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08.08.2022

Maine Coon vs. Norwegian Forest cat—the battle of the giants

Big, long-haired, cute—Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests could be the same breed. Even though these kitties look similar at first glance, they are pretty different. If you are contemplating which one to adopt, a hard decision is upon you. 

Thankfully, Untamed shares the differences and similarities between a Maine Coon and a Norwegian Forest cat. You can learn about their appearance, personality, and health, as well as how to provide the best care for them. 

Norwegian Forest cat vs. Maine Coon—how to tell them apart

I’m really a lion. Roar!

Source: Kirsten Kluge

When comparing two supposedly similar cat breeds, such as Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests, it's necessary to consider their:

  1. Physical appearance
  2. Personality
  3. Health
  4. Care requirements

Norwegian Forests and Maine Coons physical traits

Norwegian Forests and Maine Coons look similar because of their long fur and robust physique, but there are striking differences between them.

The following table presents the most prominent features of these two breeds:

Feature

Maine Coon

Norwegian Forest

Fur

  • Semi-long with longer fur around the mane, stomach, and rear areas
  • Silky upper coat with soft and fine undercoat
  • Semi-long, even-length coat
  • Woolly undercoat and water-resistant upper coat

Head

  • Square head shape
  • Slightly elongated
  • Gentle concave curve when observed from the side
  • Triangular head shape
  • Long and straight profile from the tip of the nose to the forehead
  • Slightly rounded forehead

Eyes

  • Large and oval
  • Slightly oblique
  • Large and almond-shaped
  • Slanting

Ears

  • Large and wide
  • Lynx tips not obligatory
  • Set high on the head
  • Heavy ear furnishings
  • Large and wide
  • Lynx tips not obligatory
  • Set slightly lower
  • Ear furnishings present but less than in Maine Coons

Body

  • Long, strong, and muscular
  • Broad chest

Long, strong, and muscular

Legs

Medium, even length

Hind legs are longer than the front legs

Tails

  • Big and bushy
  • Hair grows in no particular direction
  • Wide and fluffy
  • Hair grows in one direction
  • Same length as the body

Colour

A variety of colours, including:

  • Cream
  • Black
  • Blue
  • White

Numerous colours, patterns, and variations, including:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • White
  • Red
  • Cream
  • Amber

Size

  • Males: 7–11 kg
  • Females: 5–8 kg
  • Males: 6–9 kg
  • Females: 4–6 kg

Norwegians and Maine Coons—who’s more mellow?

Go ahead, compare me to that lion-wannabe. I dare you.

Source: 42 North

To compare the personalities of Norwegian Forest cats and Maine Coons properly, we need to look at their:

  1. Sociability and affection
  2. Activity levels
  3. Intelligence and trainability
  4. Vocality
  5. Territorial tendencies

How friendly and affectionate are Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats?

Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests have friendly and affectionate personalities, making them fantastic companions in any household. 

The difference is that Maine Coons tend to express their affection more openly. They run to the door to greet you when they hear the keys jiggling and enjoy curling up in your lap. 

Norwegian Forests are also loyal and attached to their parents but aren't keen on public displays of affection. They aren't clingy and can be highly independent. If you can't offer them attention at a particular moment, they will likely leave you be and find some other activity to entertain themselves. 

If you want a typical lap cat, a Maine Coon is a better choice. 

How active are Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests

Wegies and Coons are active and playful breeds. They mature slowly and behave like kittens until they are about five. Maine Coons tend to preserve their playfulness much longer, while Norwegians become lazier as they grow older. 

These felines also love being outdoors. Keeping them inside is not impossible, but you must create an entertaining environment. You should spend at least half an hour every day (preferably twice a day) playing with your kitty and keeping them physically active. 

Here are a few things that might help you keep them occupied:

  • Interactive toys
  • Food puzzles
  • A cat tree or condo
  • Perches
  • Scratching posts with dangling objects
  • Laser pointer
  • Balls and teaser toys

If you decide to let your feline friend enjoy the great outdoors, create a safe space where they can play and explore. Remove sharp objects and poisonous plants, fix the fence, and ensure no other animal can get in. It would be best not to leave your kitty outside unattended unless you can make an enclosed space where they can play safely. 

How intelligent and trainable are Coons and Wegies?

This is what you would call a “you’ve got me under your thumb” situation.

Source: Roxanne Desgagnés

Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests are highly intelligent and easy to train. These breeds are often compared to dogs, so you can teach them fun games like fetch and hide and seek or tricks like sitting and lying on command. 

Luckily, these felines are not overly mischievous. As long as you create a stimulating environment and give them enough attention, you won't have to worry they’ll wreak havoc on your home. 

How vocal are Wegies and Coons?

Maine Coons are chattier than Norwegian Forests. They mostly chirp when they are happy or need attention, while Norwegians tend to be quieter and calmer. Wegies usually have a soft, gentle voice but often purr loudly. 

How territorial are Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats?

Coons and Wegies are famously territorial and tend to be dominant. They can't get along with other animals, but they need more time to accept new friends. 

You can easily avoid such problems by introducing them to other animals in kittenhood. Socialisation, as always, is everything. 

Norwegian Forests vs. Maine Coons—health concerns and lifespan

Am I a Wegie or a Coon? Other than a bit of identity crisis (nothing a therapy session can’t resolve), I’m fine. 

Source: Wild Spirit

While generally healthy, Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats can suffer from a few health conditions. 

The most common diseases these two breeds have in common include:

  • Progressive heart disease—The most common heart disease in felines is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). It's the thickening of the heart muscle that makes it difficult for the organ to function normally, ultimately leading to blood clot formation, fluid accumulation in the lungs, and heart failure
  • Joint problems—Hip dysplasia is the most frequent joint problem in large felines. Severe cases may require surgery
  • Polycystic kidney disease—This progressive genetic condition damages a feline's kidneys, slowly reducing their function and ending in renal failure

Besides these health concerns, Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests may suffer from other breed-specific diseases:

Maine Coons

Norwegian Forests

Spinal Muscular Atrophy—A genetic disorder affecting skeletal muscles of the limbs and trunks

  • Glycogen storage disease IV—A condition that affects glucose metabolism. In most cases, kittens are either stillborn or die shortly after birth
  • Retinal dysplasia—An eye defect that leads to spots on an affected feline’s retina

Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests can also develop many lifestyle-related diseases. Cats who lead a sedentary lifestyle and consume an inadequate diet often struggle with obesity which can speed up the onset of hereditary disorders and lead to:

Maine Coons live between 10 and 15 years on average. As for Norwegian Forest cats, their average life expectancy is between 14 and 16 years. If well taken care of, both breeds can surpass their life expectancies and live up to 20 years.  

Caring for Norwegian Forest cats and Maine Coons

Whether you decide to get a Norwegian Forest cat or a Maine Coon, to keep them healthy and happy, you must provide them with appropriate care. These two breeds don't differ much in this respect. 

You will have to pay attention to their:

  1. Grooming needs
  2. Dietary requirements

Maine Coon vs. Norwegian Forest cat—grooming requirements

I think I desperately need a pedicure!

Source: Kirsten Kluge

Coons and Wegies are semi-long-haired and shed a lot, but their fur quality is different. Wegies' coats don't mat easily and are easier to maintain, while Coons’ need more attention. 

Check out the basic grooming requirements for these two breeds in the following table:

Grooming step

Maine Coon

Norwegian Forest

Brushing

Two or three times a week to remove loose hair and prevent tangling and matting

Once a week should suffice

Bathing

Once a month or more often if your kitty goes outside and gets dirty

Every six to eight weeks, or when your kitty gets dirty. You may need to take your Wegie to a groomer because their fur is water-resistant, and it can be challenging to get it fully soaked

Besides these two steps, Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests need:

  • Daily teeth cleaning
  • Occasional nail trimming
  • Regular ear and eye cleaning 
  • Cutting the fur on their paws when it overgrows 

Maine Coon vs. Norwegian Forest cat—dietary requirements

Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests have the same dietary needs. The only difference is the portion size. As Maine Coons are larger, they need higher caloric intake

Both breeds require a high-protein diet consisting of lean meat and fish, which delivers essential amino acids, fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals felines need to stay healthy. 

In nature, cats hunt birds, mice, frogs, and big insects, so a diet based on chicken, turkey, duck, tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and similar suits their digestive system. Since felines are obligate carnivores, they don't need grains, vegetables, fruit, eggs, dairy, or sugar. Such ingredients can only make them fat and cause digestive problems, including: 

Many felines are particularly sensitive to these food items and may experience food allergies

When picking the right product for your kitty, make sure it contains:

  1. More than 50% of animal protein
  2. About 20% of animal fat
  3. Less than 3% of carbohydrates

Opt for wet food because it typically has more animal protein and is more hydrating, so it can prevent FLUTDs and kidney problems. Dry food is acceptable as an occasional snack, especially as it can help with dental hygiene and gum issue prevention. Biscuits are not the best option for regular meals because they are highly processed, have more carbohydrates, and can lead to dehydration due to low moisture content. 

Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest cats, and all other felines only need meat, fish, and a dash of fat. 

Image (c) Untamed

Try Untamed—the perfect food for Wegies and Coons

Vets designed Untamed jellies and gravies to provide balanced nutrition for cats at all stages of life, including:

Our meals stand out because we make sure that:

  • The protein content is high—Untamed dishes contain at least 60% of whole meat, which is double the industry standard. We only use human-grade meat and fish and avoid animal derivatives and other iffy ingredients
  • Meals are cooked gently—Aggressive processing can destroy the nutritional value of food and make it less tasty. That's why we gently steam our food, preserving all the nutrients and ensuring every dish is irresistible. Fussy kitties who have refused wet food before can't get enough of our delicacies
  • There are no common allergens in our products—We only use the ingredients safe for felines and prepare meals even sensitive kitties can enjoy

To top it all, with Untamed, you can cater to your kitty's taste as we offer a diverse selection of meals, including:

  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Liver
  • Ham
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Prawns

Try Untamed, and be confident you are choosing the best food for your feline friend. 

How to order Untamed

With Untamed, ordering cat food online is as simple as 123. 

Here is how it works:

  1. Take our Try Now quiz
  2. Pick the products
  3. Place your order

We will deliver your trial pack the next day with free shipping. Let your kitty taste our delicious food, and when they give us a nod of approval, we can start sending monthly supplies of Untamed meals. 

You can always modify, postpone, or cancel your subscription from your account. 

According to our regular clients, you can expect the following improvements once your furry friend switches to Untamed:

  1. One week—Easy digestion, optimal hydration
  2. Two months—Balanced energy, regular eating habits
  3. Four months—Less shedding, fewer hairballs, beautiful coat, and better muscle tone
  4. Long-term—Effortless weight management, strong immune system, fewer health niggles

Maine Coon Norwegian Forest mix

Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests share many physical traits and have similar personalities. Some also believe that these two breeds are related, so it's not uncommon to cross breed them. 

Many people prefer purebreds because of the guarantees regarding their size, temperament, and health, but the fact is that many purebreds face genetic health issues. Mixing two breeds often reduces the chances of genetic illnesses due to a larger gene pool. 

If you are considering getting a Maine Coon Norwegian Forest mix, consider their:

  1. Physical traits
  2. Temperament
  3. Health

What does a Coon Wegie cross look like?

Maine Coons and Norwegian Forests are large breeds with long, fluffy fur that makes them appear even larger. Their kitten will be the same.

As Coons are bigger than Wegies, their offspring can be somewhere in between, but there is no way of telling exactly how big they will get. 

The colours and patterns are numerous in both breeds. Wegie Coon kittens will probably take after the parents. 

The most striking difference between Coons and Wegies is their head. Some people describe Maine Coons as cheerful-looking, while Norwegian Forests seem more serious. 

What is a Wegie Coon temperament like?

Coons and Wegies love attention, enjoy interacting with their families, and do well with kids and other animals. A Norwegian Forest Maine Coon mix is likely to be the same. 

How independent and active they will be is harder to predict. Wegies are fine playing by themselves, while Coons prefer interacting with their humans. Both breeds are energetic, so don’t expect their hybrid to be lazy. 

How healthy are Norwegian Forest Maine Coon mix kittens?

Mixed breeds tend to be sturdier than purebreds, but the scientific debate is still ongoing regarding whether mixing two breeds reduces the chances of hereditary illnesses. These kitties are prone to joint problems and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, so schedule regular vet visits as you would with purebreds