What is the difference between a Tiffany cat and a Black Maine Coon?

by Tiffany
(Saint Paul, MN)

I cannot tell if my 13 year old Francis that I have had since he was a kitten is a Tiffany or a Black Maine Coon? Or both? Is there a difference?

Thank you!

Tiffany


Hi…thanks for visiting and asking.

Bakground info...Sometimes you do get subtle differences between cat breeds. This is certainly the case with respect to appearance because the breed standards are quite flexible allowing cats of one breed to encroach upon the appearance of cats of another cat breed. But these cats are still a different cat breed because their pedigree is different. Pedigree is something you can't readily see as it will be in a document. It is the parentage of the individual cat going back sufficient generations to satisfy the cat association that the cat is of the cat breed concerned.

So, the difference between a Tiffany and a Maine Coon is in the registration of the cat with the cat association, its pedigree and the breed standard for that cat breed.

Cats of a cat breed are purebred cats.

Most cats are not purebred. They are called random bred cats or sometimes mixed breed cats. Sometimes random bred cats can look like purebred cats. In fact all purebred cats originate in random bred cats and before that in the wild cat. Sounds a bit complicated but the point I am making is that there is an overlap and a lack of clear demarcation sometimes, particularly when the cat is almost a purebred cat e.g. Maine Coon mix.

There is a lot of confusion (for me at least) surrounding the Tiffany and I am not sure about registrations with cat associations for this breed. The Maine Coon is well known and accepted by all cat associations.

Answering your question.. the truth is, and don't take this the wrong way, you would probably know if your cat was a Maine Coon. You'd have registration papers etc. As the Tiffany is rare it is likely that Francis is a very handsome random bred cat.

From the point of appearance only, Francis does have some Main Coon-like qualities: ruff, long hair etc. The Maine Coon breed standard says that the cat should have a coat (if black) that is "dense coal black, sound from roots to tip of fur". The Tiffany can be black but I am unable to see a breed standard. Francis has brown in his fur. His ears are not tufted as is often the case with Maine Coons and desirable. Francis has nice standard ears. Maine Coon ears are larger. Maine Coons are large cats. The largest domestic cat outside of wildcat hybrids. The Tiffany is a standard sized cat. If Francis is standard size that would point to not being a Maine Coon. The Maine Coon face is quite particular too. Although Francis does have a face that has Maine Coon characteristics.

I have waffled a bit trying to write a decent answer. My answer to your question is that Francis, handsome that he is, is neither a Maine Coon nor a Tiffany but a really nice random bred cat. Random bred cats are in many respects better than purebred cats.

Update April 2013:

By Paulette

The large picture of him on the bath, is my favorite. Would you guess Maine Coon or Chantilly background?

Chantilly or Maine Coon?

Chantilly or Maine Coon?

Response

First, I'd like to celebrate a very handsome cat. He has a beautiful ruff and a gorgeous deep, chocolate coloured coat.

Secondly, you are never really going to be sure of his background. Sammy definitely has a Maine Coon look about him. The ruff is classic and I think he has a hint of the Maine Coon lynx tip ears.

His muzzle is not the classic Maine Coon muzzle, which is very square and strong.

Chantilly?

Chantilly is another name for Tiffany. My personal opinion is that there is some Tiffany in Sammy. But it is probably is not as straightforward as that. The genetics of the Maine Coon are all over the USA and there is probably a lot of Maine Coon in the Tiiffany. The truth is we don't know and that does not just mean me, but people who are more expert than me.

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What is the difference between a Tiffany cat and a Black Maine Coon?

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May 01, 2012
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Thanks for your response! NEW
by: Tiffany

Thanks for your (complicated) response. Ha! 🙂
Francis is definitely not pure bred as he was a kitten of my friends cat and a stray. He is however a sweetheart (usually) so I don't care what he is. But I just thought it was interesting that he might have some Maine Coon in him or something. And I thought it would be funny if he was a "Tiffany" since that is my name. But I do love cats, so it's interesting to know the differences and I hadn't heard of "random bred". Thanks again! I enjoy your site!
Tiffany


Apr 30, 2012
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Sorry ears are pointy!!
by: Anonymous

I've just looked again. My cats ears are pointy but your cats aren't however the shape of the face is very similar as is the colouring.


Apr 30, 2012
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No difference
by: Leah (England)

I'm just looking at my Black Maine Coon and I feel as though its him on your article!! There is no difference!!!

Michael if I email you a photo would you be able to post on this article?

Thanks

ANS: yes

Here is the picture of your Maine Coon:



Comments

What is the difference between a Tiffany cat and a Black Maine Coon? — 49 Comments

    • Hi,
      I bought my cat about 3 years ago and on the certificate it said she was a mix of Persian and Chincilla cats.
      Im having a hard time believing this as she doesn’t look like either of these to me.
      The more I read about tiffany cats, I started thinking she would be one of them?
      She’s very special to me and I was wondering what your opinion of her breed would be and if maybe she is a tiffany or a random?
      Thank you

      • Anna, I have just checked the breed standard for the Chantilly as registered with the only association in North America that I know of which accepts this breed, the American Cat Fanciers Association.

        Two points stand out: this cat breed, the Chantilly, is semi-foreign. This means slenderish. And the fur should be semi-longhair. Your cat is gorgeous but not semi-longhair in my opinion. Also I’d not call her semi-foreign.

        These two aspects might rule out Tiffany/Chantilly. You have a certificate from a breeder I guess. Not sure where your certificate comes from.

        If the certificate is inaccurate or not genuine, the default answer is that your cat is a beautiful random bred cat but maybe a purebred mix (one removed from purebred) because she has a purebred appearance.

        Sorry I can’t be more precise.

          • Anna, the fact you live in Australia is interesting and changes things. This page might interest you:

            http://pictures-of-cats.org/uk-tiffanie-australian-tiffanie-tiffany-chantilly-long-haired-burmilla-nz-tiffany.html

            Your cat may well be an Australian Tiffanie. It makes sense because it squares up with your certificate. There is a lot confusion about the name Tiffany and Tiffanie due to various cat associations in different countries using the name.

          • Anna now we know you have an Australian Tiffanie (ending ‘ie’) if you’d like to tell me a bit more about your cat I’ll do page on her because she is beautiful and special and I don’t have a page on this breed on PoC.

            • Oh wow.
              I’m more than happy to.
              She is small to medium in size.
              She follows me absolutely everywhere in the house. Very friendly towards me but VERY scared of visitors and usually hides under the bed if she doesn’t know them.
              Always looking for attention and gets upset if she doesn’t receive it (hisses and bites feet), especially if she is not fed the food she prefers. So can be very demanding.
              She responds back when called her name and comes up.
              She has learnt the open the doors of the house to go outside but doesn’t stay for long unless I am with her. As I said before, following around the house all the time, constant companionship. But opens doors to walk in and out of rooms and the ones she can’t open, she jumps scratches until it’s open for her.
              She’s three years old now and very playful.
              Hmm that’s her personality,
              I do feel like she’s very special.
              Feel free to ask any questions 🙂

            • Her feet, tail and the neck area are soft and fluffy, her body coat is silky and longish.
              The colours are brown, dark brown/black, yellow and white.
              Her name is Kiki.

  1. I recently became aware of the Chantilly cat. I have thought our 1 year old rescue was a Maine Coon. Our cat, Sammy, 20 lbs which appears to be a lot bigger than the Chantilly, but the coat and face makes me think Chantilly. His coat and eyes did take 2 or more years to really develope. He is extremely easy and affectionate with a continual beautiful pur; however, I have never heard chirping. So with no papers, which would he be considered do you think? I tried to post a picture, but it would not paste here; that is too bad.

    • Hi Paulette. If you have the time you can upload a picture using the form on the home page. You’ll see a button that allows for a picture upload. Do that and leave a message here and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Thank you Michael,
    I did manage to post 4 pics of Sammy, the last is my favorite. He was a rescue at 1 year, so the 3rd I sent as he was at first and the other 3 to try to give the best try at guessing at Maine Coon or Chantilly background. Your site is a help and often just an interesting read.

    • Hi Shawna. Yes he could easily have some Maine Coon in him in my opinion. He certainly has some Maine Coon traits. He also has some traits of the Norwegian Forest Cat. Both may have the same ancestor.

      Remember the Maine Coon is a basically a medium long haired moggie farm cat from the 1800s which was turned into a pedigree cat.

      You have a very handsome cat. Give him a kiss from me for Christmas.

  3. The cat pictured looks a great deal like my Tiffany, and has a lot of features of a Tiffany, but the face shape is more Maine Coon. A Tiffany has a more rounded face, the ears have plumes from within, not tufts on top, and they are much smaller than Maine Coons. My Tiffany male is large at 12 pounds. My friends’ Maine Coon male is 23 pounds!!! Tiffanys noted color is chocolate, but can be found in a variety of color. The Maine Coons that I’ve seen are more patchwork in color with less distinctive markings, although I don’t know about the probability of more solid color. I can see, though, how they could easily have come from the same heritage at some point!

  4. The Tiffany/Chantilly resembles a longhaired version of the Burmese and is a “seal” (very dark brown colour) not black. The cat in the photo is black with rusting (fading) on the ruff and doesn’t resemble a Tiffany at all.

  5. I adopted one of my neighbors unplanned kittens (resulting from an early copulation between her female calico at 8 months and her 9 month old male Sylvester; looks just like the cartoon kitty). Anyway, my guy Houdini was born on Xmas day. At 5 months he was already 7 1/2 lbs. if he grows into his tale he will be one big kitty. My daughter keeps saying he’s got to be part Maine coon and since his parents were adopted from a shelter and not full grown, it seems unlikely but could he be part Maine coon? If so, is there any particular concerns I should have? Such as diet or exercise? He already seems like a picky eater, on the other hand he’s taking to the city kitty and I’m hoping to get him toilet trained. Any tips would be appreciated. Attached pic is him at 6 weeks, I have pics of him from the day he was born to present. Unfortunately issues at home forced parents out of the neighborhood, so no new pics of his parents.

    • Hi Debbie. The picture is rather vague 😉 but thanks for uploading anyway. There is some Maine Coon in many American cats because they are barn cats from the 1800s and earlier. The Maine Coon is essentially a moggie from Europe! Anyway no tips in particular except the best food (wet) and changing food to find the one he likes and to vary food plus to stimulate him with play and interaction. All the usual stuff applies. And no declawing. Please. It ain’t fair.

      Thanks for posting.

  6. Thanks for the info. One last question do they have any preference as to where/what they sleep on? I have bought two different beds and I find him sleeping just about everywhere else. He lives up to his name in the sense he has gotten out of every cat carrier I’ve put him in (since he was 10 weeks old) and can completely disappear in plain sight. I’ve attached a current picture, caught him sitting still 😉

  7. Thanks for the info, I tried to reply earlier but I think the file size of the photo might have prevented that so I apologize if I’m being redundant. I just wanted to know if the Maine Coons or Tiffany cats have any sleeping preference. I’ve bought two beds for my little guy and he sleeps every where but in the beds. I’d really like to keep him from sleeping on the tables if I can. Here’s a current picture of Houdini at just a little over 6 months. Thanks again!

    • Hi Debbie. Houdini looks lovely and he does have that Tiffany look. As to sleeping preferences each cat irrespective of breed etc. has his own sleeping preferences. He likes to sleep on the table because it is off the ground (safer). Cats like to move vertically as well as horizontally. I’ll find a nice substitute such as a cat tree or anything that is available. Somewhere comfortable and warm etc. He’ll use it I’m pretty sure. If he already has a high position but prefers the table there is something about the table that he prefers other than height. I’d try and replicate that. Good luck.

  8. Any idea what kind of cat this is? I just recently had him pass away and am desperately looking for his breed because his temperament was just perfect. So gentle and kind and almost human.

    • Hi Rachel, I am sorry to hear he has recently passed away. To be honest, he looks like a random bred cat to me. He looks beautiful. If you don’t know what breed he is it is almost certainly the case that he is not a member of a cat breed because there are not that many purebred cats at shelters or unwanted. Most are sold by breeders who provide certificates.

      This page might help:

      http://pictures-of-cats.org/what-breed-is-my-cat.html

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      • Hi Rachel,
        Here I was researching Chantillys as companions and in a page freeze I stumble on your post, oh wow.. anyways, from what I’ve gleaned here it looks like you had a York Chocolate there, a great companion indeed I know; I have a York Chocolate who’s recently had more yc kittens and it’s amazing to see the temperament mutliplied. I’m so sorry to hear he’s passed away. Email me if I you’d like, we can share pics and/or stories if you’re up to it.
        Best regards.

  9. Hi

    I am wondering if my cat Mabel is a Chantilly or another breed, she is medium to large size. I want to know because I am wanting to get another one of the same breed if that is possible.

    • Hi Joanna, I am afraid you won’t know for sure what breed she is from appearance alone because cats which are part of a cat breed are registered with cat associations.

      I hate to disappoint but she is almost certainly an extremely attractive random bred cat who has the looks of a purebred cat and that can happen sometimes.

      There are a lot of purebred-mix cats out there. She may be a purebred-mix (half purebred).

      She is a tabby and white.

  10. I’ve enjoyed looking at the lovely photos posted here of people’s pets.

    Many random bred cats are just as beautiful as their pedigreed cousins. As Michael said, we shouldn’t forget that moggies were the foundation of virtually every cat breed on the planet. Their natural beauty fuelled a desire for cats who looked the same. That’s why so many of them today are very good look-alikes for breeds like the Maine Coon. I even came across a photo of a mis-marked pedigree Ragdoll who was the spitting image of my cat Sophie. There was me proudly thinking my lovely moggie was a beautiful one-off 😉

  11. Interesting point Michael about purebred cats being more pure in the past than they are today.

    With the growing number of variations in some breed standards, depending upon which country/cat fancy you register with, I wonder if we’re heading towards a dilution of certain breeds? We’ve already got 3 versions of the Russian Blue, 2-3 versions of the Maine Coon, 2 versions of the Burmese/Bombay. However the Chantilly, Tiffany group is such a mess I think it may prove detrimental in the fact they they will never become popular breeds.

    • I think the cat fancy have got it wrong. The cat fancy is poorly managed or not managed at all and it needs world coordination. There is a dilution and the breeds are a mash up because often they don’t relate in any way to the original ‘breed’ or cat. They are modern fabrications due to excessive selective breeding at the whim of cat breeders who simply ‘fancied’ a certain appearance. These pages sort of sum it up:

      The Real Turkish Angora

      It’s a Mash Up

      • Michael, I don’t believe there will ever be unification of breed standards worldwide and that’s no bad thing.

        Imagine if British bred Persians had to meet American show standards? Their already short nose would become non-existent 🙁

        Each cat fancy would argue that their version of a breed is the best and a universal breed standard may even result in some breeds being phased out countries who have health concerns regarding certain physical “traits”.

        • What about the American Persian breed standard softening to match the British one and an agreement that they go further and make the cat less extreme? Pie in the sky I suppose. The cat fancy is not very good at agreeing things.

          • I don’t think we’ll ever see the American Persian being brought into line with those bred in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, but I admire your optimism 🙂

            The USA has 3 major cat fancies and numerous smaller ones. If they are unable or unwilling to co-ordinate themselves into one national registry, that gives you an idea of how unpopular a universal standard/registry would be.

  12. Here is Pop. I only have these two photos to hand but he is huge and to me very very maine coon looking. I don’t think he is pure bred but surely some lineage to him ☺

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