Maine Coons are one of the most popular cat breeds right now. This discerning kitty is a family-friendly, chatty, and playful addition to any family. Of course, its varied Maine Coon colors and patterns are also a big draw.
The glorious Maine Coon is known for being a beautifully large semi-long haired cat with 80 coat color variations. I can talk for ages about the different patterns and colors you can find. But at about 80 varieties, that could run a bit long.
So, what are the most popular colors and patterns you can find in this loveable breed? Let’s look at how we classify these, and what you should look for in Maine Coon colors.
Maine Coon Colors: Origin of the Breed
First, it’s helpful to know that Maine Coons are thought to be descended from Norwegian Forest Cats. If this is true, this accounts for their rich, lush coat, and size.
They are now named after the state of Maine in the USA. This is where they settled and originated from as far as modern breeders are concerned.
But beyond that supposition, little seems to be known (or at least confirmed) about the cat’s origin beyond speculation. Some believe they are part angora, part tabby. A Maine Coon’s unique personality certainly doesn’t give much away in this regard.
Because there seems to be no commonly accepted heritage story, the broad range of colors and patterns are all considered legitimate regarding Maine Coons. In other words, there is no breed standard for colors.
However, this breed happens to be the largest of the domesticated cats – from nose to tail, they come in at about 39.37 inches long (1 meter).
They also boast the title of the oldest natural breed in North America. Because of their long-standing history and far-reaching popularity, they’re known as ‘America’s Cat’.
Common Maine Coon Color Patterns
There are two ways to describe a cat’s coloring: colors and patterns. Color refers to the actual color, while pattern refers to how those colors display.
Think about patterns referring to the shapes of the color segments of a cat’s coat. In cats, we recognize several patterns. Here are the typical patterns and colors of Maine Coon cats, all of which are fairly common.
1. Shaded Color
Shaded usually indicates a single solid color but with varying degrees of intensity in some sections of the body. This can happen with almost any Maine Coon coat color, and will usually have the chest will be lighter or even seem to fade to white while the back has a burst of color.
2. Smoke Color
Smoke is a fascinating feature. And while this isn’t unique to this breed, it is a popular Maine Coon characteristic.
This color variation sees the cat’s outer fur as a solid color. But when you move the fur aside, you may notice that hair closer to the skin (the undercoat) appears lighter. So, from a distance, the cat is a solid color, but its “roots,” so to speak, are more diluted.
This can be not easy to spot as a kitten but should be more prominent as the cat grows into adulthood.
3. Solid Color
As it implies, solids are a single but uniform color throughout the entire coat. In the case of a solid, the tail and paws will also present the single color of the body. For this breed, common colors are usually red, black, brown, creams, and blue.
However, the most common solid coat color for this cat breed is jet black. For this breed, it means that their paw pads and nose are also black. However, light colors like white or cream will see this breed have pink paw pads.
In many cases, casual observers may mistake smokes for solids due to the Maine Coon’s long hair. It does an excellent job of hiding the inner coat’s other color.
4. Tabby Pattern
The tabby is probably the most common pattern found in Maine Coons. Tabbies have stripes, swirls or patches on their coats or undercoats. These markings can be paired with any of the common tabby-related colors.
There are three types of tabbies that are generally recognized: the classic, mackerel, and patched.
This is the most common tabby pattern. It presents itself as broad swirls across the body. A characteristic mark these classic tabby pattern cats will have is the “M” marking on their forehead. They’ll also have vertical lines running across the back of their heads leading into their shoulders.
If you’ve ever seen a mackerel fish, you can probably imagine what this pattern will look like. Like the fish, mackerel Maine Coon patterns move vertically from the spine to the belly.
Typically, these markings are dense and taper out to thinner points as it moves to the stomach. At the same time, the lines on the neck, legs, and tail will wrap around completely. And, of course, these cats will also have the characteristic “M” marking on their forehead.
Patched or Ticked
Sometimes, you may even encounter a tabby that seems peppered in the pattern. This is called a ticked pattern, but it is not recognized as an official pattern.
This pattern is a bit more subtle than the previous two patterns. Instead of the whole coat being filled with shaped swirls, these are only concentrated on the dorsal crest, face, and legs. This means that it is barely visible from above.
As the name suggests, the coat is just ticked with various colors, while the belly or underside will have a lighter color.
5. Tabby with White
The “TWW” is the same as the tabby in many ways, with its patterns and stripes. The only difference is that they tend to have white paws and chests. These tabby colors can range from red, brown, and silver.
6. Tortoise Shell Pattern
“Torties” are coat colors with two or more hues. These are generally dark or black with heavy patches of red and cream. They are renowned for their remarkable patterns and are rather attractive with seemingly random streaks of color.
If you see a Maine Coon cat with a tortoiseshell coat, they are almost always female. It is rare to see male tortoiseshells. And, if you do, they are usually sterile.
The Most Common Maine Coon Colors
The Cat Fanciers’ Association has recognized an incredible 80 official Maine Coon cat colors and patterns. Here are some of the Maine designations:
1. Black Coat
Black Maine Coon cats are not always what they seem. While a solid black is beautiful, many are, in fact, smoky blacks. It’s hard to tell without getting up close and checking the undercoat. That said, solid black Maine Coon cats are incredibly beautiful, complete with black noses and lips.
2. Black and White Coat
In some cats, we aptly call this color combination a “tuxedo” pattern. This cat is predominantly black, with a white section extending from the nose and to the chest. The paws may also be white.
This is also a bi-color pattern because it’s just two colors. But why would you say that when you can refer to them with the cutest name instead?
3. Blue Coat
While it would be absolutely beautiful to have a blue cat, “blue” in cats usually refers to a blue-gray sheen. More popular “blue” breeds include Russian Blues, British Shorthairs, and Chartreuxs.
Because of their thick coats, you can spot shades of blue highlights and silver in these beautiful cats. That said, blue Maine Coon cats are normally of a solid pattern, although a white chest is not uncommon.
4. Blue-Gray Coat
This coat color is quite similar to blue. Besides the blue highlights or sheen, the gray tends to fade the shining silver slightly. The ears are also more commonly gray or black.
This coat color can be solid or part of a pattern with various colors. So, it is common to see this coat color in between a tabby or tortie pattern.
5. Brown Coat
Brown is one of the most common colors for this breed and Maine Coon Ragdoll mixes. This color is easily found with patterns or without. However, if they are patterned, they will most likely be tortie or tabby patterns. The most popular coat color is the brown smokey variant with a white chest.
While they are one of the more common coat colors, the brown Maine Coon cat is nonetheless as beautiful as the rest of their species.
6. Cream Coat
Creams may appear white at a very quick first glance. But they are slightly shaded in a very light brownish shade.
Cream Maine Coons cats can either be solid or patterned. Their noses and paw pads are usually pink.
Solid cream cats can also be called “full cream” cats. Now you know that’s not a reference to their dietary habits.
7. Red Coat
Some say the red or orange Maine Coon cats are the most strikingly beautiful.
Their orange (ginger, if you prefer) hue gives them a look that stands out, especially with their longish hair. Red or orange is the most famous color for Maine Coon cats.
Bright golden eyes and pink noses are added for maximum effect.
However, these coat colors are almost always patterned. This is because a solid red coat is extremely rare for this cat breed. So rare that it is unlikely that you’ll see a female red Maine Coon in your lifetime.
And a side note: an interesting fact about red Maine Coons is that due to a genetic anomaly, about 90% of red Maine Coons are male.
8. Silver Coat
A silver coat is slightly different from blue or gray colors. However, silver is somewhat less common variation.
What makes silver different is that this coat has a shiny gray or metallic hue. However, it’s not uncommon to see a few gold or yellow hints in between. It has and is often a mix of two colors, making it more akin to a smoky one.
Along with a solid red coat, this coat color is quite rare to find.
9. White Coat
An extraordinary specimen if you can find one. A solid white Maine Coon will be the talk of the dinner table. This is because, interestingly, the white color cannot be passed on easily, genetically speaking.
White Maine coon cats may display slightly pink tufts at the end of their ears. Their noses and paw pads will also be pink.
White isn’t technically a color – only 5% of all cats are “white”. The white element is a masking gene. In a parent cat, the gene may mask its true color. So, a white Maine Coon kitten will only be born if at least one of the parents is white and if the masking gene carries over to the offspring intact.
While not a blue-eyed breed, because of the Maine Coon’s white color, they are more likely to have blue eyes.
Note: If you have a blue-eyed white cat, take them for regular vet check-ups because they have a greater chance of becoming deaf. Despite this, a true solid white Maine Coon is highly sought after and will cost a fair amount from a breeder.
Rarer Maine Coon Cat Colors & Hybridization
There are some variations of Maine Coon coloring that are harder to find. In some ways, this makes these more astounding.
As mentioned, white Maine Coons aren’t very easy to come by, and not easy to breed, if at all. True Orange Maine Coons are a rare breed color, unlike orange cats with patterns or color combinations. So you’re more likely to find orange smokies or tabbies than a solid color.
Some breeders may offer hybridized coloring. These are all considered acceptable by breeders’ associations. Red Smoke, Cream Cameo, and Calico Maine Coon Cats are all color variations that you can now find.
Some patterns are not recognized, however. One example is the ticked pattern I mentioned before, which can be seen as a peppered effect on a tabby.
Frequently Asked Questions about Maine Coon Colors and Patterns
While this guide is helpful, it is long. So to save you some time, these are the most frequently asked questions asked regarding Maine coon types, colors, and patterns.
1. What is the Rarest Maine Coon Color?
There is some debate online about what the rarest Maine Coon color is. So far, i is a tie between silver and a true solid red.
However, it seems that a solid red appears to be the rarest. This color is also sometimes referred to as gold. Yes, because of the color, but also possibly because of its high value because of how rare it is.
While ginger cats aren’t uncommon, a Maine Coon with one solid shade of red without any patterns is. This is because this coat color can only be carried over by a rare inhibitor gene.
2. What is the Most Common Color of a Maine Coon Cat?
As mentioned before, there are 80 different colors of Maine Coons. But the most common colors are brown tabby, black, cream, blue, and white.
3. What are the Patterns on Maine Coons?
While there are many color variations, the main patterns you can find on a Maine Coon are solid, smoke, tortie, and tabby.
4. What is the Most Beautiful Color in Maine Coon?
Of course, this is subjective. But, since it is so rare, many people agree that a golden or solid red Maine Coon is the most beautiful.
Final Thoughts on Maine Coon Colors
As you can see, the options for Maine Coon colors are almost limitless. Whether you get an American or European Maine Coon, with so many variations of patterns and colors, there’s a kitty out there that will suit your visual tastes.
Maine Coons hyper-friendly, and chatty nature of the breed is also sure to endear to everyone in the home instantly.
Maine Coons – and cats in general – are such amazing creatures. It’s hard not to fall a little bit in love with every single one you see.