How To Tell The Difference Between Maine Coon And Norwegian Forest Cat?

Imagine you’re wandering through a dense forest, and suddenly, two majestic felines appear before you. One has a luxurious coat of soft, fluffy fur, while the other boasts long, sleek fur. Can you tell if they are Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cats? These two breeds often get mistaken because of their striking physical similarities. But fear not. With our help, you’ll be able to differentiate between them in no time.

Maine Coons are one of the largest domesticated cats around, tipping the scales at up to 18 pounds. In contrast, Norwegians usually weigh about 10-16 pounds, making them slightly smaller than Maine Coons. Another feature that sets these two breeds apart is their fur. Maine Coons have a rough and shaggy coat with long bushy tails. On the other hand, Norwegians have smooth and fluffy coats with long bushy tails too. But wait. There’s more. Maine Coons have ear tufts and large snouts with oval-shaped eyes. Whereas Norwegian Forest Cats sport bushy eyebrows, almond-shaped eyes and a triangular head shape.

In this blog post, we will explore all the characteristics that set these two magnificent felines apart – from their personalities to their care requirements and everything in between. By the end of this post, you’ll be an expert on telling apart Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cats without breaking a sweat.

Physical Appearance Comparison

These magnificent felines may look similar at first glance, but upon closer inspection, there are distinct differences that set them apart.

Firstly, size matters. Maine Coons are known for their impressive size, with males weighing in at up to 18 pounds and females at up to 12 pounds. In comparison, Norwegian Forest cats are slightly smaller, with males weighing around 16 pounds and females up to 12 pounds.

Facial features are another distinguishing factor between the two breeds. Maine Coons have a square-shaped muzzle with high cheekbones and captivating eyes that are often green or gold. On the other hand, Norwegian Forest cats have a triangular-shaped face with almond-shaped eyes that can be green, gold, or blue.

Coat texture and length are also notable differences. The Maine Coon’s shaggy coat is thick and coarse to the touch, especially around their necks, chests, and stomachs. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, from tabby to solid and bicolor. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Forest cat’s fur is smoother and silkier than the Maine Coon’s, with a waterproof double coat designed to keep them warm in cold climates. They also come in various colors and patterns such as tabby, solid, and tortoiseshell.

Personality-wise, these two breeds differ as well. Maine Coons are known for their friendly and sociable nature, often referred to as “gentle giants.” They enjoy being around people and are great with children and other pets. On the other hand, Norwegian Forest cats tend to be more independent and reserved. While they can be affectionate with their owners, it may take them longer to warm up to strangers.

Size Difference

As you embark on the journey to differentiate between the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat, one of the first things that will catch your eye is their size. Allow me to take you on a fascinating exploration of this topic.

The Maine Coon, known as gentle giants, is a breed that lives up to its name. These felines can grow up to a whopping 40 inches in length, from their nose to the tip of their long bushy tail. Males are generally larger than females, and they can weigh anywhere between 9 to 18 pounds. Just imagine having a furry companion that is almost as big as a small dog – truly remarkable.

In contrast, the Norwegian Forest Cat is also a large breed but not as colossal as the Maine Coon. These cats typically weigh between 8 to 16 pounds, with males being larger than females. They can grow up to 24 inches in length, excluding their long bushy tails. Although they are not as massive as Maine Coons, they are still an impressive size for a cat breed.

But size isn’t the only factor that sets these two breeds apart. Besides their overall size, the shape of their faces is also different. Maine Coons have a broader and more square-shaped face compared to the triangular-shaped face of the Norwegian Forest Cat.

It’s crucial to note that while size is an essential distinguishing factor, it shouldn’t be the only element considered when identifying these two breeds. Other physical features such as their coat texture, color, and pattern also play a significant role in telling them apart.

Facial Structure Difference

These two stunning feline breeds share many similarities, but their facial structure differences are some of the most prominent characteristics that set them apart from each other.

Let’s start with Maine Coons, affectionately known as gentle giants. Their facial structure is a sight to behold, with a slightly rectangular face shape, high cheekbones, and square jaws. Their forehead is flat, and their nose is long and wide. But what truly makes them stand out are their large ears with tufts at the tips, adding to their distinctive look.

How To Tell The Difference Between Maine Coon And Norwegian Forest Cat-2

Now let’s move on to Norwegian Forest cats, also known as the fairy tale cat. Their triangular-shaped head with a long and straight nose is a defining feature. Unlike Maine Coons, their cheekbones are not as high, and their jawline is slightly rounded. However, they also have large ears with tufts at the tips, just like their Maine Coon counterparts.

It’s worth noting that identifying breed characteristics based on facial structure alone can be challenging, especially in mixed breed cats or cats with less distinct breed traits. That’s why paying close attention to other physical attributes such as coat length, color, and pattern can provide additional clues about a cat’s genetic background.

Personality traits are also essential when identifying breeds. For example, Maine Coons are known for their gentle nature and playful personalities, while Norwegian Forest cats are intelligent and independent.

If you’re still struggling to identify your furry friend’s breed accurately, consulting with a veterinarian or breed expert can be helpful. They can assess all of these factors and provide guidance to determine your cat’s genetic background accurately.

Coat Texture and Length Difference

The Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cat are two breeds that may catch your eye. These friendly cats are known for their majestic appearance, yet their coat texture and length reveal subtle differences between them.

Starting with the Maine Coon – this fluffy feline has a soft, silky coat resembling that of a rabbit’s fur. Their fur is longer on the stomach and tail, giving them a shaggy appearance. Unlike most other long-haired breeds, Maine Coons’ fur is not thick. These cats are also exceptional swimmers, as their water-repellent fur helps them glide through water effortlessly.

In contrast, Norwegian Forest cats have a thicker, woollier coat with a coarse texture. Their fur is longer on the neck and chest area, providing insulation against the cold weather of Norway’s forests where they originated. This gives them a lion-like appearance that suits their origin country’s forests. Just like Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest cats have water-resistant fur due to their heavy coat.

Besides their coat texture and length, two other features can help differentiate these two breeds – ear tufts and lynx tips. Maine Coons have large ear tufts approximately one inch long while Norwegian Forest cats have smaller ear tufts that are only about half an inch long. Both breeds have lynx tips on their ears, but those of the Norwegian Forest cat are usually more prominent.

Temperament Comparison

If you’re considering adding a Maine Coon or a Norwegian Forest Cat to your family, it’s important to consider their distinct temperaments. As an expert in this field, I’m here to help you understand the subtle differences between these two majestic breeds.

Let’s dive into the Maine Coon’s personality first. These cats are known for being incredibly social and outgoing. They love people and are always ready to make new friends. It’s no wonder they’re often referred to as “gentle giants” because of their large size and friendly demeanor. Maine Coons are playful and curious, always eager to explore and have fun. They’re also highly intelligent and can be trained to do tricks or play games with their owners.

In contrast, Norwegian Forest Cats are more reserved and independent. They’re still friendly and affectionate, but they tend to be more cautious around new people or situations. Originally bred as working cats in Norway, these felines have a strong hunting instinct which can sometimes make them more solitary than their Maine Coon counterparts.

When it comes to living with other pets, both breeds generally get along well with other animals. However, Maine Coons tend to be more tolerant of other cats and dogs while Norwegian Forest Cats may be more territorial and prefer having their own space.

Maine Coon Personality Traits

If you’re in search of a cat that’s not only friendly but also playful, the Maine Coon is an excellent choice. These gentle giants have a reputation for their loving nature and adaptable personalities, making them a popular pet for families and individuals alike.

Maine Coons are intelligent, independent, and curious felines that won’t demand constant attention from their human companions. However, they enjoy playing and interacting with them. They are patient and calm, making them a perfect fit for families with children.

One of the most intriguing personality traits of Maine Coons is their love for water. Unlike other feline breeds that avoid water at all costs, Maine Coons have been known to play in water bowls or even jump in the shower with their owners. This trait is believed to stem from their origin in Maine, where they had to fish for their food in streams and rivers.

Maine Coons are highly adaptable to different environments and can thrive both indoors and outdoors. They love exploring their surroundings and satisfying their natural curiosity. But they’re also fond of snuggling up with their human companions after a long day of adventure.

Norwegian Forest Cat Personality Traits

Known for their unique and charming personalities, these cats are outgoing, intelligent, and love human company.

One of the most striking personality traits of Norwegian Forest Cats is their love of the outdoors. These natural hunters are skilled at climbing trees, chasing prey, and exploring their surroundings. They even have a rare talent among domestic cats – they’re great swimmers. So if you’re someone who enjoys spending time in nature and wants a cat that can keep up with your active lifestyle, a Norwegian Forest Cat might be just what you need.

But don’t let their adventurous spirit fool you – Norwegian Forest Cats are also highly intelligent and adaptable animals. They’re quick learners who can easily adjust to new environments and situations. This makes them ideal pets for busy families who want a low-maintenance companion that’s easy to live with.

Despite their independent nature, Norwegian Forest Cats are also deeply affectionate towards their owners. They enjoy cuddling and being petted, making them great companions for those who want a cat that’s both independent and loving.

Tips for Identifying Your Cat’s Breed

It can also be challenging, particularly if you’re not familiar with cat breeds. If you’re curious about your feline friend’s background, here are some tips to help you identify their breed:

Physical characteristics:

Your cat’s physical features can provide vital clues about their breed. For example, the Scottish Fold has folded ears, while the Sphynx is hairless. Other physical characteristics to look for include eye color and shape, body shape, and coat length.


Cats have distinct personalities that can help you identify their breed. For instance, the Ragdoll is known for being docile and affectionate, while the Abyssinian is energetic and curious. If you observe your cat’s behavior closely, it can give you an idea of their breed.

Pedigree papers:

If you have a purebred cat, they should come with pedigree papers that provide information on their breed background. These papers can be helpful in identifying your cat’s breed and can also give you insight into any potential health issues or genetic traits to watch out for.

Consult a veterinarian or breeder:

If you’re still unsure about your cat’s breed, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or breeder who specializes in cats. They can examine your cat and provide more specific information based on their expertise.

Research online:

There are numerous online resources available for identifying different cat breeds. Websites like The International Cat Association (TICA) and The American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) provide detailed information about different breeds, including photos and descriptions of their physical characteristics.

Adopting or Buying a Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat

If you’re looking to bring a new furry friend into your home, the Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat may be just the breed for you. Known for their striking looks, affectionate personalities, and playful attitudes, both these breeds are highly sought after. However, before making a decision, there are a few things you should consider.

Firstly, adopting from a shelter or rescue organization is always recommended. Not only will you be giving a loving home to a cat in need, but it’s also a more cost-effective option compared to purchasing from a breeder. However, keep in mind that these breeds may not be as common in shelters as others, so patience and persistence may be necessary during your search.

If you do decide to purchase from a breeder, finding a reputable one is crucial. Look for breeders who are registered with organizations like TICA or CFA and ask for references. Don’t forget to check out online reviews before committing to a purchase.

Another important factor to consider is the cost of owning these breeds. Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats are both large cats that require plenty of space and resources. Before bringing one into your home, make sure you can afford potential higher veterinary expenses due to their size and potential health issues that come with the breed.

Caring for Your Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat

These amazing breeds require specific care to keep them healthy and happy. Here are some tips from an expert on how to provide the best care for your feline friend.

Grooming is crucial for both breeds due to their long, thick fur. Regular brushing with a comb or brush designed for their fur type prevents matting and hairballs. This not only maintains their coat health but also prevents hair ingestion when they groom themselves.

Dental care is essential for preventing dental issues like tartar buildup and gum disease. Maine Coons are more prone to dental problems, so it’s important to brush their teeth regularly and provide dental treats.

Obesity is a potential health issue for Norwegian Forest Cats, which is why monitoring their food intake and providing exercise opportunities is necessary. Interactive toys and playtime with owners keep them active and engaged. Maine Coons benefit from regular exercise as they can develop joint issues like hip dysplasia.

Both breeds are susceptible to health issues like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, so scheduling regular vet check-ups is vital. Any changes in behavior or health should be monitored closely, and prompt veterinary attention should be sought if necessary.

Mental stimulation and social interaction are essential for these intelligent breeds. They enjoy playing games, solving puzzles, and spending time with their owners. Providing them with plenty of toys and playtime can keep them happy and mentally stimulated.

Common Health Issues for Both Breeds

Both Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cats are generally healthy breeds, but they are still prone to some health problems. Here are some of the most common health issues that both breeds may face and tips on how to prevent them.

Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joint, leading to joint instability and pain. Limping, difficulty getting up, and decreased activity levels are some of the symptoms. To prevent hip dysplasia, make sure your cat maintains a healthy weight through balanced nutrition and regular exercise.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a genetic heart disease that causes the thickening of the heart muscles. HCM can lead to heart failure if left untreated. Symptoms of HCM may include lethargy, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite. Regular check-ups with your vet can help detect HCM early on and provide appropriate treatment.

Dental problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease are also common in both breeds. These conditions can cause tooth decay, gum inflammation, and even tooth loss. Regular dental check-ups and daily teeth brushing can prevent dental problems in cats.

Obesity is another common concern for both breeds. Obesity can lead to various health issues such as joint problems, diabetes, and heart disease. To maintain a healthy weight, provide your cat with a balanced diet and regular exercise. Avoid overfeeding your cat with treats or table scraps.


After careful observation and analysis, it is clear that while Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats share some similarities in appearance, there are distinct differences between the two breeds.

By taking note of these differences and understanding the breed standards, cat lovers can confidently identify whether they are admiring a majestic Maine Coon or a regal Norwegian Forest Cat.