Maine Coon VS Norwegian Forest Cat : What Are The Differences?

Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cats in the eyes of the novice seem totally the same. 

Most get very confused since they are alike at first glance. Both arelarge breeds. Both have long silky coats. Both are well known for being outgoing and friendly.

Certainly, both breeds are wonders of nature. And, as hard pressing it is to distinguish a Maine Coon from a Norwegian Forest Cat, some differences set them apart.

If you are picking between these two plus-sized breeds and are having a hard time because they just appear to be very similar, read on to find out their dissimilarities. 

From there, you will have several factors to compare and contrast the two of the fluffiest cat breeds there was.

What do Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats Have in Common?

Before we proceed with the distinctions of the two furballs, let’s first pay attention to the factors that make people think they are the same.

Many believe that Maine Coons are descendants of Norwegian Forest cats. However, this is only based on the fact that they both grow to a large size as breed and have long and thick silky coats. 

These coats are meant to keep them warm during harsh winters.

Both Coons and Wegies are social and friendly. They show great loyalty and they enjoy being around people especially around loving families.

The two are equally intelligent but, as mentioned, no matter how similar they seem to be, they are still two different breeds.

What Are the Differences?

In an overview, here is how you can differentiate the two based on their appearance.


Maine Coon

Norwegian Forest Cat

At first glance

Tough cat breed that can

withstand harsh winter

climates. Originated in Maine.

Huge and sturdy, muscular cat

breed. Females are smaller.

Males are big and grand.

Originated in Northern Europe.





19-40 inches

40-48 inches


8-16 inches

9-11 inches


8-25 lbs

8-20 lbs

Head Shape

Wedge-shaped head with a square muzzle

High cheekbones

Medium width slightly longer face

Equilateral triangle head shape

Flat forehead

Nose Shape

Gently curving nose

Straight nose from brow ridge to

nose tip

Without a break

Eye Shape



Wide-set eyes

Opened oval shape

Slightly oblique setting

Slanting towards the outer base

of the ear



Almond-shaped eyes

Eyes set at a slight angle – the

inner corner is lower than the

outer corner

Muzzle / Chin


Visibly square

Strong chin

Well proportioned

Gently rounded

Firm chin

Whisker pads are not

pronounced nor pinched





Lynx like’ ear tufts

Ears taper appearing pointed

Large ears are wide at the base

Approximately one ear’s width

apart and set high on the head

Lynx like ear tufts'

Medium-large ears with a broad base

Rounded at tip

Heavily furnished

Set on side of head cup pointing

slightly outwards


The thick, smooth, long shaggy coat

Fluffy fur

Uneven lengths of long hair –

hair longer on stomach and

britches, and short on shoulders

Ruff of hair around the neck

Short undercoat

Distinctive double coat

Silky Coat

Fluffy fur

Even long hair

No ruff of hair on the neck

Water-shedding hair

Wooly undercoat

Glossy topcoat


A long thick bushy tail that


The fur is long and flowing

Long bushy tail with long

sweeping hair laying in one direction

The base of the tail is brooded

Body Shape

A long body that is well

proportioned, and looks rectangular

Broad chested


Males usually bigger than


Medium length body looks



Substantial bone structure

Considerable girth, with a broad chest

Legs & Feet

Large round paws with tufts of hair

4 toes at the back, 5 toes at the front

Legs wide-set, substantial,

medium length

Straight forelegs

Medium legs with front legs

shorter than hind legs

Substantial lower legs

Firm large round paws, with

heavy tufting between toes


Slow growing cat breed,

reaching full size between 3-5 years

Slow growing cat breed,

reaching full size at 5 years


Physically they look pretty much the same, but a closer look at their personality tells otherwise. 

Both are active and busy cats. That means, if you take home either one of them, you need to have plenty of suitable entertainment. Keep in mind that Wegies have strong claws and they love climbing.

Both Wegie and Coons are intelligent and highly trainable. 

Main are particularly happy to walk on leash and play fetch like dogs. Coons like to chat and are very vocal while Wegies are quiet but may sometimes purr loudly. Both are potentially affectionate.

Life Expectancy

Lifespan figures for every cat breed aren’t always accurate. Basically, they are always dependent on how you take care of them. 

However, based on a study conducted by researchers in Sweden Maine Coons have an 80% chance of living up to 5 years and 41% of living up to 12 years.

Norwegian Forest Cats, on the other hand, are studied to have a 91% chance of making it to the 5th year and 62% of reaching 12.5 years.


The needs of both cats are almost similar, considering they both have the same type of fur and coat. 

Brushing twice a week with a well-made slicker brush is enough. If you aren’t too busy, you can do that at least once a day, to keep them from getting hairballs.


Both Wegies and Coons need a diet that is rich in animal sources of fats and proteins. But, be sure to keep an eye on their weight. 

Since both are particularly large breeds, overweight may cause them to strain on their joints that can develop into hip dysplasia.


Coonie or Wegie, which is the better pet? 

If you are looking to pet a big cat, both can pass. Their muscular body covered in fluff is unlike any other breeds. If this is the feature you like in a cat, then it is unlikely that another cat breed can compare. 

However, in terms of good health and life expectancy, that of the Norwegian Forest Cat’s makes them unrivaled.

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