Maine coons make fantastic family pets. They are friendly, loving and loyal creatures. It really is no wonder that the breed has become so popular. If you are considering adding a Maine coon to your family then you may be wondering if there are any differences between the males and females. You want to be sure that you are adopting a pet who is the right fit for your circumstances.
There are several important differences between the males and females that you will need to take into consideration if you are thinking of adopting a Maine coon. They are significantly different in size, have different personality traits and there are also important health issues, particularly with the males, that need to be noted.
Don’t worry, you won’t make a wrong decision when it comes to adopting a Maine coon but being well informed about the differences between the two genders is a good idea, even if only for interest.
Maine coon size is a topic all in itself seeing as the Maine coon is the largest of the domestic cat breeds (See my article: How big do Maine coon cats get?). When it comes to the difference between male and female Maine coons then size is probably the most noticeable factor. Male Maine coons tend to be a few inches longer and a lot heaver than the girls. Female Maine coons can be as small as 8 pounds but on average will weight 10-15 pounds. For males on the other hand, 15 pounds tends to be on the smaller side, with some reaching 20+ pounds and still being considered a healthy weight for their height. A male Maine coon will need a lot more space than a female so that’s something to bear in mind when making your decision.
When it comes to personality, both male and female Maine coons make great companions. They are loving, gentle and very friendly. They crave human attention and will follow you around like a shadow. They love to sit close to you and will likely sit next to you rather than on your lap.
Male Maine coons tend to be a bit clownish in their behaviour. They just love to entertain and be the centre of attention. Females on the other hand are a bit more laid back. The females tend to keep to themselves a bit more but are able to form bonds of friendship with several people. The males tend to form a bond with only one or two people and will follow them around the house (and sometimes even jump in the shower with them!).
Some owners find that their female Maine coon also tends to be a bit naughtier in terms of getting into places that she shouldn’t. Because of their slightly smaller frames the girls tend to enjoy jumping around more and can be often found up on kitchen counters and mantlepieces. The boys tend to spend more time down at ground level as they are not so fond of jumping about.
Both male and female Maine coons make great mousers. They are a breed of wild cat and even now they are domesticated they have managed to hold on to this hunter trait. Because of this their activity level at night can be an issue with them running around the house and causing havoc. This tends to be the case with females more than the males.
It depends what you want from your cat in terms of personality. A female can be very loving to her chosen person or people but at times will just want to keep to herself. It’s all on her terms really, which is much like other breeds of cat. Male Maine coons want attention all the time, much like a dog. If you are a busy family then a female might be better for you but if you are looking for a companion then a male is probably the better choice.
Maine coons tend to live to an age of around 12-14 years and this goes for both the males and the females. The boys do however get a bit of a rough deal when it comes to health problems.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common cause of heart failure in all breeds of domestic cat, but years of breeding of Maine coons mean that they have developed a genetic susceptibility towards the condition. When adopting a Maine coon from a breeder this is one of the questions you should ask, have the parents been tested for these genetic abnormalities? Male Maine coons seem to be more susceptible to this condition, so this is an important fact to be aware of when adopting a male kitten.
In addition, Maine coons are susceptible to joint problems. This again is more likely in the males due to their larger frames. Their heavier weight means that there is more pressure being put on their joints. Hence the reason that they don’t enjoy jumping around as much as the girls. As a result, the males are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia and patellar subluxation (a condition affecting the position of the kneecap). These conditions can be quite painful and can require surgery to correct to abnormalities. Again this is something it is important to ask a breeder about; you should inquire as to whether the parents have had any problems with their hips.
Because of their tendency towards developing these health issues, you will find that male Maine coons are slightly more expensive when it comes to pet insurance. For more information on health insurance for Maine coons then see my article, how much does pet insurance cost for a Maine coon?
It is quite likely that your Maine coon kitten will have been neutered by the time you get to take them home from the breeder. One reason for this is that breeders do not want you to become competition by breeding from their Kittens. Male Maine coons are much more likely to spray, both before and after they have been neutered.
Should I get a Male or a Female Maine coon?
Well, if you have a lot of space in your home and a lot of time to offer attention then a male Maine coon is a great choice. Just be aware of the potential health problems that may come along with them and be sure to watch their weight. If you have a large family and are looking for an affectionate cat who will require less attention then a female is probably the better choice for you. Of course everything said here is talking in general, cats all have individual personalities and how they behave around people and other animals will depend somewhat on their upbringing.
If possible, getting a pair of Maine coons is a great choice as they can keep each other company and play with each other, especially during the day when the family might be out at school and at work. This will obviously come a financial cost and you’ll have to deal with double the fur shedding around the house but the love really will make up for it!