflammation of the bone marrow, leading to pain and lameness. Cause discomfort and temporary mobility issues.
- Saddle Thrombosis: Also known as aortoiliac thrombosis. A blood clot forms in the aorta, blocking blood flow to the hind limbs, causing sudden paralysis and severe pain in the hind legs.
It’s essential for Maine Coon owners to monitor their cat’s leg health and seek veterinary attention if they notice any signs of:
- Mobility Issues
Regular veterinary check-ups can help detect and address leg problems early, improving the overall quality of life for the cat.
Do Munchkin Maine Coons Have Short Legs?
Maine Coon Munchkins are a crossbreed between Maine Coon cats and Munchkin cats, known for their short legs due to a genetic mutation affecting limb development.
While Munchkin cats typically have short legs, the introduction of the Maine Coon breed may result in offspring with longer legs than purebred Munchkins.
However, some Munchkin Maine Coon cats may still exhibit shorter legs compared to the Standard Maine Coon Size due to the influence of the Munchkin breed.
10 Cat Breeds With Short Legs
Here are 10 cat breeds known for their long legs:
- Bengal (short-haired domestic cats)
- Turkish Angora
- Egyptian Mau
As one of the most popular cat breeds, Maine Coon cats are not typically known for having short legs, nor are they a small cat. However, there are variations among individual cats.
Factors such as genetic mutations, breed standards, and health conditions can also influence leg proportions in Maine Coon cats.
Maine Coon owners need to understand the Breed’s Typical Characteristics and monitor their cat’s leg health to ensure overall well-being.
Ultimately, each Maine Coon cat is unique, and their leg proportions may vary, but they remain beloved companions cherished for their majestic appearance and gentle nature.
Useful Maine Coon Cat Information
If you’ve loved reading our article, take a look at the following really useful Maine Coon cat breed information.
This is the best Maine Coon cat gear, for your precious gentle giant: