What Are The Rarest Maine Coon Colors?

Maine Coon cats are known first and foremost for their striking looks and considerable size. These gentle giants are one of the most popular cat breeds worldwide. With over 80 color and pattern combinations recognized within the breed, cat enthusiasts have even more to love. Curious about the rarest Maine Coon colors? Read on to discover the 10 rarest Maine Coon coats.

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Last Updated: June 1, 2023 | 5 min read

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Looking to discover the rarest Maine Coon cat colors? Genetically, all cats are either black, red or a combination of the two. From these base, hues come all the different tints, tones, and shades.

In the case of Maine Coons, there are five color classes: black, blue, cream, red, and white. Maine Coon cats may be bred to have chocolate, lilac, or colorpoint coats, but they are not officially recognized within official Maine Coon color classifications. Cats can also have a pattern to their fur, and with 80 percent of present-day cats having a tabby pattern, they are among the most common coats in Maine Coon cats. The most common eye colors are green, gold, or green-gold; in rare cases, a cat will have blue or odd eyes.

Curious about Maine Coon cat colors? We’ve put together a list of the six rarest Maine Coon colors.

Solid Red Maine Coon

red maine coon laying down on a white background

While sometimes called orange Maine Coons, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) classifies the official color of this Maine Coon as red. Like all ginger cats, the red Maine Coon‘s color is sex-linked. Male kittens obtain both color genes from their mom, meaning male offspring will always be the same color as their mom or a diluted form of their mom’s color. Female kittens take one color gene from each parent, making them a combination of their mom and dad or dilution of those colors. Because a female red cat has to obtain the red fur gene from both parents to show as a red cat, most reddish-orange cats are male. 

The CFA’s breed standard defines a solid red Maine Coon as a rich, deep, brilliant red; without shadings, ticking, or markings. The cat’s lips and chin will match their coat, and the nose and paw pads will be brick red. The solid color class of pedigreed cats means that a cat shows no coat pattern or color variation. Interestingly, all solid red cats are an exception to this rule. The CFA’s guide to basic feline genetics shows that all red cats will have some tabby markings. 

While all red cats appear to be red tabby, a cat can still be genetically solid. A red cat that is not a true tabby can’t produce tabby offspring without breeding with a true tabby cat. A red solid, also called a red self, will have a more-uniform red color with less visible markings. You will typically see the classic tabby “M” marking on their forehead. Champion cat Broadsway Redding is a prime example of a solid red Maine Coon cat. While the feline has tabby markings, they are less pronounced than a true red tabby Maine Coon.

Silver Maine Coon

2 Maine Coon cats sitting

Silver Maine Coons are unique in that they have tipping on their fur caused by an inhibitor gene, sometimes referred to as the “silver gene.” When tipping occurs on a black-based cat, a silver-coated feline results. The inhibitor gene block pigmentation of the hair at the follicle, showing color only at the tip of the hair. There are varying levels of tipping—smoke, shaded, and chinchilla (also called shell)—representing different levels of color suppression on the hair shaft. Smoke Maine Coons have half of the hair length colored, and shell Maine Coons have only 1/8 of the hair colored at the tip.

Silver Maine Coons may also have a red-base color. Thanks to the inhibitor gene, these cats will still have a white undercoat but will have red tipping. Professional organizations call these cats “cameo.”

Shaded Silver Maine Coon

In the case of a shaded silver cat, 1/4 of the hair length is colored at the tip. According to the CFA, the shaded silver Maine Coon cat has a white undercoat with black tipping. This is the second-to-lightest degree of tipping and appears much darker than a chinchilla-shaded cat. Black outlines the rims of this cat’s eyes, lips, and nose. The shaded Silver Maine Coon has brick red nose leather and black paw pads.

Chinchilla Silver Maine Coon

The CFA defines the chinchilla Maine Coon as having a pure white undercoat. The fur on the cat’s back, sides, head, and tail show tipping. This tipping gives the cat a sparkling silver appearance. The chin, ear tufts, stomach, and chest of the chinchilla Maine Coon are pure white.

There are two classifications for the chinchilla silver Maine Coon: the chinchilla silver and the chinchilla blue silver. The differences between these cats show in the tipping, “eyeliner,” nose, and paw pads. The chinchilla silver has black tipping. Black outlines the rims of the eyes, lips, and nose. The nose leather is brick red, and the paw pads are black.

Alternatively, the chinchilla blue silver Maine Coon has blue tipping, though they still appear silver. Blue outlines this feline’s eyes, lips, and nose. Rose is the most desirable color for this kitty’s nose leather and paw pads.

Golden Maine Coon

In the golden series, a cat will have what is referred to as a “wide band” effect. What does this mean? A gene called the agouti gene is responsible for the banded appearance of hair. In the standard cat with the agouti gene, the hairs would be banded with alternative light and dark bands, giving them a distinct pattern. With the wide band effect, the roots of the hair appear to be one color, and the “banded” tips appear to be another.

The inhibitor gene of the silver Maine Coon and the wide band go hand-in-hand. The shaded and chinchilla silver Maine Coons also have a wide band but have no color at the hair root due to the dominant inhibitor gene. When a cat inherits the wide band but no inhibitor, it creates a golden cat.

If a cat has the wide band trait, but no silver melanin inhibitor, the band will appear golden instead of silver. People often call these cats golden tabbies, but they tend to have brighter coloring due to the wider bands on their hair shaft. A golden Maine Coon will have a golden undercoat with darker tipping.

Solid White Maine Coon

white maine coon sitting on a grey sofa

Only 1.5 percent of Maine Coons are pure white, making the white Maine Coon rarer than other colors. The solid white Maine Coon’s coat results from a lack of color in the coat. This does not mean that solid white cats are albino. Albinism results from a lack of melanin, giving a cat a colorless coat. These cats tend to have pink-looking skin and pink or red eyes. Alternatively, solid white Maine Coons may show various eye colors: blue, copper, green, or golden eyes. Solid white Maine Coons may also have heterochromia, where—for example—one eye is blue, and the other is green.

Solid Black Maine Coon

Black Maine Coon cat

While a black Maine Coon may not seem to fit in the list of rarest Maine Coon colors initially, a truly solid black Maine Coon without shading is indeed rare and has a vivid, rich coat. A solid black Maine Coon has a coal-black coat from the roots to the fur tip and will not have a rust tint. Like other solids varieties, this cat will have an unbroken, unmarked coat free of tipping or a lighter undercoat. Their nose is back, and their paw pads are black or brown.

Calico Maine Coon

Calico Maine Coon on green background fabric

The calico Maine Coon is a white cat with patches of black and red. A dilute calico will appear white with blue and cream. While the calico is a favorite among cat enthusiasts, this coloration is challenging to breed, making it a rare coat pattern. Because this coat is one of the rarest Maine Coon colors, the Maine Coon calico cat is costly when purchased from a breeder.

Final Thoughts

With over 80 color and pattern combinations plus their surprisingly-large size, the Maine Coon cat is an absolute head-turner. Looking to discover more variations of this gentle giant? Explore our articles on the blue Maine Coon, the orange Maine Coon, or breed mixes: Savannah Maine Coon, Oriental Shorthair Main Coon, and Siberian Maine Coon.

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