A Maine Coon can have short hair in certain areas of its body but you will not see a purebred Maine Coon with short hair all over. Having medium to long hair is one of the traits of this large and loveable breed. If your Maine Coon has short hair it is more than likely a mixed breed.
In answer to the question can a Maine Coon have short hair? the answer is no, they are not naturally short-haired cats. Maine Coons are famous for having long, rugged coats therefore if you ever see a short-haired Maine Coon it has most likely been shaved or trimmed.
You will see some Maine Coons with considerably longer hair than others. Bear in mind that some of these cats don’t develop their full coat until they are about 2 years old. If you have an adult cat and are convinced it is a short-haired Maine Coon it could have some Maine Coon in its genes.
The Maine Coon Coat
A Maine Coon has a distinctive long-haired, coat which consists of long glossy, slightly coarse guard hairs and medium-length silky-soft insulating hairs. It’s the shaggy unevenness of the Maine Coon’s coat that really sets it apart from other long-haired breeds.
On the back of its ears, the top of its head, around its wrists and ankles, you will find a Maine Coon’s shortest fur. Travel down its head and you will notice its fur becomes medium length and the further you go towards its tail the longer its fur becomes. Its longest fur can be found around its neck, on its tummy, on the backs of its hind legs and along the length of its tail.
Maine Coons have long tufts of fur between their toes, long hair within their ears and long tufts sprouting from their ear tips. These features along with fluffy tails and neck ruffs are characteristics of most long-haired cats. You may also notice a definite M pattern on their foreheads which can also be seen on many tabby-patterned cats and not just Maine Coons.
The Purpose of the Maine Coon Coat
A Maine Coon has a long coat for a good reason. The breed developed in the cold climate of North America. These days Maine Coons don’t have to fend for themselves in the snow but this is what their coats do for them:
A Maine Coon’s long coat controls its body temperature, keeping it stable whatever the weather. Some people find it hard to believe that all that fur actually helps to keep their cat cool in the summer and that there is no need to trim or shave it.
Protection From The Sun
A Maine Coon’s coat provides it with plenty of protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Its ears can still be quite vulnerable where the fur is thinner so make sure your cat doesn’t snooze in direct sunlight without specially-formulated sun protection.
Protection From Dehydration
The thick Maine Coon coat helps keep moisture in and so prevents their skin from becoming dehydrated.
Protection From Other Cats
Your Maine Coon’s fur helps to protect its skin from other cats’ claws and teeth. Even two friendly cats playing together use their teeth and claws to an extent. In a real catfight that fur coat provides well-needed protection.
Collecting Sensory Data
A Maine Coon’s skin and coat combined make up its largest sensory organ. It feels the slightest touch and can senses heat, cold and wet.
When a cat feels frightened or threatened it can stand its hackles up to look larger and aggressive.
Manufacturing Essential Nutrients
A cat’s coat actually manufactures essential nutrients such as vitamin D.
Many cats seem able to groom themselves quite well, but this is not the case with Maine Coons. They can’t keep their insulating layer knot-free just by licking themselves. When they find a knotted section, they do have a good attempt at pulling it out but in the end, these can get out of hand and begin to join up, tugging painfully at their skin as they do so.
If you invest in a good grooming brush (such as this one on Amazon which we use and recommend) and brush a Maine Coon a couple of times a week you will keep its coat looking beautiful and knot-free. Removing as much loose hair as possible lowers your cat’s chance of ingesting fur and developing hairballs. Long haired Maine Coons suffer from this problem a lot more than cats with shorter hair. Let your grooming regime slip and in time you will notice knots and mats developing which are extremely difficult and painful to remove. Often this results in a trip to a vet for a sedated groom and the necessity to clip away vast amounts of fur. Then it will appear to be a Maine Coon with short hair until its coat recovers!
Some owners have their Maine Coons coat shaved. One good reason to do this is to remove matted fur that can’t be brushed. Otherwise, there is no need to shave a Maine Coon. Often shaving a cat requires sedation which poses an unnecessary risk to its health. Often cats don’t like the sensation of suddenly having their hair removed and it can change their whole behavior. Believe it or not, cats are aware of their appearance and know when they don’t look the norm anymore. And of course, all the purposes a cat’s coat serves as mentioned above are removed.
Clipping the odd knot out is fine. Tidying around a cat’s bottom can be helpful for obvious reasons. But clipping a Maine Coons hair short all over just isn’t necessary. Turning your cat into a short-haired Maine Coon will not reduce the amount it sheds. What you will do is stops its coat from functioning as nature intended. Unless you have severe problems grooming a Maine Coon I would never recommend clipping its hair short.
Some people believe Maine Coons should be bathed regularly but this is totally unnecessary. We have two who detest being submerged in water so have never had baths since we’ve owned them. They both have beautiful, clean coats. Incidentally, most Maine Coons don’t like being plunged into water, contrary to a popular urban myth (see more about this here). So unless you find you have a cat that loves a bath, don’t bother subjecting yours to one.
Bathing a cat strips away natural oils in its coat and can leave its skin in a dry, flaky state. Eventually, a cat’s coat can look in poor condition because of overbathing. If your cat gets really filthy for whatever reason and a bath is the only option, then, of course, do it. Otherwise, invest in some pet-safe grooming wipes for the odd clean-up job. Pogi’s Grooming Wipes are hypoallergenic and earth-friendly.
What a Maine Coon’s Coat Can Tell You
If a Maine Coon cat’s nutrition is poor it’s coat will often show signs of this. You may notice it looks a little patchy or straggly and has lost its shine. If you’re convinced your cat’s diet is OK a trip to the vets is a good idea but quite often ensuring your cat has the right amount of protein and healthy oils (omega-3) in its diet can fix this problem.
Greasy and Matted
One of the side effects of thyroid problems is a greasy matted coat. There will be other symptoms such as changes in appetite, activity levels, and weight. Other health conditions such as bad teeth, diabetes, and bladder infections can give the coats this appearance. Get your Maine Coon a full healths check to determine the underlying cause.
Maine Coons tend to shed throughout the year with a noticeable increase at the beginning of spring and fall. If a Maine Coon has a big shedding session outside of these time frames there could be a medical cause. Again, consult with your vet for their advice.
Maine Coons are clean cats and do like to groom. If you notice yours suddenly increase the amount it grooms, it might be stressed, especially if it starts to pull its fur out. Stress in cats can be triggered for numerous reasons which can be difficult to determine. Bringing home a baby, moving house, suddenly being left alone more, and introducing a new pet into the home can all contribute to cat stress. Your vet will know the best course of action to take.
Maine Coons can have small areas of short hair but overall, have luxurious,
Never deliberately shave or clip a Maine Coon’s coat shorter unless there is a medical reason. As you can see above a cat’s coat serves so many purposes and can tell you so much about its state of health.
If your Maine Coon (or any cat for that matter) seems to be suffering from hair loss, Meowing Catz has written a very helpful article, which includes home remedies for you to try. You can read it here.
If you have a cat you believe to be a short hair Maine Coon you may have a Maine Coon cross. If you need some guidance in deciding if your cat is a Maine Coon or not, have a look at this article I’ve written which details all the features of Maine Coons with plenty of photographs for comparison.