Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat – What is the Difference?

I think it’s safe to assume that cats are the best pets you can find. They’re small, soft, cute, relatively quiet, and highly intelligent. They’re also independent and have big personalities. Another big bonus is that they don’t require a lot of care.

Looking after a cat is relatively easy once its basic needs are met. They don’t need you to walk them outside, they generally don’t need bathing, and they usually enjoy a lot of alone time.

But that doesn’t mean they’re cold and boring! They get attached to their owners and have their unique way of showing it. Cats can be equally independent and affectionate. They’re also expressive and fun to have around. I mean, funny cat compilations exist for a reason.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time pet owner or if you’ve already had other pets. Cats will never be a bad choice for a pet.

All that being said, different cat breeds have slightly different needs and characteristics. Before adopting a cat, it’s best to do some research about different breeds to find an ideal match for you. Not every breed of cat will be to everyone’s liking.

In this article, I’m going to talk about two fluffy breeds. Like big walking balls of fur? Keep reading to learn more about Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats, some of the furriest breeds out there!

Maine Coon Cat

How Are Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats Different?

No two cat breeds are exactly the same. This obviously applies to these two as well. While they might look similar at first glance, they have important distinguishing characteristics. If you want to adopt one of these cats, make sure you know which one is best for you! Besides looks, you should ask yourself about what kind of personality you’re looking for in a pet.

Do you want a cuddly lap-cat? Or do you prefer a less touchy one? Is a vocal cat going to be an issue for you? Should your cat be friendly with children and with other pets?

Try to get an idea about what kind of furry companion you want. I’m going to give you an in-depth comparison between these breeds so that you can make the right decision. So, let’s see what these two are all about.

– Appearance

Let’s start with the obvious stuff first. Remember how I mentioned that cats are small? Well, scratch that. These guys aren’t. In fact, both of these breeds are known for being so large that they have their own gravitational field.

Okay, maybe not, but they’re definitely larger than your average cat. An adult Norwegian Forest Cat can weigh up to 10kg and reach a length of up to 46cm. They have long, sturdy-looking bodies and legs.

Maine Coon Cats are even bigger than that. Adult males weigh up to 11.3kg and they grow up to one meter in length. Yeah, that’s right. One meter. They also look super badass thanks to their strong, muscular bodies, wide chests, and sturdy legs. When it comes to fur, both of these breeds sport that long, shiny, and smooth coat, huge puffy tail, and lion-like mane around the neck.

Both breeds have medium to large-sized ears, but Maine Coon Cats have pointy-looking ears with lynx tips, whereas Norwegian Forest Cats have more rounded ears. Both cats have adorable ear tufts that protect them from the cold.

Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats both come in a variety of fur colors such as black, grey, red, blue, cream, white, as well as various patterns such as calico, tabby, or tortoiseshell.

– Personality

Both cats are gentle, friendly, playful, and highly intelligent. They’re good with other pets and well-behaved children, and they enjoy human company. Because both cats are natural hunters, they enjoy physical activity and have a sharp sense of curiosity, accompanied by great hunting skills.

You’ll often see them climbing, jumping, hiding, or sprinting around. They’re as gracious as any feline, but their gargantuan proportions mean they’ll be super loud whenever they jump around. You might want to line your floor with some extra-thick carpets if you live in a flat.

Maine Coon Cats are highly sociable, interactive, and affectionate. They require a lot of attention and they’re the type of pet to follow you around everywhere, even in the shower.

Once they get attached to you, they’ll want to spend as much time as possible by your side. They can be left unsupervised, but they don’t like being alone. So, keep that in mind if you’re living by yourself and are often out for work. You could leave your cat with a trusted friend, or you can buy another pet to keep your cat company while you’re out.

Norwegian Forest Cats are completely different in this regard. This breed needs its space. They don’t mind human company, but they also cherish their alone time. They can easily keep themselves entertained while alone, and don’t usually suffer from separation anxiety.

They’re also not very touchy, and would rather lay by your side than in your lap. Even when they’re in the same room as their owner, they might prefer to stay somewhere distant, keeping themselves busy with something else.

Norwegian Forest Cats aren’t really the cuddly type. But just like Maine Coon Cats, they love spending time with their owner when it comes to playing. Both breeds are naturally curious and playful, and they appreciate any kind of playing situation that simulates hunting.

They like climbing, jumping, chasing, and catching toys. Fun fact, by the way— both of these cats also love water. They don’t mind soaking or even swimming, especially when they can hunt for fish.

Norwegian Forest Cat

– Care

Just like any other cat, you’ll need to feed Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cat a healthy, appropriate diet. They also need clean drinking water and a clean litter box, as well as daily grooming and occasional claw trimming. Regular vet check-ups are also a must throughout your cat’s life. Vaccination, parasite testing, and teeth cleaning are important for any cat’s health, irrespective of the breed and pedigree.

On average, a cat needs about 47 calories per kilogram of healthy body weight. If your adult cat weighs 9kg, that would mean approximately 423 calories per day. You can fit a combination of dry and wet cat food, as well as one or two treats in this calorie allowance each day.

Caloric requirements will vary according to your pet’s age, health, and starting weight. Young and growing cats need more calories, while senior cats can get away with less.

Both cats need regular brushing to keep their fur tangle-free. Their dense, fluffy coat means they shed more than other cats, so be ready to groom your cat multiple times a week.

This helps reduce shedding quantity and keeps your pet’s fur from becoming matted. Daily to weekly dental brushing is also important for your pet’s oral health. Other things to look out for include ear infections. Check the ears regularly and use a soft, slightly damp cloth to clean any impurities.

– Health

Neither breed is known to have extensive health concerns or problems. A healthy Maine Coon Cat has a life expectancy of 13-14 years, while a Norwegian Forest Cat can live up to 14-16 years. However, just like humans, no cat is immune to certain health issues.

Norwegian Forest Cats are at a higher risk of certain conditions such as retinal dysplasia, polycystic kidney disease, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Retinal dysplasia is a nonprogressive eye condition that affects the retina. It’s usually caused by vitamin A deficiency, infections, or certain drugs. It usually occurs in newborn kittens and is caused by a Feline Leukemia Virus infection. The risk of this illness drastically goes down once your cat reaches adulthood.

Polycystic kidney disease is usually hereditary. It affects a cat’s body by forming cysts on a cat’s kidneys. These cysts are small fluid-filled sacks and they burden the cat’s kidneys, hindering them from doing their job properly.

Depending on the number and size of these cysts, this condition might also result in kidney failure. While there’s no cure, multiple procedures can be used to manage the symptoms and improve a cat’s quality of life. Some of the options include anti-inflammatory drugs, medication, antibiotics, omega-3 fatty acids supplementation, and dietary interventions.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a common heart problem in cats. This condition manifests in a thickening of the heart muscle. Depending on its severity, this can lead to an increased heart rhythm, heart arrhythmia, and even heart failure.

While there is no known cure, the condition can be managed through the use of medication. This condition is found not only in Norwegian Forest Cats but also in other breeds, including Maine Coons.

Besides Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Maine Coons are also more predisposed to developing hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a hereditary degenerative disease. It causes a malformation of the hip joints, which affects both the cartilage and the bones.

This condition causes pain, stiffness, and if left to progress, it can also lead to osteoarthritis. Heavier cats are more predisposed to this condition. Treatment options include painkillers, nutritional supplements, and surgery.

– Price

There isn’t a huge difference in prices between these two breeds. On average, a Maine Coon Cat costs between $1000-$1500, while a Norwegian Forest Cat costs between $800-$1500. Multiple factors influence this price.

A purebred kitten will cost more than a purebred adult, for example. Purebred cats cost more than mixed cats, and a registered, vaccinated, and neutered cat will also come with a higher price tag.

Professional breeders have higher prices than smaller sellers. A one-time seller might just try to find a new home for their adult cat, and their price will be drastically lower. I’ve even seen $50 offers for 3-year-old Maine Coon cats, so nothing’s impossible.

Professional breeders have high standards for their kitten’s health and wellbeing, so they invest a lot of money in regular vet clinics and high-quality cat food.

A high selling price is a way for them to create some profit after all the money they spend on pet care before the cat reaches 10-12 weeks of age. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s more likely that a professionally bred kitten will come with fewer if any health problems at all.

However, adult cats need some love too! However, it’s up to you to decide. You can find both Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cats for almost any price range.

So, Which One Should You Get?

If you’re just looking for a big fluffy beast, either breed will satisfy that request just fine. If you can’t decide, why not buy both? I would! In all seriousness, these cats are very similar in both looks and temperament, so the choice depends on smaller details.

Do you want a warm, highly affectionate cat? Go for the Maine Coon! Do you want an independent, quiet cat that can be left alone for hours at a time? Norwegian Forest Cat’s your best bet.

Whichever you choose, just remember that both cats are equally loving and appreciative. They just have different personalities and ways of expressing themselves.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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