Are you expectedly surprised at the small size of your Maine Coon cat? These majestic felines are known for being giants (or at least larger than an average domestic cat) but what’s going on when your furry friend turns out to be unexpectedly pint sized?
I’m a cat parent to a 14 pound female Maine Coon named Chelle, which is slightly on the smaller side, and I definitely have experienced this while she was growing up. In this post, we cover the reasons why your Maine Coon cat may be smaller than expected.
Genetic Reasons Your Maine Coon Is Small
Genetics play a significant role in determining a Maine Coon cat’s size and body type. In this section, we will explore the genetic-related reasons why a Maine Coon may be small.
Maine Coons are generally known for their large size, but there are genetic factors that can lead to smaller-than-average cats.
Slow to Mature
Maine Coon cats are known for their slow growth rate and can take up to five years to reach their full size and maturity. Therefore, if your cat is still young, smaller, or have a shorter coat than expected, it may simply be due to their slower growth rate.
Patience is key when it comes to Maine Coons, they stay at the kid’s table longer, and it’s important to give them time to reach their full potential.
Maine Coon Growth Rate
The growth rate of Maine Coon cats can vary depending on several factors, including genetics, diet, and environment. However, in general, these cats tend to grow at a slower rate, until they reach their full size at around four or five years!
If your cat has a slower growth rate than that, it may be due to genetics or other factors, and it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian.
If a Maine Coon cat’s parents are smaller in size, there’s a higher chance that their offspring will also be small.
While breeding practices can impact a cat’s size, genetics play a significant role in determining a cat’s size and body type. Therefore, if you’re adopting a Maine Coon kitten, research the cat’s lineage and the size of their parents.
While Maine Coon cats are a purebred breed, they can also have hybrid ancestry. Hybrid cats may be smaller in size than purebred Maine Coons because the lineage is mixed.
It’s also worth noting that hybrid Maine Coons cats have unique traits and characteristics, making them just as special and loveable as their purebred counterparts.
Health Reasons Your Maine Coon Is Small
With Maine Coon cats, their large size and muscular build are defining features. But, some Maine Coons may be smaller than expected due to various health reasons. In this section, we will cover the potential health issues that could affect a Maine Coon cat’s growth and development.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, leading to an increased metabolic rate. This can cause weight loss and smaller body size in Maine Coon cats.
Dwarfism is a genetic condition that can affect Maine Coon cats, leading to shorter limbs, smaller body size, and other physical abnormalities. This condition is caused by a mutation in the cat’s genes and can be passed down from their parents.
Runt Of the Litter
Sometimes, a Maine Coon cat may be small simply because they were the runt of the litter. This means they were the smallest and weakest kitten in the litter and may not have received enough nutrients or attention from their mother, leading to slower growth and a smaller body size.
Premature Removal From Mother
If a Maine Coon kitten is removed from their mother too early, they may not receive the proper nutrition and care needed for healthy growth and development. This can result in a smaller body size and other health issues.
Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and worms can cause a Maine Coon cat to become malnourished and have stunted growth. If left untreated, these parasites can lead to other health issues and even death.
Viral or Bacterial Infection
Maine Coon cats can become sick with various viral or bacterial infections, such as feline leukemia virus or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). These illnesses can cause weight loss, poor appetite, and stunted growth.
An enzyme deficiency, such as lysosomal storage disease (gangliosidosis), can cause Maine Coon cats to have poor growth and development. This condition is caused by a genetic mutation and can lead to various health issues.
Cancer or Other Illness
If a Maine Coon cat is suffering from cancer or another serious illness, they may experience weight loss and have a smaller body size as a result.
Portosystemic shunt is a congenital condition where blood flows around the liver instead of through it. This can cause stunted growth and other health issues in Maine Coon cats.
Other Reasons Why Your Maine Coon Is Small
In this section, we will cover other possible reasons why a Maine Coon cat may be smaller than expected.
Maine Coon cats require a balanced diet with the right amount of protein, fats, and other nutrients to grow and develop properly. If a cat is not receiving the appropriate nutrition with at least 50-60% protein and around 30% fat, they may have stunted growth and other health issues.
If a Maine Coon cat is simply not eating enough food, they may not receive the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development. This can lead to a smaller body size and other health problems.
Not sure if you’ve got a Maine Coon? It’s important to do research and find a reputable breeder when buying a purebred Maine Coon kitten to ensure their bloodline and purity.
Unfortunately, some breeders may advertise a Maine Coon as purebred or from a certain bloodline capable of growing to certain sizes, but in reality, the cat may not meet those standards. This is due to unethical breeding and business, practices or simply a lack of knowledge about the breed.
Average Maine Coon Sizing, Weight, Height
Maine Coon cats are one of the largest domestic cat breeds, with males typically weighing between 13 to 18 pounds and females between 8 to 12 pounds.
However, some males can weigh up to 25 pounds, while some females can weigh up to 16 pounds. They also have a long, rectangular body shape with an average length of 31 inches for males and 28 inches for females.
When measuring the height of a Maine Coon, it’s important to consider their overall body structure, which can vary greatly between individuals. On average, males stand between 10 to 16 inches tall, while females stand between 8 to 14 inches tall.
Maine Coon Nutrition
Maine Coon kittens and cats require a well-balanced diet that provides them with the proper macronutrient breakdown to support their growth and development.
During their first year of life, kittens require a diet that is high in protein and fat to support their rapid growth and development. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, while fat provides energy and supports healthy skin and coat.
As Maine Coons reach adulthood, their nutritional needs change, and they require a diet that provides a balanced macronutrient breakdown of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Protein should make up at least 50% of their diet, while fat should make up no more than 30% of their diet. Carbohydrates can provide the remaining balance of their diet.
Maine Coon Size Compared To Normal Cats
Maine Coons are one of the largest domestic cat breeds, with a much larger and sturdier build versus most other domestic cats. They are typically much longer, taller, and heavier than a normal domestic cat.
While an average domestic cat may weigh between 8 to 10 pounds, Maine Coons can weigh anywhere from 13 to 25 pounds, with some individuals even larger.
In addition to their weight, Maine Coons also have a longer, rectangular body shape with a broad chest, strong muscular legs, and a long, fluffy tail.
Other Small Cat Breeds
If you are interested in smaller cat breeds, there are several options to consider beyond the Maine Coon.
One such breed is the Singapura, which is one of the smallest cat breeds in the world. These cats typically weigh only 4 to 8 pounds and have a short, fine coat with a distinctive ticked tabby pattern. They are known for their playful and affectionate personalities.
Another small cat breed is the Devon Rex, which typically weighs between 5 to 10 pounds. These cats have a unique appearance with their curly, soft coat, large ears, and slender build. They are highly intelligent, social, and playful, making them a great choice for families.
The Munchkin is another small cat breed that is known for its short legs. Despite their small stature, Munchkins are strong and athletic cats that are highly adaptable to different living environments. They weigh between 5 to 9 pounds and come in a variety of colors and coat patterns.
Finally, the Cornish Rex is a small and elegant breed that typically weighs between 6 to 10 pounds. They have a short, curly coat that is soft to the touch and come in a range of colors. These cats are highly active and affectionate, with a playful and outgoing personality that makes them a joy to be around.
I’m Gary Hu, a proud cat dad to a 15 lb Maine Coon. Have taken care of outdoor and indoor cats for over 10 years, and learned tons on behavior, habits, health, and products. I help new Maine Coon (or any other cat) parents with common questions and issues based on real, practical experience.