When you have decided you want to own a cat,
it’s often typical to do a bit of breed research and try and compare the two. Sometimes, you might want a breed mix and wonder if there are many about.
In short, the Maine Coon and Ragdoll have a great many similarities, which is why many people narrow down to these two contenders. They are both pretty similar in intelligence and demeanour. They are both dog-like, calm and gentle cats that fit in well with a family. The Maine Coon is a better mouser and hunter and the Ragdoll perhaps more suited to indoor living. They are of similar size and temperament, cost about the same and a mixed cross breed is fairly popular.
|Size:||10 to 16 inches||9 to 11 inches|
|Weight:||15 to 20 lbs||Average 15 lbs|
|Lifespan:||12 – 14 years||12 to 15 years|
|Health:||Good (Susceptible to HCM, PKD, Hip Dysplasia and SMA)||Good (Susceptible to HCM, UTI’s and Vision and Joint Problems)|
|Personality||Affable, Sociable, Gentle||Calm, Gentle, Sociable|
|Temperament||Dog-like, Calm, Gentle||Dog-like, Playful, Docile|
|Grooming||Moderate to High||Moderate to High|
|Family Cat||Yes, definitely||Yes, definitely|
|Price:||$400 – $1500||$400 – $1000|
|Recognized by:||TICA, CFA||TICA, CFA|
|Age to Maturity:||Up to 3 years||Up to 4 years|
The Ragdoll also only seems to have one eye color, blue, whereas the Maine Coon can have a range, from green, gold and copper.
Here’s a guide for the more visually minded;
The history and origins of this breed are quite different. The Maine coon has quite a pedigree and has been around for centuries. The Ragdoll, by comparison is a relatively new breed.
Maine coon history is a rich blend of old tables, possibilities and probable happenstances.
If you want a cat with an interesting history, then this breed may well be for you. There’s even probable royalty in it.
Quite a majestic cat breed then.
The story goes that during the French revolution of 1789, a time of royal indulgence but national poverty, the then Queen of France, Marie Antoinette was forced to flee France, or face the dreaded guillotine.
Allegedly, with the help of Captain Samuel Clough, she tried to escape to America on a cruise.
Alas, she did not make it, but her cats are meant to have taken the voyage, where the crossing docked in Wiscasset, Maine.
These ocean crossing cats are meant to have bred with local short haired cats and the resulting offspring, were named Maine Coons.
Other theories, that are best described as ‘hijacking science’, are that Maine Coons are the result of cross breeding with either bobcats or racoons.
These myths still persist, despite the fact that science seems to have proven this genetically impossible.
The most plausible reason, and thus generally most accepted as reasonable to suppose happened and has scientific credibility.
It’s the story of an English sailor, one Captain Charles Coon.
He had a fleet of ships that did transatlantic crossings, and he is said to have kept ‘long haired’ cats on board the voyages.
While docking, these ‘long haired’ cats are meant to have occasionally got ashore, to the climate of New England.
These cats then mated with the indigenous short haired cats that produced a hybrid.
These cats are now known as Maine Coons, so named after the Captain of the shipping fleet.
The seafaring tale involving Captain Charles Coon is considered the most likely of all the stories possible, but the Maine Coon could well be related to the Norwegian Forest Cat, and they have been operating since the 11th Century with the Norsemen, so Maine Coon history could be a millennia in the making.
Moving on from a breed with a history going back centuries, puts into sharp contrast, which only has a history going back until 1960.
If you like a more enigmatic breed of cat, then this may be the breed for you.
Ann Baker, in 1960 was a breeder from the sunshine state of California. She seems to have selected stock from the ‘free roaming cats’ around her in her neighborhood and tried many different breeding lines.
In 1960, she bred a cat called Josephine, which was a long haired white cat which, she found had a unique temperament. A temperament she found appealing.
She therefore created the Ragdoll breed by taking Josephine and breeding her with cats of the same look, appearance and traits.
The Ragdoll breed seems to have started therefore with a Persian and Himalayan ancestry.
In contrast to the history and origins of the two breeds, there is much more similarity here. MUCH MORE.
In fact, it might be a shorter point to make if I talked about the differences in their personalities, of which there are few, and probably could be put down to individual cat behaviour, rather than anything indicative of the breed.
The Maine Coon is an extremely affable cat, who will get on with owners, the family children and other cats and dogs. Pretty much the perfect family cat.
They are very sociable and will follow the owners around the house, and this has led to them being noted as ‘the dogs of the cat world’. Fiercely loyal, especially to those who feed them.
The Maine Coon manages to balance the act of being a family cat without being overly needy, but will follow you around a bit, as it it will be curious as to what you are doing.
In a nutshell, they are affectionate, sweet tempered, family friendly, pet friendly, good hunters, playful, intelligent, easy going. energetic, sociable, gentle, curious, adaptable and resilient.
Oddly enough, the Ragdoll is also described as ‘having a dog-like personality, which I think is a widely used term to infer the loyalty aspect of the breed and the fact that they will follow you around.
They are said to have similar personalities to the Maine Coon, so it can also be described as a gentle giant.
In fact I have seen it mentioned more than once, that they are the most docile cat breed around, so it is not an aggressive cat either, so you can be sure this breed is OK with young kids and children.
They are perhaps one of the more accepting breeds when it comes to being handled. They seem to like being picked up.
If you have ever had a cat that ‘twists and turns’ to get back to floor when you pick it up, it probably wasn’t a Ragdoll.
Because Ragdolls a re quite a relaxed breed, it has been noted that they don’t seem to climb much, so it might be good if you have antique furniture on the shelves around your house.
They are also well known for meeting you at the door, like a dog and wanting to sleep next to you, so if you want a feline companion, rather than an ‘aloof’ breed, then this is certainly a good choice.
Additionally it’s an intelligent breed so is said to be trainable, so if you want a breed that you intend to walk with, then this is a good choice for a breed.
Many people are drawn towards these two breeds because they are known to big, docile cats. They’re also two very good looking breeds, which of course adds to their appeal.
But how big are these cats, when you compare them, side by side as it were;
|Height:||9 – 11 inches||10 – 16 inches|
|Length:||35 – 40 inches||35 – 40 inches|
|Female weight:||Average 10 lbs||10 – 15 lbs|
|Male weight:||Average 15lbs||15 – 20 lbs|
Both are big cat, there’s no doubt about it, but the Maine Coon is slightly larger, with males being a good 20% bigger in both breeds, as an average.
Maine Coons will be around 15-20lbs of large, solid muscular cat.
It has a lovely triangular looking face with high cheekbones, and ears when alert, that look a little larger proportionally than other breeds.
They have an inner coat and a long fur to produce a glowing look and of course, a long fluffy tail.
Most Maine coons are consider a tabby color.
They are said to have a rectangular stance, and do not look sleek. They are muscular cats, with a heritage to prove it.
They have large eyes of an inquisitive nature, which come in a copper, gold, or green look.
As the ‘by name, by nature’ saying goes they have a bit of a mane or ruff around the neck.
This will be more predominant in the winter or cold areas as your Maine Coon protects itself from the elements. It’s a few inches long and seems slightly separate from the chest hair.
The fur of a Maine Coon is typically considered medium to long as is best described as ‘shaggy’.
Unless, well groomed it has a slightly unkempt look to it. This lovely fur type also, extends to the tail which is bushy and fluffed.
The coat, should be silky smooth as well.
The Ragdoll is still a large, cat but the statistics I have researched suggest on average it is slightly smaller.
They can be bigger than Maine Coons, but shouldn’t be by much.
The Ragdoll has a large build with a slightly more rounded face. The ears are not as bis as a Maine Coons, and as such are more proportionate with the body.
It is still a muscular cat, and strangely enough tends to have lighter colors around the body.
The extremities, such as the ears, paws, legs and tail tends to be where the discolorations occur.
They also have the most lovely blue eyes with which to offset the light coat colorings.
Overall, Ragdolls are long haired with a short nose.
Their bodies are long and muscular which is often hidden by the fluffy hair. Their necks are short with no mane and they come in a variety of color tones, usually light in variety.
The beautiful blue eyes are this breeds party piece though in the ‘cat walks’ of the breeds.
When you look around the internet for data on the lifespan of any particular breed, you can often get some very different information presented.
While some of it appears to be guesswork, or based on an individual cat, there is also the fact that indoor cats can live a little longer than outdoor cats as well.
The environment any animal lives in can significantly alter lifespan. Maine Coons living in wealthy economies will live longer than those where medical treatment is unavailable or costly.
In general, most domesticated cats are well cared for in many countries as well, also leading to longevity of certain breeds.
The Maine Coon on average seems to live between 12 to 14 years.
The Ragdoll on average seems to live between 12 to 15 years.
If you ask me, that is pretty similar and well within the scope of internet error.
Both breeds have examples of cats living to 20+ years, so there is every reason to believe they are both healthy and hardy breeds that will last a good few decades if they receive a good diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Referring to characteristics of a cat, I mean general qualities or traits that are integral and indicative of a breed.
Having an extended history, dating back centuries has given the Maine Coon a list of known characteristics now associated with the breed.
Let’s first start that it is a very affectionate breed. With almost anything. Other cats, dogs, children and strangers all get the Maine Coon friendly and approachable traits. It seems unafraid of making associations with anyone.
Literally known as ‘the dogs of the cat world’, the Maine Coon will quite happily follow you around the house, more out of curiosity than anything else. It is supremely interested in what you are doing.
Unusually for a cat, it seem to have a liking for water. Perhaps, because of its history bred out of the harsh Maine and New England winters, this breed has a built in affinity for anywhere where water congregates.
It will quite happily paw at a tap dribble, a paddling pool or follow you into the shower. Quite possibly the easiest cat to give a bath to in history. Not every cat, but certainly a good portion of them.
Also, Maine Coons can eat quite a bit.
The amount of calories they receive, has to be monitored and their health checked regularly. Left alone, they can pile on the pounds.
Taking your Maine Coon for a walk might be a good idea, especially if it’s an indoor cat.
The breed is also considered intelligent, and as such, quite easily trainable. They are sociable cats and are a great addition to a family.
The Maine Coon is known to have a trill rather than the good old fashioned MEOW.
To start with, one of the most endearing qualities of the ragdoll is its extreme liking to be picked up. In fact, it is said to go quite docile as you handle them.
I presume at least, this is how it got its name, as it goes like a ‘rag doll’ as you handle it.
Similarly to the Maine Coon it is also very sociable.
It is known to be very family friendly and loves to interact with other cats, dogs and children.
Many people have reported that as it plays, it does not extend its claws so is good for very young children acting mischievously around them.
The Ragdoll is another intelligent breed, which is not excessively vocal. You could quite easily have a quiet cat here.
It’s not known for being a big jumper and exploring the upper reaches of your shelves, preferring ground level, couches and beds.
All in all, a very sociable breed that will quite happily run to meet you at the door as you enter the house, pretty much dog-like behaviour occasionally.
Whenever you are picking a breed, one question you should certainly investigate is the issue of health.
Knowing what diseases and conditions, as well as genetic predispositions that any particular breed possesses is crucial for you to be able to monitor your chosen cats health through their lives.
It should be noted that both breeds are considered hardy and healthy as standard.
At least you will know what health issues to keep an eye out for as your cat grows.
So what are the main health issues with each breed.
As the average lifespan is around 12 to 14 years you can imagine that Maine Coons are a pretty sturdy breed. This has allowed a great deal of evidence to formulate around their health.
The Maine Coon is more susceptible than other breeds to 4 main conditions.
They are hip dysplasia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and polycystic kidney disease (PKD).
Not having a Ragdoll cat, and never having owned one, I had to do some research on the known conditions.
I searched around several different sites, and found most were consistent on the HCM and urinary tract issues.
The other problems were often only found on one particular website. However, these are the problems I managed to locate as health concerns with Ragdolls.
Many owners have mentioned that due to their laid back approach to life they are prone to obesity.
While it’s not technically a condition, overfeeding a Ragdoll has been noted as an issue.
However, if you are considering a Ragdoll then that is a good list of health issues to bring up with the breeder in that cat you are looking for.
Both these breeds have what might be described as ‘impressive coats’.
To those who own them, it might be more accurately described as ‘high maintenance’.
As opposed to a traditional short hair, both these breeds have medium to long hair lengths and as such you should be prepared for all that that entails,
The Maine Coon is a large boned and muscular cat, with a very affable temperament. It also possess a heavy, dense coat that feels silky to the touch.
Probably developed through the centuries from those bleak East Coast winters.
Despite all this its coat is, or at least should be meticulously maintained by the cat themselves and normally will only require brushing a few times a week, perhaps more as needed in the shedding season, to keep loose hair at bay.
Maine Coons have unusually large paws, an added advantage for a mouser, but they are possess a lot of fur that will need tending to.
They also have a mane of hair around the neck which should be paid attention to as loose fur here can lead to a lot of hairballs,
Finally, a check of the claws every 10 days or so and the same with the teeth and gums should keep you aware of any problems.
The Ragdoll has very similar grooming requirements to the Maine Coon, which isn’t too unsurprising I wouldn’t imagine.
It is a breed with a similar description and size with relation to the fur. It is mostly medium to long haired and as such, it is recommended a bi weekly grooming schedule.
That is, brush the coat for loose fur away a couple of times a week.
The face normally has shorter hair though and doesn’t seem to have a mane to take care of.
Personally, I wash my cat as it looks like it needs it rather than on a schedule, but everyone has their own preferences.
Similarly, it’s advised to check their teeth and gums every 10 days or so, as well as clipping the claws as necessary.
Both breeds are known for leaving hair around the place. With lots of fur, it’s pretty much inevitable you will find it on couches and beds.
Regular brushing for both breeds is recommended, as it keeps the house cleaner and keeps those hairballs to a minimum.
Both breeds like activity and don’t mind handling, the Ragdoll especially, so brushing and grooming should not be too difficult for either breed.
It’s tempting to lump personality and temperament into the same category, but in the interests of accuracy, they are in fact defined differently.
Both traits are developed and are inherent to the breeds.
Personality, is largely defined as an individual based trait, despite having breed based characteristics. Personality is made up of patterns of behaviour, feelings and thoughts.
Temperament is an intrinsically related style of behaviour, with respect to the emotionally activity of the breed. Temperament is more of a natural instinct that is nurtured and matures as your cat grows older.
In short, temperament is a breeds character and level of emotional excitability and breeds are recognized as having different temperaments.
An individual cat can have an angry personality, but it’s not indicative of the temperament of the breed.
The Maine Coon seems to love human contact, and positively shines within a family.
It is very sociable and is consistently ranked by owners as a breed that fits in well within a family unit.
It also very accepting on new members, on this basis. It is a very affable breed. And very forgiving, it being able to tolerate quite a lot before getting annoyed.
As dogs are a ‘mans best friend’ apparently, then the Maine Coon must give it a good run for its money, as it said to exhibit, quite dog like behaviour.
It will quite happily follow you around the house, and pick a sleeping spot near yours.
It’s not a clingy cat at all, it just likes to know what you are doing and likes to feel included in the things you do.
When the Maine Coon gets a mind to, it is also quite playful and energetic.
This isn’t a lazy cat particularly, although it will have its moments.
It’s also a confident cat breed around other cats. I presume that comes from its size. It usually won’t bully other cats, and seems comfortable towering over other felines.
That’s the reason they call it a ‘gentle giant’.
It’s one big cat but won’t throw its weight around. It’s just calm and assertive as they will stand their ground in confrontations. Again, their size affords them this luxury.
The Ragdoll appears to have been named after its most distinguishing feature.
Despite it being a large breed, it will literally go limp as you pick it up.
It is extremely comfortable with being handled.
This trait above all others seems to keep the Ragdoll in the popularity lists, time and time again.
They’ve even been named ‘puppycats’ by some, so that should give you an idea.
If you could pick three words to describe Ragdolls, and three words only they would probably be gentle, calm and sociable.
In sympathy with its comparative brethren, the Ragdoll is also has a dog-like behaviour, I think meaning it has a loyalty above and beyond what you might expect.
I also have a suspicion that the Ragdoll suffers from vertigo.
Apparently, lots of owners report their cat not really going above chair height. Perhaps going as for to jump on the bed, but not particularly a climber.
A smaller chance of your cat knocking off the Ming vase from the mantelpiece then.
They seem to have a normal energy levels, not being over excitable and frantic but not lazy either. A happy medium for a cat I think.
Both being popular breeds they have a similar level of cost. There seems to be nothing much to seperate the two.
Internal breed factors such as kitten or adult, or choosing a craigslist listing over a purebred category have much more influence on the cost.
It’s a simple fact that a purebred of either breed would cost more than an 5 year old adult cat from a private house.
In general, though how much can you expect to pay for for a Maine Coon or Ragdoll.
All other things being equal, a Maine Coon will be around $500 to $1500
A Ragdoll is said to be around $500 to $1000
Ragdoll are a little cheaper, especially at the top end, but very desirable cats from either breed will be more expensive than other cats.
Another small difference is that of the Indoor or Outdoor debate. The Maine Coon I would consider both. It can be kept indoors, but is also an outdoor cat. It’s a good mouser, so makes a good cat for a farm or homesteading.
The Ragdoll is perhaps more of an indoor cat. Yes, it can go outside, and if the option is there it will, but Ragdolls have more of the ‘indoor cat type’ in them.
That’s an important consideration depending upon where you intend your cat to live.
With respect to popularity, it should be noted that according to the Cat Fanciers Association there a re 44 cat breeds in existence. Type most popular cat breeds into a google search and something quickly becomes apparent.
The Ragdoll and Maine Coon are consistently in the top 5.
That should tell you are looking at 2 very popular cat breeds. Any they are popular for a reason.
I looked at several different lists and it seems the Maine Coon is marginally more popular, but not by a great deal, and certainly within the rounds of error and personal taste.
They both have traits and habits that make them popular, and that’s just the end of it.
Ragdoll’s also mature a little later, which is saying something. The average age to maturity for cats is around 10 to 18 months.
The Maine Coon is well above average at 3 years to maturity.
The Ragdoll beats it though at 3 to 4 years for maturity.
So more kitten food, for longer with these two breeds.
Another major reason you might want a cat is to get rid of a vermin or rodent infestation.
Here is where these two breeds are chalk and cheese.
You see, the Maine Coon is normally quite relaxed, but if it’s an outdoor cat is widely regarded as one of the best pest controllers you can buy.
Most of the time they live for getting rid of mice and rats, and consistently gets voted for its hunting abilities.
By contrast, you know all those videos on YouTube where the cat is looking at a mouse or a pigeon right at the end of their nose.
Yeah, those are Ragdolls.
Watch this if you want the exact opposite of what cats are typically known for.
Basically if you feed your Ragdoll enough food, it doesn’t seem to bother wanting to catch anything.
If you like the sound of the breeds and can’t decide which one, it may cross your mind as to whether there is a known cross-breed.
The Maine Coon Ragdoll mix.
Like the name implies, the cat is a mixture of the Maine Coon and the Ragdoll with each parent being one of the respective breeds.
Most of the mix pictures I have seen, seem to take on more of the Maine Coon facial features and patterns rather than the reverse.
So it seems to me a mix breed will more look like a Maine Coon than the Ragdoll.
I also noticed while searching that there are good number of breeders that do the cross mix so it seems they are reasonably popular, finding one shouldn’t be a problem.
Just the distance that might be an issue.
There’s a good story, here if you want a read about a Maine Coon Ragdoll story.
As I did a bit of researching I wasn’t finding too much negative information. Anybody who had a mix, was using words like ‘angelic’ and ‘amazing’
As they are both big cats, with similar characteristics and traits, it’s not unreasonable to surmise that this particular cross won’t be too different from the very similar breeds.
The only questions is, will it be a good mouser or not?
The fact is these are two very similar cats.
The Maine Coon is slightly larger and seems to live for removing rats from your garden. It’s perhaps a bit more of an outdoor cat of the two.
The Ragdoll, of similar size and temperament, likes to be picked up and fall asleep in your arms. It’s more of a docile cat of the two.
If you want more of an indoor cat, then the Ragdoll might be better suited.
That said, there is always individual cat tastes so nothing is guaranteed.
Both are affable, social animals that will fit into a family well, so it will probably be a matter of your preferred tastes.
Ragdolls tend to have lighter body colors whereas Maine Coons can a wide variety of patterns. Both are long haired but I have yet to see a ginger Ragdoll.
Also, depending upon which age you get your cat, their are the medical issues, although if you buy well, by selecting a good seller then you can pretty much eliminate this worry.
Both are relatively hardy, healthy cats normally.
So, there we have it. We’ve come to the end of my comparison of the two breeds.
With them being very similar with a couple of differences it should largely depend upon your preferred reason for having a cat.
The Maine Coon may be better suited as a hunter, but there’s no reason why a Ragdoll can’t be. They’re fully equipped to survive outside in the wild.
Maine Coons can also, make good indoor cats as well. Mine is, even though I take it for walks as often as I can.
Finally, please take a look at this video if you feel it might help you
Good luck with your choice. Whichever breed you pick, they are two of the finest choices available.
Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One
3 thoughts on “Maine Coon vs Ragdoll – A Comparison and Guide”
Wow what a fantastic insight into both breeds . We loved reading it … we are 2 weeks away from getting a Ragdoll kitten and a maincoon kitten from a pedigree breeder . We are so looking forward to getting them .
Thank you for the wonderful information and thoughtful comments on these 2 cats. I have been the proud owner of 2 Maine Coons, and the last cat I have owned was the 2nd Maine.. I got Abby when she was a few months old, a little bundle of calico fur, what a delight! I live in the country, so when she was of age she went outside with the other cats to explore and hunt, but always returning when I got home from work. At the time I got her, I had 2 other cats, and with her mild temperament she fit right at home. Eventually I got another kitten, which she ignored, but did watch over her when others were around. (This other kitten stayed the baby of the family the rest of her life, gentle and loving, and Abby did step in whenever a stray came over.)
Abby got diabetes when she was 11, and had once daily insulin shots with her breakfast. At first I was nervous, wore gardening gloves as a matter of fact, but over time we both adapted, she would eat, I would pull and poke, while she would growl, but continue eating. Thereafter, I watched what I fed her, (she had never been a table eater, but I did buy low priced cat food…by this time she was the last cat I owned so I started reading labels.) Apparently I did a good job as she stayed on same dosage.. That is, until we had that epidemic (flue) in the country, and of the 4 feline insulin makers, it slipped down to 1.. who immediately doubled the price, and I believe, made crappy insulin.. (why did they not produce the flue medication if they were so good? ) Right after the change, Abby’s tests showed that she needed twice daily shots. She was now 16ish, still going outside, coming back and forth in and out, still healthy, still eating good.. When she was 19 I noticed a change in her.. Maybe a little slower, but also a problem in the bathroom. I called the vet who said to bring her in the next day. I was sure that it was time to put her down, and wouldn’t you know it, it was my first day on a new temp job!!! I couldn’t get away, even after they called me to say that the tests showed kidney problems, and that this would be the right time.. I don’t remember much of that day, it was about 14 years ago, but I cried my eyes out, and had to stop at my friends house for a bit.. They cremated Abby and returned her to me in a beautiful box with the tree of life carved on the top. It was one of those Chinese boxes that you have to figure out how to open. A beautiful memorial for my lovely cat.
I haven’t had a cat since. I had had at one time 5-6 and each one died their own death. I didn’t think that I could handle anymore, and I worried about getting older and me going first.. But your lovely report that I just read line by line, reminded me of the specialties of owning a cat again. I have taken care of dogs for friends over the years, but no cats. I love dogs too, but this reminded me of the difference, and why I always had a cat instead. For 50 years a cat has been by my side.. I think its time I started looking around, and getting my doctor to report that I need a pet for comfort so I can get it into the senior housing I now live in!!! Thank you for your lovely and informative report!!
Hi, My name is Eva and I was wondering if Ragdolls are hypoallergenic. I have been doing quite a bit of research and am think of getting one. I have heard that if you are allergic to the hair then they are not but if you are allergic to the saliva they are hypoallergenic. Is this true? I love Ragdolls and they seem perfect for me but not if they aren’t hyperallergenic. Haha 🙂
Thank you for this lovely article by the way. Have a nice day!