Breeds

Maine Coon Cat Colors: Black, White, Brown, Red & More

Many people ask about Maine Coon colors. How many colors are there of this massive breed? The answer is over 80. Learn more about common and rare colors of these big sweethearts.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: December 15, 2022 | 15 min read

group of 4 different colored maine coon cats standing side by side looking at camera isolated on black background

The mighty Maine Coon cat is a well-loved breed and one of the most sought-after in the United States. These big kitties are native to New England and even serve as the official State cat of Maine. They are sought after for both personality and appearance. People often ask about Maine Coon colors. How many colors do these feisty felines come in?

Maine Coons can come in a wide range of hues, some more common than others. In fact, it is estimated that there are at least 80 assorted colors this cat can come in. These kitties can also come in a few different patterns, so there are almost endless possibilities for what their gorgeous coats might look like. These semi-long-haired beauties truly do encompass a rainbow when it comes to coat colors. Specific shades are more sought after and can be more expensive depending on the pedigree.

We look at some of the possible Maine Coon colors in this guide, both common and a few rare ones. Additionally, we discuss a little more about this amazing breed and answer some frequently asked questions about Maine Coon colors.

Breed Introduction

The Maine Coon cat is a natural breed that developed without any human intervention. There is a myth about the breed that claims they are hybrids of house cats and raccoons due to the bushy ringed tail the Maine Coon has. That is not a genetic pairing that is biologically possible, though it is an exciting story. Another version of the tale claims that they are a mix between house cats and Bobcats. However, this is also not the case.

Another story claims that these kitties are the descendants of once-royal pets owned by French queen Marie Antoinette. Though she did not escape her terrible fate, this story says that her beloved kitties did. The tail says these kitties made their way to the US, where they bred with other domestic felines and are the ancestors of today’s Maine Coon. As enticing as this story is, there is no proof to back it up.

In reality, the hefty, rugged felines developed through the natural breeding of different feline breeds that made their way to the Americas. It was a customary practice to keep cats aboard ships where they worked to control the rodent and vermin population. These felines bred naturally developing into thick-coated, hefty-sized, rugged cats that could survive harsh winter conditions.

These big beauties retain their impeccable skill as mousers and often enjoy chasing balls, toys, and smaller animals. They are not mean-spirited. In fact, these big kids are so agreeable and docile that they have earned the nickname of the gentle giant. Their loving personality is a big part of why they are so popular as family pets. They are incredibly well-natured felines who do well in just about any situation. These felines are highly adaptable, do not mind a lot of activity, other animals like dogs or other felines, and are usually very friendly with children. They are incredibly smart and retain a very playful mentality well into adulthood. In fact, it is not uncommon to see a gentle giant in their senior years still active and very playful.

There are a few things that stand out about this breed. Along with being incredibly playful, they are also highly vocal. While this is not an uncommon trait among felines, the gentle giant does not always meow in the same way other cats do. They often make chirping sounds. They are very good with their hands and tend to be dexterous. This breed also loves the water and will play in everything from water bowls and puddles to giant pools of water if allowed. They are also sometimes called forest cats, Maine cats, and Coon cats.

Appearance

Forest cats are large-bodied and very muscular with big round paws. They can range in weight from 9 to about 25 pounds and reach between 30 and 40 inches in length. That is not counting the tail. They will stand between 10 and 16 inches tall. With their big, bushy coats, these purr babies can appear quite large, which is why some people might find them intimidating. They have long bushy tails that are often ringed.

These kitties have enormous, square-shaped heads with very pointy tufted ears. They have large, wide-set, very expressive eyes. One unique feature that stands out is the ruff of fur around their necks, which gives them the appearance of having a mane like a lion.

The gentle giant has a few unique physical features. This includes an exceptionally long tail. The average cat’s tail is about 11 inches long. The gentle giant boasts a tail that is usually between 12 and 17 inches long. Along with that, this breed is known for having different colored eyes. This is a condition called heterochromia. They often will have one blue eye and one differently-hued eye. Another unique physical feature is that this breed often has extra digits on the paws. Having a polydactyl pet is not uncommon though the condition is not present in every member or generation of the breed.

Maine Coon Coat

2 Maine Coon cats sitting
These kitties have a lot of fur.

The gentle giant has a semi-long to long coat that appears shaggy in appearance. They have a double coat, with a lush, soft, very dense undercoat and a more robust outer layer of hair that is glossier and somewhat resistant to water. It is often said they have three layers of fur as the undercoat has a softer, shorter layer, covered by longer hairs, and then is adorned with the outer coat.

Forest cats have shorter hair on their heads and shoulders that gets longer throughout their bodies and stomachs. Their tails are covered in long, soft, glossy fur. Though they have an exceptional amount of hair, they do not often get mats or tangles. A well-groomed cat will remain fluffy, soft, and silky to the touch. However, there are some differences in shades, and some are said to be softer than others. This is not a breed that is considered hypoallergenic. They are not as high shedders as one would expect, but they do shed a considerable amount.

Patterns

Gentle giants have several different patterns their coats can include. Not to be confused with color, the pattern refers to how specific colors are presented on a feline’s coat. There are several patterns common among the breed.

Solid

Though it is relatively rare, this breed can come in solid colors. This means they will have no markings or significant stripes anywhere on their bodies. These kitties are often white, black, cream, red, or blue. Their coats are incredibly vibrant and stand out. Sometimes a solid kitty can be confused, like the blue and grey gentle giants.

Bi-Color

Bi-color cats tend to have a white base coat with one other shade mixed in. They will usually have patterns and markings throughout their bodies.

Parti-Color

Parti-colored kitties will have white as well as two other colors present in their coats.

Tabby

Not all gentle giants are tabbies, but this is a widespread pattern among the breeds. Tabby is a marking that includes swirls, stripes, rosettes, and spots. This breed is identified by having a capital M-shaped marking on their foreheads. It is one of the most common patterns among feline breeds. Tabbies can come in five distinct patterns.

The classic or blotched tabby has large blotchy patches and markings all along their bodies. They have classic tabby facial spots and stripes, including the prominent M on their forehead. Their markings look circular and blotchy and are all over their bodies. These markings are sometimes referred to as marbling.

The spotted tabby has small and large spots covering the torsos and sides. These spots will not be uniform in shape or size but can be oval, round, or rosette. In some cases, they will even look as though they are broken stripes along their legs or bodies.

A mackerel tabby has noticeable parallel stripes along the sides. These stripes all start at the same exact spot on the top of the cat’s neck or spine. They are described as looking like tigers. They are called the mackerel tabby because it is said that when they are looked at from above, their markings resemble the shape of a fish skeleton.

The ticked tabby does not always have easily distinguishable stripes, spots, rosettes, or whirls on their bodies. They will have a clearly defined M marking on the forehead. Ticked tabbies have something called agouti hairs, which means their coats are not patterned, but each individual hair is and has light and dark sections.

Smoke

A smoke kitty has a lighter-colored undercoat and a solid-colored outer coat. This cat often looks as though its roots are showing. In most cases, the face, ears, feet, and tail will be darker than the rest of the cat’s body. A typical pattern is a grey undercoat with a darker black outer coat. These are relatively rare felines because it takes quite a bit to breed for this coloring. In order to achieve the smoke look, kitties must have a recessive non-agouti allele referred to as a non-tabby gene, a wide band allele, and a dominant silver allele.

Smoke gentle giants come in six variations:

  1. Black smoke (Black-tipped fur, lighter undercoat)
  2. Blue Smoke (Diluted blue undercoat, black overcoat)
  3. Red Smoke (red to orange colored fur with a lighter undercoat)
  4. Cream (Diluted red coat with lighter undercoat)
  5. Tortie Smoke (Black or red-tipped patches)
  6. Blue Tortie Smoke (Red and black fur, lighter undercoat)

Calico Smoke kitties also look much like a Tortie Smoke but have white base coats.

Shaded

Shaded gentle giants look somewhat similar to smoke cats but have even less tinge. Only about one-third of their hair ends are colored. They have exceptionally light undercoats with a light frosting of color over the top. Some common shade colors include Silver, Blue-Silver, Tortoiseshell, and Cameo Tortoiseshell and White.

Tortoiseshell

Tortoiseshells, also called Torties, have a dark, often black base shade with red and cream patches throughout. There are more female Tortie cats than males because black and red colored genes are carried on the X chromosome. These kitties are often confused with Torbies, who have red patches on their coats.

Maine Coon Colors

We have discussed many of the common color patterns that gentle giant cats can have. Along with their patterning, these kitties can come in many different shades. In fact, there are over 80 shades of colors that have been found within the breed. Not all are recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), but a growing number are.

White Maine Coons

White longhair cat breed Maine Coon Cat
A solid white cat of this breed is an absolutely stunning creature.

These kitties will have the classic body structure of the gentle giant, tufts of pink on their ears, and vibrant eyes. They will have pink paw leather and pink lips. White is not a color. It is instead a masking of color. The W gene masks the dominant color gene, giving the cat a glimmering white coat. Many white felines are also deaf. White cannot be passed down as it is not a color, but if one parent has the gene, it is possible their kitten may inherit the masking gene. Solid white gentle giants are highly looked for and can cost quite a lot due to their unique coats.

Black Maine Coons

Black Maine Coon cat
Black cats are highly sought after, and a black Maine Coon is one many cat owners would want.

There can be a range of this shade within the breed. Solid-color blacks are quite rare. Solid black kitties will have an all-black coat with brown paws and noses. They will also have black noses and lips. They will likely have vibrantly colored eyes.

Shades of gold, green, greenish gold, and copper are common among the breed. Many gentle giants that look black may have other colors mixed in or be smoky black. To be considered a solid black, a cat must have a dense cold black coat that is solid from the roots to the tip of the fur. There should be no tinges of rust, red, or orange colors or smoke tones. A solid black cat may be hard to find and may cost a lot if one is lucky enough to find one.

Black And White

Black and White Maine coon cat laying isolated on a white background
These kitties look like penguins with their black heads and backs and white bellies.

Their faces will be both black and white. Cats with this coloring are sometimes called “tuxedo” cats because they look like they are wearing a fancy suit. They will have more black fur than white in most cases.

Orange Or Red Maine Coons

Young red Maine Coon cat at home on the table staring up
Orange gentle giants are highly sought after.

They actually belong to the class of Red Maine Coons. Within this class, there are a few different color variations. These kitties are also called gingers. These cats come in six different variants. These include solid red, red smoke, red tabby, red tabby with white, red, and white, red smoke, as well as red smoke and white. All felines within the red group have red to orange tones in their coat color.

Unlike some other solid-colored kitties, solid red or orange gentle giants are not 100% solid-colored. They have tabby markings, but the patterns and spots are less evident than in some other colors. They appear solid colored, with very faint tabby markings. The solid orange gentle giant is rare. It is hard to come by and requires a particular blend of genetics to get the “solid” orange or red coloration.

  • The Red Tabby looks more like a tabby cat and is also called the Orange-and-White gentle giant. They will have white lips and chins.
  • Red Tabby and White gentle giants look similar to the red tabby, but they have a big white patch on their chests and feet.
  • The Red and White fit into the ginger or Red group but do not have tabby markings. They have a significant swath of white hair on their chest and stomach that spreads to the legs and paws. These kitties are usually about half reddish and orange tones and half white.
  • Red Smoke kitties are also referred to as cameo gentle giants. They have much more subdued reddish tones.
  • Red Smoke and White kitties look much like the cameo version. However, they have more white fur on them and usually have all-white paws. They will have subtle orange tones on their heads, faces, and tails.

Grey Maine Coon

Grey Maine Coon Cat
Greys can have blue, green, amber, or copper eyes.

Greys are not an official color recognized by the CFA or other cat associations but are a breed that people often ask about. This is not a rare coloration nor a separate breed. The grey color in their coats is not true grey. It is instead blue or silver. These are both dilutions of black. Grey only occurs when a cat has two copies of the dilution gene.

The dilute gene is what turns many colors into another, like black to blue, red to cream, black to grey, and chocolate to lilac. This dilute gene can be present in one or both parents and can cause some or all kittens to have a diluted coat coloration. Greys must have two copies of this gene. That was a reason they were once called rare, but breeders have been highly successful in selecting the dd gene pair and have been able to breed many grey coon cats.

Greys can be tabby, smoked, and grey and white. Technically, Greys fall under the Blue category. They can be solid, as well as grey tones can be seen sometimes in bi or parti-colored cats. Nose and paw leather will be blue-tinged.

Blue Maine Coon

Blue Maine Coon sitting on sofa
A genuinely blue gentle giant has a vibrant blue coat.

Blue is a very common shade among the breed. It can be bred fairly easily. Though grey is an offshoot of blue, these two colors do not look the same. A solid blue gentle giant is a very remarkable-looking kitty. There are many variations of blue, which can be diluted as well. Blue kitties look very blue when they lie down. They can have smoky blue tones and may also have white fur near the ear tufts, nose, chest, and sometimes in the undercoat. There are three main kinds of blue coats, the Blue Chinchilla, Blue Smoke Maine, and the solid Blues.

Blue-Grey Maine Coons

These kitties look like a diluted bluish grey, with some silvery tones. They have ears that are less blue, darker black, or grey.

Brown Maine Coon

Maine Coon's large adult cat eats food out of a bowl on the ground
Browns can be solid or come in various shades and patterns.

Brown gentle giants are quite common. This is a color that occurs naturally and is found in many different shades. Brown is the color most often thought of with the breed, and they can be any pattern. Many will have a bushy, ringed tail. Brown tabby is a frequently occurring variety, but they can be just about any coat pattern, including smoke, shaded, or part of multicolored coats. They often have white or black mixed in and may even look like an orange cat if the brown tinge is softened enough.

Ginger Maine Coon

Ginger gentle giants belong to the red category. Keep in mind Ginger is not an officially recognized color but is often used to describe these hefty, rust-hued kitties.

Cream Maine Coon

A Cream gentle giant is actually a dilute red cat. The cream color can come in a variety of shades and patterns. It can also show up with other colors. This is a fairly common color, as it is often bred for. It does not occur as much naturally, but so many breeders have selected for it that there are plenty of forest kitties with cream tones.

Rare Maine Coon Colors

There are some gentle giant colors that are rarer than others. These include any solid color kitties, which are much harder to find than the patterned variety. Some colors, like solid white or black, can be very costly. Other rare colors include:

Solid Red

Solid Red gentle giants are very hard to come by. These kitties are quite glorious to look at. Females are very rare, as there is about a four-to-one ratio of males to female solid reds. Shades can be reddish to shades of orange. These include amber, yellow, apricot, bronze, and marmalade.

Gold

A golden gentle giant is a rare kitty indeed. These kitties technically fall into the Red group. They can be shaded with an apricot-to-amber coat that has black tips. Goldens are tabbies, though they may not have apparent stripes.

Silver

Silver Maine Coons may be considered the rarest color of all by some. They have been present in the show ring for many years. Silver is not itself a unique color, and it is a dilute variation of the black or red coat color. Silver tones can sometimes be seen in blue, grey, black, white, red, or cameo coat colors. Silvers are often descended from tabby, shaded, or Silver Smoke parents. Silver can also occur in different colors, including white, black, and cream. One important characteristic is that silver forest cats have silver roots on their hair. This is one way to tell if your cat is silver, smoked, or shaded. The hair tips will be much darker than the shaft and roots. This is a form of agouti hair.

There can be a very rare solid Silver gentle giant. They have no markings and will appear very shimmery and smooth.

Grooming

Professional groomer brushing Maine Coon cat hair
These kitties are known for their thick coats.

All gentle giants need to be groomed regularly. They shed a considerable amount, to be expected, with all that thick hair. They do not often get matted or tangled, but regular grooming helps. About two or three times a week is a good goal, but daily brushing is ok if you have time and your cat likes it. Always inspect your cat’s coat and skin, as well as remember to trim nails and brush teeth. Regular teeth cleaning is critical and can help prevent the development of oral disease and dental decay. These kitties love the water and enjoy bathing but only need it once a month or so.

Maine Coon Prices & Coat Color

These hefty purr babies can vary in price. Some can even be found in shelters and rescues, as this is a widespread breed. Most will cost about $300 or $400 to over $1.500. Certain colors will cost much more, for example, any of the true solids. These purr babies cost a lot, with a price tag of about $1,000 to over $3,000 or more. It is common to pay $4,000 or more for a gold, silver, or solid red cat. Some variations of those may cost even more.

One thing to remember is that color has no impact on a cat’s personality, temperament, size, or health. Gentle giants are amazing animals. While some colors may be more sought after than others, any cat of this breed is an absolute delight to have as a feline friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the rarest Maine Coon color?

Gold, silver, and solid red are thought to be the rarest. However, any solid color, especially white or black, is considered hard to find. These rare coated felines will have vibrant and striking coats. Sometimes blues are confused for Grey Maine Coons, but when put side by side, the Blue is very clearly a deeper, more vivid color.

What is the most expensive Maine Coon color?

Prize-winning bloodlines and highly purebred pedigree kittens can cost over $5,000. There is no record of the most expensive gentle giant, but it is not uncommon for people to pay this much or more for show cats or even the “perfect” shade of a gentle giant.

How much is the most expensive cat ever?

The most expensive cat we could find is the Ashera. These are hybrids developed by crossbreeding African Servals and wild Asian leopard cats, then mixing with a domestic housecat. The Ashera is quite large in body and is bred exclusively by one company in Los Angeles. They can cost anywhere from $22,000 to $125,000 or more. Yes. You read that right!

How many Maine Coon colors are there?

Currently, there are an estimated 84 plus colors of these forest cats. There are likely many more color combinations that have yet to be named on any list. The ones recognized by the CFA can be found on their website, but there are many more that are not recognized. As they crossbreed with other felines, there is always the possibility of new color patterns and variations occurring.

Final Thoughts

The Maine Coon is a mighty cat with a coat of many colors. These marvelous kitties are everything one wants in a cat. Gentle giants are hefty in size, have thick, soft coats, and are one of the friendliest kitties you will ever meet. Maine Coon colors include over 80 shades and include many different color patterns and markings. Though some colors are less common, all cats of this breed retain the same remarkable physical presence and lovable persona.

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