Lookalike Cats. 3 Breeds People Often Mistake for Maine Coons

Introducing the Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, originating in the state of Maine where they were popular farm cats. According to some stories, they are the product of matings between semicivilized domestic cats and raccoons, giving them their rugged appearance and adaptability to harsh winters. Despite the legend, the Maine Coon is a natural breed and not a hybrid between a cat and a raccoon. Their history as working cats in New England developed some of their distinctive characteristics like their large size, hardy constitution, and Maine Coons are known for their substantial bone structure, rectangular body shape, glossy, flowing coat, and long tail. They typically weigh anywhere from 9 to 18 lbs. and the males are known to be much larger than females.

The Maine Coon is well known as a sociable, gentle giant. They are playful and affectionate into adulthood and enjoy interacting with people and other animals. Maine Coons are intelligent cats and easy to train because they are motivated by food and attention. Their mellow and adaptable nature makes them outgoing cats that enjoy travel and adventure. Many Maine Coons can become quite attached to their families and will wait by the door for their humans to come home. They are vocal cats and communicate with a distinctive, chirping trill.


Maine Coon Lookalikes

The Maine Coon is a large, long-haired cat breed known for its hardy, rugged appearance and loving personality. With their distinct ear tufts, large frame and long, shaggy coats, Maine Coons have a striking look that often gets mistaken for other cat breeds.

Some cats that commonly get confused with the Maine Coon include:

Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat shares a passing resemblance to the Maine Coon with its large size, long coat, and tufted ears. However, Norwegian Forest Cats tend to have a more triangular-shaped head compared to the square jaw of the Maine Coon. Their coats also differ, with Norwegian Forest Cats having a denser, woolly double-coat better suited for cold climates. Norwegian Forest Cats originated as farm cats in Scandinavia while Maine Coons originated in New England.

Siberian Cat

Another cold-weather breed sometimes mistaken for the Maine Coon is the Siberian Cat. Both have similar body types and long, thick fur. But Siberians usually have rounder faces with more rounded eyes compared to the angular features of the Maine Coon. Siberians also tend to be more energetic and playful than the laidback Maine Coon.

Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat originated as a landrace breed in Norway and is adapted to very cold climates (https://www.petfinder.com/cat-breeds/norwegian-forest-cat/). They are a large, long-haired cat breed with a distinguishing dense, water-resistant double coat that keeps them warm. The coats of Norwegian Forest Cats come in a wide variety of colors and patterns and require weekly grooming to minimize shedding and prevent matting (https://www.petfinder.com/cat-breeds/norwegian-forest-cat/).

In terms of size, Norwegian Forest Cats tend to be larger than Maine Coons. An average Norwegian Forest Cat weighs 13-22 lbs compared to the average Maine Coon which weighs 15-25 lbs. Norwegian Forest Cats also tend to have slightly longer hind legs than Maine Coons, giving them a different body proportion (https://www.untamedcatfood.com/blogs/cat-breeds/maine-coon-norwegian-forest-cat).

The Norwegian Forest Cat is an intelligent, athletic and energetic breed that forms strong bonds with their family. They have playful, loyal personalities and enjoy interacting with their owners. The Norwegian Forest Cat is more reserved around strangers compared to the outgoing Maine Coon (https://www.catster.com/guides/norwegian-forest-cat-vs-maine-coon/).

Siberian Cat

The Siberian Cat originated in Russia as a landrace breed adapted to the harsh Siberian climate. They are a medium to large cat breed, though generally smaller than the Maine Coon. Male Siberians range from 12-17 pounds on average while females are typically 8-12 pounds (https://www.catster.com/breeds/siberian-cat-vs-maine-coon/).

The Siberian has a very thick, dense triple coat that comes in all colors and patterns. Their coat is resistant to matting and water. They have a ruff around their neck, britches on their hind legs, and a plumed tail (https://www.hepper.com/siberian-vs-maine-coon-cat/).

Siberians are known for being affectionate, loyal, and intelligent cats. They tend to be more reserved than Maine Coons but are playful and enjoy human interaction. Siberians bond closely with their families.

Turkish Angora

The Turkish Angora originated in central Turkey, where they were long-haired cats favored by sultans and other nobility. They are a natural breed and while much smaller than the Maine Coon, they have some similarities in their long, flowing coats. The Turkish Angora has a dainty, elegant appearance with a long, silky coat that can be white, blue, black, red, and cream. Their bodies are more delicate and they have a distinctive wedge-shaped head with large ears. Their elegant appearance reflects their personality, which is intelligent, playful, and curious but not typically as cuddly and laidback as the Maine Coon [1]. While they enjoy petting, Turkish Angoras bond closely with their families while retaining an independent spirit. Overall, the Turkish Angora has a more delicate build, wedge-shaped head, and flowing silky coat that distinguishes it from the sturdier, rugged Maine Coon.


The Ragdoll is a large, semi-longhaired cat breed that originated in California in the 1960s.1 They are known for their docile, affectionate personalities and floppy, relaxed posture when held. Ragdolls typically weigh 10-20 pounds when fully grown. They have a moderately long, silky, plush coat that is soft to the touch. The most common and recognizable Ragdoll coat colors are “blue, seal, chocolate and lilac presented with or without mitted, bicolor or van patterns”.1

In terms of personality, Ragdolls are laidback, gentle and loving. They enjoy human company and often bond strongly with their families. Unlike some breeds, Ragdolls are not overly demanding or energetic. Their relaxed dispositions make them well-suited as therapy cats. Ragdolls are not typically territorial and often get along well with children, other pets and strangers.

Differences in Face Shape

The Maine Coon has a distinct face shape with high cheekbones, a strong chin, and a square muzzle. Their face shape is described as “gently curved and slightly longer than it is wide,” according to Maine Coon Central (https://www.mainecooncentral.com/maine-coon-body-shape/).

In contrast, the Norwegian Forest Cat’s face tends to be triangular shaped, with a straight nose and high cheek bones. The Siberian has a more wedge-shaped head that is medium in length. The Turkish Angora has a medium length head with a straight profile and high cheekbones. Finally, the Ragdoll has a broad, modified wedge-shaped head that differs from the Maine Coon’s rounded, square muzzle (https://petveer.com/maine-coon-body/).

The key differences between the Maine Coon’s face compared to lookalikes are the rounded, square shape of the muzzle, high cheekbones yet gentle curve of the face, and slightly longer than wide dimensions. This gives the Maine Coon a distinctive facially appearance.

Differences in Body Type

The Maine Coon has a very distinctive body type that differs from other cat breeds that are sometimes mistaken for Maine Coons. Maine Coons have a rectangular, muscular body with a broad chest and substantial boning 1. Their bodies are longer than typical domestic cats and give them a cobby appearance. By contrast, Norwegian Forest Cats and Siberian Cats have a more foreign, elegant body type. The Turkish Angora has a dainty, delicate build.

Compared to a regular domestic cat, the Maine Coon has a thicker torso and limbs 2. Their bodies are more heavily muscled, especially around the chest and shoulders. The Ragdoll has a softer, less defined musculature compared to the sturdy, athletic Maine Coon.

The Maine Coon’s broad chest allows for expanded lung capacity, contributing to its loud, rumbling purr. The substantial boning gives the breed a rugged, robust structure suited for cold winters and outdoor life. So when observing a cat’s body type, the Maine Coon stands out with its cobby, muscular, and rectangular shape.

Behavioral Differences

The Maine Coon cat is known for its gentle, playful, and friendly personality. Maine Coons are very social cats that bond strongly with their families. They tend to get along well with children, other pets, and even strangers. Maine Coons are intelligent and demanding of attention but not needy. They are known for being loyal, curious, and adventurous. Maine Coons enjoy exploring their surroundings and playing fetch. Some behavioral characteristics that set them apart include chirping noises instead of meowing and their tendency to dip their paws in water before drinking https://www.maine-coon-cat-nation.com/maine-coon-cat-behavior.html.

In contrast, the Norwegian Forest Cat can be more independent and territorial. They are energetic and love climbing but do not demand constant attention. The Siberian cat is energetic but more docile than a Maine Coon. Turkish Angoras are very active and playful but can be more vocal. Ragdolls are laidback and easygoing. Overall, the Maine Coon has a more outgoing, gentle, playful, loyal, and less territorial personality compared to similar long-haired breeds. Their behavior is a better fit for families.

How to Tell for Sure

The only way to conclusively determine if a cat is a purebred Maine Coon is through DNA testing. There are a few companies that offer cat DNA tests, such as Basepaws and Wisdom Panel. These tests analyze your cat’s genetic profile and can identify what breeds are present.

According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association breed standards, ideal Maine Coon characteristics include:

  • A large, long, rectangular body shape
  • A long, bushy tail
  • Medium-large pointed ears
  • An angular muzzle shape
  • A water-resistant double coat

A cat that closely matches the Maine Coon breed standard is more likely to have Maine Coon lineage. However, mixed breed cats or other purebreds may share some of these traits. DNA screening offers a precise analysis to pinpoint Maine Coon ancestry.

Discuss your cat’s potential background with a vet. They can provide an informed opinion based on your cat’s appearance, temperament, and medical history. While DNA tests offer certainty, a vet’s expertise can also help identify possible Maine Coon traits.

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