Can Maine Coon Cats Be Black and White?
When we think of Maine Coon cats, we tend to think of the tabby coloration or perhaps tortoiseshell. But Maine Coon cats come in a staggering variety of colors and patterns – over 84 to be more exact!
The only colors and patterns that don’t exist in a Maine Coon are the pointed colors and patterns that are seen in Siamese cats – you would only see this coloring if your Maine Coon was a part Maine Coon.
Otherwise, pretty well all colors and patterns can be found in Maine Coons and that includes the ever-popular black and white. So yes, Maine Coon cats can absolutely be black and white!
Black and White Patterns on Maine Coon Cats
The black and white coloring on cats, also known as ‘piebald’, is caused when an otherwise black cat has spots or patches that have no pigment, thus turning them white. The gene which makes a coat white is a ‘masking’ gene in that it ‘masks’ the other colors.
Black and white cats can run a huge gamut, from being mostly black with a white patch or two, to mostly white with a few black patches.
It doesn’t matter how many (or how large) the patches are: one white patch turns an otherwise black cat into a piebald cat, and one black patch does the same to an otherwise white cat.
Within the black and white coloring, there are a number of patterns:
- “Bib” which is when a black cat has a small amount of white on its chest
- “Cow” which is when the cat has a white coat with black spots, especially on the chest
- “Cap and saddle” is when the cat has black fur on the top of the head and white on the underside
- “Locket” is when a cat is mostly black except for a patch of white fur on the stomach or chest
- “Mask and mantle” is when a cat has a white underside with black fur on the back, shoulders, and head.
- “Tuxedo”, which is when a cat has white paws, white belly, and white chest, often with a snip of black between the white stomach and chest, giving them a ‘tuxedo’ appearance. Tuxedo cats are also more likely to have green eyes compared to other black and white color patterns.
- “Van” which is when a white cat has only a spot of black on its tail and maybe a spot or two on its face or body.
Unlike colorings like orange or calico, black and white coloring is evenly distributed between males and female cats.
Maine Coon cats can display any of these three patterns of black and white. It just depends on the coloration of the parents and the genes that are passed down.
This pattern is caused by a mutation of cells that spread randomly through the skin, causing something akin to diffusion – like a bit of milk in coffee which then spreads throughout.
It’s completely harmless but causes the diffusion of black fur through the white. Many breeds of cat can be black and white, and Maine Coons are no different.
Do Black and White Cats Have a Distinctive Personality?
There are a lot of people who swear that coloring has an impact on their cat’s personality, from ‘tortitude’ to ‘lazy orange tabbies’ (thanks Garfield).
Now, the jury and the science are way out on how true this actually is, but here are some things that owners swear their black and white cats show:
- Chatty and friendly
- Extremely intelligent
- Active and playful
- Sassy and sweet
- Enjoy exploring
- Laid back, but can be aggressive if they aren’t kept stimulated
Mind, a lot of that is pretty contradictory (how can you have a sweetly aggressive cat??), so it’s definitely worth taking all of that with a serious grain of salt.
If you have a black and white Maine Coon cat that is displaying traits like loyalty, friendliness, and playfulness, it’s more of a breed thing than a color thing.
Maine Coon cats are notorious for being sociable, loyal, and playful, regardless of what color they are. Having a black and white Maine Coon just makes them look all the more majestic while they follow you around asking what you’re doing in a chirpy voice.
Black and white Maine Coon cats aren’t particularly susceptible to disease any more than any other Maine Coon. This includes hip dysplasia (due to their size), heart problems, spinal muscular atrophy, and polycystic kidney disease.
All Maine Coon cats are susceptible to these diseases and coloring has no impact on them.
How Common are Black and White Maine Coon Cats?
Black and white Maine Coon cats are fairly common. Breeders generally end up with a couple in litters and you may get lucky and find one in a shelter too.
The black and white coloring is not quite as common as the traditional tabby, but it’s more common than white or smoke.
If you are looking for a particular pattern of black and white, you may have a bit more of a search ahead of you, but if you just want a black and white Maine Coon, you should be able to find one fairly easily.
Black and white Maine Coons are beautiful cats with dignity all their own. They aren’t terribly uncommon either, so if you’re looking, you shouldn’t have a difficult time with them.
They are very photogenic and like all Maine Coons, are laid back, friendly, and loyal pets. You can’t go too far wrong with one of these cats for sure!
Have you ever owned a black and white Maine Coon cat? Was it dignified and laid back or a terror on four legs? Let us know!
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.