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Maine Coon vs. Ragdoll Cats: Which Make the Best Family Pet?

Both Maine coons and ragdoll cats make fantastic family pets and would make a great addition to any home. In fact, many owners of Maine coons also choose to adopt a ragdoll cat.

A common question among potential cat owners is ‘should I get a Maine coon or a ragdoll cat?’ If you are considering getting a cat but cannot choose between the two breeds then this guide can help you to compare the two.  

Maine coons and ragdoll cat have many similarities. Their temperament is very similar, both being very loving and gentle. This makes both breeds great options for family pets as they get along well with small children, dogs and other cats.

If you are short on time then here is a quick table of summary, comparing the two breeds (each section will be explained in more depth below):


Maine Coon
Ragdoll
Class
Semi-longhair
Semi-longhair
Hypoallergenic
No, sheds all year round
No, sheds in Spring and Autumn
Average weight
Female: 8-15 lbs Male: 9-20 lbs
Female: 10-15lbs Male: 15-20lbs
Average height
10-16 inches
9-11 inches
Life expectancy
12-14 years
12-15 years
Health Issues
HCM, PCKD, SMA, Hip dysplasia
HCM, PCKD, Urinary troubles
Eye colour
Blue, green, brown, gold
Blue
Eye shape
Round
Oval
Coat
Shaggy with thick undercoat
Silky soft, thin undercoat
Temperament
Gentle giant, playful, excitable
Gentle giant, loving, docile
Noise/Sounds
Chatty, chirping, trills
Quiet, rarely meows
Can live with dogs
Yes
Yes
Good with children
Yes
Yes


Appearance

The biggest contrast between these two breeds of cat is their appearance, and this may be a deciding factor when trying to decide which cat to get.

Coat

Both the Maine coon and the Ragdoll fall into the category of semi-longhaired breeds of cat. As a result, they are prone to their fur becoming matted and require a regular grooming routine to keep their coats in good condition.

Neither breed can be considered ‘hypoallergenic’ due to shedding. Maine coons shed fur all year round while ragdoll cats have a ‘shedding season’ in the Spring and Autumn months.

The coat of a ragdoll cat is said to have a ‘rabbit-like’ texture. According to the TICA the colours that ragdoll coats can come in are as follows: seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, red and cream, tortoiseshell and tabby (aka lynx).

There are three patterns to the ragdoll coat: colourpoint, bicolour and mitted. Below are explanations of the three coat patterns:

  • Colourpoint – these have a coat colour which darkens towards their extremities (their paws, ears, nose and tail).
  • Mitted – they have white feet in the front, looking like mittens. They also have white on the back legs giving a boot-like appearance.
  • Bi-colour – This pattern includes white on the legs and abdomen, sometimes with white patches on the back. They also have the classic white ‘inverted V-shape’ on the face.
Colourpoint Ragdoll

The Maine coon coat was designed to withstand the harsh winter environment of North America. Their coat is made up of multiple layers, with a thick ruff of fur around the neck and shoulders. They have characteristic tufts of fur between their toes and on the tips of their ears, known as lynx tips. They also have a thick, bushy tail which does not taper at the end.

In terms of coat colours there are over 75 different combinations that a Maine coon coat can come in (solid colours, tabby, mixed, calico). I’ll be writing an entire article about this topic alone in the near future.

Facial Features

Ragdoll cats have blue eyes whereas the Maine coon breed can have a number of different eye colours (green, gold, blue, even eyes of two different colours).

Ragdolls have eyes which are oval-shaped and moderately wide set. Maine coons have eyes which are less oval in shape and appear round when wide open.

The ears are very different in these two breeds. Ragdolls have ears which are rounded at the top and point forwards. Maine coons have ears which are pointed at the top and this is extenuated by tufts of hair known as lynx tips. They are set further back on the head than in the ragdoll.

For more information on how to identify if a cat is a Maine coon then please see my article, How to Tell if Your Cat is a Maine Coon.

Size

Most breeds of domestic cat be fully developed maturity by the age of two years. Maine coons and ragdoll cats on the other hand develop at a much slower rate, taking an average of 4 years to reach physical maturity (range is 3-5 years for Maine coons). Once fully grown the Maine coon is larger than the ragdoll breed.

A fully grown Maine coon can measure up to 40 inches in length (from the tip of their nose to the end of their tail). A female Maine coon will weigh between 8 and 15lbs on average whereas a male can weigh anywhere from 9 to 20lbs. For a guide to Maine coon growth see my article, How Big Do Maine Coon Cats Get?

Again, in ragdoll cats there is a significant difference in size between the male and female when fully grown. Females will usually weight between 10 and 15 lbs whereas the males are much larger and will weigh 15 to 20lbs.

Health

Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Maine coon and a ragdoll cat is about the same. Officially Maine coons are said to live for 12-14 years and ragdoll cats for 12-15 years. Of course in reality it depends on the health of the individual cat.

Medical Conditions

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

HCM is the most common heart condition present amongst domestic cats. Years of breeding the pedigree mean that both the Maine coon and ragdoll breeds have developed genetic mutations which make them more likely to develop this condition.

Genetic testing can be performed to screen for this, as can an echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart). This is something that should be discussed with the breeder of your potential kitten as they should provide proof of screening for their breeding pairs.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PCKD)

PCKD is another condition which is common to both breeds. Again this is due to their genetics.

Obesity

Maine coons and ragdoll cats are usually kept as indoor pets and this is for a variety of reasons. Being kept indoors does lead to a more sedentary lifestyle which runs the risk of a cat becoming obese.

Along with the cardiovascular complications, obesity can cause other problems in these breeds of cat. Because of their large, muscular frames, any extra weight puts stress on the joints which over time can lead to the development of osteoarthritis. This can be really painful for your housecat.

Maine Coons – Hip Dysplasia & SMA

Maine coons are prone to a genetic abnormality of the hip joint known as hip dysplasia. In severe cases this will require surgery to resolve the issue. Breeding pairs should be screened and have their hips graded prior to having a litter of Kittens.

Another genetic condition known to the Maine coon breed is spinal muscular atrophy. For more information on Maine coon health see my comprehensive guide: Common Health Conditions Affecting the Maine Coon Cat Breed.

Ragdolls – Urinary Troubles

Ragdoll cats are more prone to issue with their urinary tract. They can often be troubled with recurrent urinary tract infections and bouts of cystitis.

Ragdoll Brothers

Diet

Neither breed requires a specific diet as such. Their muscular frames warrant a high intake of protein. Omega fatty acids will also help to keep their heart, joints and coats healthy. This can be found in a well-balanced diet. For more information see my guide, What Do Maine Coons Eat?

Personality

Temperament

The temperament of Maine coons is very similar to that of a ragdoll cat. Despite their size, both breeds are very loving and affectionate, earning them the title of ‘gentle giants’. They crave human attention and interaction. As a result, they can get lonely very quickly so if you are out of the house all day, every day then these may not be the cats for you. Well, that’s unless you are willing to get another cat! (See, Do Maine Coons Need a Companion?)

The main different in personality is that Maine coons can be quite excitable whereas ragdolls are the calmer of the two breeds. Ragdolls are more likely to come and sit on your lap and stay there for a while. Maine coons on the other hand will likely come and sit next to you and roll around on the sofa, asking for attention.

Both breeds exhibit dog-like tendencies and will follow their owner around the house, even to the point of joining you in the bathroom! They are also considered to be high trainable and will fetch toys for you to play with them. Being kept mainly as indoor cats, some owners choose to take their Maine coons and ragdoll cats for a walk outside using a harness.

Hunting

Maine coons are known for being great mousers whereas ragdoll cats do not posses this skill. As mentioned previously most Maine coons are kept as indoor pets so for the most part this will not be an issue.

Maine Coon

Noise/Sounds

One of the most noticeable differences between the two breeds is the amount of noise they make. Life with a Maine coon can be very noisy and they love to chat away and chirp at their owners. Maine coons make a noise called a trill, which is made when they try to purr and meow at the same time. In contrast the ragdoll breed is very quiet and you’ll rarely hear a peep from them.

Can They Live with Dogs?

Yes, they also both get along well with dogs. As mentioned previous both breeds are quite canine-like in their personalities and habits. They love to run around and play with dogs just as much as, if not more, than they do with other cats. You can read more about this in my article, Do Maine Coons Get Along With Dogs?

Do Maine Coons and Ragdoll Cats Get Along With Each Other?

Many Maine coon owners also own Ragdoll cats. If you adopt both cats at the same time and they are introduced as Kittens, then they should get along just fine. If you are introducing a new cat or kitten when one is already well established at home then take care to introduce the two slowly to avoid any arguments over territory. Once they are used to each other they’ll likely become great friends and keep each other well entertained.

What Might a Maine Coon Ragdoll Mix Look Like?

Maine coons are ragdoll cats are both very popular family pets. It only follows that a cross-breed of the two would also be very popular. It is so popular infact that some breeders actualy specialise in Maine coon cross ragdolls. I’m not sure what they would call them though, maybe a ragcoon or a coondoll?

Here’s a photo of Simon, he is a Maine coon cross ragdoll. You can see that he has the classic colouring of a ragdoll cat, but doesn’t quite fall into any of the three colour patterns mentioned earlier in the post. He also has a lovely ruff of fur around his neck and lynx tips on his ears just like a Maine coon.

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