The battle of the big fluffy cats! Okay, maybe not really a battle, but in this post, we will be comparing the Norwegian Forest Cat vs Maine Coon. Both of which are considered large domestic cat breeds with a muscular body and semi-long majestic fur, making them extra fluffy.
At first glance, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon indeed have similar features. Their large size, right away, makes some people assume they are either a Norwegian Forest Cat or a Maine Coon.
The reality is that other cat breeds are sharing a large domestic breed such as the Siberian, the Savannah, and the Ragdoll to name a few. But today, we’re here for the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon!
So, to start with, what do the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon have in common?
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The Similarities: What do Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon Have in Common?
It’s not just the fluffiness! These big lovelies have more similarities than just their physical features. They might even have a related origin story.
Might, as this remains to be fully confirmed to date. What science has confirmed is that big domestic cats have been sailing with the Vikings in the past, as mousers in their ships. As the Vikings travel, the cats may have been brought to different lands as well, traveling from one continent to the next.
This could be how these big cats have reached Maine, from their Scandinavian homes, or as far back as the Middle East. But what else? More on the Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon similarities below.
Of course, the first on our list is their size. As mentioned, both the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon are considered large size domestic cats and often weigh over 20 pounds or 9 kilos. In both breeds, the males are often slightly bigger than the females, but both with a solid body build.
In reality, however, if we want to focus on which is bigger, the Maine Coon takes the win, with chances of weighing as heavy as 35 pounds or 13 kilos. Norwegian Forest Cat can weigh up to 22 pounds. Although, these will still vary heavily with the diet and physical activity of the cat.
To reach their full size, both are slow-growing cat breeds, with the Maine Coon taking 3-5 years to be fully grown in size and up to 5 years for the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Along with their size, another distinct characteristic of these two cat breeds is their flowy fluffy coat. The Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon both have semi-long fur that is ideal for the cold. Don’t be fooled by first impressions, though. These big cat coats are not the same.
Much like their big size and long coat, the lynx-like ears of both the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon are specific on these two breeds as well.
Depending on the cat, most would also have some ‘furnishings’ or longer strands of fur sticking out from their pointed ears tufts. Looking closely, however, one will notice that the Maine Coon’s ears sit almost pointed right on top of their head, while the Norwegian Forest Cat’s ears are set on the side of the head, framing their triangular face
Comparing the personality of cat breeds may not always be on point, as we know that these are more dependent on the individual personalities of each cat. It’s still important to bond and connects with your cat frequently to better understand them.
On average though, owners of the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon have reported these observations that run similar between the two breeds.
Both the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon are playful and very smart, making them highly trainable as well. Contrary to their smaller counterparts, these big fluffy cats enjoy playing in the water. They are very good climbers too.
Both are known to have dominating attitudes and can be territorial. This is worth keeping in mind if you live in a multi-cat or multi-pet household.
Generally, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon are both healthy cats, but like other creatures, some diseases and illnesses might be more common in their genetic makeup. Due to their size, they might be prone to hip dysplasia, polycystic kidney disease, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Much like any other cat, it’s always best to give your cats the best high-quality food possible. For the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon, quality cat food would aid in ensuring they remain active and happy, as well as maintain their nice coat and healthy size.
A high-quality cat food would include high levels of protein, low in carbohydrates, lots of healthy Omega 3 and 6, as well as other fatty acids.
Taurine is also recommended for good eyesight and a healthy heart. Daily feeding with wet food is not recommended and most should be done at most 2 or 3 portions per week.
For more details about quality cat food, check out our article on how to find the best cat food.
Given that both the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon look equally dashing, it is just fitting for them to be awarded royal titles.
In their respective homelands, these two cats are revered and deeply loved. In 1977, King Olaf declared the Norwegian Forest Cat as Norway’s official national cat. Further west, the Maine Coon is regarded as the official state cat of Maine in 1985 and is considered one of the oldest natural cat breeds in North America.
The Differences: How to tell a Norwegian Forest Cat from the Maine Coon?
Now with the differences. As much as these two big cats might look the same and they could be sharing the same bloodline, there are particular ways to tell them apart as well. Upclose, even their physical appearance would be different from each other, especially for those with trained eyes.
Now, let’s dive deeper and discover the differences between the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon.
One of their stark differences, once you know where to look, is the shape of their heads. The Maine Coon has a wedge-shaped head, with a square muzzle. It has high cheekbones too and an elongated face. In contrast, the Norwegian Forest Cat has an almost perfect triangular head with a flat forehead.
The Maine Coon has bigger and larger eyes as well, while the Norwegian Forest Cat features more almond-shaped eyes.
Both the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon might have a long flowy coat, but the Maine Coon has uneven fur while the Norwegian Forest Cat has a more distinct silky coat, almost glossy. The Maine Coon also has a short undercoat, in contrast to the double wooly undercoat of the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Additionally, each comes with its own best features, even in its coats. The Maine Coon has a ruff of hair around their neckline and chest, very similar to the iconic mane of their far relative and the bigger cat – the lion. For the Norwegian Forest Cat, their topcoat is waterproof, making cleaning up much easier.
Legs and Paws
For its legs and paws, the Maine Coon has medium-length, wide legs and large round paws with thick tufts of fur. Its forelegs are straight and the toes differ, with 5 toes at the front paws and 4 at the hind legs.
On the other hand, the Norwegian Forest Cat has medium legs, with the front legs being slightly shorter than the hind legs. It has large paws as well, with tufts heavier mostly in between their toes.
Long Bushy Tail
Both the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon have fluffy tails, but the Maine Coon sports a thick bushy tail that tapers, with the fur long and flowing. For the Norwegian Forest Cat, the long tail has the fur sweeping in one direction, with the base of the tail being broader.
As mentioned above, it’s best to still get to know your cat individually as they vary depending on each kitty. To provide us with a basis for comparison though, most owners of both breeds share these personality traits particular to each breed.
In terms of playing, the Maine Coon will have unlimited energy and can keep on playing for hours. For the Norwegian Forest Cat, they might be amused with the game for a while, but would eventually retreat and have their quiet rest.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is more unpredictable as well, contrary to the Maine Coon that is more laidback. This is important for families with children that love playing with cats.
Maine Coon are more vocal too and enjoy chirping, while its Norwegian counterpart prefers to keep it low and quiet unless they need something.
Both intelligent cats, even walking on a leash and exploring around would be an adventure for the Maine Coon, while a Norwegian Forest Cat often does not appreciate a leash or even a harness.
Fun Facts about the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon
At this point, we’ve covered their similarities and their differences, let us now learn about the interesting facts about these two majestic felines. Check out the list below to get to know the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon a little bit more.
Maine Coons Have a Long History Dominating the Guinness World Record of Being the World’s Longest Cat
The current title of the World’s Longest Cat (living) is a two-year-old Maine Coon from Italy called Barivel. He measures 120 cm, longer than a baseball bat. Before Barivel, the record holder is Stewie, which is another Maine Coon, at an impressive length of 123.19 cm. Sadly, Stewie passed on in 2013.
A Maine Coon lives in Hogwarts
Our favorite cat from Harry Potter, Mrs. Norris of Hogwarts, is actually Pebbles in real life, a female Maine Coon. She is a spayed cat that wasn’t as responsive to training as the rest of the cats in the cast but was great at walking across the set and on hallways.
The First Pet to be Cloned Commercially is a Maine Coon
In 2004, a controversial company called Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc., cloned Little Nicky, a Maine Coon, commercially for the first time. This is after the request of Little Nicky’s owner after the cat has passed on at the age of 17.
The cloning reportedly costs $50,000 and was made possible with a genetic tissue of Little Nicky saved by his owner. The company then transplanted this DNA into an egg cell and was carried by a surrogate mama cat. The kitty or Little Nicky II, was said to be well, the clone of Little Nicky, both in temperament and appearance.
Norwegian Forest Cats are not Just Majestic, They are Mythical Too
Known as Skogat in their homeland, Norway, these big cats are said to be loved by the Norse goddess of love and beauty Freya who would travel in a feline-drawn chariot. The Skogats is described in Norse mythology as “mountain-dwelling fairy cats with an ability to climb sheer rock faces that other cats could not manage.”
Norwegian Forest Cats Almost Became Extinct
During World War II, the attention paid to the Norwegian Forest Cats waned and these cats have been heavily crossbreeding, almost bringing their breed to extinction. Fortunately, an official breeding program helped save the Norwegian Forest Cats lineage, to what we are seeing today.
These Norwegian Forest Cats Traveled the World with the Vikings
Prized for their mousing skills, studies confirmed that Nordic cats have been traveling with the Vikings back in the days and these could very much include the Norwegian Forest Cats.
Much like farmers, sea-farers would need mousers on board to protect their supplies. In the study mentioned, the team found cat remains in a Viking site dating back to the 8th and 11th century AD.
Answer: The Maine Coon is slightly bigger than the Norwegian Forest Cat. Males are typically bigger than females as well.
Answer: Looks can get deceiving but genes don’t lie. Genetic testing has confirmed that the Maine Coon is a descendant of the Norwegian Forest Cat, along with an unidentified domestic cat breed that is now extinct.
Answer: Yes, the Norwegian Forest Cats have a friendly and playful attitude. They are less active than their Maine Coon counterpart though.
Answer: The average price of a Norwegian Forest Cat kitten ranges from $800 to $1,500, along with several other factors for consideration.
Answer: Maine Coon cats make great pets, even for a household with children. They are happy laidback cats who enjoy playing and spending time with their humans.
Answer: The average price for a Maine Coon kitten ranges from $400 to $1500, along with several other factors for consideration.
The Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon are both beautiful big cats with equally big personalities to match. And as a quick reminder, some of the ways to tell a Norwegian Forest Cat apart from a Maine Coon is to check the shape of their head and face and pay more attention to their coat.
The mane of the Maine Coon easily stands out too. Both make great companies at home and enjoy quality time with their humans!