How to Tell if My Cat is a Maine Coon or a Maine Coon Mix

Maine Coons are nicknamed “gentle giants” for their large size and their sweet and affectionate personalities. Maine Coons have distinctive features, and there are ways you can tell if your feline is one of them.

If you did not purchase your cat from a breeder, you could still surmise whether your feline companion is a Maine Coon. Maine Coons have thick tufts of hair all over their bodies and are highly muscular and large in size. Maine Coons have long, silky hair that comes in a double-layer coat.

Maine Coons have a wild and regal appearance, and they have an elegant lion’s mane. If you choose to know how to tell if your feline is a Maine Coon or a Maine Coon mix, check out this pawsome article.

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Maine Coon Lineage Briefly Explained

Maine Coons originate from Wiscasset, Maine, where they are the official state cat. There is much folklore and mystery surrounding this gorgeous feline specimen. There is a scientifically impossible theory that the ancestors of domestic cats mated with raccoons. Another theory suggests that they are the descendants of Queen Marie Antoinette’s six luscious and loveable Turkish Angoras.

The most plausible theory is that the Maine Coon comes from short-haired domestic cats breeding with long-haired ones that sailed over from Europe on a Viking ship. The ship captains would keep cats on board to hunt the mice and rats that would destroy the cargo and carry disease. People have always thought of Maine Coons are excellent mousers, which makes the theory more plausible.

Exactly How Will I Know if My Feline is a Maine Coon?

Considering most Maine Coon cats tend to come from a reputable breeder, there are only a couple of ways you would not know if you were the proud parent of one of these beautiful beasts. You may have adopted your cat from a shelter and are unsure what breed they are.

Another scenario may be that you found them as a stray, and you do not know if they are the real deal. In any case, there are a few tell-“tail’ signs that you have a Maine Coon roaming freely in your house. The following include some of the typical traits of the Maine Coon:

Thick, Shaggy Fur All Over

Maine Coons have extremely thick shaggy fur all over their bodies. They have even more fur around their necks and tails. The Maine Coon looks like a stoic lion, as the fur on their neck and chest is prominent with a magnificent frontal ruff. The coat is somewhat heavy yet also silky. Their tail is covered with long thick fur.

Rectangular Body Shape

The Maine Coon’s body is a distinctive rectangular shape. They are large cats and tend to weigh somewhere between 11 to 25 pounds. They may also be around 10 to 16 inches in height. A Maine Coon’s body is:

  • Large Boned
  • Lengthy
  • Muscular
  • Powerful

This cat is one of the larger domestic felines. They also have thick, strong legs, which makes them superior climbers. You should provide them with a big, sturdy cat tree to help them preserve their adventurous side.

Pointed and Wild “Lynx Ears”

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Maine Coon ears resemble a wild Lynx cat. They have tufts of fur that come to a point on the tip of the ears. It can also be referred to as “lynx tipping.” Their ears were made to keep them warm and help them sustain the harsh winters of Maine. The fur in the ears of the Maine Coon is lengthier and more prominent. The adorable ears of these cats make them a highly identifiable breed.

That Face

The face of the Maine Coon is triangular and ends in a wedge shape. They have a robust and masculine-looking jaw with a determined little chin. In general, they have a square muzzle. They tend to have large, wide-set piercing eyes that, most of the time, are golden or green-colored. Some of the defining facial characteristics include:

  • Medium in width
  • Large and stately
  • Broad and powerful
  • High cheekbones

Their noses are usually slightly longer than that of a typical domestic cat. They also have broader faces than most cats. Many Maine Coons have an intense, intelligent expression. They have an awe-inspiring and wise appearance.

How Will I Know if My Feline is a Maine Coon Mix?

There are some subtle differences you may see between a purebred Maine Coon and a Maine Coon mix. They may be similar in appearance, but if you look closer, you can see some differences that reveal their true lineage:

Smaller in Size

In general, purebred Maine Coons will be larger than Maine Coon mixes. If you have a cat that you believe is a Maine Coon and they are more significant than 15 pounds, it is more likely than not that they are indeed a Maine Coon. The Maine Coon can often reach heights of up to 16 inches and can be up to 36 inches in length. If you see these measurements, you probably have a Maine Coon.

Measure the Tail

A Maine Coon tail is three-quarters of their body length and closely resembles a raccoon’s tail. It is extraordinarily long and fluffy. The length of the cat’s tail can give you an indication as to whether they are a genuine Main Coon. The tail can be up to 16 inches long. The Maine Coon tail is:

  • Feathery
  • Flowing
  • Brush-like
  • Fuzzy

The Maine Coon’s tail is broad at the base, and then it gradually narrows. If you can touch or almost touch the cat’s shoulder with their tail, you may have a Main Coon. Maine Coon mixes do not necessarily share the same length of the tail as their purebred counterparts.

Check the Coat

The Maine Coon has a double-layer coat with a silky undercoat, and the outer layer is quite long. One of the common features of the Maine Coon is their signature “lion mane.” If your cat has long hair but does not have that unique and unmistakable heavy and shaggy frontal ruff, they may be a Maine Coon mix, but not a purebred Maine Coon.

Powerful Paws

polydactyl maine coon cats

A purebred Maine Coon’s paws are large and well-tufted. They were made this way to be able to walk gracefully on the snowy ground in Maine. Their paws are powerful and robust. If your feline looks like a Maine Coon, but does not have the trademark paws, they may be a mix.

Some Maine Coons carry the polydactyl gene, and they have extra toes. The Maine Coon is one of the felines who have a tendency to have six toes. Ernest Hemingway, known for his love of polydactyl cats, had a Maine Coon named Snow White, who was his first polydactyl cat.

Genetic Testing

If you did not get your cat from a breeder, who usually has a pedigree, the only way to know for sure if your feline is a Maine Coon or a Maine Coon mix is to perform genetic testing. You can purchase a genetic testing kit. Take a sample of your cat and send it to a lab for testing. They can give you the responses you are looking for, and you can also learn more about your cat’s genetic health information.


Maine Coons have specific attributes that set them apart from the remainder of the cat world. If you see that your cat looks like a Maine Coon, but they do not have all of the same characteristics, you may have a Maine Coon mix.

For cats and cat parents in the Mishawaka, Indiana region, Lincolnway Veterinary Clinic is here to care for you and your pet. Give us a call today at (574) 256-1871 or make an appointment online!

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About Lincolnway Veterinary Clinic

Lincolnway Veterinary Clinic is a full service, AAHA accredited veterinary practice located in Mishwaka, Indiana. In addition to general wellness care like vaccinations and wellness exams, we also provide holistic veterinary care such as acupuncture and a variety of alternative medicine options.