What is the Difference Between a Maine Coon, A Norwegian Forest Cat, and a Siberian?
Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats, and Siberian Forest cats are, at least at first blush, pretty similar.
In fact, many people believe that Maine Coons are descended from Norwegian Forest Cats! (Whether this is true or not, the jury is out on).
As with any other similar breeds though, while there are many similarities, there are also differences and if you’re looking for something specific, these differences are probably pretty important to you.
So, what are the differences between Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats, and a Siberian?
Short answer: The differences lie partially in their appearances (wedge heads for example) and definitely in their personalities! So, which one is right for you?
Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats
We will start with comparing these two as they are most often compared and often thought to be related.
Both Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats have long silky coats with ‘ruffs’ around their chest and shoulders, though the Norwegian has a more sweeping coat while the Maine Coon is fluffier with a shorter undercoat and a shorter ruff.
They are both large cats with fluffy tails and fluffy ears, though the Norwegian Forest Cat’s tail tends to be more ‘sweeping’.
However, the Maine Coon has a more wedge-shaped head with high check bones and a ‘happy’ face.
The Norwegian Forest Cat on the other hand has a straight nose and a flat forehead.
Like Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats are quite large. Males can get up to twenty pounds and are up to 12 inches tall and a foot and a half long, plus the tail.
They aren’t as big as some cats, particularly Maine Coons, but they are still pretty big!
Personality-wise, both of these cats are very friendly and sociable.
Maine Coons are particularly good with children and other animals whereas the Norwegian Forest cat is calmer and doesn’t like to be left alone for too long.
Norwegian cats are slightly less interested in being loyal than Maine Coons – or at least you have to do more to earn it. They are lazier than Maine Coons and they aren’t as easy to train on the leash, though they are quite smart.
If you are looking for a cat who loves everyone, then you will probably find that the Maine Coon edges out the high-energy, very playful Norwegian Forest Cat.
If on the other hand, you want a lower-key cat who still loves everyone, then the Norwegian will probably be a better fit.
Maine Coons and Siberian Forest Cats
Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats are often compared, but there are a lot of similarities (and of course some differences!) between Maine Coons and Siberian Forest Cats.
Siberian Forest Cats and Maine Coons both have thick, fluffy coats and long, fluffy tails.
But the Siberian Forest cat differs from the other two again in head shape and coat type.
A Siberian has a broad nose between the eyes, narrowing at the tips, and a concave curve. Their heads are also a bit rounder.
The Siberian also has a huge ruff, even bigger than a Maine Coon or Norwegian, and even longer hair!
Siberian forest cats also have a shorter tail with a blunter tip, but long, graceful hair down the side of it.
Siberian forest cats are also smaller than Maine coons (but then, there aren’t many cats that are larger).
Siberians are still pretty large though. Males can get up to seventeen pounds and over two feet long.
Like Maine Coons, they take up to five years to fully mature, giving them plenty of time to reach that awesome weight and length.
They aren’t bigger than Maine Coons, but they’re bigger than most other cats!
Siberian Forest cats enjoy exploring and solving puzzles more than the Maine Coon who more enjoys chase games and going for long walks.
Siberian Forest Cats are more willing to play on their own compared to Maine Coons, but they need a lot of toys to entertain themselves.
Siberian Forest Cats aren’t as loving as Maine Coons, and they tend to bond with one person rather than the entire family.
In short, Siberian Cats tend to be more independent than Maine Coons who want a lot of loving care.
If you are looking for a more independent cat who still loves attention, playing with puzzle toys, and of course, is a beautiful large cat, then a Siberian Forest Cat may be what you are after.
|Maine Coons||Norwegian Forest Cat||Siberian Cat|
|Shaggy coat||Even, long coat||Long coat|
|Shorter undercoat||Longer undercoat||Long double undercoat|
|High cheekbones||Flat forehead, straight nose||Wide nose|
|Long-tail||Long-tail (sweeping)||Shorter tail|
|Very smart, trainable||Smart, trainable||Loves puzzles, smart|
|Friendly, outgoing, needy||Friendly, outgoing||Friendly, but independent|
|Very playful||Kind of lazy||Very playful, can play alone|
Now, as to which one is right for you, we really couldn’t say.
It mostly will boil down to the range of independence you want from your cat, how much you want it to be bond with everyone or just a few people, and whether you want to do things like leash train or not.
All three of these breeds of cats are beautiful, enjoy playing, get along well with animals and children, and are quite smart.
The differences mostly lie in their appearance and how independent they are.
In all honesty, you probably won’t go wrong with any of them, so enjoy!
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.