Skip to Content

The White Maine Coon: is it really white?

Maine Coons are beautiful long-haired cats. They can have single-colored coats or patterns consisting of two or more colors. Popular colors are red, blue, black, and cream. But what about a color that’s pure as snow? Is there such a cat as a white Maine Coon?

Though there is such a cat as a white Maine Coon, a Maine Coon only develops a white coat if it has a specific gene in its DNA. This particular gene is powerful enough to conceal the colors and patterns that a white Maine Coon’s coat would otherwise have been.

I adopted two Maine Coons in 2005 and one of these was a stunning pure white boy with perfectly orange eyes. His name was Charlie, and he passed away in August 2019 leaving our whole family heartbroken. For more than 14 years he was a huge part of our lives.

I was so taken with Charlie’s incredible coloring that I had to know how a Maine Coon could be so white. After all, it’s not an ideal color for a natural hunter who at one time would also have been prey for other species.

What I discovered were some very interesting facts about cat coat genetics, along with myths and rumours about albinism and deafness in white cats.

If you’re fascinated by white Maine Coons or interested in owning one, I’ve separated fiction and fact to bring you plenty of things that are good to know!

Nine white Maine Coons facts

1. Can Maine Coons really be white?

A white Maine Coon laying in front of blue flowers.
Charlie in our garden

A Maine Coon cat can be white though technically white is not a color: it is actually an absence of color.

A white cat carries a dominant white gene (referred to as the W gene) that completely masks any colors that might have been programmed into its genetics.

In order for a Maine Coon kitten to develop a white coat, at least one of its parents must be white.

A white Maine Coon asleep
Charlie loved his sleep

2. Are White Maine Coon Cats Rare?

You’ll rarely see a completely white Maine Coon as often there’s a little shading or a hint of another color somewhere in their coat.

Most Maine Coons are tabbies so any of the solid coats (which include white, black, blue, red, and cream) are fairly rare as most of these will have some hint of shading or pattern if you look closely.

Many Maine Coons have a certain amount of white fur and all smoke Maine Coons have fur with white roots. Not so many are born with white and no other coloration.

It’s fair to say solid white Maine Coons are comparatively rare. As with all colors, genetics are the decider and at least one parent must have white fur to give a chance of white Main Coon kittens being born.

There is no way of gauging if white Maine Coons are particularly rare as there are no published facts and figures to confirm this.

If you have your heart set on a white cat, your best chance is to contact lots of reputable breeders and ask to be informed when white kittens are born.

3. White Maine Coons Are Not Albino

It is often believed that white Maine Coons are all albino cats. This is not the case.

An albino Maine Coon has a total absence of pigment in its skin, hair, and eyes. For a kitten to be albino, both its mother and father must carry the genetic marker for albinism.

Albino Maine Coons have very pale blue eyes that almost appear pinkish. There is in fact no color in an albino cat’s eyes – the blue/pink effect is caused by the blood vessels within the eye showing through the colorless iris.

5. White Maine Coon Eye Colors

A Maine Coon with a white coat can have the following eye colors in a variety of shades: blue, green, amber, gold, copper, and orange.

Only a solid white Maine Coon or one with some white in its coat will have blue eyes or sometimes just one blue eye.

A cat with two different colored eyes (odd eyes) has heterochromia, a harmless genetic condition that results in one eye being pigmented with color whilst the other has no color and so appears blue.

All Maine Coon kittens are born with blue eyes and they change color at about 7 weeks of age. In some kittens with solid white or some white fur, a genetic anomaly can occur whereby melanin doesn’t develop in one of their eyes, leaving it colorless and blue. Their other eye develops one of the usual cat eyes colors, meaning the kitten has odd eyes.

A white cat Maine Coon with one orange eye and one blue eye.

5. Noses and Paw Pads

The nose and paw pads of white Maine Coons cat are always a shade of pink. You will often hear this referred to as nose and paw leather.

If it’s an albino white Maine Coon, the shade of pink will be very pale – almost anemic looking.

A white Maine Coon cat asleep in a guitar box.
Charlie would sleep anywhere

6. White Maine Coons and Skin Cancer

White cats have pale skin and are more prone to getting sunburnt and developing skin cancer, especially on their ears, nose, lips, and eyelids.

There are sun creams available to boost protection – ask your vet about these. Don’t use your sun lotion as it contains ingredients that can harm a cat if ingested.

Owners should ensure white cats do not bask in the sun all day long – this is quite difficult as it is one of their favorite summer pastimes.

A white Maine Coon wearing a blue sun hat.
Charlie loved the sun

7. White Maine Coons Are Not All Deaf

You may have heard a rumour that all white cats (including white Maine Coons) are deaf. This is not the case. Deafness can be caused by a genetic defect which leads to afflicted cats being born partially or totally deaf.

Congenital deafness can be pigment-related, and affected cats do often seem to have solid white or largely white coats. Nevertheless, not all white Maine Coons are deaf.

It is impossible to predict the chances of a white Maine Coon being deaf or to relate deafness with a specific coat or eye color as there are no clear scientific results available.

If you have a white cat and you suspect it has a hearing problem, take it to your vet for a hearing check.

A white Maine Coon asleep upside-down.
Charlie in his favorite bed, belly up

8. Do White Maine Coons Get Dirtier Than Other Colors?

A white Maine Coon walking along a low wall with a red Maine Coon watching him.
Charlie and Harry enjoying outside time

They don’t get dirtier than other cats but white Maine Coons can certainly appear that way. White is the perfect color to make any amount of dirt very noticeable. If you let any white cat go outdoors, there’s a very good chance that it will not look quite so white when it comes back indoors.

A white cat may show noticeable staining around its eyes from time to time. This can be removed by gently wiping from the corner outwards with a soft damp cloth.

There are many ideal cat cleansing wipes available. We use Pogi’s Grooming Wipes as they are hypoallergenic, Earth-friendly, and conveniently available on Amazon. Here’s a link to see the current price.

Of course, anything that gets caught in a white coat will stand out a mile. Sticky seeds and grass seeds are a particular problem as they can cause matting of their fur, so groom these out as soon as you see them.

If you are fussy about your cat looking clean and intend to bathe it, I recommend that you get it used to being submerged in water at a young age.

Always make sure the water is warm, and not hot, and only use a good quality cat shampoo.

A white Maine Coon laying in the garden.
Charlie enjoying the shade

9. Cool Names for White Maine Coons

We called our white Maine Coon Charlie but his registered name was Sundew Snow Prince – very regal.

Here are a several more names that will definitely suit white Maine Coons:

  • Jack Frost
  • Luna
  • Casper
  • Snowdrop
  • Snowball
  • Misty
  • Lily
  • Pearl
  • Shiro
  • Sirius
A white Maine Coon drinking from a tap.
Charlie only ever drank from a tap

Conclusion

White Maine Coons do exist and are a little rarer than other Maine Coons. They may show up the dirt a little more than other colored Maine Coons but this is not a huge problem.

Contrary to popular belief, white Maine Coon cats are not all albino and are not all deaf. Occasionally they have odd eyes but this is an endearing feature and is not a sign of an eye condition.

Maine Coon colors other than white

I love all Maine Coons. Their coats can be just one color or a mix of two or more of the following colors:

Are Siberian Huskies Good With Kids?
← Previous
The Ginger Maine Coon: All There Is To Know
Next →