Black Smoke Maine Coon Cat

by Michael

QUIN -- Black Smoke Maine Coon Cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick
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QUIN -- Black Smoke Maine Coon Cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick

Last month I visited Ken and Helmi Flick in Texas. They live with four cats, two of which are Maine Coon cats. They are Quin and Zak.

Quin is a black smoke Maine Coon cat. Zak is a blue and white bicolor. Although I have seen and been near Maine Coons before I had not had the opportunity to live with two, albeit for only ten days. This was long enough, though, to get to know the Maine Coon character and size, two outstanding aspects of this much loved and popular cat breed.

Here is another photo of Quin:

Quin a black smoke Maine Coon cat
Quin - Black Smoke Maine Coon. Photo copyright Helmi Flick (Quin lives with Helmi)

I have built a page about Zak (see Picture of Maine Coon Cat ZAK), so this page is a bit about Quin and his fascinating smokey coat.

Quin is a similar size to Zak. His face is a little broader. His character is similar in my opinion. I found Zak a little more active or demanding of human input than Quin, although Helmi might correct me on this. Zak loved to play, to be stimulated mentally. This may indicate intelligence.

This is what Helmi says about Quin:

His personality is just the same as when he was a kitten: reserved, he's a watcher -- watches to see what's going on before he decides if the activity is for him. He is a gentle soul with everything except food ... And he's my talker ... I think he even talks to himself as well as Ken and me and the other kitties. He will chirrup at the squirrels and doves outside. Quin's full name is CoonAlley Quintus Magnus Gravitas. He is very serious but still affectionate!

A black smoke Maine Coon cat is a non-agouti, non-tabby cat with the inhibitor gene. Non-agouti cats are cats with solid (the cat fancy calls this, "self") colors. The non-agouti gene is recessive. The pigmentation in the individual hairs is called eumelanin. The agouti gene produces banded color in the hairs resulting in a tabby cat.

So, a black smoke cat is essentially a black cat with part of the color in the hairs missing. In fact three quarters or so of the individual hair (the 3/4 nearest the skin) lacks pigmentation as its formation has been suppressed by the inhibitor gene.

This gives the appearance of an almost solid color until the hair is parted to reveal the transparent/white of the hairs lower down. This may be a simplistic explanation because it is believed that there may be another gene that mimics the action of the inhibitor gene to create the smoke appearance.

Quin, like all Maine Coons is long, large and rangy. What I mean is that he has long legs and his long hair sort of hides quite an athletic and lean body (see cat body types). His head is in between round and long and is probably nearer the round end of the spectrum of head shapes(see cat head shapes). Quin has quite a broad muzzle, a strong face. Zak's face has a more quizzical look.

An outstanding feature is the trill. A sound he makes, it seems, with his mouth shut. I think that the sound is an expression of excitement, a bit like us saying, "wow" but it may have more than one meaning.

Quin is a fine black smoke Maine Coon cat.

Here is another black smoke Maine Coon. This time the cat is from Russia. The breeder is Koroleva Elena. She lives in Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarskiy Kray, Russia. This is in the middle of Russia, in Siberia.

Black smoke Maine Coon
Black smoke Maine Coon. Photo and breeding by: Koroleva Elena.

And here is Zak:

Maine Coon Cat
This is Zak -- photo copyright Helmi Flick
please respect copyright

Black Smoke Maine Coon Cat to Maine Coon cats.

Comments for
Black Smoke Maine Coon Cat

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Sep 21, 2011 comments from Denmark
by: Maggie

Hi there
Just surfed in after buying the black smoke MCO, I wanted for several years. Now dream has come true. 14 weeks old Ashe is a breathtaking sight, and a gorgeous little son of a .... he turns our home into a playground, and will NOT let me sleep ind the mornings :0)
Seeing yours just makes me look forward to watch him grow up beeing even more beautiful.

Best wishes from Denmark

Nov 17, 2010 Sam,free maine coon needs a home
by: Wanda

On kijiji Edmonton,Ab.Canada,He's in need of a home!Just beautiful.I'm thinking I should go get him,I live 3 hrs away.I'm worried that my other pets won't like it.I just adopted a Laperm cat and she's not settled in yet with us having 3 dogs,2 small and i large.No one has been hurt yet,mostly curious and jealeously.
Anyone out close to go get him!

Nov 07, 2010 black smoke main coon cats
by: Anonymous

hello where can i buy one just like the one in your picture the first one love the color contrast. we have a silver tabbie and love her ?

Jul 03, 2010 I love your cats
by: Sharon Duffy

Both Quint and Zac are absolutely beautiful. I am a cat lover, and have three very different and lovely Norwegian Forest cats...I saw my first Congo Coon cat the other day at my local vets office. His name was Max and he was magnificent. Your two are probably the prettiest I have ever seen...

Apr 24, 2010 Post Script
by: Michael

I forgot to date the post. When I say I visited Ken and Helmi Flick last month is was April 2009.

Jan 13, 2010 The House Troll
by: Jean Driscoll

Alexandra lived under our porch for 4 years before she decided to adopt us. She is still a scaredey cat.

black smoke moggie cat

[this comment added by Michael (Admin) from a short post as this cat looks like a black smoke, although not a Maine Coon]

Dec 29, 2009 Hi Judy
by: Michael

Hi Judy, I just saw your political critique..!

Nice one. A grey haired belly does not in my opinion mean that your cat is a black smoke. Each hair should be shaded from black to pale colour. The darker colour at the top as I describe.

But without a photo I can't be sure. Where is the photo, Judy!? ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have one please email me.


suubsituting [at] for @

Dec 26, 2009 Blacksmoke, and the ongoing saga of BinkyJack
by: Judy N

I would ask that anyone reading this comment - refer back to the story I contributed on December twentieth 2009 - called BINKYJACK THE NUCLEAR KITTEN.

I ask this only because - well - although I touched on his ever changing coloring- quite honestly it is because I just love my little(?) 22+ lbs of unconditional love so much that there really is nowhere to begin and nowhere to end any discussion of BINKYJACK! Ergo, as I asked in my contribution of December 20th - please bear with the ongoing saga of my two+ year old "nuclear kitten"...

Actually, I know his exact DOB - July 5 2007. I al-most had a moment of reservation when the society I adopted him from on Nov 1, 2007 revealed this to me...

No- I am not some astrology type- thinking(?)? a Cancerian cat would not be compatible with my Pisces nature...In all honesty, I am what many -a nd so I have been told - is much worse-
for I am
very politically oriented by nature - not nurture.

Hence, I am compelled to reveal that as I happened to be born in the USA- (oh well, lucky in cats - not in citizenship)- (hee,hee) - to sum it up - in 1980 when Thatcher (in England) and our newly elected Ronald Reagan were in reign...I said back then- "...this is the beginning of the end!"

Well, was it political instinct or a psychic vision? Answer: perhaps both. After all, in Dec 2000 the Supreme Court elected "GW"- whose dob is 07-05, who cares about oversight, wars for profit, illegal occupations, corporation over "We the people" bid contracts, torture is ok, and remember Hurricane Katrina and his moronic comment "Brownie, yur doin' a goog job..."

OK - sorry I waxed political- but like my Maine Coon Binkyjack - there are certain genetics at work here - that are inescapable. Yes, I did walk my feet off door to door for Barack Obama - and would do it again.

And so this kitten and the still can and should be impeached "Gee-Dub-ya"...have only a date of birth in common. HHHmmmm. So, this liberal democrat, thoughtful of the greater good of pushing forward for social and economic reform, just blew the whole point (I say (regretfully).

To the point...BinkyJack was black and short to medium haired as a kitty. Within 4-5 months he was growing hair-long tufts of hair- and even his color was transformational. He appeared at first glance to be "blackish" but being the puppycat he is...he spends much of his time on his back (sleeping, watching C-Span, or rolling over stretching to have his tummy rubbed)- so, I began to see his underbelly was/is grey.

Bear with the fact it took this long to ask my single question. Is this what is meant by a "blacksmoke" amongst Maine Coons? Thank you for any feedback and sorry for the ponderous, pedantic tirade to ask this question.

Judy N (Margate, FLo-ri-DAH)USA.

Dec 06, 2009 harry my black smoke
by: Anonymous

i to have a black smoke and he is the best cat ive ever had,he loves to sit on your chest,which can be a pain some times as he is so big you cant see tele,he gets on well with my other cats and dogs,he even plays with my dogs as he is bigger than them,i can see why some people say they are dog like as i swear some times he thinks he is.

Sep 08, 2009 Pleased
by: Michael

I am very pleased to hear from you Sandra, in Italy. I used Google translation for our English speaking visitors but love your Italian!

Sep 08, 2009 Beautiful
by: sandra

Ho un bellssimo maine coon black smoke, appunto
di un effetto grigio sfumato eccezionale!Fisicamente robusto, riesce a fare salti altissimi,carattere affabile va d'accordo sia con bambini che cani e con conigli!!!

Google translation:

Italian - English
I have a maine coon bellssimo black smoke, just a gray gradient effects outstanding! Physically strong, able to do high jump, affable character gets on well with both children and dogs and rabbits!

Mar 14, 2009 Black Smoke Maine Coon Cats are Fabulous!
by: Cat Loverz

We, too, have two Maine Coon cats, one of whom is a black smoke. He is also a talker and, like his brother, is highly intelligent and seeks out activities to keep his mind occupied. They are our constant companions, sleeping with us, sitting with us, watching us cook and do the daily activities of living. They come when they are called and eagerly approach new people who come into our home. Many of our friends call them "dog-like," but for a cat lover, this is not a compliment! We love dogs, too, but believe that our cats' personalities, inquisitive natures, ability to speak and totally affectionate behaviors are what define cats in general! Thanks for writing about the two Maine Coon cats you have gotten to know.

8 thoughts on “Black Smoke Maine Coon Cat”

    1. You should contact a Maine Coon cat breeder. You can try the Cat Fanciers’ Association website as they may have a list of breeders. If not go online and use Google. You can then make enquiries of the breeder. It is likely that you will be unlucky. However, if you make sufficient enquiries, you will probably drill down to the situation where you find one. You might do a Google search which may produce a shortcut. Use Google to search for “available Maine Coon kitten smoke”. Good luck and happy New Year.

  1. So far, the hairs are dark at the root and lightening closer to the tip so he’d probably not be classified as “smoke” at all. That’s okay — he’s gorgeous just as he is! I’ve been told that the coat color might change completely, but I still hold out hope that it will stay pretty much as it is. My daughter-in-law, who originally found the litter (my little guy/gal is the only survivor) has seen the momma cat around. She’s feral with a short, grey coat. Meanwhile, here’s your kitty pic for now.

  2. Our rescue is now 10 days old and quite the determined little fighter. Your picture of the black smoke Maine Coon Cat is the closest I’ve seen to his/her unusual colors. It remains to be seen whether he or she will grow into a true MCC ๐Ÿ™‚ Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Marcia. Your little rescue has an awesome coat. Extremely interesting. I have not seen a coat like this before. I agree that Quin the cat illustrating the page is similar so it will be fascinating to see how he/she turns out. I don’t know if your kitten is a black smoke. Could be. The hair strands of a smoke coat vary in colour and density along their length. It seems that your kitten has fixed density/color hair strands.

      He almost looks solid bicolor to me: grey and black with white mittens. All the colors are well defined and in fixed places inline with the anatomy. I think he will turn out to be a special cat.

      Thanks for sharing and showing. Come back please when he/she has grown up so we can see him again.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I’ve been told that his color is currently described as “smoke”, but that it can change as he grows up. I’ve never seen a cat with this particular color pattern — especially the completely black head that suddenly goes to grey. I, too, am curious to see how this all turns out, and will definitely post pictures as he grows.

        1. Great I’ll look forward to them. I agree the coat looks like a smoke but I think we need to see how the coat develops. Smoke coats have hair strands that are dark at the tip and silver/grey from half way down to the root. Is that what the hair strands look like?

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