You’ve probably noticed many Maine Coon cats have a distinct M marking on their foreheads. But do all Maine Coons feature this mark and does M stand for Maine Coon?
Not all Maine Coon foreheads have an M because it is a marking that only features in a tabby pattern. Some tabby Maine Coons have more obvious Ms on their foreheads than others. It’s worth noting that the M is not exclusive to Maine Coons: tabby cats of any breed can have one.
Does the M stand for Maine Coon?
Contrary to the popular myth, the M on a Maine Coon’s forehead does not stand for Maine Coon. However, we do reveal other suggestions as to what the Maine Coon M could represent.
Do all tabby cats have an M on their forehead?
All tabby cats have distinct markings on their foreheads which often form the shape of the letter M. However, not all are an obvious M as you can see on Harry below.
He’s a classic red tabby Maine Coon who gets a bit fed up with his mum using him as a model. Just look at those tufty toes!
There is not just one tabby Maine Coon pattern – there are three and they are quite easy to distinguish between.
Mackerel (Striped) Tabby
The Mackerel tabby is the most common tabby Maine Coon pattern. It has narrow stripes that begin at a stripe along the cat’s spine and fall vertically towards its belly.
As the lines are parallel to each other and evenly spaced, they look like a fish skeleton hence the name mackerel.
The classic tabby is often referred to as a blotched tabby. It has well-defined swirls on the sides of the body and butterfly patterns over its shoulders.
Ticked (Agouti) tabby
A ticked tabby Maine Coon has several bands of different colors on every hair on its body and head. This pattern is often referred to as the Agouti tabby pattern.
How Maine Coons got the M on their foreheads
Believed to be the marking of a true tabby cat, there are many legends surrounding how Maine Coons and other tabby cats came to have an M on their foreheads. Which one do you believe?
The Mark of the Moon
Ancient Egyptians believed a cat’s eyes literally absorbed moonlight to shine like bright pieces of the moon.
Therefore Khonsu the god of the moon must have adorned them with an M on their foreheads.
The Mark of Mafdet
Egyptians worshipped cats and believed they could protect them from the many snakes, rats, and scorpions that made their homes unsafe.
Many Egyptians believed cats were put on Earth by the goddess, Mafdet, who sometimes took a feline form and was worshipped as the protector of the home.
Did she put an M on the foreheads of tabby cats?
The Mark of Mary
Another legend has it that a tabby cat snuggled up with the baby Jesus in the manger to keep him warm.
To show her gratitude, Mary used her finger to draw an M on the cat’s head and from then on, all tabby cats had the M for Mary on their foreheads.
Muhammed and his cat, Muezza
Muhammad, the prophet of Islam held cats in high esteem. Legend says his favorite cat, Muezza (which means cherished), saved Muhammad from a deadly snake bite and in return was marked on the forehead with an M.
What else could the Maine Coon M stand for?
Drawing on 15 years’ experience of owning a tabby Maine Coon, here are our thoughts on what that M on a tabby Maine Coon’s forehead could really represent.
Master or Mistress of the house
Yes, that M could definitely stand for Master or Mistress of the house. Our red tabby Maine Coon definitely acted this way. We never forgot that he owned us – we were definitely his staff!
Mischievous is a word we often applied to Harry. He often got up to no good even at age 15.
He got up to the most mischief by stripping the Christmas tree of decorations as soon as we’d finished putting them on.
Maine Coons are majestic and Harry knew exactly how to pull off this look when he needs to. He was the king of cats, especially with that tail.
Many Maine Coons are good hunters. Only this morning, Harry awoke us with a strange meowing.
Other owners will know the exact sound I mean – one that is emitted whilst carrying a mouse in your jaws. That was the end of our Saturday lie-in.
This morning we were lucky – because the mouse wasn’t and was already deceased.
On other occasions, Harry has freed the mouse to run around our bedroom – he only ever chooses to do this at about 3 am.
This is the true meaning of that tabby M on the forehead. It means cat with a wide vocabulary of meows.
Harry has about 99 different meow pitches and lengths. We know what they all mean, of course.
M also stands for mysterious behavior. Examples are zooming around the house in the small hours, urgently needing to be let out of the bathroom the moment you step under the shower and teleporting.
OK, I ought to explain that last claim in more detail. We all swore that Harry was often sitting in one position and we would literally blink and then he’d be somewhere else.
We don’t know how he did this – we probably never will.
Harry could not eat without spilling his food. That’s it, in a nutshell. I moved the dish and there was always a clear spot surrounded by food.
That M could stand for mucky. Harry often had stuff stuck in his fur – leaves, grass, sticky seeds.
He refused to let me groom him so I had to randomly pluck things from his fur as I stroked him.
M is for Meddlesome Maine Coon. Harry meddled around in my makeup basket, looking for hairbands to steal.
He brought them to me for a game of fetch. I could never find one when I needed it.
Do all Maine Coons have an M On their forehead? Conclusion
Not all Maine Coons have an M on their forehead – only the tabby variety! The M can be quite pronounced or not so obvious. What does it stand for?
It’s not exclusively M for Maine Coon. You can pick your favorite legend from the selection we mention. Or just for fun, invent your own meaning.