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Maine Coon colors

Maine Coon Colors

What are the patterns of Maine Coon cats?

The Maine Coon is a beautiful cat, and there are countless possible Maine Coon colors and patterns. Click here to View our Purebred Giant Maine Coon Kittens.

The Maine Coon cat comes in a total of over 75 different color and pattern combinations. It is possible for a Maine Coon to come in every possible coat color, as well as most patterns, including tortoiseshell, calico, tabby, smoke, shaded, and many others.

Many people assume that Maine Coons only come in brown or black, but this actually isn’t the case!

In fact, the Maine Coon comes in a lot more colors and patterns than many other cat breeds.

The amount of Maine Coon colors and patterns might seem overwhelming, but they can actually be categorized quite simply.

Read on to find out more about the genetics behind a Maine Coon’s patterns and coloration!

Maine Coon Colors And Patterns

The Maine Coon is a popular cat breed that is famous for being the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.

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According to the CFA, Maine Coons are available in 75 different Maine Coon colors which gives potential Maine Coon buyers a wide variety of Maine Coon colors and patterns to choose from (source 1).

The main five colors that Maine Coons can come in are:

  • Black
  • Red
  • White
  • Blue
  • Cream

White on a cat is actually the absence of pigmentation, while red and black can be “diluted” through genetic mutation to produce other colors.

In Maine Coons, the color black can be diluted to chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lilac, and fawn. Meanwhile, the color red can also be diluted to cream.

Maine Coons can also come in “silver” and “gold,” which refers to black and red dilute colors that appear silver or gold in color due to a rare inhibitor gene (source 1,2).

Have you ever heard someone ask, do Maine Coon cats change color?

This might sound like a rather bizarre question, yet, it is definitely a fascinating one since Maine Coon cats do change color!

Before you get excited though, please keep in mind that a Maine Coons fur may change in color, but the Maine Coon pattern will stay the same.

Cat breed specialists, such as CFA classify the Maine Coon as having eight distinct patterns. These patterns are as follows:

Here is a comprehensive list of all the possible Maine Coon patterns:

1. Solid

Solid-colored cats have even coloration of a single color throughout their body.

If we look at the Maine Coon cat specifically, the solids are monochromatic from head to tail.

Solid cats have no marks or stripes.

Here are some solid Maine Coon colors, that you can read about further:

 
Maine Coon colors

2. Shaded

Shaded Maine Coon cats have a white or light undercoat with moderate tipping of another color on their sides, faces, and tails.

You will find shaded Maine Coon cats in the following combinations:

  • Shaded Tortoiseshell
  • Shaded Cameo
  • Shaded silver
  • Shaded blue silver

3. Tortoiseshell

A tortoiseshell cat has a base color of white with brindled solid or tabby patches of red and black (or their respective dilutes)

This coat pattern is only possible for females since cat genetics dictate that the red and black pigment comes from the X chromosome.

If you look at the tortoiseshell Maine Coon coat you will see that their main color is black, interspersed with cream or red markings.

An example of a tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat is the tortoiseshell and white.

4. Smoke

Smoke cats have a white undercoat with deep tipping of another color on the sides, face, and tail.

Three common smoke Maine Coon colorings are:

  • Cream Smoke
  • Blue Smoke
  • Tortie Smoke

Cat specialists regard the smoke Maine Coon as similar to the solid since their furry coats are also monochromic which means it contains or uses only one color.

The key difference between the solid Maine Coon and a smoke Maine Coon, however, is that the smoke Maine Coon cat has a lightly silver-colored undercoat. This undercoat gives the cat a smokey faded look.

The easiest way to identify a smoke Maine Coon cat is by brushing or petting their fur since their lighter roots become visible when its fur is brushed.

You will likely find this harder to spot on a smoke Maine Coon kitten, though.

5. Tabbies

The most common Maine Coon pattern, is the tabby Maine Coon cat.

A Maine Coon with tabby markings bares the closest resemblance to the original Maine Coon cats found in Maine!

Tabby cats have banded hairs which result in stripes, but tabbies can also have spots, and whirls.

There are four different kinds of tabby markings, these are:

 

However, the CFA only considers there to be two acceptable tabby patterns (source 1):

  • Mackerel
  • Classic

There are multiple subcategories in the Maine Coon colors and pattern list.

For example, some Maine Coon cats are classified as Tabby with white. This relates to tabby kittens that have white paws and chests.

Within this color category, you will find various combinations, such as a red tabby white Maine Coon, or a silver tabby white Maine Coon cat.

 

 

Maine Coon colors

6. Bi-Color

The bi-color Maine Coon cat’s fur has a combination of two colors, of which one color is always white.

Previously known as piebald cats, the bicolor cat is distinctive because it has one main coloring that has been combined with white.

There is no amount of white on a bi-color Maine Coon cat, instead, the level of white might range from covering the entire cat coat to just a small portion of it.

This coat color is caused by the white spotting gene.

Another possible bi-color pattern for Maine Coons is an underlying white coat with patches of either black or red (or their respective dilutes). This is where you can get Van or Tuxedo patterns.

7. Parti-Colored

According to the CFA, a “parti-colored” cat is a cat with more than one color present” (source 1).

Some common parti-colored cat colorings include:

  • Tortoiseshell
  • Blue Cream
  • Calico
  • Lavender
  • Tabby And White
  • Bi-Color

8. Other Maine Coon Cat Colors

Cat breed organizations are pretty strict regards what Maine Coon colorings are accepted, and permitted to compete at their shows.

Therefore, whilst ‘other Maine Coon cat colors’ is not necessarily a Maine Coon color classification, it is still worth mentioning.

Below are two Maine Coon colors that fall under this category:

  • Chocolate Maine Coon Color
  • Lavender Maine Coon Color

Other Cat Colorings:

Below are some other Maine Coon colorings that you might encounter:

Shell: Shell cats have a white undercoat with very light tipping of another color on the back, tail, flanks, and head, as well as possibly on the face and head.

Tri-Color: Tri-color refers to a combination of any three colors on a cat’s coat. Tri-color coat combinations, however, are only possible in females.

Calico: A calico cat has a base color of white with unbrindled patches of red and black (or their respective dilutes).

Maine Coon Markings

Many people mistakenly believe that the distinctive “M” shape on a Maine Coon’s forehead is unique only to Maine Coons. However, this isn’t actually the case.

This “M” shape is seen on all tabby cats.

Maine Coons are known for having a different kind of distinctive marking, however.

Many Maine Coons have several dark rings around the base of their tail, which often makes them resemble raccoons.

Maine Coon Cat Coat Genetics

The genetics behind a cat’s coloration and pattern is actually quite complicated.

Here is a more simplified explanation of Maine Coon color genetics (source 1,2):

In cats, the main three possible colors are:

  • White
  • Red
  • Black

White

The white coloration is actually caused by a lack of pigmentation in a cat’s fur and is determined by the KIT gene.

A cat can only have as much white as one of its parents.

For example, an entirely white cat must have at least one parent who is also all-white.

Red

Red and its dilute, cream, are caused by a pigmentation known as pheomelanin. This gene is different from eumelanin because it is sex-linked on the X chromosome.

This means that a cat can only receive the red gene if its parent of the same sex also has that same gene.

Another interesting thing to note about the red gene is that red cats are always tabby.

Even if a red or cream cat appears solid in color, that means it is a ticked tabby.

Furthermore, red cats are more likely to be male than female, with about 75% of red cats being male.

Black

Black and its dilutes are caused by a pigmentation known as eumelanin.

Black dilution is caused by a recessive version of eumelanin.

A cat whose parents both had recessive eumelanin genes can result in a diluted version of black.

Calico Or Tortoiseshell

Calico or tortoiseshell cats are cats who have both black and red coloration. However, this is only possible in female cats.

The reason behind this is that the color is determined by a cat’s X chromosome, and since females contain two X chromosomes, they can receive one copy of each color.

Most Common Maine Coon Color

Surprisingly enough, the most common color in Maine Coon cats is black.

The classic image of a brown tabby Maine Coon causes many people to assume that the most common Maine Coon color is brown, but what a lot of people actually don’t know is that brown tabbies really are black!

The reason behind this is simple: a tabby cat’s true pigment is determined by the color of its stripes.

Even though brown tabbies appear to be mostly brown, because their stripes are actually black, that means that, genetically, they are black in color.

The most common Maine Coon eye colorings are:

  • Green-Gold
  • Green
  • Gold

The rarest Maine Coon eye colors are:

  • Blue
  • Odd-eyes

Learn more about the Maine Coon eye coloring, in our Maine Coon Eye Facts guide.

Do Maine Coon Kittens Change Color?

It is pretty common knowledge that a Maine Coon kitten’s eye color will change, as they get older, but does the fur color of a Maine Coon kitten change as well?

You might be surprised to learn that at roughly 8 weeks old the Maine Coon kitten’s fur may start to become darker or lighter, as their furry coat develops.

A Maine Coon kittens fur color will not change dramatically as they age though.

However, if the kitten’s mother suffers from a medical condition known as ‘fever coat’, resulting from distress or sickness whilst pregnant, this may impact the coat color of her kittens.

According to this website, ‘fever coat’ presents itself as a cream-colored, grey, or silver fur coat on the kitten. This coloring is most pronounced on the fur tips and gets darker towards the roots.

The coat pigment of a kitten affected by fever coat will not develop correctly whilst the kitten is in the mother’s womb.

However, owners with kittens affected by fever coat might be surprised to learn that by 4 months of age, the fever coat has typically resolved itself. In rarer cases, the color does not correct itself until 12 months of age.

This is because the kitten’s DNA contains the correct coat color, this fur color ultimately presents later in the kitten’s life.

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