Can Maine Coons Be Small Cats?

When one thinks of the size of Maine Coons, the first thought that usually pops up is big, and rightly so. Nicknamed ‘The Gentle Giants’ in the cat world due to their stereotypically large size, these cats have been recorded being up to forty inches long and eighteen pounds. This begs the question though, do they all have to be large cats? We’re going to take a look and find out.

Are There Any Small Purebreds?

Maine CoonThe short answer is no. On average, males weigh from 13 to 18 lbs with females weighing from 8 to 12 lb. The height of adults can vary between 10 and 16 in and they can reach a length of up to 48 in, including the tail, which can reach a length of 14 in. So basically the smallest average Maine Coon would still be as big or bigger than the average housecat (which is around 7 to 9 lb and 18 in).

The long answer is yes, although with stipulations. We’ll be getting into those but in purebreds specifically, it’s just statistically improbable to find one under the 8 lb mark. If you own a purebred and they are underweight then it’s strongly advised to take them to the vet and make sure their diet is sufficient for cats of their stature. Now if your definition of small is the size of a normal cat then everything is good. However, in a perfectly healthy and purebred situation it is highly unlikely to find a Maine Coon that would be considered a ‘small cat’.

Mixing the Breeds

Maine CoonAll of that being said, there are cases where the Maine Coon can be smaller than average. This can occur in several ways, the primary way being mixing breeds. Theoretically, you can get a cat with strong Maine Coon features by choosing from a litter of cats where one parent was a Maine Coon and the other was of a smaller breed. However, finding one with strong enough features to be mistaken for a small Maine Coon would be a long shot as it is normal for attributes of both parents to be present. This does happen though and there are several cat owners with males who are just 8 lb or in a few sporadic cases even lower.

Some possible breeds to look with mixing with would be; Cornish Rex, Oriental, Siamese, or even the American Curl. All of these being breeds known to stay small to medium sized after maturing. Just be careful when interbreeding as not only will you be re-homing lots of cats assuming you breed them yourself, but if you’re buying from a breeder the costs can be super high. Some purebred Maine Coons sell for over $1500, but are well worth it.

How Small is a Small Main Coon ?

From the research I can say about 8 to 10 lb is the smallest these cats will go unless bred with other breeds. However, a lot of people don’t take into account that these cats mature in 3 to 5 years as opposed to the normal 1 to 2 years, so when they measure, those numbers will change. Several cases of much smaller Maine Coons are out there but almost all of them are from medical problems, neglect, lack of proper food, or in a very small number of case dwarfism. However, the odds of natural dwarfism or pituitary dwarfism are not only small, but cats with this type of dwarfism rarely tend to live full lives and are in constant need of medical care.

See, the pituitary gland (the gland that produces hormones that travel throughout the body) affects many organs and in cats with pituitary dwarfism, they may not only have a problem with the organs but hormonal problems as well. Not to mention problems inherent in a breed meant to be large, but ending up small. After all, the Maine Coon is a stocky cat, thick boned and muscular in part to support its weight. If you account for that, then smaller versions of the cat run higher risks of joint problems and mobility issues.

Some Examples of Small Maine Coons

Maine CoonIn the case of one owner of a Maine Coon, they wrote how their cat had been abandoned from birth and roamed with ferals during its developmental phase until around 8 months old. It was picked up by a shelter and given some proper care but when finally re-homed was only about 8 lbs and sickly. Another case tells of a Maine Coon being adopted from a friends litter and being remarkably small (only about 4 lbs and 14 in long). However, this was a case of mixed breeds as was later shown through tests. However, the appearance of their cat was spot on with the normal appearance and build of a Maine Coon. In another example, one owner noticed a runt in their most previous litter of purebred Maine Coons, when it reached adulthood the female runt was no more than 6 lb and 15 in long.

One thing to keep in mind is that most owners of small Maine Coons have a cat that is not a purebred, and there’s nothing wrong with that. One owner writes that their cat was from a large father and small mother and now after 4 years sits at a comfortable 6 to 7 lb on a good day. However, it also has allergy problems (which could be due to early diet and environment). Their other cat from the same litter is almost 14 lbs and stretches to an impressive 26 in! So they vary even among the same litter by quite a lot.

What Makes a Cat Small?

Maine CoonAlways keep in mind that there are several factors that go into a cat’s development. Nutrition and the environment, stress levels, care and attention, litter size, parental size, and plenty more things can affect just how big or small your cat is. So when you’re out looking for your Maine Coon don’t give up hope that the perfect fit for your home is right around the corner. Check local shelters and re-homing facilities because the sizes of cats are just as varied as the sizes of people and the averages are just that, averages. Also make double sure to check with your vet when getting a brand new kitten to make sure they get the proper nutrition and make sure they develop properly, not that you need reminding.

So as you can see, there are plenty of different ways that a Maine Coon can, in fact, be a smaller cat. However there are also plenty of ways where they cannot. Just make sure when deciding on your cat you take into account all the care and love it will need to be the best it possibly can be.

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7 thoughts on “Can Maine Coons Be Small Cats?

    • Author gravatar

      I absolutely loved the article! The author must be quite the lover of Maine Coons to deliver information so concisely yet in an interesting way. I just wish I could read more!

      • Author gravatar

        It’s a pretty good article. My wife and I adopted a black kitty from a shelter back when he was only 4 months old and he seemed quite the regular American Short Hair except for his fluffy tail. Then, as time went by he kept on growing, he outgrew the other American Short Hair we owned which was almost 3 years old, his hair kept growing but was really soft and he developed a kind of beard. Year and a half later we ended up with an 11lb – 20 inch cat, who we adore. He does look funny cause he has some minor Maine Coon traits (long hair, big fluffy tail, beard, small yet pointy ears) and sounds funny since he hasn’t matured yet (he still meows like a kitty) but is one of the most friendly and lovable cats I’ve ever seen, even with family and friends.

    • Author gravatar

      We have a beautiful female Maine Coon which is very small. At 2 years six months she weighs a shade under 8 pounds. We bought her from a breeder who told us the mother did not take to the litter our cat came from. We did see the father however and he was a pretty good size. Our cat is very healthy and happy and has all the Maine Coon traits and appearance. We have wondered if she actually is a full breed – we love her to pieces anyway – but would be annoyed if we have been misled

      • Author gravatar

        Hi Dave, Yes I agree, if you love your cat it doesn’t matter if he’s a purebred. Thanks, Ann

      • Author gravatar

        Interesting article!
        I had a cat who sadly died last week and I have been curious as to which breed mix he was. He was found on the streets and it’s very unlikely to find a cat with his appearance on the streets, looks like an expensive breed that’d only be found at petshops, so I always found it intriguing. Anyway, he wasn’t giant as a common pure-breed maine coon, but was definetely a lot bigger than most cats I’ve ever seen. He was also stronger than my other 2 cats and I noticed from the moment I first saw him his paws were really big! His fur was grey with black prints, visually similar to american shorthair … except it was long and fluffy haha
        He didn’t have any health condition except for an occasional allergy reaction to flea bites.
        I’d be glad to show you pics of him if you wanna help me solve this mistery!

    • Author gravatar

      My male Coon is definitely purebred and small. I adopted him at 6 years of age when his owner passed away. He’s 14 lbs and seems short. His owner raised him on Friskies and Fancy Feast! I feed him Blue Wilderness and his coat became shiny within 3 days and after 2 months now he is healthier and more hardy. I estimate he’s gained 2 pounds. He runs to his new food! So important for Maine Coons (or any pet) eat premium food and specifically High Protein Maine Coons require to reach their potential size.

      • Author gravatar

        Hi Susan, yes i’d certainly recommend a high protein diet for a Maine Coon. Good quality is also ideal. At different stages of growth it’s ideal if they get slightly different foods. I use barf for kitten food. Sounds like your cat is very well looked after. Thanks, Ann.

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