Cats are great, but if you’re new to the world of being a cat lover, you might not know the difference between all the many colorations and breeds. Maine Coon cats can be tabby cats and often are, but not all tabby cats are Maine coons. We’ll break it down and learn all about tabby cats and Maine Coon cats by the end of this blog post.
What’s a Tabby Cat?
A tabby cat is not a breed of cat, it’s a kind of fur pattern that can occur in almost any domestic cat. The tabby pattern occurs naturally and has been traced back to five different ancestral groups of cats, according to one study. The gene for tabby markings can be found in all domestic cats, and even if a cat is completely black, it may have tabby markings that are only visible in bright sunlight.
The name “tabby” comes from striped silk fabric and came to English from the French, and before that, Arabic. According to the Oxford dictionary, al-‘Attābiyya is the part of Baghdad where the kind of silk fabric originated from.
The tabby pattern is distinguished by an M shape on the forehead of the cat, and varying types of stripes along the cheeks, back, legs, and tail. Tabby markings can include stripes, spots, whorls, and bands. There are at least five different types of tabby, including classic, mackerel, ticked, spotted, and patched variations.
Types of Tabby
Typically, this pattern has whorls that culminate in a “target” on the cat’s side. This pattern is present in plenty of American shorthair cats.
Mackerel tabby cats have stripes rather than whorls or swirls. They also have stripey rings around their legs and tail.
Ticked or agouti tabbies don’t have all-over stripes, but instead, have a coat mostly made up of fur with two different colors on each hair. They may or may not have stripes on their extremities.
Though most people associate spotted fur with exotic breeds like the Bengal, Ocicat, or Savannah cat, some all-domestic cat breeds naturally have spots as well.
This tabby marking occurs on cats bearing the calico or tortoiseshell patterns. They’re patchy, meaning the cat might have several different types of tabby patterns over her body.
What Kinds of Cats Can Be Tabbies?
Most any kind of domestic cat can be a tabby. Tabbies are both male and female – orange tabby cats are often male, but not exclusively. Unlike tortoiseshell cats and calico cats, the tabby coloring isn’t split along gender lines.
Notable tabby cats include Morris, the Nine Lives cat food cat, and Maru, the famous Japanese social media cat who loves to jump in and out of boxes.
What’s a Maine Coon?
The Maine Coon is one of the oldest natural North American cat breeds. It is currently the third-most-popular pedigreed cat breed worldwide.
No one knows exactly how they came to be, but it’s hypothesized that Maine Coons are descendants of Norwegian Forest Cats or Siberian Forest Cats, both breeds of considerable size and long, thick fur.
A Maine Coon cat named Cosey won the first cat show in the United States in 1895.
What Are Maine Coons Known For?
Maine Coon cats are the largest domestic type of cat. They have a reputation for being sweet and sociable cats, earning themselves the moniker “the Gentle Giant.” They’re known for their size and dense fur, which keeps them warm on cold winter nights in their state of origin, Maine.
They have a reputation for being patient and good with children, and even for enjoying the water.
The typical domestic cat is between 8 and 10 pounds in weight, about 10 inches tall, and 15 to 20 inches long. Meanwhile, Maine Coons typically range in size from 8 to 16 inches tall, 19 to 40 inches long, and 8 to 25 pounds.
The Maine Coon is a big, attractive cat with a prominent ruff across its chest, a rectangular body shape, a two-layered, uneven coat with thicker guard hairs over a silky undercoat, and a long, plumed tail.
Because they’re so big, Maine Coon cats can have a predisposition for some health issues, including hip dysplasia and feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Notable Maine Coon Cats
Richie the Maine Coon, a remarkably fluffy gray Maine Coon with a black face, has gained more than 159,000 Instagram followers. He recently gained a little brother, who is an orange tabby Maine Coon.
Samson, who is followed by some 223,000 people on Instagram, is famous not only for his distinguished looks but his size. He’s more than 4 feet long and weighs some 30 pounds, according to his Instagram page.
Cygnus, a silver Maine Coon living in Michigan, earned a Guinness world record for longest tail in 2017. Unfortunately, Cygnus died in a house fire in 2017.
Can a Maine Coon Cat be a Tabby?
Many Maine Coon cats are tabbies, but they can also have a variety of other types of fur patterns, including at least eight colors and six pattern types.
Advantages of Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coons are known to be intelligent, social, friendly, active, and easy to train. They have often been called “doglike” for their friendliness and trainability. Though they’re very friendly and like to hang out with their family, they prefer to snuggle up next to their people, rather than being lap cats. They’re patient with kids and gentle with their human family members. They love to play.
They’re known for their adorable vocalizations to their family members. They are also known to be friendly with people, other cats, and dogs alike.
Disadvantages of Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coon cats can get lonely and depressed if left home alone for long periods of time. They are best suited for homes where someone will be home most of the day.
Because of their long, beautiful fur, they require regular grooming. What’s more, they will likely require regular bathing as well. Most Maine Coons enjoy the water, so bathing them may not be so bad, however.
While Maine Coons have gained notoriety for their large size, it can have some drawbacks. Maine Coons tend to live 10-13 years, which is a shorter lifespan than domestic cats in general, which are expected to live 12-18 years.
They are also predisposed to joint-related diseases like arthritis and hip dysplasia, as well as feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is the feline version of congestive heart failure.
Is a Maine Coon Cat Right For Me?
Though Maine Coons are not the most low-maintenance cat breed, they are highly intelligent, trainable, and loyal. They are an expensive breed compared to many other types of cats. If you have the money to purchase and care for a Maine Coon, you might be a good candidate.
If you’re in the market for a large, loving, gentle, and friendly cat, and you’re willing and able to give the cat your time, attention, and care for the next 12 years, a Maine Coon cat may be right for you.
Time For A Cat Nap…
We hope you liked learning all about the Maine Coon Cat vs Tabby Cat question. The plan is to dive into more cat topics over the coming months to learn more about our feline friends. Be sure to check out articles such as “why does my cat want to sleep on my bed with me”, and “7 reasons my cat is panting”. Stay tuned for more fun and interesting purrrrfect reads coming soon.