The Maine Coon cat looks very similar to the Norwegian Forest Cat, giving yet more weight to the theory that Maine Coons are descendents of the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Never mix these two cat breeds up again. Instead, use my Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest cat comparison tables below.
Norwegian Forest Cats have an equilateral triangle head-shaped. Maine Coons have wedged-shaped heads with square muzzles. Maine Coons are far more loyal and playful than the Norwegian Forest Cat who is only loyal if given attention. The Maine Coons fur is long uneven-length fur, whilst Norwegian Forest Cats have even fur length across their body.
Although they do share many similarities in terms of looks and personality traits though, there are still quite a few key differences that are often forgotten.
Physical Differences Between Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat
The Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat are known for being extremely large cat breeds.
They both jointly hold the record for being the largest domesticated cat breeds in the world.
Whilst the Maine Coon cat originates in Maine, the United States, the Norwegian Forest Cat is thought to originate in Northern Europe.
They are often referred to as “Skogkatt” in Norway, their native country.
The lifespan of these cat breeds differs slightly. Maine Coons tend to live to >12 years, though some owners do report their cat reaching up to 20 years!
The Norwegian Forest Cat by comparison tends to live between 14-16 years.
Although they look very similar physically, and both have been bred in a wide variety of colors, there are still some easy ways to tell the difference between these two magnificent cat breeds.
Take a look at my table below which summarises the key physical differences between the Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat physical differences (source 1,2):
|Summary||Hardy cat breeds |
can withstand harsh
Originates in Maine
|Large sturdy cat |
Females are smaller.
Males are large and
in Northern Europe
|Size||Largest Cat Breed||Largest Cat Breed|
|Length||19-40 inches |
|Male: 10-20 lbs |
Female: 8-18 lbs
head, with a square
width slightly longer
|Equilateral triangle |
head shape. Flat
|Gently curving nose||Straight nose, from |
brow ridge to nose
tip, without a break
|Large, expressive, |
Opened oval shape.
The slightly the
the outer base of
|Large, expressive, |
Eyes set at a slight
angle – the inner
corner is lower than
the outer corner
|Medium in length. |
Strong chin. Well
|Gently rounded, |
firm chin. Whisker
pads are not
|Neck||Medium length||Short heavily |
|Ears||‘Lynx-like’ ear tufts. |
Ears taper, appearing
pointed. Large ears
are wide at the base,
ear’s width apart, and
set high on the head
|Lynx-like ear tufts. |
with a broad base.
Rounded at the tip.
Set on side of the
head, cup pointing
|Coat||Thick, smooth, long |
shaggy coat. Fluffy
fur. Uneven lengths
of long hair – hair
longer on stomach and
britches, and short on
shoulders. Ruff of hair
around the neck.
|Distinctive double |
coat. Silky Coat.
Fluffy fur. Even
long hair. No ruff
of hair on the neck.
|Tail||A long thick bushy tail |
that tapers. The fur is
long and flowing
|Long bushy tail with |
long sweeping hair
laying in one
direction. The base
of the tail is broader
|A long body that is |
and looks rectangular.
Muscular. Males are
usually bigger than
|The medium-length |
body looks square.
with a broad chest
|Large round paws |
with tufts of hair. 4
toes at back. 5 toes
|Medium legs with |
front legs shorter
than hind legs.
Firm large round
paws, with heavy
|Growth||Slow-growing cat |
breed, reaching full
size between 3-5
|Slow-growing cat |
breed, reaching full
size at 5 years
Maine Coon Vs Norwegian Forest Cat Shape
As you can see from the table, the best place to start when trying to tell the difference between the Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat is by looking at their head shapes.
Whilst the Norwegian Forest Cat is known for having a very triangular-shaped head, with a flat forehead, the Maine Coon has a more wedge-shaped head.
If you are still struggling to tell the difference, take a look at their fur coats.
This is another big clue since the Maine Coon breed has long uneven fur, with a ruff of hair around their neckline and chest. This mane of hair often makes them look like mini lions!
The Norwegian Forest Cat by comparison has a double coat of fur that is even in length, all over their body.
They rarely have a ruff of hair across their chest and neckline, and their top coat of fur is considered to look ‘glossy’.
Both cats, however, have thick fluffy fur that helps to keep them warm, even in the very coldest of climates.
Should you hope to tell the difference between the cat breeds, by looking at their bushy tails, then you might feel a little disappointed.
Yes, their tails are slightly different, but the differences are harder to spot for the average individual.
They both have long and impressive tails.
But it is harder to notice the long-flowing nature of the Norwegian Forest Cat’s tail, which tapers to a tip when compared to the Maine Coon thick tail which tapers to a bushy end.
Both cat breeds have long tails, which are the same length as their bodies (if measuring from their shoulder to the base of their tail).
Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat Price Comparison
There is a considerable price difference to factor in when choosing to buy a Maine Coon cat or Norwegian Forest Cat. Take a look at the table below to find out more details.
Ultimately, the cat breed you pick will be dependent upon your own personal family situation, finances, and which cat personality traits you consider important in a cat.
For instance, potential owners are likely to pay the Maine Coon kitten premium price if they have young children since this particular cat breed is known for:
- Being extremely gentle
- Laid back
- Good around children
The table below shows how much you have to pay if you would like to buy a purebred Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat:
Personality Trait Comparison Of Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat
When we compare the Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat, it is important to consider each cat breeds personality traits, and characteristics.
Whilst both do appear similar in nature, there are some subtle differences that set each cat breed apart.
The table below summarises the key differences between a Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cats personality traits:
|Maine Coon||Norwegian |
|Sociable||Sociable and outgoing. |
Males are confident
females are more
|Sociable and |
outgoing. Can be
|Very friendly, laid back, |
and gentle. Seeks
attention from owners.
Often named ‘gentle
|Very friendly, laid |
back, and gentle.
lots of attention
|Loyalty||Extremely loyal, even |
if you don’t interact
|Only loyal if you |
interact with them
|Training||Highly trainable||Highly trainable|
|Playful||Very playful cat breed, |
full of energy.
until late in life
|Lazier. Will play |
for a little, then
|Amazing hunting skills||Amazing hunting |
|Climbers||Great climbers. Prefer to |
take the easy route up,
rather than jumping
straight to the top of a
|Strong claws. |
|Exercise||Can be trained to walk |
on a leash, with a
harness. Dog-like in
|Will not walk on a |
|Fascinated by water||Enjoy playing in the |
|Voice||Talkative. Loves to |
chirp and trill
|A quiet voice, unless |
it wants something
|Great family pets. |
Very laid back and good
with young children
|Good family pet. |
Good with children,
but less laid back
than Maine Coon
|Get On |
|Good with other pets. |
Prefer to make friends
with them, rather than
One of the key differences between the Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest cat is their level of playfulness.
Whilst the Maine Coon is known for its very kitten-like playful nature, which continues late into this breed’s lifetime, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a touch lazier!
They don’t mind a bit of play, but ultimately won’t be entertaining their human family with play all evening long. Instead, they prefer short bursts of play followed by rest.
Another key personality characteristic that distinguishes the Maine Coon cat from the Norwegian Forest Cat, is its laid-back nature.
This characteristic is particularly important should you be considering buying a Maine Coon cat, and have young children.
Why? Because their laid-back nature and temperament make them great with young children.
Take a look at this video of our 5-year-old daughter and our Maine Coon cat.
Both love each other dearly, and our almost eight-year-old Maine Coon is massively patient, even when she pushes his head around in a way children often do.
By comparison, the Norwegian Forest cat is known for being slightly less laid back in temperament, than a Maine Coon cat.
Therefore, although they make great family pets, you may not be able to trust them entirely with your children.
Every cat’s personality is different though, so maybe you will find a Norwegian Forest Cat that is extremely laid back!
Another key difference between Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cats is that although the Maine Coon is not officially known as a ‘lap cat’, many do love sitting on your lap for a short while (before they get too hot).
The Norwegian Forest Cat by contrast is not considered a ‘lap cat’, but does love a good stroke or scratch.
In general, both cats are pretty independent and curious, but the Norwegian Forest Cat may need slightly more space than a Maine Coon, since they prefer less attention and playtime.
The Maine Coon by contrast is considered very ‘dog-like and will happily spend as much time as is humanly possible with their owners.
Owners of Maine Coon cats need to make sure that they cater to their cat’s social needs.
Which Is Bigger Norwegian Forest Cat Or Maine Coon?
The Maine Coon Cat and Norwegian Forest Cat are two of the largest domesticated cat breeds in the world.
Statistics show that both cat breeds are roughly the same size, though the Maine Coon has the potential of growing slightly bigger.
If we look at the male Maine Coon, we can see that it reaches up to 16 inches (40 cm) in height, between 15-25 lbs (6.8-11.3 kg) in weight, and 19-40 inches (48-101 cm) in length.
The Norwegian Forest Cat by comparison weighs between 7.9 – 19.8 lbs (3.6-9 kg) (source 1).
Caring For Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat
Maine Coon cats should be fed high-quality dry food, containing high levels of protein, low carbohydrates, and Omega 3 and 6 fat and fatty acids.
It is not recommended that you feed your Maine Coon more than 2-3 portions of wet food per week.
For guidance on the best foods to buy, read my article 5 Best Cat Foods For Maine Coons.
Norwegian Forest Cats should also only be fed high-quality foods, containing high levels of protein.
They also need taurine in their meals since this critical amino acid ensures your cat’s heart health and vision remain healthy.
Nutritionally balanced food ensures that they stay fit and healthy.
Both the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat require access to a water source at all times, to prevent them from becoming dehydrated.
I’ve always been fascinated to learn more about the Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat since these cat breeds look so physically similar.
The Maine Coon is also often thought to be a descendant of the Norwegian Forest Cat, so there may be more to their physical similarity than we first might think!
Ultimately, the Maine Coons true lineage will remain shrouded in mystery.
What we do know, however, is that this breed is the oldest natural breed of Northern America, originating in Maine, United States.
They are incredibly loved across the world, and were awarded the title ‘State Cat Of Maine’.
The Norwegian Forest Cat by comparison originates in Northern Europe and is also known as ‘Skogkatt’ in Norway.
Whilst these cat breeds share many personality traits and characteristics, there are still some very key differences that enable you to tell them apart.
The first of which is their head-shaped, since the Maine Coon has a wedge-shaped head, whereas the Norwegian Forest Cat has a more triangular-shaped head, with a flat forehead.
The second key difference is that the Maine Coon has a more rectangular-shaped body, whereas the Norwegian Forest Cats body is considered more square-shaped.
Finally, there are clear differences between each cat breeds personality traits too, since the Maine Coon cat loves lots of attention, is great with children, and is considered very laid back.
They are extremely sociable and outgoing and make for great first-time cat owners due to their gentle laid back nature.
The Norwegian Forest Cat by comparison is not as needy for attention from their human families and can seem slightly less laid back, particularly around children.
They may require more ‘space’ to rest since they enjoy time on their own, as well as with their human family.