maine coon vs norwegian forest cat

The Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat have different origins, as their names suggest, and they look similar to each other, So there is often confusion about which of the breeds you are looking at.

However, there are some very subtle differences between the two cats that you need to examine them closely to see.

Your cat may even be a mixed breed kitty that has some of the lineages of these two giant breed cats in them.

Similarities in Size

Both the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat are considered giant breed cats and are both the largest cats you will see.

Each of the breeds can reach 8 to 14 inches tall for females and 10 to 16 inches tall for males. Both cat breeds can reach 19 to 40 inches long from the nose to the tip of the tail.

The adult male Maine Coon can reach 15 to 25 pounds and the females can weigh from 8 to 12 pounds. Adult male Norwegian Forest Cats will weigh between 10 and 20 pounds and the females, as adults, will weigh between 8 and 18 pounds.

Both breeds of cats, being giant breeds, grow slowly and the Maine Coon will reach its full size between 3 and 5 years of age. The Norwegian Forest Cat reaches its final size at 5 years of age.

The Similarities and Differences in the Long Coats

Both breeds of giant kitties can have just about any color of coat or pattern that you can possibly imagine. Many have mixed colors, much like a calico cat, but with long and flowing fur.

Both cat breeds have long coats, but the Maine Coon’s coat is long, shaggy, and smooth in appearance and the fur is very fluffy, as you can see it blowing in the wind.

It has uneven long hair with the longer hair being on the stomach, britches, and a very long ruff around the neck that resembles a lion’s mane. The fur is very short on the shoulders and the undercoat is short as well.

The Norwegian Forest Cat also has long hair and a distinctive double coat that is very fine and silky on top. The undercoat is very thick and wooly with a glossy and shiny topcoat that is evenly long.

The Norwegian Forest Cat does not have a thick ruff around the neck and its coat is actually water shedding to have survived the harsh winters in Europe.

The Differences in The Head Between The Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat

The major differences in the two breeds of cats that make it easiest to tell the two breeds apart lie in the head, eyes, ears, and nose.

  • The Maine Coon has a distinctively wedge-shaped head with a very square muzzle.
  • He has high cheekbones and a medium-width face that is slightly longer than it is wide.
  • His nose has a gentle downward curve to it and his eyes are very large and expressive and wide-set on the face.
  • The eyes slightly slant toward the outer base of the ears.
  • The muzzle and chin are medium lengths and visibly square with a strong chin with good proportions and a medium-length neck.
  • The ears of a Maine Coon are like a lynx (with tufts) and they taper going upward to appear pointed at the top.
  • The ears are large and wider at the base, with them set very high on the head with about one ear’s width between both ears.

The Norwegian Forest cat’s head is a perfect equilateral triangle head shape with a flat forehead that makes his face look thin.

  • He has a straight nose from the brow ridge to the nose tip with large and expressive almond-shaped eyes.
  • The eyes are at a slight angle in which the inner corner is lower than the outer corner, so they slant upwards toward the ears.
  • His chin is gently rounded and firm with smooth whisker pads not pinched or pronounced and a short neck with very thick muscles.
  • The Norwegian Forest Cat also has tufts in ears of a medium to large size with a broad base and is heavy with fur.
  • The ears are on the sides of the head with the cup or opening pointing slightly outward.

Maine Coon vs. Norwegian Forest Cat, Body, Tail. Legs and Feet Differences

Upon a closer look at the rest of the bodies of the two breeds of cats, you can see that they are not much alike in comparison. The Maine Coon has a long body that is rectangular in shape and well proportioned.

His chest is broad and his entire body is very muscular. The Norwegian Forest Cat has a medium-length body and looks to be square in shape. Its bone structure is substantial with a considerable girth and a broad chest.

The Maine Coon has a tail that is long and very thick with bushy fur that tapers down to the base. The fur is long and flows easily in the wind.

The Norwegian Forest Cat has a tail that is long and bushy also, but the hair all lies in one direction and the base of the tail is much broader than the tip.

The Maine Coon has large round paws with tufts of hair between the paw pads. He will have 4 toes on the back paws and 5 toes on the front paws with wide-set legs that are substantial and medium in length and straight forelegs.

The Norwegian Forest Cat has medium-sized legs with the front legs being quite a bit shorter than the rear to give him more height in the rear end. He has large round paws with heavy tufting between the toes on all four paws.

Personality and Traits of the Two Breeds

There are quite a few personalities and traits of the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat that are similar. Both are highly intelligent and highly trainable. They have amazing hunting skills and their strength makes them very good climbers as well.

Both breeds are fascinated by water and the Norwegian Forest Cat will even enjoy playing in the water from a faucet, perhaps because he knows that he is water repellent on his outer coat. Both also make good family pets and are good with children.

Subtle differences in Both Cat’s personalities

There are also some subtle differences in the personalities of the two breeds that you should be aware of if you are seeking to adopt one of these two breeds.

The Maine Coon is sociable and outgoing, although the males are more confident with strangers and the females are more reserved around strangers. The Norwegian Forest Cat is also sociable and outgoing but has a reserved nature with all strangers.

The Maine Coon is laid back and gentle while being very friendly and he will seek attention from his family.

The Norwegian Forest Cat, on the other hand, is also laid back and friendly, but prefers to be independent and doesn’t seek attention from his family.

The Main Coon is a very playful cat that is full of energy and will play like a kitten until he is quite old, whereas the Norwegian Forest Cat will play for a bit and then insist on his rest.

The Main Coon is very vocal and loves to make chirping and trilling noises, but the Norwegian Forest Cat is very quiet unless he is demanding something from you, such as food.

How To Tell If A Cat is Part Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat?

It’s possible to have a cat that is a mixed breed with Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat in their ancestry.

If you are in search of a kitten of one of the two breeds, you can always look at the parent cats to see if they may be one of these astonishing giant breed cats.

If you are in search of a purebred Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat, you can find them on both the Cat Fanciers Association and the International Cat Association. You can check their websites for a list of breeders and find one close to you.

The other way to tell if a cat is partial to a Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat is to merely look at them closely for any of the outward appearances that would tell you this information.

Looking at their stature, size, weight, and fur distribution along with the body and head shape can tell you what you are looking for.

The first Norwegian Forest Cats came to the United States in 1979 from Europe and the Maine Coon is considered the state cat that has been around for centuries. You can find either type of cat pretty easily, as they are not the rarest of breeds, although they may be the most beautiful.

You can expect to pay about the same amount of money for either of these regal-looking cats. Maine Coons cost between $1,000 and $1,500 and a Norwegian Forest Cat is about $800 to $1.500 for a purebred and registered cat. Purebred kittens generally cost more than purebred adults.

Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat Care

Both giant cat breeds take the same amount of care as most cat does. They should have an appropriate diet of food that can be dry only or wet food or a combination of both.

The amount of food your cat eats depends on its age, whether it is still growing, and its activity level.

Kittens need more food to keep up their high-energy antics in playing than older more laid-back cats. You should also feed food to your cat for a specific age bracket, such as a kitten, adult, or senior cat.

The luxurious long hair on both breeds of cats can present some issues if you are sensitive to cat dander as both are pretty heavy shedders.

You will need to thoroughly brush your long-haired cat out at least 2 to 3 times a week to remove all tangles from the outer and undercoats.

Tangles that are close to the skin can cause painful sores and become infected, needing veterinary care.

You will also need to be fastidious about keeping the litter box clean too. All of that long hair translates to litter box messes sticking to the long silky hair on your cat’s rear end.

It’s not advisable to have one of these breeds of cats as an outdoor cat only, because of the extra care needed for their long coats. Any type of small stickers on your lawn will seem to attract the silky fur at all times.

Catios & Cat Enclosures

Many cat owners will make a “catio” for their indoor cats to enjoy some outside sunshine while in a perfectly safe area.

This works well to fashion out of some sort of wire that has small enough mesh so your cat can’t fit through the holes. You can add some food and water outside in their area with toys and tree limbs for climbing.

Otherwise, since your cat will be quite large when it’s an adult, you can place a tall cat tree with a bed and scratching post on it near a window.

This will allow your feline friend to enjoy the activity of watching outdoors with birds and squirrels so he can be entertained even when you are away from home. Both breeds of cats love this idea because they are both great hunters and climbers as well.

Final Thoughts

If you are trying to decide on which of these two lovely cats to adopt, the most important aspect to consider is your household.

If you have small children, then the Norwegian Forest Cat may be a better decision, because they are more laid back.

In the Absence of small children and want a cat that will play for hours on end, you may choose the Maine Coon. Whichever you choose will make a lovely new four-legged family member.