a ginger maine coon displaying a bushy tail

The Maine Coon Tail – A Mind Of Its Own

When listing the distinguishing features of a Maine Coon, along with ears and size, people often bring up the very distinctive tail.

Alita, my own Maine Coon has a long tail, all bright and fluffy, and it seriously has a mind of its own it seems.

With a cat, there’s the widely held belief that a wagging tail is a sign of annoyance, which is scalable.

A little twitch is irksome, but a seriously wagging tail is a sign those claws are coming out soon.

But Maine Coons are meant to behave like dogs, or be very dog-like in their behavior, so does this extend to the tail.

What is a Maine Coon’s tail like?

A Maine Coons tail is three-quarters of its body length covered with thick fur that either flows or looks brush-like. The tail is quite distinctive and is an identifying feature of a Maine Coon. The last few inches of the tail are likely to be fur.

Maine Coons are quite talkative – and it’s not just their vocal talents.

Alita has a typical Maine Coon tail that flicks, swishes, curls, points to the ceiling, is carried horizontally, wags, or twitches.

There seems to be a whole vocabulary in those tail movements.

Interestingly, she will perch next to me and won’t mind at all her tail being played with, stroked, or tickled.

She seems to love it, which is very dog-like to me.

a gray white maine coon displaying a bushy tail in grass

The Maine Coon Tail – Physical Appearance

A Maine Coon’s tail is very long (compared to other cat breeds), and it’s just as fluffy.

It can be gracefully curled or swished from side to side with a flick of the tip.

The Maine Coon’s tail is wide at the base and gradually narrows.

The tail length is a Maine Coon indicator.

Alita is 19 inches in body length with a tail of 14 inches.

When curled around the Maine Coons tail will just get to the shoulders of the cat.

It will have long fur which either flows or fluffs out, to look like a brush.

The Maine Coon tail is a long, fluffy appendage that Maine Coons use (and love) to express themselves with.

Tails give a Maine Coon personality on many levels.

a maine coon bushy tail

How Long Is A Maine Coon Cat’s Tail?

A Maine Coons tail will be about three-quarters of its body length.

When you measure your Maine Coon from most to the base of the tail, the tail itself will be about three-quarters of the body measurement.

A cat that measures 20 inches in body length will have a tail of around 15 inches if it is a purebred Maine Coon.

Do All Maine Coons Have Fluffy Tails?

All Maine Coons have long haired tails but some Maine Coons tails won’t be fluffy but rather, long furred and straight.

Alita has a tail that sometimes doesn’t look fluffy at all, but sometimes it does.

Other Maine Coons have them that look like a brush, much more fox like.

Some Maine Coons have long, flowing tails that’s also very typical of Maine Coons.

Maine Coon mixes will also have some traits from the second parent breed.

a ginger maine coon displaying a bushy tail in a cat bed

How The Maine Coon Uses Its Tail

Alita, my Maine Coon seems to love her tail and relishes the opportunity to display it.

They wiggle their tails when they are contented or relaxed, and this can actually indicate a good mood in cats generally. 

It’s quite common for Maine Coons to twitch their colorful fluffy tails around playfully when interacting with humans.

Eyes and ears will be used for Maine Coon expressions also, but it’s definitely the Maine Coon tail that does a lot of the talking.

Maine Coons have evolved as cat breeds to be very expressive – and that includes the tails!

With practice, you will be able to tell the mood of the cat, by the way, it’s holding its tail.

It’s still a cat though so consistent swishing when you are interacting with them might be an indicator they are annoyed, or in some pain.

Alita lets me stroke her tail so that’s not common in cats. 

Alita the Maine Coon showing her tail

Do Maine Coons Wag Their Tails?

I’ve seen Maine Coons hold their tails and I must say, it seems to be more common in Maine Coons than any other cat breed.

It’s not quite like a dog’s tail wagging but the Maine Coon does use its tail for expressions that indicate happiness or playfulness.

Despite the Maine Coon having a reputation as ‘the dog of the cat world‘ it doesn’t use its tail to express happiness the way a dog does.

It doesn’t wag from side to side when you open a can of delicious cat food.

A Maine Coon isn’t that dog like.

alita the maine coon on a balustrade


Maine Coons can have very long tails that vary in color and pattern but will be about three quarters of their body length.

If you’re allowed to inspect the Maine Coon’s tail, you’ll find that it is covered in long fur from head to tip with the last few inches being all fur.

Alita allows me to stroke her tail anytime, so they aren’t shy about it.

Like all cats, a seriously wagging tail should be taken as they are annoyed regardless of the fact that they have a dog like personality.

Being held upright is usually a sign of contentment, but a Maine Coon will show you its mood through its tail.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Maine Coons like to be held?

Some Maine Coons like to be held while others don’t. It’s not a trait of the breed but more an individual cat preference. Maine Coons are affectionate, loyal, and social so they like to be picked up and held. Don’t hold them too tightly or restrict their ability to get down otherwise they will be put off the experience.

Are male or female Maine Coons more affectionate?

While both genders are social, affable, and loyal the male Maine Coons are said to be more playful and affectionate but that’s not always the case. Affection is indicative of the breed, but there’s always room for individual cat preferences.

Do Maine Coons shed a lot of hair?

Maine Coon can shed a lot of hair, especially in the summer months so regular grooming is needed to loosen the undercoat fur. Their fur is long and double coated so expect fur shedding if you live in a warm climate. Be watchful of hairballs as they are predominant in high fur shedding cats.

About the Author


My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

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Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One