What Are Maine Coons Related To? (Quick Facts)

If you have ever glanced at the wild face of a Maine Coon cat, then you have probably wondered, what are Maine Coons related to? Keep reading to discover some interesting Maine Coon facts.

The Maine Coon’s powerful muzzle, lynx-tip ears, and long mane often lead to fanciful theories that these cats are descended from lions or tigers, but where do they really come from?

Although Maine Coons look similar to many wild cats like lions or lynxes, they are part of the genus Felis silvestris, just like nearly every domestic cat breed in the world. DNA tests reveal that Maine Coons are most closely related to the Norwegian Forest Cat, a breed that was once owned by Vikings.

The Maine Coon is a prevalent breed that has captured the hearts of cat lovers worldwide with its rugged appearance and mysterious origins.

As wild as they may look, however, many of the crazy theories about the Maine Coon’s origins are not true!

Read on to find out where the Maine Coon truly came from!

What Are Maine Coons Related To? (Interesting Facts)

The Maine Coon is a large, long-furred cat breed that developed naturally in the state of Maine.

However, the exact circumstances that led to these cats arriving in North America in the first place are still quite muddy. This is what we do know though.

Part of the allure of the Maine Coon is its mysterious heritage, which has led to all sorts of wild theories.

However, it is not just the Maine Coons unknown origins that make it so popular.

This breed’s gentle disposition and extreme intelligence have also made it one of the most popular cat breeds in the world today.

In fact, the Maine Coon cat breed only seems to be becoming more popular with each passing year!

So, how exactly did the Maine Coon come to be? And which animals are the Maine Coon most closely related to?

Here is a list of some of the potential Maine Coon relatives:


If you want to know what are Maine Coons descended from, your first question might be, are Maine Coons related to Lynx cats?

This question often arises due to the Maine Coon’s ears, which are described as looking like Lynx-tip ears.

Lynx cats also have large paws and long, thick fur.

In North America, most Lynxes inhabit Canada and Alaska, trekking through snowy terrain to find food.

While Maine Coons share the Lynx’s ear tufts, wide paws, and resistance to snowy weather, they are not related.


Have you ever wondered, are Maine Coons related to Bobcats?

Bobcats may not have Lynx-tip ears or a coat as long as most Lynxes, but they are related to Lynx cats!

Bobcats are widely distributed all over North and Central America, from warm, temperate climates to cold, snowy ones.

Despite the Bobcat’s ability to survive in snowy conditions, however, they are not related to Maine Coon cats.

To take an in-depth look at the Maine Coon vs Bobcat breeds, read this cat comparison guide.


Contrary to popular belief, the Maine Coon’s name comes from their state of origin, not the long mane around their necks.

However, since their manes are so distinct and completely unusual when compared to other domestic cats, it makes sense that some people wonder are Maine Coons are related to lions.

Despite their large, wild appearance and magnificent manes, however, Maine Coons are not related to lions.

Big cats are incapable of mating with small cats.

In fact, lions cannot even produce fertile offspring when mating with tigers!


Perhaps one of the craziest theories behind the Maine Coon’s development is the belief that these cats are related to raccoons.

If you have been wondering are Maine Coons related to raccoons, though, do not feel silly!

This is a long-enduring theory due to the Maine Coon’s bushy, ringed tail and wide, grippy paws that sometimes function similarly to a raccoon’s hands.

The Maine Coon’s name has also led many to wonder if there is any relation between Maine Coons and raccoons.

It is most likely that this cat breed’s name came from its similarities to raccoons, even though they do not share any ancestry.

I often get asked are Maine Coons part raccoon? – click on the link to discover what I tell them.

Siberian Cats

Siberian cats are large, well-muscled cats with large paws and long, fluffy coats.

Siberian cats even have Lynx-tip ears and tufted paws, just like Maine Coons!

Even though Siberian cats are from Russia, many uncanny similarities between this breed and the Maine Coon have led many fanciers to wonder if there is any relation between the two.

Like Maine Coons, Siberian cats are incredibly playful and intelligent, and they rose to popularity due to their incredible hunting abilities.

Siberians also have thick, semi-water-repellent coats, though this breed’s existence traces back over a thousand years ago!

On the other hand, Maine Coons were only discovered in the early 1800s.

Despite all of their similarities, however, DNA tests have revealed that the Siberian is not closely related to the Maine Coon.

To discover more information about the similarities and differences between the Maine Coon and the Siberian cat breed, click here to learn more.


Most of the wild cats people compare Maine Coons to are not related to the Maine Coon cat breed. However, Maine Coons are still related to wild cats, although distantly.

In fact, all domestic cats can trace their descension back to Felis silvestris, a small wildcat that can be found from Europe to Asia.

Meeting a wild member of the species Felis silvestris certainly will not result in a cuddly new companion; this species’ transformation from wild, desert-dwelling creatures to lovable housecats is a long and winding one.

The domestication of cats likely began at the advent of agriculture, when humans were finally able to produce enough crops to store them.

These stored crops attracted mice, which in turn attracted local wildcats.

Over time, the least wary of these wildcats ventured further and further into human civilization. Thousands of years later, every single domestic cat can be traced back to this species.

Wild Felis silvestris cats still exist, roaming the wild in the same ancient ways they once did.

Norwegian Forest Cats

Felis silvestris may be a distant ancestor of the Maine Coon, but what is the Maine Coon’s closest relative?

If you have ever heard this breed referred to as Viking Maine Coons, you may have thought this theory was straight out of a fairy tale.

However, it is actually much closer to the truth than you might think!

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a sturdy, large cat breed with long, thick, semi-water-repellent fur and tufted ears and paws.

Like Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats are incredibly:

  • Intelligent
  • Playful
  • Gentle

One of the only major differences between these two cat breeds is that Norwegian Forest Cats have shorter hind legs than Maine Coons.

So, are Maine Coons related to Norwegian Forest Cats?

Yes! DNA tests have revealed that Norwegian Forest Cats are the closest relatives of Maine Coon cats.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is an ancient breed that originated in Norway, as its name suggests.

Vikings believed that the goddess Freya favored Norwegian Forest Cats, and they became one of the prized companions of Vikings.

They would even let their cats ride along on ships, presumably to catch mice and rats.

At some point, Vikings must have landed in North America, where some of their cats either escaped or were set free.

Today, most Maine Coon experts believe that it was in Maine where the Norwegian Forest Cat mated with local cats until the Maine Coon breed developed (source 1,2).

Is the Norwegian Forest cat bigger than a Maine Coon cat? Read this guide to find out.

Maine Coon Cat History

If you want to know where do Maine Coon cats originate, you will have to sift through a lot of crazy and inaccurate Maine Coon facts before finding out.

This breed’s origin was so mysterious for so long that many people invented all sorts of crazy theories as to how the Maine Coon came to be.

One such theory is that the Maine Coon is the long-lost descendant of Marie Antoinette’s cats, who reportedly traveled by ship to North America.

There is no clear evidence to tie this theory to fact.

Another crazy idea is that the Maine Coon is a cross between domestic cats and raccoons.

Maine Coons are often tabby cats with ringed, bushy tails that resemble raccoon tails. They also have wide paws that they sometimes use to grab food or turn on faucets, similar to the raccoon’s dexterous hands.

Of course, raccoons are not remotely capable of producing offspring with any creature in the family Felidae, and Maine Coons are not at all related to raccoons.

When people read that Maine Coons might be related to Viking cats, they usually brush it off, assuming it is just another fanciful theory.

However, DNA evidence shows that the Maine Coon is most closely related to the Norwegian Forest Cat, a breed that was prized by Vikings.

If you are keen to learn more about the Maine Coon origins, read this article.

What Breeds Make Up A Maine Coon Cat?

If you want to know what is a Maine cat made of, it is most closely related to the Norwegian Forest Cat.

However, like all domestic cats, the Maine Coon’s ancestry traces back to Felis silvestris, a wild cat that still lives today throughout Europe and Asia.

The Norwegian Forest Cat, once the prized companion of Vikings, traveled by ship to North America, where they mated with local cats.

Over time, a new breed was developed, one that could survive in the harsh, snowy climate of Maine and use its wide, snowshoe-like paws to catch prey.

The breed was further refined after World War II when it nearly faced its demise due to the war and the rise of the Persian cat.

Cat fanciers saved it from the brink of extinction, and after careful breeding, the Maine Coon that we know and love today was born.

What Do Maine Coons Look Like?

If you have never seen a Maine Coon in person, you might wonder if pictures of this breed actually do it justice.

These cats are known for being enormous, with long, thick fur, but are these characteristics simply exaggerated by breeders?

You will be pleased to know that the Maine Coon’s description is genuine. Maine Coons really are enormous cats!

The Maine Coon weight ranges between 8 and 25 pounds.

Female Maine Coons typically weigh 8 to 15 pounds, while males weigh between 12 and 25 pounds on average.

The average Maine Coon length is between 19 and 40 inches, while the average Maine Coon height ranges from 8 to 16 inches, with females usually on the smaller side.

The Maine Coon size is not their only incredible characteristic, though!

Maine Coons also have enormous, wide paws with thick tufts of fur. These wide paws help to catch prey more easily, but they also serve as snowshoes.

Learn more about the Maine Coon cat paws, in this guide.

Their ears have tufts of fur on the end that make them look like Lynxes.

Maine Coons have rather serious faces, with powerful muzzles and wide noses that make them look like lions!

They also have a bushy mane of fur around their shoulders and chest. Their long, thick fur can come in nearly every color and pattern possible in domestic cats!

Overall, the Maine Coon is a magnificent cat breed that is easy to recognize due to its many unique (and beautiful) characteristics.

Do Maine Coons Come From Maine?

The Maine Coon, as we know it today, developed in Maine.

While some of their ancestors arrived by Viking ship, it is most likely that the Vikings’ Norwegian Forest Cats mated with local feral, domestic, and even wild cats for some time before the Maine Coon developed as a distinct breed.

In the early 18th century, farmers and sailors in Maine began to notice that some of the local cats were especially large, with wide paws that allowed them to catch prey more easily.

They became more popular in Maine until, eventually, they were named the official state cat of Maine.

The Maine Coon origin story still has many gaps and murky spots, but we know for a fact that they are related to the cats that Vikings once kept as pets until they developed on their own in the state of Maine.

Could My Cat Be Part Maine Coon?

If you have a cat that you think might be part Maine Coon, then here is a list of Maine Coon characteristics that might reveal if your cat is related to this breed.

However, keep in mind that the only way to truly know if your cat is part Maine Coon is through a DNA test.

1. Triple Coat

Most cats only have an outer coat and an undercoat, but Maine Coons have an extra undercoat to keep them warm.

This means their fur is much softer and thicker than most cats.

Their outer layer of fur is also semi-water-repellant, meaning water will more easily slide off their pelt rather than soak into their undercoat.

2. Square Features

Maine Coons have a rectangular or square appearance.

While cats like the Siamese have slender, tubular bodies, or the Chartreux have rounder features, the Maine Coon’s overall appearance is stocky and angular.

Their heads are wedge-shaped with a square muzzle, and their limbs are thick and rectangular.

3. Large Paws

Maine Coons are known for having enormous, wide paws.

These paws helped them to walk more easily in the snowy state of Maine and also made it easier to catch prey.

Do all Maine Coon cats have big paws though? Click here to find out.

In the past, it was common for Maine Coons to be polydactyl, meaning they had extra toes.

There are still some breeders that specialize in polydactyl Maine Coons, but it is not as common today as it once was.

Find out more about polydactyl Maine Coon cats in this guide.

4. Tufts Of Fur

The Maine Coon’s coat ranges from medium to long throughout its body, with a few extra tufts of fur on the tips of its ears as well as its paws.

They also tend to have longer fur on their haunches.

As beautiful as their long fur is, it can pose a challenge to some owners, particularly if their Maine Coon likes to get muddy.

If your Maine Coon’s tufts of fur are prone to getting matted or tangled, it might be a good idea to trim them up every so often.

5. Unique Voice

Most cats are known to meow, but the Maine Coon primarily communicates in soft, high-pitched chirps and trills.

They tend to be quiet, but they also like to “chat” back and forth with their humans and will use their unique voice to ask for attention or food.

Here is a short Youtube video of our male Maine Coon cat talking:

Maine Coon cat talking – Pippin

And here’s a short Youtube video of Mika our extra chatty male Maine Coon cat’s loud talking:

Our Extra Chatty ‘Mika’ The Maine Coon Cat

6. Love Of Water

While most cats are known to hate water, the Maine Coon often enjoys the water!

Not only are they more tolerant of baths, but some even like to play in the water.

In fact, many owners find out that their Maine Coons learn to turn on faucets just so they can play in them.

These are the reasons why Maine Coons are so obsessed with water!


If you have ever wondered what are Maine Coons related to, then you will probably be shocked to find out that their closest ancestors are the Norwegian Forest Cat, a breed that was once kept by Vikings!

Norwegian Forest Cats arrived in North America by ship, where they mated with local cats until the Maine Coon breed developed independently.

If you are looking for a Maine Coon cat breed complete guide, then check out the rest of our Maine Coon website!

Here, you can learn anything you want to know about the Maine Coon, from this breed’s exciting history to how you can get a Maine Coon of your very own!

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a 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 10 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! UPDATE: We recently adopted two 4-year-old male Maine Coon cats. They are named Mika and Bali.

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