Home Cats Size Matters: Why are the Maine Coons So Big

Size Matters: Why are the Maine Coons So Big

by Pawsome Tips
Why are the Maine Coons So Big

In the world of feline companions, one breed stands tall – quite literally. The Maine Coon, with its majestic appearance and impressive size, has captivated cat lovers for centuries. But why are the Maine Coons so big?

Join us on a fascinating journey as we delve into the genetics, evolution, and surprising facts behind the remarkable stature of Maine Coons. 

From their origins in the harsh winters of Maine to their current status as one of the giant domestic cat breeds, we’ll uncover the secrets contributing to their grandeur. Explore the unique genetic markers that give Maine Coons their distinct size, and discover how centuries of natural selection have shaped their impressive physiology. 

Along the way, we’ll debunk common myths and reveal surprising facts about these gentle giants. So, whether you’re a fan of the Maine Coon or simply intrigued by the wonders of nature, prepare to be amazed by the intriguing world of Maine Coon cats and their extraordinary stature.

The genetics behind Maine Coons’ size: Why are the Maine Coons So Big

Maine Coons are known for their large size, and their genetics play a significant role in determining their stature. One of the key genetic factors that contribute to their size is the presence of the “polydactyl” gene, which causes extra toes. This gene is relatively common in Maine Coons and can result in more giant paws, giving the impression of a larger overall size.

Another genetic factor that influences their size is their overall body structure. Maine Coons have a long and rectangular body shape, which allows for greater length and height compared to other cat breeds. This unique body structure is believed to result from a combination of genes selected for over generations of breeding.

In addition to these genetic factors, the size of Maine Coons can also be influenced by environmental factors such as nutrition and overall health. Proper nutrition during the early stages of development is crucial for ensuring that a Maine Coon reaches its full-size potential. A balanced diet, rich in high-quality protein and essential nutrients, can contribute to these majestic cats’ healthy growth and development.

Wellington Silva / Pexels

Evolutionary advantages of Maine Coons’ size

The large size of Maine Coons is not just for show – it has evolutionary advantages that have allowed them to thrive in their natural environment. Originating in the harsh winters of Maine, the size of Maine Coons played a crucial role in their survival. Their large size provided better insulation against the cold weather and helped them navigate deep snow.

Furthermore, their impressive stature gave them an advantage when hunting. Maine Coons have solid muscles and powerful hind legs, allowing them to pounce on their prey with great force. Their large size also helps them intimidate potential predators, making them less likely to be targeted by other animals.

Over time, these evolutionary advantages have been preserved through natural selection, resulting in the large and robust Maine Coons we see today. While they may no longer face the same challenges in the wild, their size is a testament to their resilience and adaptability.

Surprising facts about Maine Coons’ size

While most people know the large size of Maine Coons, there are several surprising facts that many may not know. For instance, Maine Coons are not only significant in terms of their length and height, but they also tend to be heavier than other cat breeds. On average, male Maine Coons can weigh between 13-18 pounds, while females typically weigh between 8-12 pounds.

Despite their size, Maine Coons are known for their gentle and friendly nature. They are often called the “gentle giants” of the cat world. Their size does not make them aggressive or intimidating but adds to their charm and lovable personality.

Another surprising fact is that Maine Coons have a slow growth rate compared to other cat breeds. It can take up to three to four years for a Maine Coon to reach its full size and maturity. This slow growth rate allows their muscles and bones to develop appropriately, ensuring a healthy and well-proportioned body.

mamizaza / Pixabay

Differences between male and female Maine Coons

When it comes to size, there is a noticeable difference between male and female Maine Coons. Male Maine Coons tend to be significantly larger than their female counterparts. This sexual dimorphism is a result of their genetic makeup.

On average, male Maine Coons can reach a length of 40 inches or more, including their tail, while females typically measure around 36 inches. Similarly, male Maine Coons can weigh 18 pounds or more, while females generally weigh less, averaging around 12 pounds.

It’s important to note that while the size difference between males and females is significant, both genders possess the same gentle and friendly temperament that Maine Coons are known for.

How to care for a large Maine Coon

Caring for a large Maine Coon requires a few extra considerations compared to caring for a smaller cat breed. One of the most essential aspects is providing them with a suitable diet. Maine Coons have a higher caloric requirement due to their size and active nature. Feeding them a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs is crucial to their health and well-being.

Regular exercise is also essential for large Maine Coons. Despite their size, they are agile and playful cats that require stimulation and physical activity. Providing them with toys, scratching posts, and interactive play sessions can help keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

Grooming is another important aspect of caring for a large Maine Coon. Their long fur requires regular brushing to prevent matting and keep it in good condition. Additionally, routine dental care, nail trimming, and veterinary check-ups are necessary to ensure their overall health.

Common health issues in large Maine Coons

While Maine Coons are generally healthy cats, their size can make them more susceptible to specific health issues. One common problem is hip dysplasia, which affects the hip joint and can cause discomfort and mobility issues. Regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring can help identify and manage this condition early on.

Another health concern in large Maine Coons is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic heart condition that can lead to heart failure. Regular cardiac screenings and genetic testing can help detect this condition and allow for appropriate management.

Obesity is also a potential concern for large Maine Coons. Their size and caloric requirements can make them prone to weight gain if not adequately monitored. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise is essential for their well-being.

Famous Maine Coon cats throughout history

Over the years, there have been several famous Maine Coon cats that have made their mark in history. One such notable Maine Coon was “Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines,” who gained fame during the late 1800s. He was a beloved cat who participated in various cat shows and won several awards for his impressive size and appearance.

Another famous Maine Coon is “Cosey,” who won the first recorded cat show in the United States in 1895. Cosey’s victory helped popularize the Maine Coon breed and paved the way for its recognition as one of the giant domestic cat breeds.

Kanashi / Pixabay

Maine Coon cat competitions and shows

Maine Coon cat competitions and shows are popular events where breeders and owners showcase the beauty and size of their cats. These events provide an opportunity to appreciate the unique characteristics and qualities of Maine Coons.

In these competitions, judges evaluate the cats based on specific breed standards, including size, body structure, coat quality, and temperament. Maine Coons that meet these standards are awarded top honors and recognized for their exceptional qualities.

Attending a Maine Coon cat competition or show is an excellent way to learn more about the breed, interact with breeders and owners, and witness the remarkable size and beauty of these majestic cats.


Maine Coon cats are extraordinary due to their unique genetics, centuries of natural selection, and remarkable size. Their gentle nature and intriguing history have made them a beloved breed worldwide. Understanding their genetic basis for size, the evolutionary advantages it brings, and their care needs is crucial for enthusiasts and admirers alike. Whether you’re fascinated by their grandeur or simply love nature’s wonders, the Maine Coon cat world offers a captivating journey. Prepare to be awed by these gentle giants, the majestic Maine Coons of the feline realm.


Why are Maine Coon cats so large compared to other domestic cat breeds?

Maine Coons have a genetic predisposition for size, which is believed to be an adaptation to their cold, rugged environment in Maine, USA. This genetic factor contributes to their remarkable stature.

How do the genetics behind Maine Coon size work?

Maine Coon size genetics involves a combination of multiple genes that influence factors like bone structure, muscle mass, and overall body proportions. This complex genetic makeup contributes to their large size.

Do Maine Coons continue to evolve in terms of size?

Maine Coons have already evolved to their current size due to natural selection and adaptation over generations. However, breeders continue to select specific size traits to maintain the breed’s distinctive characteristics.

Is there a specific gender that tends to be larger in Maine Coon cats?

Male Maine Coons are typically larger than females, both in terms of weight and overall size. This sexual dimorphism is a common trait in many animal species.

What are some of the other remarkable characteristics of Maine Coon cats’ size?

Maine Coons often have long, sturdy legs, large tufted paws that act like snowshoes, and a long bushy tail. Their substantial size and unique physical features make them well-suited to survive in cold and snowy climates.

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