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Maine Coon vs. Norwegian Forest Cat: What’s the Difference?

  • 11 min read

The Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon are believed to be related, with the Norwegian Forest Cat most likely being the ancestor of the Maine Coon. They share many common characteristics that support this theory, especially physical.

Both cats are large breeds with easy-care, long, silky coats. Both can be outgoing and friendly, but the Maine Coon cat is easier to train than many other breeds. Although you can train a Norwegian Forest cat, it will be less loyal if you are not the one providing the bond and contact.

If you’re trying to decide which of the two cats you should adopt, or if you want to know the key differences between the breeds, you’ve come to the right place.

At a glance Maine Coon vs. Norwegian forest cat

Norwegian Forest Cat

  • Average size (adult) : 23 – 30.5 cm
  • Average weight (adult) : 5.5 – 7.5 kg
  • Life expectancy : 14 – 16 years
  • Care requirements : High
  • Family friendly : Yes
  • Friendly to Other Pets : Common
  • Trainability : Easily trained, friendly, tolerant
Norwegian Forest Cat
Source: Daily Paws

Maine Coon

  • Average size (adult) : 25.5 – 40.5 cm
  • Average weight (adult) : 4 – 8 kg
  • Life expectancy : 13 – 14 years
  • Care requirements : High
  • Family friendly : Yes
  • Friendly to Other Pets : Common
  • Trainability : Easily trained, friendly, tolerant
Maine Coon cat
Source: Modern Cat

Norwegian Forest Cat Overview


Norwegian Forest Cats have more of a cat-like personality than the Maine Coon. They tend to be lazy and lounge around more than they play. However, these cats are very intelligent. They often use this intelligence to their advantage, practically training you.


Both cats are trainable. However, with the Norwegians Forest Cat, more effort is often required because they are usually not as trusting and will bond with you from a young age.


One of the main differences between a Maine Coon and a Norwegian Forest Cat is their face and head shape. The Norwegian Forest Cat has a triangular head. Their noses are straight and merge into a flat forehead. This look gives them a pouty look that can give the impression that they are a bit frustrated with you or simply aloof. That suits her personality.


The name of the Norwegian Forest Cat is an indication of its origins. This cat comes from Scandinavia, probably Norway. Researchers believe their ancestors were likely semi-longhair cats brought to Norway from the Middle East during the Middle Ages, when globalization began. The Vikings used these cats on their ships as mouse catchers.

Historians believe that these large cats were valuable and were highly valued by the Vikings. In Norse mythology, Freya’s chariot is pulled by long-haired cats called “Skogkatt.” In the 1970s, Norwegian King Olaf made the Norwegian Forest Cat the official cat of Norway.


The Norwegian Forest Cat will suit almost anyone who has enough space to accompany this cat. Apartment living can work as long as you have enough places for her to lounge and outdoor space if she wants to exercise. Because they are so large, it can be difficult for them to stretch out adequately around the house. You can teach them going in and out and other outdoor behaviors.

Maine Coon Cat Overview


Maine Coon cats are generally friendly and quite intelligent. They are often very people-oriented and enjoy being the center of attention in their family. It is important to realize that while these two breeds share common characteristics, each animal is different. The bond you build between your Maine Coon and your family takes time and depends on your cat’s personality.


Training your Maine Coon cat should be, first and foremost, an act of love. These cats enjoy spending time with their family members and value training as a form of bonding. It’s especially fun for them if you bring a few of their favorite treats into the game.

Because Maine Coons tend to form strong bonds with their family, they are more likely to listen and accept new training commands to please you.


While Norwegian Forest Cats have more triangular faces, Maine Coons have square faces. Their jaws tend to be much wider and their noses are not as flat and slanted as those of the Norwegian Forest Cat. In keeping with their personality, this face shape often makes them look like they are smiling.


The name of the Maine Coon also gives us a clue to its origins. These cats come from the state of Maine in the USA. Researchers have not yet figured out exactly how they got there. It is believed that the Vikings brought them with them when they landed there sometime in the 11th century. This theory also supports the idea that Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats are related.

Another theory is that these cats came to American shores much later, as companions to European immigrants in the 18th century.

However, it was not until the late 19th century that the breed was further developed and gained popularity, largely thanks to farmers in Maine. Since then, there have been times when the breed’s popularity was quite pronounced and times when it declined sharply because other breeds, such as. B. the Siamese cat, put them in the shade.


Maine Coon cats are suitable for families and singles who want a companion animal. Although Norwegian Forest cats can be loving and affectionate, the breed tends to be more aloof. A Maine Coon is much more interactive and wants to spend more time with people paying attention and playing with her. However, too little interaction makes them sad and bored.

Which cat breed is suitable for you?

If you have to choose between these Norwegian forest cat and Maine coon, you should consider what type of cat you want. For example, are you often out of the house or don’t you have much time to interact with your feline? Then the Norwegian Forest Cat is probably the better choice for you. However, if you want a cuddlier, more interactive and playful kitten, then the Maine Coon is the ideal choice.

If you choose one of these adorable cat breeds, fluffy fur balls, be sure to give them the space and time they need. Since they are a large and long-haired breed, you will have to spend a lot of time brushing and playing with them.

Two cats: Norwegian Forest Cat in left and Maine Coon cat in right
Source: Catster

Differences in character and behavior of Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon

The Norwegian Forest Cat is very peaceful, gentle and sociable. She likes to let off steam and climbs extremely skillfully with her strong muscles. It is best to socialize with a second cat or children. The cat doesn’t like being alone. 

A garden or secured balcony with trees as well as a scratching post and cat toys are ideal for letting off steam. She is very curious and robust due to her origins.

The large Maine Coone cats are also sociable animals and very playful. They are also considered sociable and intelligent. They like to open doors on their own so that they are always there to see what is happening. They also make it easy to go out with a cat leash.

As extremely social animals, both cats love regular brushing of their fur. They are not fully grown until they are between three and four years old.

What other special features are there in two cat breeds?

Both cat breeds are semi-longhair cats. They are classified as larger species. The Norwegian has a two-layer, beautifully colored coat. This consists of a water-repellent top coat and a dense undercoat. There can even be tufts of hair between the toes. The fur appears a little shaggy, while that of the Maine Coon appears more silky. Therefore, the Norwegian cat has a more original appearance. There are very beautiful tufts of fur on the tips of the ears. Male cats weigh up to 8 kilograms and adult coonies weigh up to 12 kilograms. Both cats like to be brushed, although the Norwegian cat is a little easier to care for. Maine Coons also have tufted hair tips and hind legs. They also have very strong paws, love to chat and easy to train.

Finding a Norwegian Forest Cat in Berlin / Brandenburg is possible with the Norwegian from Wunderwald. One call is enough to get to know the beautiful forest cats at a meeting. Everyone should experience these special animals and their special appearance.

two cat breeds
Source: PetsRadar

Lifespan of Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon

The lifespan of a cat can vary based on factors such as genetics, overall health, diet, and living conditions. Both the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon are known for being robust and generally healthy breeds. Here’s an overview of their typical lifespans:

  1. Norwegian Forest Cat (NFC)
    The Norwegian Forest Cat is known for its sturdy build and long, thick coat. On average, Norwegian Forest Cats have a lifespan of around 12 to 16 years. With proper care, some individuals may live even longer.
  2. Maine Coon:
    The Maine Coon is one of the largest domestic cat breeds, known for its friendly nature and tufted ears. Maine Coons typically have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, although some can live into their late teens or even early twenties with good care.

It’s important to note that these are general estimates, and individual cats may have different lifespans. Providing proper veterinary care, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a safe and stimulating environment can contribute to the overall well-being and longevity of both Norwegian Forest Cats and Maine Coons.

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for detecting and addressing any health issues early on. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight, ensuring proper dental care, and addressing any specific breed-related health considerations can contribute to a longer and healthier life for your feline companions.


Q: What are the main differences between Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat?

A: The Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat differ in their appearance, temperament, and origin. Maine Coons are larger with a rectangular body, while Norwegian Forest Cats are medium-sized with a triangular face and high cheekbones.

Q: How can I tell a Maine Coon and a Norwegian Forest Cat apart?

A: Maine Coons have a rectangular body and a bushy tail, while Norwegian Forest Cats have a triangular face, high cheekbones, and a double coat. They also have different temperaments and behaviors.

Q: What are some specific characteristics of Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat fur?

A: Both breeds have a dense, water-repellent double coat, but the Maine Coon’s coat is longer and shaggier, while the Norwegian Forest Cat’s coat is finer and silkier.

Q: Are Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats suitable for indoor living?

A: Yes, both breeds can adapt well to indoor living as long as they have enough space for exercise and play. Interactive cat toys and climbing structures can help meet their needs.

Q: What are the common health concerns for Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats?

A: Both breeds can be prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and hip dysplasia, so regular veterinary check-ups are important to monitor their health.

Q: Which breed is more interactive and affectionate, Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat?

A: Maine Coons are known for their gentle and sociable nature, while Norwegian Forest Cats tend to be more independent and may be less inclined towards constant interaction and affection.

Q: Can Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats be groomed easily?

A: Both breeds have a dense double coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles. Regular brushing and occasional baths can help maintain their coats.

Q: Is there a difference in the size and build of Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats?

A: Yes, Maine Coons are one of the largest domestic cat breeds with a long, rectangular body, while Norwegian Forest Cats are medium-sized with a more triangular build.

Q: Are there any noticeable differences in the hind legs of Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats?

A: Maine Coons have strong hind legs that enable them to jump and climb well, while Norwegian Forest Cats also have powerful hind legs but may not be as adept at jumping as Maine Coons.

Q: What is the best way to determine if a cat is a Maine Coon or a Norwegian Forest Cat?

A: If in doubt, consulting a reputable breeder or an experienced expert who is familiar with both breeds can help in correctly identifying whether a cat is a Maine Coon or a Norwegian Forest Cat.

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Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.