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

by Tiffany
(Saint Paul, MN)

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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!


Hiโ€ฆthanks 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?


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 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

Thanks for your response! NEW
by: Tiffany

Thanks for your (complicated) response. Ha! ๐Ÿ™‚
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!

Apr 30, 2012 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 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?


ANS: yes

Here is the picture of your Maine Coon:

69 thoughts on “What is the difference between a Tiffany cat and a Black Maine Coon?”

  1. Catnipโ€™s Mom

    These black babies are beautiful. Ours again very similar qualities and looks a mix of Tiffany with definite Maine Coon size and personality, ear tufts and hairy toe beans. We love her.

  2. I was curious if anyone knew the bread of this cat. When reading the description of the Tiffany cat are Luna meets much of the description. She’s playful extremely talkative loves to follow us around the house but still likes her alone time. She has a pretty fluffy mane and hair on the bottoms of all four feet.

  3. Our family rescued our beautiful sweet cat, mimi, from a shelter. She was shot in the arm by someone and the vet said she would need care for indoor. Well, even though they clipped one of her ears, she has all the signs of specialty. She is docile, chirps, talks and greets, loves to be brushed, has elegant but large features. We think she is a chantilly mix bred. Also,facial features attractive are her eyes are very large, greenish with large pupils. We thought at first she might have Maine coon but she does have ruff around neck, chocolate brown undercoat but dark black top coat with a little wisp of white streak. She is very intelligent, watches videos, and gentle. What are your thoughts?

    1. She could well be a Chantilly mix. The thing is it is impossible from appeareance to tell with certainty if we’re honest. This is because some cats might look like a Chantilly but be random bred. You just need a certificate from a cat association to confirm that a cat is purebred or not. So I would go with you and say that it is possible that your cat is a Chantilly mix but the important thing is that she is beautiful and has a lovely character and makes you happy.

      1. Michael,Yes, your right, it’s hard to tell and without papers…we were guessing… however, she is delightful and we enjoy her. Also, we enjoy your site and all the cat information you provide. Here is mimi again…as you can see, she is a big cat, that is why I was thinking maybe some Maine Coon? Her paws are huge.

  4. We’ve had Watson for almost 8 years. He was a rescue. From what I’ve read on-line, we are convinced he’s a Tiffany-Chantilly, but a friend thinks he has some Maine Coon…any thoughts would be appreciated. Note that he has a stumpy tail – the vet said it’s probably genetic (vs. from injury).

    Thank you.

    1. Robyn thanks for sharing. On appearance he is much more a Tiffany so I am going with you on this one. There is a page on the Tiffany:


      I think you’ll agree that Watson is close to a Tiffany in appearance but not so close to the Maine Coon. They have more slender bodies and squarer more pronounced muzzles. They also have strong lynx-tipped ears. There are none on Watson. He is very handsome by the way.

      1. Thank you…I should have added that one reason my friend thought so is that he is big for a Tiffany – 16 pounds. But we thought he was a T-C and appreciate your feedback! He is a rare kitty.

  5. Amanda W Godbold

    Was curious to see if perhaps my Howard has some Chantilly in him. His fur is super soft, he’s only about 12 lbs with a long fluffy tail and doesn’t shed hardly at all. He also tends to “squeal” rather than give a full.out meow and will converse if you answer him. I think his face is too pointy to be maine coon, coupled with the lack of size. Look forward to your input.

    1. Hello Amanda. The first thing that I would like to say is that your cat is extremely handsome. He looks very impressive. The second point is that the Chantilly or Tiffany cat is quite a rare cat breed with a rather vague background and the truth of the matter is it is unlikely that your cat is a Chantilly-mix. The trouble is that we don’t know because you cannot assess a cat entirely from appearance and behaviour if that cat is not a purebred cat. Purebred cats do have an appearance about them and you can normally tell what breed they are solely from appearance but even then you need documentary evidence to support the assessment. I’m not sure where you adopted your cat from how you adopted him. It is more likely that he is a very good looking random bred cat although he may have some purebred genes in him.Sorry if my answer is too vague.But thank you very much for showing us Howard. This is a nice photograph as well.

  6. This is our Hendrix. He’s quite the lover always sleeping on my neck/shoulders and even my head. He was found outside an animal hospital and we thought he was adorable. He has a grey mane and white sections under his legs. Very weird. But sooooo fluffy…

  7. This is my Slade, he’s a sweetie. He started as a barn cat gave to us by a neighbor, and now he’s an irreplaceable member of our family.

    1. Hi Haley. Slade is a super-handsome cat. Black to dark chocolate and he seems to have a bit of a ruff as well. Thanks for sharing Haley.

  8. 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 โ˜บ

  9. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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 ๐Ÿ™

        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”.

        1. 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.

          1. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

            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.

  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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. At one time about 130 years ago there were formal cat breeds. Every cat was a moggie by today’s standards. And any purebred cats in those days were more pure than any modern purebred although people did not relate to cats as purebred or random bred in those days. They were naturally purebred. No cat fancy interference.

      The Chantilly, Tiffany group of cats is a complete nightmare to comprehend. An example of how the cat fancy can over complicate things and make a mess, if we are honest.


  11. 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.

    1. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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:


      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      1. 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.

  13. 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!

    1. 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.

  14. 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. 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.

    1. Hi Debbie. The picture is rather vague ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

        1. Hi Bonnie, he’s gorgeous. He looks like a very nice boy too. Soft face. He has huge “ear furnishings” – ear hair ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cute as a cucumber!

    1. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

            2. 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 forgot to mention, Kiki also fetches. I throw her a chopstick and she would bring it back, waiting for me to throw it again ๐Ÿ™‚
                Thank you! Cant wait to read the article

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