Can you distinguish between a Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat? Don’t be frustrated, more than 90% can’t make the call for the first time.

As you may know already, that Maine Coon Cat is one of the most famous cat breeds in New England and the United States. His owners call him ‘’the dog of the cat family’’. While the Norwegian Forest Cat is the official cat of Norway, Scandinavia, he is also known by ‘’Skogkatt’’, which means “Forest Cat” in the Norwegian language, and ‘’The Viking’’ referred to Scandinavian people who traveled by sea with their Forest Cats.

Maybe you are thinking now that they are the same! Same cats with different names! Why not? They look alike, they are both the biggest cats, long-haired, and they adapt to the cold and snowy climate. 

Therefore, you might say that telling apart from them would be an impossible mission! Especially when you remember that they are entirely similar, yes, they have an identical appearance and it is normal to be confused. Therefore, you would be forgiven for mistaking a Maine Coon Cat for a Norwegian Forest and vice versa.

However, Can you realize that there are many differences as well as similarities between these two lovely breeds? There are some small details that make each breed unique and charming. And to choose one over the other as a pet, you need to explore the characteristics of each breed.

After reading the full article, you will be not be forgiven for mistaking between the two again. And be sure that you’ll enjoy the fact that you’re one of the rare people who can distinguish the Main Coon from a Viking cat!

First, let’s dive into the history and the characteristics of the Maine Coon Cat and the Norwegian Forest Cat!

The History of Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats

Do you like stories?  Good! Cause when it comes to the origin of the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cats we find many ones. Ones that are close to reality and others that are close to being myths than real events.

Maine coon’s origins

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To start with the ancestral origins of Maine Coons, we should say that the stories are quite mysterious and are folk tales more than history. 

The first story happened in the 1793’s, when the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette attempted to escape France with the help of Captain Samuel Clough. She loaded Clough’s ship with her most prized possessions, including six of her favorite cat, which was Turkish Angora or Siberian. Although she did not reach the USA, but her pets safely reached the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they bred with other short-haired breeds developed into the modern breed of the Maine Coon.

Another story took place in the 1800s, when a ship Captain named Charles Coon wanted to anchor in the ports along the New England coast, including Maine, and he brings his long-haired cats with him as mousers. So when they were at land, the local feral cats mated the long-haired cats, which gives birth of kitten that was called Coon’s Cats because they looked so much like the Captain’s own cats.

The last theory considers that Maine coons are the hybrid of cross-breeding of domestic cat with Raccoon or Bobcat, the mating with Raccoon is genetically impossible but it may happen with Bobcat. Furthermore, look to their resemblance then you may affirm it!

Finally, the Maine Coon cat was recognized in the early 19th century and start to be awarded since 1861 as the best cats on New York City show.

Norwegian Forest Cats origins

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The most popular story confirms that the Norwegian forest cat originated in Norway. He served as a mouser and kept the Norwegian Vikings ships and farms free of vermin. There are other theories about its ancestors, The first one is about a cross-breeding of black and white short-hair cats brought from Great Britain with long-haired cats brought by Crusaders. The second theory claims that the ancestors are Siberian Forest cats brought from Russia and Turkish Angoras from Turkey.

The breed was finally registered in 1994 by Carl Fredrik Nordane, a Norwegian cat fancier who first initiated these beautiful felines. Then they were registered as an official cat breed in the American Cat Fanciers Association.

Did you notice how the two breeds are similar even when we check their ancestors? Nonetheless, there are also many theories that suspect that the Norwegian Forest cats are the ancestors of the Main Coons cats.

What is the difference between the two: Physical Features, Personality, Health, Life span

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instagram: @mainecoonqueens – @aslantheforestcat

When it comes to the appearance of the two breeds, They almost look like twins and it’s hard to distinguish between them with the first try.

As this title shows, the difference between Maine Coon Cat and the Norwegian Forest Cat is not only their appearance, but there are plenty of dissimilarities such as the character of each breed, suspect diseases that they may face and their life expectancy.

Physical Features

Size & Weight

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Talking about our charming breeds’ appearance cannot go on without mentioning their exceptional size & weight. They are both big cats with big hearts. Even if the Norwegian Forest cat is also big but Main Coon cats still awarded for the biggest and largest cats of the world. 

Let’s talk numbers:

The cat breed Weight Height
Maine Coon Cat Male 7-12 kg (15-26 lb) 10-16 inches (25-40cm)
Femelle 5-8 kg (11-18 lb) 8-14 inches (20-35cm)
Norwegian Forest Cat Male 6-9 kg (13-20 lb) 12 to 18(30-46 cm)
Femelle 4-6 kg ( 9-13 lb) 12 to 18(30-46 cm)

Shape and structure

maine coon vs norwegian forest cat shape

As a pet lover, we are too excited about every single detail related to our fascinating cats. This is an amazing part where our guests undergo some accurate observations. 

Head shape: Maine Coons have a quite wedged head shape with a wide muzzle and a rounded curve on its forehead which makes them looks like a ‘’lion’’ while the Norwegian Forest Cat has an equilateral triangular muzzle with a flat forehead, similar to the majority of the other cat breeds.

Let me guess! You are trying to imagine that! These pictures are showing clearly those differences!          

Eyes shape

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If you back to the picture, you will notice that Maine Coon’s eyes are large and slightly oval; they sometimes appear round when they are wide-open.

Instead, The Norwegian has large, almond-shaped eyes, and set oblique with an alert expression.

Ear shape

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They both have large and wide ears with lynx tips. The Maine Coon’s ears are set high on the head. Norwegian’s ears’ outer line follows the triangular line of the face and the muzzle.

Nose shape

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Maine Coon’s nose shape is more gently curved than that of a Norwegian Forest Cat that has a straight bridge to its nose.

Body

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Maine Coon cat has a long body which makes him seem quite large when he sits on the hind legs especially as they have quite a broad thick furred chest. The Norwegian Forest Cat is smaller in length and squarer in shape but they both have quite large chests. 

Tail

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The Norwegian Forest cat has a bushy and long-tail when compared to the Maine Coon. It is wider and fluffier, and of the same length as their body. In comparison, the hair on the Maine Coon’s tail is bushier long and flowing especially at its end.

Coat

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Their size is not the only thing that they have in common, but they both have thick fur, fluffy, smooth and long heard which keep them warm during cold weather and make them able to adapt to the snowy climate. But sometimes owners like to give their fluffy cat a Lion cut.

Do you agree that this is the most attractive thing, responsible for how our glamorous cats are gorgeous and fluffy?

Color

maine coon vs norwegian forest cat colors

Here we have fantastic news for you! Coons has nearly 80 accepted colors as described by the CFA, whilst the Viking cat isn’t far behind and has approximately 60 recognized colors. Such as:

  • White,
  • Black and black-blue
  • Red- cream
  • Smoky
  • Amber
  • Silver
  • Abby
  • Cinnamon

You can’t deny that each one of our fabulous cat breeds has his own physical features?! Do you still unable to distinguish between them?! Let’s dig deep and discover their personality and character.

Personality & Character: (sociability, trainability, vocality, loyalty)

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Main coons and Norwegian Forest cats exhibit very friendly traits. They are extroverted and playful. They socialize greatly with other animals as well as with people. Also, they are too curious and intelligent, and they love hunting. You can train both of them easily! Comparing to the Vikings cats, Maine coons are highly trainable and well known for their intelligence and their ability to quickly learning new things.

They communicate differently, Maine Coons tend to be very vocal chatty and are known for their chirping sound. In contrast, Norwegian Forest cats tend to be calm and quieter unless they need something. 

Maine Coons are extremely loyal and very affectionate even if they don’t get attention from their owners. The Norwegian Forest cats are loyal to their owners only if they are giving them attention.

And of course, Their playfulness and energy are referred to as how you care about their health!

Health (Common diseases and different ones)

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When it comes to Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cat’s health,  both can face some common diseases that any cat may have. They are prone to:

 Hip Dysplasia that is a genetic malformation of the cat’s hip joint and causes arthritis and crippling lameness. 

 Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that can result in heart failure and paralysis of the lower limbs.

There are also some diseases related to each breed.

Maine Coon Health

 Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Which is one of the most diseases that Main coons can have. It causes an awkward posture and manifests in obvious aggravation when walking. The muscles in the back of their legs become weak over time. But, despite it, the cat can continue relatively its normal life.

Norwegian Forest Cat Health

Glycogen storage:  The Vikings are prone to this disease, it causes a deficiency of an enzyme needed for the metabolism of glycogen. This one may unfortunately fatal in some cases.

Life span of Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat

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You may ask if these health diseases may affect the life expectancy of Maine Coons or the Norwegian Forest Cats? 

The average lifespan for a Maine Coon is between 12 and 15 years. However, the oldest reported Maine Coon was 26. On the other hand, the average lifespan for a Norwegian Forest cat is between 14 and 16 years. 

Which one is easier to care for? A Maine Coon or a Norwegian Forest Cat? 

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Grooming Maine Coon female cat, Serafin, with a brush

If you think about getting a Main Coon or a Norwegian Forest cat, surely you are aware that every cat will have its own set of needs for daily care, nutrition, housing, and grooming. 

High quality of food

Maine Coon cats need high quality of food, containing high levels of protein, low carbohydrates, and Omega 3 and 6 fat and fatty acids.

For Norwegian Forest Cats, cat food that contains Taurine is usually ideal. It’s basically an important amino acid that your feline requires for good heart health and vision.

And don’t forget that both the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat require access to a water source at all times, to prevent them from becoming dehydrated.

Grooming

As you know, breeds with long fur coats like Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats need a  lot of grooming at least weekly, if not daily. Keep in mind that cats need to be washed by specific shampoos that suit their silky fur coat, and doesn’t affect their health.

Entertainment 

When it comes to playing time, Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cat need to be well entertained. Try to create an environment with plenty of room, litter boxes, food, water, scratching posts, and toy. Provide also access to elevated places makes, cats like to be up high.

Costs of keeping a Maine Conn vs Norwegian Forest Cat

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Do you know that the costs of bringing a pet into your home go far beyond any initial adoption fee or purchasing price?  This can vary from nothing at all to hundreds and thousands of dollars. They are costs related to their food, insurance, grooming, and other basics elements.

You prefer numbers Ok! We got it! Look at these tables below to find out details:

These are the purchasing prices:

  Maine Coon Cat Norwegian Forest Cat
Kitten 800$-1200$ 300$-900$
Senior Cat 800$ 600$
Rescue Cat 200$ to 400$ 250$-350$


Did you compare their prices?  Then there are the annual costs related to their food, insurance, grooming, and other basics elements.

Annual costs Maine Coon Cat Norwegian Forest Cat
Feeding 700$ to 1300$ 200$-800$ 
Insurance 350$  350$
Vaccination 50$ to 150$ 50$to 150$ 
Veterinary exams  80$ and 160$ 100$ to 200$ 
Litter box 10$ to 70$ 10$ to 70$ 
Toys 10$ to 60$ 10$ to 60 
shampoo 7$ to 15$ bottle 7$ to 15$ bottle
Grooming and boarding 70$ to 200$ 100$ to 200 $

Which is the better pet?

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Maine Coon Cats are a great choice if you look for a cat with a beautiful appearance and endearing personality. They are curious and extremely loyal. They treat every human or pet in their household as their family. Maine Coon Cats are also wonderful with children and other pets. They are intelligent and love hunting, which makes them too playful. 

If you decide to own it then be ready to sacrifice your time and energy to respond to their social needs and give him love and affection.

Int the other hand, the Norwegian Forest Cat is an athletic, active cat and likes to have something to do at all times. This cat is ideal for active households and families with children. These cats are loyal to their owners if they are giving them attention. They like to socialize and are independent at the same time. Only some toys for your Norwegian Forest Cat keep it happy and engaged. Sometimes they become lazy, and they prefer to keep to themselves, when they need to, they become proficient at finding the best hiding places.

Which breed suits you? A Maine coon or a Norwegian Forest Cat?

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instagram: @aslantheforestcat

After all the information you learned, have you decided which breed to choose? Actually, we wish you good luck with that! Because,  despite all the differences between the Main Coon Cats and The Norwegian Forest Cat, they are alike, and choosing the right breed is not an easy task. Personally I recommend you consider each cat’s specific needs and characteristics so that you can match them with your lifestyle.

If needed, you can check another comparison of another spectacular breed that you will find it in this article’’’ Maine Coon vs Ragdoll’’.

If you had chosen a Maine Coon Cat instead of Norwegian Forest Cat or vice versa, then we will be glad that you share with us what pushes you to choose it as companionship.