Maine Coons come in approximately 84 different colors and patterns, and nearly all of them are accepted by Maine Coon breed standards. So, if you have a favorite cat color or pattern, chances are you can get a Maine Coon of that variety!
The Main Colors and Patterns
Although there seems to be an endless array of possible colors for the Maine Coon, these can be organized into specific categories, which will be outlined here.
As the name suggests solid color cats are one color all over. Common solid colors for Maine Coons are black, blue, cream and white.
Parti-colored Maine Coons have a mixture of several different colors in their coat. This mix of colors is usually only found in female Maine Coons because they will inherit a color from their mother and a color from their father, while male Maine Coons will only inherit one color. Common parti-colors for a Maine Coon include Tortoiseshell, BlueCream, Calico, Tortie/White and several others.
The bi-color pattern is technically a parti-color pattern, but more specifically requires that one of the colors be white. Common bi-color patterns include black/white, blue/white, cream/white and red/white.
To put it simply, tabbies are striped cats, but their stripes can come in a variety of patterns, including
- Classic – In this pattern there are swirls on the body and a butterfly pattern on the shoulders.
- Mackerel – This is the most common pattern, where the stripes are narrow and run parallel to each other, like the bones of a fish.
- Spotted – The spotted tabby somewhat resembles the classic or mackerel, except the stripes or swirls are broken into spots of color.
- Ticked – The ticked tabby has multiple bands of color on each hair on the body and head with barring on the legs and tail.
Each of these patterns can be combined with colors to make the tabby category even more diverse. Some examples are: Brown Classic and Mackerel, Blue Classic and Mackerel, Blue Silver Classic and Mackerel, etc.
The ticked pattern is only accepted by some of the cat associations breed standards, but not all.
Tabbies with White
Similar to the tabby category, this category requires that the Maine Coon have some white. Some examples include Brown Classic and Mackerel, Blue Classic and Mackerel, ect. Notice that these color combinations are the same as for the tabby class; remember that the main difference is that the tabbies with white will have some white coloration mixed in there.
The shaded coloring is where the roots of the hair are white (silver), but the tips of the hair are the Maine Coon’s primary color (such as black, blue, cream, red, etc). You’ll often see the word “smoked” used in conjunction, which means the cat has heavy amounts of pigmentation, while chinchillas have minor amounts of pigmentation. Colors include Black Smoke, Blue Smoke, Cream Smoke, Red Smoke, Tortie Smoke, Shell Silver, etc.
Shaded with White
Again the shaded with white coloring is similar to shaded, except there are some white patches. Colors will include Black Smoke, Blue Smoke, Cream Smoke, Red Smoke, etc.
For a more complete list of all the different Maine Coon colors and patterns, visit this site.
Why All the Different Categories?
Like most people you’re probably asking why it’s necessary to have so many different categories of colors and patterns for Maine Coons…after all, a bi-color is technically a parti-color, just with a more specific requirement.
One of the reasons why cat associations like to break colors and patterns down more specifically is because these traits are often distinctly controlled by genes and can be influenced by the breeder. A cattery that desires a tabby Maine Coon will have a different mating selection than one that’s trying to produce a litter of parti-colors.
These categories are important to note because they’re not chosen at random or completely by visual differentiation, they’re distinctly controlled by different genes in the Maine Coon color pool.