The Maine Coon is a beautiful cat, and there are countless possible Maine Coon colors and patterns.
The Maine Coon cat comes in a total of over 75 different color and pattern combinations. It is possible for a Maine Coon to come in every possible coat color, as well as most patterns, including tortoiseshell, calico, tabby, smoke, shaded, and many others.
Many people assume that Maine Coons only come in brown or black, but this actually isn’t the case!
In fact, the Maine Coon comes in a lot more colors and patterns than many other cat breeds.
The amount of Maine Coon colors and patterns might seem overwhelming, but they can actually be categorized quite simply.
Read on to find out more about the genetics behind a Maine Coon’s patterns and coloration!
Maine Coon Colors And Patterns
The Maine Coon is a popular cat breed that is famous for being the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.
According to the CFA, Maine Coons are available in 75 different Maine Coon colors which gives potential Maine Coon buyers a wide variety of Maine Coon colors and patterns to choose from (source 1).
The main five colors that Maine Coons can come in are:
White on a cat is actually the absence of pigmentation, while red and black can be “diluted” through genetic mutation to produce other colors.
In Maine Coons, the color black can be diluted to chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lilac, and fawn. Meanwhile, the color red can also be diluted to cream.
Maine Coons can also come in “silver” and “gold,” which refers to black and red dilute colors that appear silver or gold in color due to a rare inhibitor gene (source 1).
Have you ever heard someone ask, do Maine Coon cats change color?
This might sound like a rather bizarre question, yet, it is definitely a fascinating one since Maine Coon cats do change color!
Before you get excited though, please keep in mind that a Maine Coons fur may change in color, but the Maine Coon pattern will stay the same.
Cat breed specialists, such as CFA classify the Maine Coon as having eight distinct patterns. These patterns are as follows:
Here is a comprehensive list of all the possible Maine Coon patterns:
Solid-colored cats have even coloration of a single color throughout their body.
If we look at the Maine Coon cat specifically, the solids are monochromatic from head to tail.
Solid cats have no marks or stripes.
Here are some solid Maine Coon colors, that you can read about further:
- White Maine Coon: White fur, with a pink nose
- Black Maine Coon: Black Maine Coons have fully black coats, with brown noses.
- Red Maine Coon: Often mistakenly called ginger or orange Maine Coon cats.
- Blue Maine Coon: Commonly mistaken for being grey Maine Coon cats.
- Cream Maine Coon: These cats have pale to light red fur, which is a dilute of the color red.
Shaded Maine Coon cats have a white or light undercoat with moderate tipping of another color on their sides, faces, and tails.
You will find shaded Maine Coon cats in the following combinations:
- Shaded Tortoiseshell
- Shaded Cameo
- Shaded silver
- Shaded blue silver
A tortoiseshell cat has a base color of white with brindled solid or tabby patches of red and black (or their respective dilutes)
This coat pattern is only possible for females since cat genetics dictate that the red and black pigment comes from the X chromosome.
If you look at the tortoiseshell Maine Coon coat you will see that their main color is black, interspersed with cream or red markings.
An example of a tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat is the tortoiseshell and white.
Smoke cats have a white undercoat with deep tipping of another color on the sides, face, and tail.
Three common smoke Maine Coon colorings are:
- Cream Smoke
- Blue Smoke
- Tortie Smoke
Cat specialists regard the smoke Maine Coon as similar to the solid since their furry coats are also monochromic which means it contains or uses only one color.
The key difference between the solid Maine Coon and a smoke Maine Coon, however, is that the smoke Maine Coon cat has a lightly silver-colored undercoat. This undercoat gives the cat a smokey faded look.
The easiest way to identify a smoke Maine Coon cat is by brushing or petting their fur since their lighter roots become visible when its fur is brushed.
You will likely find this harder to spot on a smoke Maine Coon kitten, though.
The most common Maine Coon pattern is the tabby Maine Coon cat.
A Maine Coon with tabby markings bares the closest resemblance to the original Maine Coon cats found in Maine!
Tabby cats have banded hairs which result in stripes, but tabbies can also have spots and whirls.
There are four different kinds of tabby markings, these are:
However, the CFA only considers there to be two acceptable tabby patterns (source 1):
There are multiple subcategories in the Maine Coon colors and pattern list.
For example, some Maine Coon cats are classified as Tabby with white. This relates to tabby kittens that have white paws and chests.
Within this color category, you will find various combinations, such as a red tabby white Maine Coon, or a silver tabby white Maine Coon cat.
The bi-color Maine Coon cat’s fur has a combination of two colors, of which one color is always white.
Previously known as piebald cats, the bicolor cat is distinctive because it has one main coloring that has been combined with white.
There is no amount of white on a bi-color Maine Coon cat, instead, the level of white might range from covering the entire cat coat to just a small portion of it.
This coat color is caused by the white spotting gene.
Another possible bi-color pattern for Maine Coons is an underlying white coat with patches of either black or red (or their respective dilutes). This is where you can get Van or Tuxedo patterns.
According to the CFA, a “parti-colored” cat is a cat with more than one color present” (source 1).
Some common parti-colored cat colorings include:
- Blue Cream
- Tabby And White
8. Other Maine Coon Cat Colors
Cat breed organizations are pretty strict regards what Maine Coon colorings are accepted, and permitted to compete at their shows.
Therefore, whilst ‘other Maine Coon cat colors’ is not necessarily a Maine Coon color classification, it is still worth mentioning.
Below are two Maine Coon colors that fall under this category:
- Chocolate Maine Coon Color
- Lavender Maine Coon Color
Other Cat Colorings:
Below are some other Maine Coon colorings that you might encounter:
Shell: Shell cats have a white undercoat with very light tipping of another color on the back, tail, flanks, and head, as well as possibly on the face and head.
Tri-Color: Tri-color refers to a combination of any three colors on a cat’s coat. Tri-color coat combinations, however, are only possible in females.
Calico: A calico cat has a base color of white with unbrindled patches of red and black (or their respective dilutes).
Maine Coon Markings
Many people mistakenly believe that the distinctive “M” shape on a Maine Coon’s forehead is unique only to Maine Coons. However, this isn’t actually the case.
This “M” shape is seen on all tabby cats.
Maine Coons are known for having a different kind of distinctive marking, however.
Many Maine Coons have several dark rings around the base of their tail, which often makes them resemble raccoons.
Maine Coon Cat Coat Genetics
The genetics behind a cat’s coloration and pattern is actually quite complicated.
In cats, the main three possible colors are:
The white coloration is actually caused by a lack of pigmentation in a cat’s fur and is determined by the KIT gene.
A cat can only have as much white as one of its parents.
For example, an entirely white cat must have at least one parent who is also all-white.
Red and its dilute, cream, are caused by a pigmentation known as pheomelanin. This gene is different from eumelanin because it is sex-linked on the X chromosome.
This means that a cat can only receive the red gene if its parent of the same sex also has that same gene.
Another interesting thing to note about the red gene is that red cats are always tabby.
Even if a red or cream cat appears solid in color, that means it is a ticked tabby.
Furthermore, red cats are more likely to be male than female, with about 75% of red cats being male.
Black and its dilutes are caused by a pigmentation known as eumelanin.
Black dilution is caused by a recessive version of eumelanin.
A cat whose parents both had recessive eumelanin genes can result in a diluted version of black.
Calico Or Tortoiseshell
Calico or tortoiseshell cats are cats who have both black and red coloration. However, this is only possible in female cats.
The reason behind this is that the color is determined by a cat’s X chromosome, and since females contain two X chromosomes, they can receive one copy of each color.
Most Common Maine Coon Color
Surprisingly enough, the most common color in Maine Coon cats is black.
The classic image of a brown tabby Maine Coon causes many people to assume that the most common Maine Coon color is brown, but what a lot of people actually don’t know is that brown tabbies really are black!
The reason behind this is simple: a tabby cat’s true pigment is determined by the color of its stripes.
Even though brown tabbies appear to be mostly brown, because their stripes are actually black, that means that, genetically, they are black in color.
The most common Maine Coon eye colorings are:
The rarest Maine Coon eye colors are:
Learn more about the Maine Coon eye coloring, in our Maine Coon Eye Facts guide.
Do Maine Coon Kittens Change Color?
It is pretty common knowledge that a Maine Coon kitten’s eye color will change, as they get older, but does the fur color of a Maine Coon kitten change as well?
You might be surprised to learn that at roughly 8 weeks old the Maine Coon kitten’s fur may start to become darker or lighter, as their furry coat develops.
A Maine Coon kitten’s fur color will not change dramatically as they age though.
However, if the kitten’s mother suffers from a medical condition known as ‘fever coat’, resulting from distress or sickness whilst pregnant, this may impact the coat color of her kittens.
According to this website, ‘fever coat’ presents itself as a cream-colored, grey, or silver fur coat on the kitten. This coloring is most pronounced on the fur tips and gets darker towards the roots.
The coat pigment of a kitten affected by a fever coat will not develop correctly whilst the kitten is in the mother’s womb.
However, owners with kittens affected by fever coats might be surprised to learn that by 4 months of age, the fever coat has typically resolved itself. In rarer cases, the color does not correct itself until 12 months of age.
This is because the kitten’s DNA contains the correct coat color, this fur color ultimately presents later in the kitten’s life.
Learn more about this fascinating subject, in this article:
Rarest Maine Coon Color
The two rarest Maine Coon coat colors are silver and gold.
These colors are caused by a rare gene known as an inhibitor gene, which allows the top part of a cat’s fur to be pigmented, while the bottom part of a cat’s fur is non-pigmented, or white.
This results in a white undercoat and a lightly tipped dilute of black or red on the top part of a cat’s fur, resulting in a color that often looks very much like silver or gold.
These colors are very difficult to produce, and while many breeders specialize in these colorations, they are very rare and highly sought after.
Popular Maine Coon Colors
While black Maine Coon tabbies are certainly the most common coloration, that doesn’t mean they’re the most popular. Here are the most sought-after colorations in Maine Coon cats.
- Silver: The silver coloration can come in either shell, shaded, or smoke. Shell is the lightest coloration, while smoke is the darkest. All of these color combinations are quite difficult to produce, however, and Maine Coons of these colors are very popular.
- Gold: Gold Maine Coons, like silver Maine Coons, can be either shell, shaded, or smoke. The gold coloration is more common than silver.
- Tortoiseshell or Calico: Tortoiseshell or calico Maine Coons are more difficult to breed than solid colors, and they look very beautiful. However, these color combinations are only possible in female cats.
- Cream: Cream cats are a dilute of red, which is a difficult yet beautiful color to produce.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a very rare yet gorgeous color that is a light dilute of the color black. A cinnamon cat appears light brown in color.
Maine Coon Color Calculator
Many breeders will use a Maine Coon color chart or color calculator to determine what two cats’ offspring may look like.
Using what you know about both parents’ coat and color genetics, you can then determine all of the possible outcomes for their offspring.
While you can’t determine exactly what two cats’ kittens will look like, you can get an idea of all the different possible outcomes.
Color calculators are most reliable when you also know the parentage of each parent cat.
A cat’s genotype isn’t always the same as its phenotype, meaning that there are some genetic factors that are outwardly visible, whereas there are others that aren’t.
For example, a cat might look black, but it carries the recessive allele that causes blue dilution. If two black cats both carry that same allele, their offspring could be blue.
For breeders who have a comprehensive ancestry of both breeding parents, this isn’t as much of a problem.
If you’re doing it on your own, however, with no known information about either parent, then it’s important to note that your color calculator will have some limitations.
What Is A Blue Tabby Maine Coon?
A blue tabby Maine Coon is a kind of tabby cat (either ticked, mackerel, classic, or spotted) that is blue in color.
The color blue is the most common dilute of black, and while it technically appears dark grey in color, the official term amongst breeders is “blue.”
Meet the Blue Maine Coon cat close up, here.
What Is A Tortie Maine Coon?
A tortie (or tortoiseshell) Maine Coon is a female Maine Coon cat that is both red and black (or their respective dilutes).
The red and black colors will be brindled, meaning the colors will streak together. It is also possible for a tortoiseshell to have white markings.
Many people confuse tortoiseshells and calico cats. There are two main differences between tortoiseshells and calicos.
Calico cats are always tricolor, which means that they always have varying amounts of red, black, and white.
Tortoiseshells, meanwhile, can either be just black and red, or they can be black and red with patches of white.
Secondly, calicos are unbrindled, which means that the patches of red and black are distinct from one another, and do not bleed together.
The tortoiseshell, on the other hand, has brindled patches of black and red that bleed together.
One common myth among cat owners is known as “tortie-tude,” which suggests that tortoiseshell or calico cats are more likely to be feisty, independent, or rude.
However, a cat’s temperament is not at all determined by its coat color or pattern.
One possible explanation for “tortie-tude” is that it’s the fault of the owners.
Tortoiseshell and calico cats are seen as beautiful and highly sought after and are often the first to be adopted in shelters.
As a result, many tortoiseshell and calico cats are pampered from a young age, and develop quite an attitude as they get older!
What Is A Shaded Maine Coon?
A shaded Maine Coon will have a white undercoat with moderate tipping of either silver or gold coloration throughout the body, typically on the sides, face, and tail.
It is caused by a rare inhibitor gene that makes the very base of the hair white, while the tip is colored.
What Is A Red Smoke Maine Coon?
A red smoke Maine Coon has a white undercoat with deep red tipping throughout the body.
A smoke Maine Coon is similar to a shaded Maine Coon, but the colored tipping reaches deeper into the fur, so that more of the hair is red than white, resulting in an overall darker appearance.
Learn more about the smoke Maine Coon cat, in this cat color guide.
What Is The Difference Between A Tabby And A Maine Coon?
Many people mix up a cat’s coat pattern with its breed. It’s important to recognize that a cat’s coat color or pattern does not determine what kind of breed it is.
For example, there’s no such thing as a “tabby” breed of cat.
Maine Coon cats can be tabbies, but not all tabbies are Maine Coons. Furthermore, not every breed of cat can be a tabby.
For example, breeds with strict color and pattern standards, such as the Russian Blue or the Bombay, are incapable of being tabbies.
Read this guide on how to tell the difference between a tabby and a Maine Coon.
What Color Do Maine Coon Mixes Come In?
Maine Coon mixes can come in virtually any color.
They can either be one of the dozens of color and pattern combinations of its Maine Coon parent, or any of the possible color combinations of its other parent.
For example, a Maine Coon and Siamese mix could either be one of the many Maine Coon colors, or it could be a colorpoint like its Siamese parent.
What Color Eyes Do Maine Coons Cats Have?
All cats are born with blue eyes that change color as they grow older, typically about eight weeks of age, and Maine Coons are no exception.
Most Maine coons have green, gold, or green-gold eyes.
However, it is possible for white or parti-white cats to have blue or odd eyes (where one eye is blue and the other is green, gold, or green-gold).
It is important to note that white cats with blue eyes are more likely to be deaf. If a cat is white with odd eyes, the ear on the same side of the blue eye is more likely to be deaf, as well.
This is because the gene responsible for white fur is pleiotropic, which means it is capable of having multiple effects on a cat. Sadly, one of those effects is that it can cause deafness.
Discover more Maine Coon eye facts, in this complete guide to the eyes of a Maine Coon cat.
Maine Coon Color Code
If you are interested in learning about the Maine Coon color codes, and how the Maine Coon fur gets its color, read this amazing color code guide.
Maine Coon Color Names
What better way to honor the immense variety of Maine Coon colors and patterns in existence, than by selecting a kitten name that reflects the Maine Coons unique colors.
Here are some fantastic Maine Coon color names:
There are countless beautiful Maine Coon colors and patterns! I hope this guide has been useful in detailing the different Maine Coon colors.
A lot of cat breeds have very rigid color and pattern criteria, but the Maine Coon comes in virtually every possible color and pattern combination available.
While tabbies and solid-color cats are a lot more common, shaded silver and gold cats, as well as tortoiseshells and rare dilute versions of black and red, are much rarer, and highly sought after.
While a cat’s markings and coloration may seem simple on the outside, however, they are actually determined by a lot of complicated genetics.
Do Maine Coons Change Color?
Maine Coons do not significantly change color, but it is possible for a kitten’s fur pigmentation to darken or lighten before it is fully grown.
Maine Coon Colors Australia
The breed standard of Maine Coon cats is stricter in Australia, as Maine Coons cannot be chocolate or lilac in color (source 1).