Have you ever wondered why Maine Coons are such large cats? They are more than twice the weight of most domestic felines and distinctly more prominent in the body, but what makes them so large? How do they grow to such an extraordinary size?
Why Do Maine Coons Get So Big?
Their large size is the result of having large ancestors – possibly the Norwegian Forest Cat. This has increased the size of the domestic kitty we know and love because it passed on its size. Another explanation for Maine Coons being big is that they grow slowly, so they have the time to develop big muscles!
How Big Do Maine Coons Usually Get?
Maine Coons grow to an average of nineteen to forty inches long and twenty to forty inches high. (source) That is a big cat! Most domestic cats only grow to around fifteen to twenty inches long and stand approximately ten inches high.
Put a Maine Coon side by side with most domestic house cats, and you’ll soon see there is a very major difference between the two. In fact, I’ve written an article to compare the differences between a Main Coon and a tabby cat. Indeed, a Maine Coon’s tail can seem more prominent than the whole domestic cat!
With their shaggy coats, Maine Coons can look even bigger than they actually are, but they are decidedly large felines even without their fur. If you pick one up, you’ll be able to feel the difference.
These cats can weigh between fifteen and twenty-five pounds, and some weigh over thirty (without being considered overweight). That is pretty impressive for a domestic cat. Furthermore, the big fluffy tail they tend to wave around in the air adds to their size and remarkable appearance.
Why Are They So Big?
So, why are Maine Coons so much bigger than the average domestic cat? It’s hard to say “why” something evolved as it did, but the most logical explanation is the cat’s ancestry.
Although we don’t actually know where Maine Coons originate from, it seems fair to guess that these cats have a large wild cat somewhere in their history.
Many people believe that they are descended from the Norwegian Forest Cat. Norwegian Forest Cats are undoubtedly large, and if they have contributed their genes to a Maine Coon, this would go a long way to explaining the breed’s size.
Norwegian Forest Cats are probably large themselves because they need their size to hunt, defend themselves, and claim territory. The different challenges in their natural environment would have shaped their bodies as they evolved thousands of years ago, and this size got passed down as the species bred with domestic cats.
If a wild cat were as small as a domestic cat, it might not survive very well because it would become easy prey. Although some small wild cats (similar in size to the domestic cat), it is much more common for wild cats to be large.
It is not known whether Maine Coons actually do have links to Norwegian Forest Cats. This is just a popular theory that may someday be disproved, but for the time being, it explains the size of these huge kitties.
Another explanation is that Maine Coons grow slowly. This gives them more time to develop large muscles and the strong bones needed to support their big bodies.
Most domestic cats reach their full size by the time they are around a year old, sometimes a year and six months. Any growth after that is just fat.
Maine Coons, however, can take up to five years to reach their full size, although some stop growing at around three years old. Their growth spurts tend to be quite unpredictable, and you may not know for sure that your Maine Coon has stopped growing until months have passed. Some Maine Coons stay slim, leggy teenagers for longer than others.
At times, your cat’s body may look very out of proportion, and it can take a few weeks or even months for other bits to catch up. For example, a Maine Coon kitten usually has very oversized paws, but it will eventually grow into these.
How Big Will My Maine Coon Get?
You might be a bit concerned about how large your cat could grow, especially reading all that. However, remember that there is a lot of variation in the size of these cats, and while some do get very large, others will remain reasonably small.
The best way to judge how large a Maine Coon will get is by studying the parents. If both the mother and father are large cats, they are more likely to produce big offspring. On the other hand, if one or both parents are pretty small, there’s a greater chance of the kittens being small.
You may also find that your Maine Coon is a mixed breed, in which case it is unlikely to get as large as the purebred Maine Coons. On the other hand, if your Maine Coon is on the small side, it may have been bred with other cats to increase genetic diversity and also to reduce its size a bit.
Big cats are wonderful, but they are generally a bit harder to deal with than smaller ones. This is because they need more space, food, and specialized things like beds and carriers.
However, as long as your cat is happy and healthy, it probably doesn’t matter too much how large it grows – within reason!
If you are concerned about your cat’s growth, discuss your worries with a vet. They should be able to set your mind at rest or help you deal with any problems that may occur.
How Big Should A Maine Coon Be At Six Months Old?
Although they can grow at varied rates and there isn’t exactly a standard, you might find it helpful to know roughly how large a Maine Coon should be at half a year. Usually, your Maine Coon will weigh around seven to ten pounds when it is six months old.
You will often be able to tell at this stage how much more growing your cat has to do. If it has grown into its paws and ears, it will likely not get hugely more significant, although it will probably keep filling out and bulking up for the next few years.
However, if any of its body parts still look out of proportion, it probably has a lot of growing left to do! Some Maine Coons can be over thirteen pounds by six months old; these are likely to be big cats when they have finished growing.
Are Male And Female Maine Coons The Same Size?
Male and females can be the same size, but males are often a bit bigger. They tend to be similar in length, but males are generally a little taller than females, and they can weigh considerably more.
If you have a particularly large Maine Coon, it is probably a male rather than a female. A smaller one is often either a female or has been bred with another kind of cat.
Maine Coons probably become large because their ancestors were big cats. They are slow growers, so they have plenty of time to put on weight and bulk, and the advantages of this in hunting and defending territory are clear.
Fortunately, it seems like we can’t get enough of these oversized kitties!