Could my cat be part Maine Coon?

Your cat could be part Maine Coon but the only way you might be able to find out is with a DNA test (but see below). I can see that one so-called expert website states that you can confirm if you own a part Maine Coon by looking into their eyes. I am afraid that this is rubbish. It is very difficult to state that your cat is part Maine Coon judging by appearance only. And why should they exist? Why let a Maine Coon mate with a moggie? What’s the point? There is no point. Maine Coons can’t be outcrossed under the breed standard.

The cats below are described as “2x Cute Fluffy Half maine coon kittens for sale”. They provide no proof that this is the case. They didn’t even capitalise Maine Coon. The advert is on Gum Tree.

2x Cute Fluffy Half maine coon kittens for sale
2x Cute Fluffy Half maine coon kittens for sale. True or false? Gum Tree ad. They look like tabby moggies.
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So, what is a “part Maine Coon cat”? It should be a cat which is the offspring of a Maine Coon and a random-bred cat. That would be a first filial part Maine Coon cat. They would be a hybrid. But there will be second, third and fourth and so on filials with less and less Maine Coon DNA in them.

What is the point of a “part Maine Coon cat”? Arguably there is no point because a part Maine Coon cat is in a strict sense a moggy, a non-purebred cat or random bred cat or a mixed-breed cat. There’s no real value in that. The concept of purebred cats is black-and-white. Either they are they aren’t.

Sometimes a cat will have distinctive Maine Coon features and although they are not registered as Maine Coons with a cat association you can probably say with some confidence that there is some Maine Coon in them. They might even be a purebred Maine Coon. But these cats will be the exception which proves the rule that appearance alone isn’t enough.

There’s a good reason why breeders register their Maine Coon cats with a cat association and why they receive documentary evidence that the cat is registered and that their cat has a lineage and therefore a pedigree. You need a paper trail, documentary evidence, that a cat is a purebred.

And you can’t rely on a cat’s personality to decide if they are part Maine Coon. It’s just not accurate enough. All domestic cats have very similar personalities although there are variations, of course.

To recap: appearance and personality cannot tell you whether a cat is part Maine Coon unless these are distinctive in the cat in question. Normally you won’t have this positive identification of appearance.

And you will see lots of domestic cat companions advertised on rehoming websites described as “part Maine Coon” or “Maine Coon mix”. These are words to better advertise the cat, to encourage adoption. The person who writes these words has no idea whatsoever that the cat is genuinely part Maine Coon. It’s just marketing. Often these are misrepresentations in legal terms.

A lot of domestic cats have an appearance which is somewhat like a Maine Coon. They may have medium-longhair. They might have a ruff and large ears. They might be large cats with a fluffy, plumed tail. This will give them the appearance of the Maine Coon. But you can’t describe them as part Maine Coon because you just don’t know.

I will be brutally honest and state that it is misleading to describe a cat as “part Maine Coon” based on appearance. It’s basically a lie. What people should be stating is that their cat looks like a Maine Coon to a certain extent. They might advertise the cat as “having the appearance of a Maine Coon”. This is a more accurate description.

I’m not even sure that DNA testing would confirm a cat is part Maine Coon. I’m not sure that a test actually exists. There are DNA tests to check for certain diseases in Maine Coons such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). It’s much easier to test for the disease it is to test for a breed using DNA.

UC Davis, Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, provide a cat ancestry DNA test. They state that this test “traces the lineage of your cat and provides results for common physical traits of coat colour, fur length and coat type”. The test determines if an individual cat has descended from one or more of the eight ancestral groups which means groups from certain regions of the planet. They then compare those results with 29 breeds of cat “to determine if the cat has similarities to any of the reference breeds”.

My reading of that is that they cannot with complete confidence say that a cat is a Maine Coon or is part Maine Coon based upon DNA testing. Their testing will indicate that there may be some Maine Coon in a cat. Perhaps that is about as far as they can go. Sorry to sound so negative. I am being a realist 😒. Disagree? Tell me 😊.

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