Do you suspect that your cat may be part Maine Coon? How would you know if it was? Here’s an answer that may not be useful on the face of it — there’s actually no real way of being certain. That said, there are several ways to determine if it’s possible.
If there is a chance that your cat is part Maine Coon, there are certain things you could look for that may clue you in. But I know from the outset that unless you have access to very detailed genetic or DNA testing, a large part of what you determine is going to have to be on faith.
Because your cat may only be partly Maine Coon, the chances are that it may take on a whole bunch of characteristics from the other half of its DNA. So, once again, there’s no easy answer when it comes to size or appearance.
If you’re adopting a Maine Coon mix, you have lots of fantastic moments to look forward to with your cat, especially if it has inherited some of the personality traits of its parent breed. Let’s take a look at what kinds of features your cat might display that could suggest that it is part Maine Coon.
About Purebred Maine Coons
It is known for its huge beautiful mane, which requires lots of grooming. It also has distinctive points on its ears marked by little spiky bits of hair. You can find out more about the Maine Coon here.
Maine Coons are very desirable to own for cat lovers. This is because they have such unique and interesting looks. They also have amazingly friendly personalities and are great companions.
What is a Maine Coon Mix?
Usually, they get along well with families and even younger members of that family. Sometimes they even inherit the Maine Coon personality, which is often compared to that of a dog.
Did you know, for example, that Maine Coons happen to love water? Maine Coons are also highly trainable. So, as well as potentially being fairly sizeable, your Maine Coon mix might well learn a few tricks.
One area that may vary wildly is size, depending on what other cat forms part of the mix. Also, Maine Coon cats tend to come in specific common colors. This can now be quite varied based on the other cat DNA in the mix.
Maine Coon Tabby Mix: A Quick History
In terms of traceable history, the Maine Coon tabby mix is a new breed that has only emerged in recent years. They are recognized by Maine Coon clubs as a variant, but not yet judged in show. They are beautiful cats, though, as they very often display some of the key Maine Coon characteristics.
When Maine Coons officially found their way to the United States with immigrants in the 1860s, some of them were crossbred with British and American shorthair breeds. In part, at least, that’s why we have the Maine Coon tabby mix today.
Side note: Another possibly true account of how Maine Coons came to the US involves Norwegian Forest cats being used as vermin control on Viking boats. When they got to US shores, breeding with shorter-haired cats produced the Maine Coon.
11 Maine Coon Mix Characteristics
It is worth noting that some breeders will steer away from crossbreeding their Maine Coons. Others tend to see a mixed breed as something quite beautiful in and of itself. Because we sometimes do not know the complete history of another cat involved in the breeding process, the range of features present in a Maine Coon mix is quite broad.
As mentioned, these cats can vary considerably in size and appearance. But it’s not all random. Maine Coons themselves are very specific in their looks and personalities. So it’s not always difficult to detect certain aspects of your cat that resemble its charms.
Here are some vital physical traits to look out for if you’re trying to determine whether your cat is Maine Coon or Maine Coon tabby mix.
Typically, a Maine Coon tabby mix is slightly smaller than a purebred Maine Coon. Males can grow up to 16 inches tall while females pop up to 14 inches. In terms of length, they are roughly the same, about 40 inches long. Males can weigh slightly more because of their size, topping out at about 25 lb..
There are some key indicators that a cat may be a Maine Coon tabby mix. One of the main signs is an “M” pattern on its forehead. Maine Coon tabbies will also share markings running between the eyes and the ears. Some people call them mascara markings — as if your cat does its make-up in the morning.
Tabbies, however, are unlikely to have the ear tufts that make the Maine Coon cat’s ears so distinctive (like those of a lynx).
Maine Coon fur is thick and shaggy. It actually has three coats. This accounts for why a Maine Coon doesn’t really mind water at all. Maine Coon tabby mixes may not have coats that are quite as thick and shaggy. They have shorter undercoats, though it may still feel thick and fuzzy.
In terms of fur appearance, a normal tabby cat’s legs may be darker or contain a dark stripe. The typical coat patterns are described as:
- Classic – Marked by blotches on the sides. Some patterns also show on the shoulders.
- Mackerel – So described because the pattern resembles that of a mackerel fish.
- Spotted – Similar to mackerel, but with stripes along the sides.
- Blotched – A less dramatic version of the Marble pattern. Stripes and swirls in the coat are a good indicator.
- Marble – Stripes and swirls on the legs, face, and body abound.
Does your tabby have a mane? It may be part of its Maine Coon characteristics. The fur around a Maine Coon’s neck is typically longer and thicker than the hair on other parts of its body.
Coupled with its considerable size, this has contributed to its being known as The Little Lion. It’s not common for a normal tabby to show this mane, so chances are it could be part Maine Coon if it looks like a lion.
If you have acquired your cat as a kitten, it’s good to know that a Maine Coon is almost always born with blue eyes. Sometimes they have odd-colored eyes too. The colors change as they grow older.
As previously mentioned, the vast majority of Maine Coons have tufts on their ears — a little bit like a lynx in the wild. Maine Coons also have a lot of hair around and inside their ears. If your tabby shares this trait, there may be a bit of Maine Coon in the mix.
Tabby cats are also known for the rings around their tails. They look a little bit like raccoon tails.
One unique characteristic of Maine Coons is the size of their paws. They’re typically far larger when compared to other cats of roughly similar dimensions. These paws also typically have hair jutting out from between the toes.
It is thought that Maine Coons needed these large paws to survive in tough climates and conditions. If your tabby seems to have slightly larger paws than normal, it could be an indication of a Maine Coon mix.
Because Maine coons and Maine Coon tabbies have such thick undercoats and overcoats, expect to engage in lots of grooming and to deal with a lot of shedding. Thankfully, spending time with your cat while brushing its coat can be very good for your bonding. It’s also quite important to maintain good health for your cat.
Shedding typically happens in spring and fall. For the most part, your cat will still look fluffy throughout most of the year. Investing in a good grooming brush will not be wasted.
One superb option is to use grooming gloves. Your cat will enjoy the personal attention, and you lock in a good bonding session at the same time.
Maine Coons typically live to around 15 or 16 years old, provided they are kept healthy. A tabby mix statistically lives slightly shorter at between 11 and 14 years. Bear in mind that all cats are different, and this is by no means a certainty one way or the other.
These cats take around 4 to 5 years to fully mature. Health-wise, there are just a few potential issues that seem to crop up statistically for Maine Coons and Maine Coon tabbies. Most of these are based on genetic history and parental breed predispositions.
There are some things to be aware of when it comes to possible health problems a Maine Coon or Maine Coon tabby mix might experience in their lifetime. There is no guarantee that any cat will suffer from these, but it may be something to be aware of if you are considering adopting.
With some large dogs and this large cat, hip dysplasia can rear its head. It is a condition that involves hip joints that do not align properly, wearing down cartilage and eventually causing pain and discomfort.
Potential hip dysplasia can be detected or diagnosed from around two years old. It is typically hereditary and can be considered when you notice a painful limp, especially as the cat gets older.
With this condition, one of the heart muscles thickens, leading to circulatory and cardiological problems. Maine Coon cats have been shown to be slightly susceptible to this condition along with Norwegian Forest cats.
It is relatively rare and is genetically detectable by breeders. Cats that show this genetic mutation are usually removed from breeding programs.
The last thing you want this big cat to be is bigger. Obesity can become a problem for Maine Coons, and it is, in fact, one of the main reasons for Maine Coons having additional health problems.
This is a condition that seems to have become prevalent since these cats were domesticated. Periodontal disease isn’t very common in the wild. We are therefore led to believe that it occurs with a home-based lifestyle, possibly related to changes in diet. It inflames the gums and affects the teeth, eventually destroying bone and affecting a cat’s ability to eat.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
This unfortunate condition is genetic and already present at birth in most cases. It can affect the kidneys but can also affect other organs, the muscles, and even the nervous system. The kidneys typically develop cysts or pockets of water that can grow or split up. It may eventually lead to organ failure.
This is an unusual and strange condition that results in cats being born with extra toes. Maine Coons have been shown to exhibit the trait a bit more than most other cat breeds, although you’ll find that cats from breeding programs are less inclined to share them.
Odds increase slightly of finding a polydactyl cat in feral groups and wild contexts. There is no obvious connection between polydactylism and other health issues.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
This is another genetically inherited disease that causes the nerves of the spinal column to waste away. It is similar to motor neuron disease. It degenerates the function of the spine and eventually leads to muscular atrophy, loss of movement, and discomfort.
This is an unfortunate side effect of feline herpes, a virus that is relatively common. Stomatitis is typified by ulcers in the mouth region. In most cases, stomatitis can be managed and controlled with vet care.
Final Thoughts on Maine Coon Mixes
The Maine Coon tabby mix is no less delightful than its pure relative and makes a gorgeous addition to any family. So rub that M on its forehead, count the rings on its tail, and cuddle up with the family’s furriest member. That smart dog-like personality will prove irresistible to anyone who spends time with it.