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European Maine Coon vs American Maine Coon (2022): 5 Factors to Consider

If you’re wondering whether the Maine Coon is for you but aren’t sure if you’re getting yourself a European or an American Maine Coon, then this post is for you.

While there aren’t that many differences between the two, some key factors may sway you from one to the other. Most of these differences lie in their appearance. So, if you’re big on that sort of thing, you’ll most likely need to figure out more about your kitty cat.

If you’re looking to learn more about their habits, quirks, or general Maine Coon personality traits, keep reading. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the European Maine Coon vs American Maine Coon.

Brown Maine coon cat sitting.
European Maine Coon

1. Origin

The Maine Coon initially got its name from the very location where these breeds were raised. These lion cub-looking angels were said to have been brought over from Europe to Maine, America. Thanks to their wild and shaggy appearance, many people considered them to resemble raccoons. This is where the name Maine Coon comes from.

The local shorthair cats in Maine bred with the traveling seafarer cats from Europe. Funnily enough, the Maine Coon was only exported to Europe in the 1980s but has since made a name for itself amongst cat lovers globally.

European Maine Coon

While American Maine Coons are bred in America, you may expect that a European Maine Coon would be bred in Europe. You’d be correct. This is their main difference.

Close up view of a Tabby Maine Coon cat.
European Maine Coon

While they are the exact same cat breed, European Maine Coons are typically wilder looking—but more on that later. Essentially the breeders for each type of Maine Coon focus on bringing forth a different look. This means that they will only breed parent cats that possess these specific traits and physical characteristics.

Other than that, their origin story is pretty much the same.

White maine coon cat european maine coon vs american maine coon
American Maine Coon

2. Appearance

These gentle giants are pretty much the same on every level except this one. The European Maine Coon is considered a little bit more raggedy than the American Maine Coon.

Their fluffy faces, big, beautiful piercing eyes, playful nature, and overall adorable 10 out of 10 factors make them an exceptional breed suitable for just about anyone. Here are more fun facts about their appearances.

Size

The Maine Coon, regardless of where they’re from, is a large cat breed. They generally have bigger bones and will be a lot more athletic than most cats. This means that they need quite a bit of space to roam free.

So, since they love the indoors and outdoors equally, you’ll notice that this kind of running to and fro can help them stay lean and within a healthy weight of around 10 to 18 pounds (4.8 to 8.2 kg). They can travel further distances thanks to their weight as well, so be sure to tag them accordingly.

Ginger Maine Coon cat lying on the wooden table.
American Maine Coon

The European Maine Coon tends to be a little bit larger than the American kind. It may just be all the hair but you can expect a slight difference between them. Although, this can also vary depending on whether it is a male or female and their respective developmental stages.

Shape and Build

These stunners are definitely not built for speed and agility. You’ll probably hear their big paws creek on your wooden floors from the moment they step through the front door. However, their shape and build allow them to maintain the active lifestyle that they enjoy.

They generally have square-shaped bodies with muscular features. Their faces are smaller (but still proportionate) than you’d expect for such a heavy cat. But, their weight and paws are a wondrous way to work out those kinks in your back—so let them walk all over you for a nice free massage.

Color

Regardless of where they come from, these big-eyed beasts can come in all colors with any kind of pattern on their fur.

smoke maine coon cat
European Maine Coon

You can expect to see some ginger, white, calico, tabby, black, and even tortoiseshell. They can do it all.

Fur

The more reserved-looking American Maine Coon typically has a double-layer coat that will help them through the cold winters. This coat also protects them from water; their water-resistant coat is probably what makes them want to jump in the bath or shower with you.

The European Maine Coon is a bit more ragged and has a ton more fur than their American counterparts. Nonetheless, they are quite shaggy, and while they can keep themselves clean, they will need your help with the big stuff. Their curiosity will get them into messes they cannot clean, so be sure to groom them regularly and enjoy some bonding sessions.

black maine coon cat
American Maine Coon

3. Personality

We know that the ancestors of Maine Coons had originally come off a ship; some speculate that the local Maine cats were bred with a Norwegian Forest Cat. So, it’s no surprise that their personalities are as colorful and diverse as their origin story.

It’s important to remember that the American Maine Coon and the European Maine Coon personality traits are rather similar. The only differences you’ll find lie in how the cat was socialized and the innate nature of your favorite feline.

So, while I have a general guideline for both types of Maine Coon, each cat is inherently a strong, unique individual with its own special twist of personality.

Norwegian forest cat with green eyes.
Norwegian forest cat

Temperament

The Maine Coon cat is an easy-to-care-for breed. They require a ton of conversation, mental stimulation, and space, but for the most part, they are able to manage themselves. So, they can be left alone for most parts of the day without the hassle or threats of killing your favorite plants.

They’re smart, curious, and excitable, so they love to play. Some may take longer to warm up to you, but others will willingly lead you to the toy of their choosing if they’re feeling a bit neglected.

They’re dynamic and adaptable, so you will always uncover something new about their personality, especially in new situations. But, overall, these cats are pretty passive and make for a lovely addition to any family.  

Sociability

They are naturally more social than most cat breeds. They will follow you around and watch you do your business on the toilet; they’ll even try to climb in the bath with you if their curiosity is piqued.

maine coon tuxedo cat
American Maine Coon

So, when moseying around the house, try to include them in your daily activities. Allow them to smell stuff you’re cooking, and chat with them every now and then (it beats talking to yourself).

They may take a bit longer to warm up to new people, especially if a person rubs them the wrong way. But, for the most part, they’ll either come around and make your guests feel at home, or they’ll keep to themselves and scold you later for bringing new people home.

Intelligence

As you may have already guessed, these are pretty intelligent cats. Most cats are, but the Maine Coon is strikingly smart. They’re also naturally curious and love to know exactly what’s going on. They’ll jump, climb, walk, crawl, and meow their way all over your room just to figure out what’s hiding behind that cupboard door or in the box under the bed.

A Maine Coon cat will also get creative with new places to sleep if the weather changes or your current sleeping position doesn’t suit their needs. They’ll take to new situations and tricks quite quickly. But, be careful, as they may teach you a few tricks too.

maine coon cat tabby on white background
European maine coon cat

They’re quick to associate certain behaviors with their favorite things. They’ll know what lives in the fridge and meow all around you while you’re making yourself some coffee. If you get them into a habit, their internal alarm clock will let you know when it’s time for their next treat.

Trainability

Since they’re so smart, they love to be challenged, and training them to do fun tricks is just one way to strengthen your bond with this special breed. Training your cat can help you carve out some time to bond with them, especially if your life is on the busier side. It can also add some mental stimulation to your cat’s life. But, be sure to be consistent yet diverse with your tricks and training techniques.

Always use positive reinforcement to show them how to do something new. Treats and cuddles are an excellent way to show them that they’re doing a good job. By increasing your bond with them, they’ll also become more eager to please you, and thus, the cycle continues.

Since they can catch on to things rather quickly, you’ll want to diversify your methods of training. Try teaching them the same thing in different ways. So, after teaching them to “give paw,” you can also get them to jump on the counter and then give paw. This increases the difficulty level and also gives your cat a new puzzle to think through.

Vocality

Yes. Whatever they’re asking you, the answer is yes. These cats can get excessively vocal, especially if you’ve done something wrong. For the most part, though, they’ll use their meows for good and will direct you to what they need as opposed to just complaining about it.

Maine coon cats with their tongue out, sitting next to each other.
American Maine Coon cats

If your cat is following you around, they’re probably curious as to what you’re doing. But, if they start meowing for no apparent reason, there may be something they need you to do for them. Whether it’s their bowl that needs cleaning and refilling or a door that needs to be opened, they’ll gently, albeit loudly, guide you to the cause of their problems.

4. Dietary Requirements

As with most cats, you’ll have to check with your vet which food will work best for your favorite feline. Getting them checked out is also a great way to ensure that they don’t have any parasites or diseases.

Your cat will tend to eat more than the average tabby, so be sure to stock up on food that provides them with the nutrients that their body needs to remain healthy and strong.

Your cat will tell you whether they prefer wet or dry food, fish or chicken, and so on. But, as picky as they can be, you’ll still have to ensure that they’re receiving the vitamins and minerals that they need in order to thrive.

Cats need around 41 specific nutrients from their food. Due to their evolution, they cannot get these from the wild and it will have to be sourced from the food we give them.

Special Needs

Some cats may require something more specific to their everyday needs. Elderly cats may need a diet specific to their issues. For example, choose a specialized diet for older cats that vomit or a diet that is high in fiber and protein for a constipated kitty.

Greyish Maine Coon cat with green eyes looking at something.
American Maine Coon

Special Treats

If you’re training your cat, you’ll need some good kitty treats to keep them entertained. You can also add some catnip to a treat and give them an extra boost of joy and euphoria.

5. Health

These cats are generally quite healthy. Their biggest threat is their loving and affectionate nature, as some cats may run around looking for you and can end up hurting themselves in the process. So, be sure to train them well to avoid unnecessary health issues.

Common Issues

Unfortunately, some issues are hereditary and require a subtle hand in care and routine maintenance.

The Maine Coon breed, European and American, are prone to hereditary heart conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. They can also suffer from problems with their joints and bones; ailments such as hip dysplasia are painful but manageable in most cases.

Make sure that you’re getting your cat from a reputable breeder or have taken them to a vet to ensure that your cat is in its best shape. This will also help you plan for any future health issues, whether it be emotionally or financially.

Lifespan

The Maine Coon generally lives for around nine to fifteen years. Most Maine Coon owners will tell you that their cat found them. So, if you’re thinking of buying a new cat, first check out the local shelter for any kitty left behind. Since most of them live for so long, adopting them may be a better option.

Adoption is also a good idea if you’re regularly on the move or thinking of getting new pets. There are so many wonderful crazy cats waiting for their forever home. 

tabby cat with green eyes and green colour being held by man in tartan shirt
American Maine Coon

Final Say on European Maine Coon vs. American Maine Coon Cats

Remember, these fantastic beasts will most probably find you. Their wild nature and intrinsic desire to explore will lead them to entertain you on a daily basis.

Whether they’re jumping into your clothing cupboards or spreading their long legs on your side of the bed, they’re highly affectionate and will always snuggle up for a cuddle or three.

They’ll need you to be their advocate, so be sure to feed them appropriately and supplement their diet with anything extra that can help them remain healthy. But, most of all, keep them safe and stimulated.

Whatever you choose to do, your cat will be sure to let you know that you’re doing a good job (or a terrible one), and whenever you’re not sure of what to do next, they’ll be sure to include you in their thought process. So, enjoy this feline friend while you’ve still got them around.

So, while the American and European Maine Coon is pretty much the same in every aspect, you can expect some furry differences in appearance. Nonetheless, each is absolutely gorgeous and worth all your love.

maine coon tabby cat staring with very pointy ears
European Maine Coon

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