If there’s one thing people expect a Maine Coon to be, it’s large. The breed has a reputation for producing sizeable cats and it’s easy to assume Maine Coons will never be small. However, some Maine Coons are not as big as others.
Maine Coons can be small cats with some adults weighing as little as 8 pounds. It is rare for a mature Maine Coon to be smaller than this and if one is it could be a mixed breed. Maine Coons mature at a slower rate than other breeds so may seem small for a longer time.
A Maine Coon that hasn’t reached maturity and is still growing can look quite small compared to one that is full-size. This breed can take up to 4 years to reach its full size potential.
Maine Coons average 8 to 18 pounds and at the smaller end of this scale a Maine Coon looks positively tiny if measured against one that’s exceptionally large.
As well as weighing between 8 and 18 pounds, Maine Coons are generally between 10 to 16 inches tall (measured from their shoulders to the ground).
So it’s perfectly natural for some to be at the smaller end of these weight and height ranges and still be a normal size.
Are there any that fall below these averages? Can a Maine Coon cat ever be smaller than these averages?
Do Maine Coons have short legs?
Purebred Maine Coons do not have short legs. The breed standard is medium to long legs with some cats have noticeably longer legs than others.
Munchkin Maine Coons can have short legs, These cats are a cross between a Maine Coon and a Munchkin. Some offspring will inherit the short legs of the Munchkin side of this pairing and some will have the longer leg length of a Maine Coon.
Why Maine Coons Can Be Small
At birth, a Maine Coon kitten is, on average, the same weight as a kitten of any other breed. It may appear a little larger because of its fluffy coat. As a kitten grows, for a while it is a small Maine Coon.
Bear in mind that Maine Coons keep growing until they are 3 to 5 years old. So you might have to wait rather a long time before knowing how large yours will finally be.
You can get an idea of its potential size by looking at its parents but this will only be an estimate. There is no way to gauge how large it will eventually be as it could quite feasibly be smaller or larger than either of its parents.
Health vs Size
If a purebred Maine Coon doesn’t grow as expected there could be an underlying medical reason or it may not be receiving sufficient nutrition. There is also the possibility that it’s actually a mixed breed if you don’t have proof of its origin.
The following are common reasons why Maine Coons can sometimes be small:
The smallest kitten in a litter is often referred to as the runt of the litter. Sometimes this little one catches up to the rest of its siblings but often a litter runt usually grows into a smaller cat.
Not every litter of Maine Coon kittens has a runt per say, but someone always had to be the smallest!
When a litter runt occurs it’s because cats have a Y-shaped uterus and the unfortunate fetus in the center of the Y gets the least nutrition, which leads to low birth weight.
This smaller, weaker kitten is often pushed aside by its sibling when it comes to feeding time. In most cases, if a runt survives past the first 8 weeks, it is very likely to thrive and achieve a normal healthy size as an adult cat.
Most breeders find they have to help with additional feeds for the smallest, weakest kittens in a litter to ensure they grow strong and healthy.
If a cat doesn’t grow as large as it typically should, it could have a condition known as hyperthyroidism which is often referred to as an overactive thyroid. This means too much thyroxine is secreted into their bloodstream.
Having an overactive thyroid means a Maine Coon’s food intake is burned up far more quickly than it should be making it difficult for it to keep weight on, let alone increase in size.
Hyperthyroidism can occur in male or female Maine Coons but usually only in those aged over 10 years. A cat with this condition will eat and eat yet still lose weight.
Other symptoms are excessive thirst, increased urination, hyperactivity, panting, diarrhea, disheveled appearance, vomiting, and increased shedding.
A blood test can usually diagnose hyperthyroidism and then there are several treatment options:
- Oral antithyroid medication
- Surgical removal of the thyroid gland
- Radioactive Iodine Therapy
If your cat has this condition, your vet will recommend the correct treatment depending on the severity and the underlying causes.
Although it is possible for a genetic mutation to cause dwarfism in any cat breed, it is seldom seen in Maine Coons.
There are breeds that are deliberately bred to retain the dwarf look of short legs and a small stature but this is not a practice in Maine Coon breeding programs. Therefore you are highly unlikely to see one of these cats with dwarfism.
Sometimes, two small parents can lead to kittens that grow into small adults. However, this is not always the case and often a cat’s size is not related to its parents’ size.
This is evidenced when kittens from the same litter var widely in size.
If a Maine Coon is neglected and not fed the correct, balanced nutrition as a kitten it is more likely to be a smaller than average adult and suffer from related health problems.
It is essential to always feed Maine Coon cats high-quality protein-based food in the correct amounts for each stage of their lives.
Intestinal parasites can infest any cat, Maine Coons included. If left untreated they steal a cat’s nutrition which in turn can affect its growth and health.
Regular worming ensures this cannot happen, but a Maine Coon that’s been straying could have a long-term infestation which has stopped it from developing to its intended size.
So if you’ve adopted a Maine Coon and its small compared to others in the breed, it may have parasites. Once these have been eradicated, the cat should begin to gain weight.
The Guinness World Records has stopped recording the world’s heaviest cats in order to discourage deliberate overfeeding which was starting to become a problem with owners wanting their cats to achieve fame for their size
All records now only note the lengths or heights of the smallest and largest specimens. Let’s look at a few examples.
The Smallest Cat Ever Recorded
The smallest cat ever recorded was a male blue point Himalayan-Persian, named Tinker Toy that measured only 2.75 inches tall and 7.5 inches long at aged 2.5 years. He was born on 25 December 1990 – the runt of the litter – and died in November 1997.
Here’s an example of this breed.
The Tallest Cat Ever Recorded
Arcturus Aldebaran Powers, a Savannah cat from Southfield, Michigan, was the world’s tallest domestic cat. He measured just over 19 inches in 2017.
If you’ve ever wondered if there is such a cat as a Maine Coon Savannah mix, the answer is yes, some breeders do produce this cross.
The Longest Cat Ever Recorded
The longest domestic cat ever was a Maine Coon called Mymains Stewart Gilligan (known as Stewie) who reached a length of 48.5 inches. This measurement was taken on 28 August 2010.
As Stewie’s photographs are all copyrighted I can’t reproduce one here. If you would like to see a picture of him you can find one in Google Images.
Checking Your Maine Coon’s Size
You might also find this article about keeping a Maine Coon growth chart very useful.
There is no way of knowing the exact size any cat will grow to. If you really want a small cat maybe it’s another breed you should be considering? Here are some of the smallest breeds with comparisons to a Maine Coon’s appearance and personality.
Originally from Singapore, the Singapura is one of the smallest breeds around. It has large eyes and a mischievous appearance. Its average weight is 4 to 8 lbs.
Like the Maine Coon, it is an active cat with large ears and a loving nature.
Unlike the Maine Coon, it has short hair, is small and delicate and is not very vocal.
The Munchkin is a small to medium-sized cat usually weighing 5 to 9 lbs. Apart from having short legs, it looks like any other cat and can have a short or long coat of just about any color or pattern.
There is such a thing as a Maine Coon Munchkin cross-breed which can look like a mini Maine Coon.
Purebred Maine Coons do not have short legs so if you’re convinced you’ve seen a short-legged Maine Coon, you’ve most likely spotted a Maine Coon Munchkin cat.
Like Maine Coons, they are energetic, affectionate and friendly cats who are great with children. Though they don’t leap about as much as Maine Coons, they do find other ways to reach high places.
The Cornish Rex has a distinctive short, wavy coat and an active personality. One usually weighs between 6 and 10 lbs.
Like the Maine Coon, it has a long tail but unlike the Maine Coon, this is almost bald!
They are highly sociable, love attention, have outgoing personalities and are rather clownish – just like Maine Coons.
These pixie-like cats are active, mischievous and playful and adore people.
Like Maine Coons, they are described as behaving like a cross between a cat and a dog.
A Devon Rex typically weighs between 5 and 10 lbs.
This cat earned its name because of its unusual curled ears. One typically weighs between 5 and 10 lbs
Unlike the Maine Coon, it isn’t so talkative and doesn’t shed too much fur.
Maine Coon Crossbreeds
There are many Maine Coon crossbreeds available and some are slightly smaller than the average Maine Coon – but not always.
Here are three popular examples;
- Maine Coon / Bengal – There’s a chance one of these mixes could be anywhere between the size of either cat – or possibly a little smaller.
- Maine Coon / Siamese – As a Siamese cat weighs between 6 and 10 lbs a Maine Coon and Siamese mix may produce a cat that’s smaller than the average Maine Coon but again, there’s no guarantee.
- Maine Coon / Ragdoll – As these two cats are similar in size it’s unlikely that a mix of the two will be small. These crossbreeds do have all the best parts of both cat’s natures though.
If You Want a Small Maine Coon, Consider a Different Cat!
If you are looking for an indoor cat then bear in mind that Maine Coons need lots of space to move around in to prevent them from becoming lethargic and overweight.
They are not the ideal indoor cat to choose if you live in a very small apartment such as a bedsit.
If you have plenty of room and you love Maine Coons then the size of one shouldn’t really be an issue. It is rare that they grow to over 18 lbs in weight unless overfed.
If you really are determined to have a cat of a certain size then perhaps you should consider adopting an older cat that has reached maturity.
That way you can pick one that’s the ideal size for you and know that it won’t be getting any larger. There are plenty of Maine Coon mixes available who are crying out for good homes.
I hope this article has been a help and you find your ideal cat soon.
It’s important to keep a Maine Coon at a healthy weight for its overall size. Here’s the perfect article to advise you on this subject: Is My Maine Coon Overweight?