page title icon Norwegian Forest Cat vs Maine Coon

by Linda Mathews Last Updated March 24, 2021

Two very similar cat breeds – the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon Cat make so many people believe the theory that the Norwegian Cat and the Maine Coon have a common ancestor.

Of course, there are reasons to think so because these cat breeds look almost the same. But after reading this article, you can slightly change your mind about the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon and realize how different these felines are.

Below you’ll find the in-depth comparison between the Norwegian Forest Cat vs Maine Coon Cat that can help you never confuse such popular as well as similar cat breeds.

The History of Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats

The common features between two cat breeds can be easily explained by the history of Maine Coon Cats and Norwegian Forest Cats.

As the name indicates, the Norwegian Forest Cat is originally from Scandinavia. The researchers believe that the Norwegians’ ancestors could be the semi-long haired cats that used to live in the Middle East. The Vikings or Crusaders brought them to Scandinavia in the Middle Age.

Over time, they developed with a strong body and a bushy coat to adjust to harsh Norway’s climate conditions. The Norwegian Forest Cat is also known as a “weegie” cat. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Norwegian Forest Cats were in danger of extinction. That’s why in the 1930s people decided to save this breed and started to protect it. Today, the Norwegian Forest Cat is known as the official feline of Norway.

When it comes to the origin of the Maine Coon cats, it’s obvious. The breed comes from the state of Maine, the USA. There are two main theories about how this breed landed in the state of Maine. According to the first one, these cats arrived there with the Vikings’ boats in the 11th century.

That means that they can have the same descendant of the Norwegian Cats. The other theory states that the ancestors of this breed were brought by European sailors in the 18th century. The Maine Coons became popular at the end of the 19th century and nowadays this breed is the official breed of the state of Maine.

What Do Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats Have in Common?

As you can see, the Maine Coons and the Norwegians bear some resemblance even in their history. These breeds likely have the same ancestors and this fact explains why they are so similar to one another. Moreover, both cats are long-haired, large-sized and rustic, intelligent and trainable. The two social and friendly, but it doesn’t really matter how similar these cats are, they are still two different cat breeds.

What Are The Difference between Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats?

Actually, there are a lot of features that can help you differentiate the Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat. Below you’ll find the main differences.

The Look

How do you know if your cat is Maine Coon? Or how do you tell if your cat is a Norwegian Forest Cat? Of course, by the appearance!

Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat Size

Which is the bigger Norwegian Forest Cat or Maine Coon? This is probably the first trait we all pay attention to. Well, both breeds relate to the large felines. Males of both breeds are bigger than females. However, the Maine Coons can grow bigger than the Norwegians.

How big do Maine Coon cats get? Quite large. The Maine Coon weight can reach up to 26 lbs. Here are some more figures. The Main Coon size comparison: males are around 14-26 lb and females are around 11-17 lb.

How smaller the Norwegians are compared to the Main Coon cats size? The Norwegian Forest Cat size comparison: males are around 13-20 lb and females are around 9-13 lb.

Norwegian Forest Cat vs Maine Coon Head Shape and Structure

As you see, the size of the two breeds is different but only slightly. It would be better to focus on the next characteristic because the cat head shapes are the most distinguished sing for both breeds.
The head of the Norwegian Forest Cats usually reminds the equilibrated triangle with a flat forehead and straight nose.

The Maine Coons have a bit elongated square head shape with high cheekbones. Their profile stands out by a slight concave curve.

Eyes Shape

For the Maine Coon Cat breed, it is typical to have large, wide-set oval-shaped eyes. They are commonly expressive and slightly oblique.

Large almond-shaped eyes with great expressiveness are a hallmark for the Norwegian Forest Cat. Their eyes are placed at a slight angle so the outer corner is higher than the inner one.

Ear Shape

Looking at the Norwegian and Maine Coon cat pictures, you see that both breeds have big wide pointed ears. Their ears can be with or without lynx tips. But when it comes to the Maine Coons, remember, their ears are set high on the head. The Norwegians’ ears are set on the side of the head cup following the triangular line of the face and chin.

Cat Nose Shapes

Some of the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat breeders say that you can just look at the nose and see the major difference between Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat. Keep in mind, the nose of the Norwegians is straight (from the nose tip to the brow ridge) while the Main Coons have a gently curving nose.

Body Shape

The cat’s body shape is also one of the most important comparative Norwegian and Maine Coon characteristics. The Norwegian Forest Cats have a medium length muscular body that often looks square. It is hard to miss a broad chest and substantial bone structure. The body shape of cat Maine Coon is a bit elongated and well-proportioned to look rectangular. The Main Coons have a wide chest and spectacular muscles, too.


The two breeds have a long bushy tail. But the Norwegians’ tail has long sweeping hair that lays in one direction and the base of their tail is brooded. In turn, the Maine Coons’ tail tapers and its fur is flowing.

Coat Colors

Color variations of these breeds can impress and amaze any cat lover. You can see black, black smoke, white, orange, grey, cream, blue Norwegian Forest cats as well as Maine Coon cats of such color options. Besides, the calico Norwegian Forest Cat is greatly popular among cat owners.

Maine Coon vs Norwegian Forest Cat Personality

The physical difference between these breeds is clear, let’s look at how different the Maine Coon and Norwegians are in nature.


Wegies as well as Coons are intelligent and highly trainable cats. The Norwegian and Maine Coon kittens can be trained easily without much effort. Most Coons’ and Norwegians’ owners admit that these felines are dog-like if you discuss their trainability.

Which Cat Is Noisier?

Here we have an obvious answer. The Coons’ vocal potential is much greater than the Norwegians that tend to be more reserved. That means that the Maine Coons make more noise, but they are also more vocal and chatty with their pet parents while Wegies are quieter but sometimes purr loudly.

Which Is The Most Affectionate?

Both breeds are known to be sociable, friendly and affectionate. But when it comes to their nature, the Maine Coons tend to be more affectionate and gentle. At the same time, this breed would seek more attention from its owner.

Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat Health

Like any other cat breed, the Maine Coon as well as the Norwegians are predisposed to various health issues. The diseases most common in the felines of both breeds are Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Hip Dysplasia (because most large breeds suffer from joint problems) and Polycystic Kidney Disease.

The most usual health problems of the Norwegian Forest Cats include Glycogen Storage Disease IV (most Norwegian Forest kittens die with this diagnosis within the first few months) and Retinal Dysplasia (an eye defect that doesn’t affect the cat’s eye vision).

Among the specific diseases of the Maine Coons are Spinal Muscular Atrophy (a genetic disorder that influences the skeletal muscles of the limbs and trunks).

How Long Do Maine Coons Cats and Norwegian Forest Cats Live?

Let’s turn to the studies on cats’ lifespan. The research conducted in England states that the Norwegian Forest cats have a longer lifespan compared to the Coons. The Wegies span is between 14 to 16 years while on average the Maine Coons are known to breathe for about 11 years.

But in most cases, the life expectancy of any breed depends not on the research and statistics but mainly on the way you take care of your feline.

Costs of Keeping Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats

If you have decided to buy a cat, you should be ready to waste time and money on your feline. The breeds with medium and long fur coats, including the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cats as well, require special care almost every week and even sometimes every day.


All cats need a well-balanced diet that will help keep their weight within a healthy range. When it comes to the price, the dry cat food is a cheaper option (about $1 – $2) in comparison to the wet one (from $5 up to $30). But in the case of the dry food options, you must be very attentive in order not to your pet’s health. It would be better to consult with the vet about what food will suit your feline the best.

Shampoo & Grooming Products

Being long-haired cats, the Norwegians and the Main Coons require grooming at least twice a week with a well-made slicker brush. However, if you want to reduce the risk of hairballs and vomiting, you should groom your four-legged companion every day.

Don’t forget about bathing. For both the Wegies and the Coons, occasional bathing is a very important part of care. Fortunately, a laid-back character of the Maine Coons will help you easily train this breed for the bath. Since the Norwegians’ fluffy fur coat can be washed without troubles, it won’t be difficult to train the Wegie for shampooing, too. Just be careful when choosing the shampoo for your feline. Remember to select only cat-friendly products!


Being very robust and playful breeds, the Maine Coons and the Norwegian Forest kittens and later adult felines need toys. The toy box of your cat may include various balls, mice and plush toys, teasers, interactive and electronic products, chasers, scratching poles, cat trees and so on. The price of cat toys differs from $1 to $200 and more.

Norwegian Forest Cat Vs Maine Coon Cat Price Comparison

The Main Coon vs Norwegian Forest cat price difference is considerable. Of course, the feline breed you choose will depend on different factors but for most people who decide to have a kitten or maybe even an adult cat the price is
on the top.

The Maine Coon kitten usually costs from $900 to $1000 while the Norwegian Forest Cat kitten from $1000 to $1500.
How much does the Maine Coon cat cost? Typically, cats and even senior cats of this breed are about $600.

The average price for rescue cats of both breeds is about $250.

Maine Coon vs Wegie: Which Is The Better Pet?

It can be really difficult to say which the better pet is! The two breeds are very similar and at the same time so different. The Norwegian Forest cat personality seems to be so loyal and friendly while the lion-like Coons impress everyone with their rebellious nature… Only you, as a pet owner, can tell us which breed is better for you.

Do You Have A Maine Coon Or Norwegian Forest Cat?

We hope you will tell us the cat of which breed you’ve finally chosen. Besides, we’re waiting for your reasons and impressions in the comments below.

We tried to show the main difference between two extremely popular cat breeds. We’ve compared their look and personality to help you make the right choice. If you haven’t decided yet which cat will suit you and your family better, read our article again. We’re sure finally, you’ll pick up the perfect feline friend and your choice will never regret you.