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.

FeatureMaine CoonNorwegian Forest Cat
At first glanceTough 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.
Length19-40 inches40-48 inches
Height8-16 inches9-11 inches
Weight8-25 lbs8-20 lbs
Head ShapeWedge-shaped head with a square muzzle. High cheekbones. Medium width slightly longer faceEquilateral triangle head shape. Flat forehead
Nose ShapeGently curving noseStraight nose from brow ridge to nose tip Without a break
Eye ShapeLarge
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 / ChinMedium
Visibly square
Strong chin
Well proportioned
Gently rounded
Firm chin
Whisker pads are not
pronounced nor pinched
EarsLynx 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
CoatThe 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
TailA long thick bushy tail that tapers
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 ShapeA 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 & FeetLarge 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
GrowthSlow growing cat breed, reaching full size between 3-5 yearsSlow growing cat breed, reaching full size at 5 years


Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats are fairly similar in terms of physical appearances. However, the personalities of these two cats can be quite different in a subtle way.

When it comes to the personality of any cat, we cannot predict it accurately beforehand. Every cat is entitled to its personality, and there could be aberrations in the same breed as well.

We also agree that there could be similar characteristics for a particular breed. So, we would consider the most common behavioral traits of the two breeds and compare them side by side.

Both Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats are friendly. However, the social nature is only restricted to known individuals when it comes to Norwegian Forest Cats. Whereas male Maine Coon cats are friendly towards everyone they see.

Maine Coons are extremely demanding when it comes to the attention of their owners. Norwegian Forest cats do not require as much attention as the Maine Coons do.

Maine Coons are extremely loyal to anyone they see, and it is not hard to win their loyalty in general. However, the Norwegian Forest Cats are only receptive towards their humans.

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

Both are particularly happy to walk on a 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.

Maine Coons are talkative, and Norwegian Forest Cats are much lazier. These cats will only communicate when they need something from you.

However, both of these cats are amazing with a family. If you have a small child at home, you can’t go for a better cat breed than these.

Here is a chart of all the differences and similarities between Maine Coon cats and Norwegian Forest Cats:

PersonalityMaine CoonsNorwegian Forest Cats
FriendlinessMaine Coons are incredibly friendly. They often seek out attention from anyone around them. Norwegian Forest Cats are also quite friendly. However, they prefer the attention of only the humans close to them.
SociabilityMale Maine Coons can bond with anyone around them. Female Maine Coons are laid back and reserved.Norwegian Forest Cats are reserved in general.
IntelligenceVery IntelligentVery Intelligent
TrainabilityEasily trainableEasily trainable
LoyaltyMaine Coon’s loyalty lies with anyone they find interesting.Norwegian Forest Cats’ loyalty lies only with their close ones.
PlayfulnessThey can play all day. They are a more laid-back type.
Climbing MentalityMaine Coons are good climbers, but they do not exert themselves to climb high places.Norwegian Forest Cats like to climb and reach high places.
TalkativenessMaine Coons are extremely talkative.They only talk when they need something.
Bonding With Other PetsMaine Coons bond well with other pets. These cats take time to bond with any other pets in the house.


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. [ Know more here ]

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.


Caring for Maine Coon cats involves buying high-quality dry food at all times. The food should contain high protein content, low amounts of fat and carbohydrates, and sufficient amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for the natural growth of Maine Coon cats and to maintain a healthy coat.

Norwegian Forest Cats also need high-quality food for their steady growth. The need for those two particular fatty acids is still there for Norwegian Forest cats as they have similar long hair on their body. Nutritionally balanced food is the perfect way to ensure the healthy growth of your cat.

Both of these cats are quite big. As a result, they require more water than other cat breeds. So, make sure that both of them have access to water sources at all times.

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.

The following chart depicts the similarities in their caring regime:

Caring AspectMaine Coon CatsNorwegian Forest Cats
Food QualityMaine Coons need extremely high-quality food.Norwegian Forest cats also need similar high- quality food.
WaterThey need sufficient water daily. These cats also need a substantial amount of water.


Grooming a cat is a huge responsibility for long-haired cats like Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Norwegian Forest Cats, etc. If you are oblivious to the grooming needs of your short hair cat, it is because they do not shed as much as these longhair cats. So, let us compare the grooming requirements of Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cats.

You need to brush Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cats every day. As both of these cats have long hair, brushing has to be a part of the schedule. Both of these cats are very receptive to the daily brushing regime. However, they might resist brushing certain places on their bodies. Brushing the coat needs to be implemented in the day-to-day routine from the start.

There is also a need to trim the fur near their paws as it can grow and hinder your cat from walking. So, for both of these cats, the paw fur needs to be trimmed from time to time.

Bathing is the easiest job when it comes to Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats. It is quite hard to believe if you had owned other cats previously, but it is a fact that these cats love water. As both of these cats have long hair, there is a risk of matted fur.

While it is easy to train both of them to take a nice bath, you need to invest in some good shampoos to wash them off.

Claw clipping is another essential job that needs to be a part of the grooming process as well. You might need to buy a special type of nail trimmer for the cats. But, it is important to trim their nails once every two weeks.

Grooming NeedMaine Coon CatNorwegian Forest Cat
BrushingDaily brushing is neededDaily brushing is needed
Paw Hair TrimmingNeededNeeded
BathingEasy to bathe as they love water. It is lazy and doesn't mind a bath..
Claw TrimmingNeeded every two weeksNeeded every two weeks


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, being overweight may cause them to strain on their joints that can develop into hip dysplasia. [1]

Maine Coon vs. Norwegian Forest Cat Price Comparison:

Maine Coon cats and Norwegian Forest cats have significantly different prices despite being so similar. While Maine Coon cats have reached the top of the popularity list, Norwegian Forest cats are still less popular. As a result, you will find a definite difference in their prices.

If you are going for a purebred Maine Coon cat, then the cost can be anywhere in the range of $400 to $1600. Whereas a purebred Norwegian Forest cat would cost in the range of $500 to $1000. Hence, we can say that the Maine Coons would be much costlier than a Norwegian Forest Cat in general.

The following chart should give you a better understanding of their price difference.

TypeMaine Coon CatNorwegian Forest Cats
Cat (<5 years)$600$450
Adult Cat$500$400
Show Quality$2000$1500

Norwegian Forest Cat Size Comparison with Other Cats:

Norwegian Forest Cats are larger than the other cat breeds that we know of, except Maine Coon cats. As these cats can grow as much as 20 inches in length, they can easily outshine most cat breeds. Let us compare the cat size with cat breeds to know the difference:

BreedSize (Length)
Maine Coon18-40 inches
Norwegian Forest Cats12-20 inches
Ragdoll Cats17-21 inches
American Shorthair Cats12-15 inches
Siamese Cats11-15 inches
Sphynx Cats13-15 inches

Are Norwegian Forest Cats Bigger Than Maine Coons?

No, Norwegian Forest Cats are not bigger than Maine Coons in general. Although this cat breed is bigger than other cat breeds, Maine Coons can grow up to 40 inches in length.

In some cases, of course, the size of a Norwegian Forest Cat can be more than a Maine Coon cat. However, that is not universally true.

As Maine Coon cats and Norwegian Forest Cats share so many behavioral traits, you will find an amazing lap cat in your Wegie. Their medium to large size makes them perfect for a lap cat.

Why Are Norwegian Forest Cats So Big?

As the name suggests, Norwegian Forest Cats belong to the Scandinavian part of Europe, where the temperature stays below the freezing point for most of the year.

As a result, they grew so much in size to hold more fat over their body. It serves as an insulating covering from the cold of nature. As a result, Norwegian Forest Cats never have a problem with playing around in the snow. Their unique fur also helps them to stay dry no matter how much they play through the snow.

Another theory suggests that the great Vikings used to keep these cats on their ships as a pest control. As they were unopposed in such an environment, they grew up to such an extent.


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.

Other Maine Coon Related Resource:

1. Blue Maine Coon Cats : Everything You Need To Know

Categories Vs