Maine Coon Cats vs. Ragdoll Cats: The Differences

Post Published on November 23, 2020 | Last Updated on February 1, 2021 by Jenny

**A BIG thank you to all the readers who submitted photos of their Maine Coon cats for this post.**

Abigail, age 7 yrs. a brown classic tabby Maine coon, formally known as CH Coonsworth Storm the Bastille IMG_0686
Abigail, age 7 yrs. a brown classic tabby Maine coon, formally known as CH Coonsworth Storm the Bastille

Maine Coon cats and Ragdoll cats are the two most popular large cat breeds in the world. They both have long beautiful coats and imposing figures and they are both outstanding cats, but there are some key differences between these two gorgeous cats. If you’re curious to find out what these are, then read on as we present them:

Maine Coon vs. Ragdoll – Differences in Appearance

These two cat breeds look quite similar. In fact, people often mistake one for the other, but there are some differences in their appearance nonetheless. Here are the main ones:

Seal Mitted with a Blaze Ragdoll Cat Charlie on a bed

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Size and Weight

Main Coon males typically weigh 15-25 pounds, while females weigh 10-15 pounds. Ragdoll females also weigh 10-15 pounds on average, while Ragdoll males weigh 15-20 pounds. This makes Main Coon males the ones with the largest potential in weight.

Zoey Maine Coon loved by Patti
Zoey, Maine Coon, loved by Patti

In terms of size, Main Coon cats are larger. They are usually 10-16 inches tall, while Ragdolls are 9-11 inches tall. However, both breeds are about the same size in length (measured from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail), 35-40 inches.

Conclusion: While similar in length, Main Coon cats are taller, especially males. They also have the potential to reach a larger weight, which makes Main Coon the larger giant cat.

Eye Color and Shape

This is one of the central differences between the two breeds. All Ragdoll cats have bright blue eyes. This is one of their best-known and most appreciated features. Main Coons, on the other hand, present a wider pallet of eye colors, including copper, gold, and green.

Coco Maine Coon loved by Patti
Coco, a Maine Coon, loved by Patti

Another noticeable difference between their eyes is the shape. Main Coon cats have rounded eyes, while Ragdolls have oval-shaped eyes.

Main Coon cats have rounded eyes, while Ragdolls have oval-shaped eyes. Click To Tweet
Mr Bear and Rupert loved by Lindsey Maine Coon and Ragdoll Cat IMG_0618
Mr. Bear and Rupert loved by Lindsey

Body Shape

Even though people often mistake these two, they do have quite different appearances, upon a closer look. In terms of shape, Main Coon cats have rectangular-shaped bodies, with thick legs and broad chests. They also have large bushy raccoon-like tails. Ragdolls also have broad chests, but they have longer legs, and longer tapered tails.

Maine Coon Sadie Sue
Maine Coon Sadie Sue

While both breeds have wedge-shaped heads, Ragdoll cats have chubby cheeks, while Maine Coons have high cheekbones. They also have differently-shaped noses. Ragdolls have rounded noses, while Maine Coons have square-shaped noses.

Another key difference is the shape of their ears. While Ragdolls display proportionally-sized ears, Maine Coons have long pointy ears, which always stand out.

Coat

Ragdoll cats have a very particular coat. They have long coats, with lush soft fur, but no undercoat. This sets them apart from Maine Coons, which also have long fur, but have a thick undercoat and light overcoat. The feel of a Ragdoll cat’s fur is quite unique, similar to that of a rabbit.

They have amazingly plushy fur. As for Maine Coons, they have soft coats with a wild look. Their fur is water resistant, which allows them to swim or walk through snow without having the moisture reach their skin. Ragdolls also have waterproof fur, but it is far less efficient than that of the Maine Coon.

Maine Coon Sadie Sue 2
Maine Coon, Sadie Sue

Both breeds have a lion-like ruff around their necks, but it is the Maine Coon that stands out. The role of the ruff is to keep them warm and since Maine Coons are far better equipped for the great outdoors, it comes as no surprise that they have a much richer neck hair They also have longer necks, which makes this far more visible.

Colors and Patterns

In this regard, Ragdolls and Maine Coons are quite different. The first key aspect is that all Ragdolls have colored points. The point color can be blue, seal, chocolate, lilac, cream, mink, or red, while the pattern can be colorpoint, mitted, van, bi-color, lynx, or tortie. Find out more details about this in our page about Ragdoll colors and patterns.

In this regard, Ragdolls and Maine Coons are quite different. The first key aspect is that all Ragdolls have colored points. Click To Tweet
Lily a tortie Maine Coon from Sarajen Maine Coon Cats in Arlington Virginia loved by Leslie
Lily, a tortie Maine Coon, from Sarajen Maine Coon Cats in Arlington, Virginia loved by Leslie

Maine Coons, on the other hand, come in a much larger array of colors. In fact, there are more than 85 combinations of colors and patterns for this breed. In terms of patterns, they can be solid, tabby – which can be a classic tabby, a mackerel tabby, or a patched tabby, tortoiseshell, bi-color, smoke, or shaded. As for colors, they can be black, white, red, blue, and cream. And these are only the colors for the solid Maine Coons.

Maine Coon vs. Ragdoll – Personality Comparison

Ragdolls and Maine Coons have very similar personalities. They are intelligent, playful, elegant cats that thrive on connection with their human families. There are, however, some subtle differences between them. Here are their various personality traits:

Mr Bear and Rupert loved by Lindsey Maine Coon and Ragdoll Cat IMG_0513
Mr Bear and Rupert loved by Lindsey
Ragdolls and Maine Coons have very similar personalities. They are intelligent, playful, elegant cats that thrive on connection with their human families. Click To Tweet

Intelligence

Both breeds are highly intelligent, but it seems that the Maine Coon has been described as being superior to the Ragdoll in this department. Naturally, intelligence largely depends on the individual, but with both cats, you are going to get a very intelligent companion.

Friendly

Both Maine Coons and Ragdolls thrive on the relationships they build with the people and other animals in the household. They are both very social and friendly domestic cats that will gladly interact with you. They will greet you at the door and stay close to you after that, but without getting in your way.

Leo in NJ. Submitted by Carol Maine Coon Cat Pic IMG_0967
Leo in NJ. Submitted by Carol
Both Maine Coons and Ragdolls thrive on the relationships they build with the people and other animals in the household. Click To Tweet

Affectionate

This is yet another trait that is specific to the individual, but both breeds are known to be very friendly with their owners. They enjoy being petted, and they love getting attention and affection. And they also give it back. So, with Ragdolls and Maine Coons, you will get an involved companion that gives and receives affection.

So, with Ragdolls and Maine Coons, you will get an involved companion that gives and receives affection. Click To Tweet

Docile

Both breeds are known to be very docile, but Ragdolls stand out when it comes to this. They are widely known for getting floppy like actual ragdolls when they are picked up. While this Ragdoll personality trait is more of a myth, this breed is extremely docile. Maine Coons might be somewhat below this bar, but that still makes them very docile cats.

They are widely known for getting floppy like actual ragdolls when they are picked up. Click To Tweet

Playful

This is yet another shared personality trait of the two breeds because they are both very playful cats. They love toys and games and spending time playing with their humans, so you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun with both Ragdolls and Maine Coons. They enjoy toys that they can play with by themselves, but also games that they can play with you. In fact, it is very important to keep them mentally engaged.

Energetic

While they are both very playful cat breeds, Maine Coons and Ragdolls are moderately energetic. They will be very engaged when playing with you, up to the point where they reach their limit and make a swift disappearance to rest.

Robbie a red silver Maine Coon from Sarajen Maine Coon Cats in Arlington Virginia loved by Leslie
Robbie, a red silver Maine Coon, from Sarajen Maine Coon Cats in Arlington, Virginia loved by Leslie

After a quick nap on their favorite cat bed or armchair, they will come back to you and bring a toy with them. They are certainly not the cats to sleep around all day, but they do need to recharge their batteries after playtime.

While they are both very playful cat breeds, Maine Coons and Ragdolls are moderately energetic. Click To Tweet

Lap Cats

Ragdoll cats love to sit on your lap. They are very happy to be close to you and they can spend hours purring on your lap. Maine Coons, on the other hand, really enjoy being close to you, but prefer to keep their distance, so they will be next to you, rather than on your lap. However, this type of preference depends on the individual, so some Ragdoll cats may not love sitting on your lap, while some Maine Coons might enjoy the occasional stay.

Blue Lynx Mitted Ragdoll Cat Trigg Chiggy Lapcat

Talkative

Ragdoll cats are known to be very quiet. There has to be a pretty big reason to get them to meow, so you will probably never hear it around the house. Maine Coons, on the other hand, almost never meow, but they interact with their owners by trilling. That is a combination between a purr and meow, and they do that when they want to make a statement, when they are excited or engaged in a game.

Aggressiveness

Ragdolls and Maine Coons are large cats with a wild cat appearance (especially Maine Coons), so people expect them to be aggressive. But, in fact, these two breeds are known as the “gentle giants” because they are very calm, they are difficult to annoy, and they need to have a very good reason to scratch or bite people or animals.

Good with Children

As mentioned above, the gentle giants are extremely docile cats that do not scratch and bite. This and their very permissive temper makes them excellent with children. Considering their laid back tempers and their affinity for humans, they will enjoy spending time with children just as much as the children will love petting and hugging them.

As mentioned above, the gentle giants are extremely docile cats that do not scratch and bite. This and their very permissive temper makes them excellent with children. Click To Tweet

Good with Other Pets

Their amazing personalities make Maine Coons and Ragdolls some of the very few dog-friendly cats. They are willing to share their homes with a dog, as long as it also acts friendly and gentle to them. If provoked, they will fight back, but it takes a lot to make these cats angry.

Mr Bear and Rupert loved by Lindsey Maine Coon and Ragdoll Cat
Mr. Bear and Rupert loved by Lindsey

While territory they are willing to share, it is human affection that they will have a harder time sharing with a dog. But being very intelligent cats, they will not scratch the dog, but rather go out of their way to get your attention. So don’t be surprised if you find them lounging on your desk, on your favorite chair or in your shoe box.

Maine Coon vs. Ragdoll – Differences in Environment Needs

Ragdolls and Maine Coons are different in terms of their environmental needs. Maine Coons are closer to wild cats and they are adapted to living outdoors. In fact, they are tremendous hunters. While they can live happily indoors as well, they are perfectly suited for living outdoors or to an indoors/outdoors lifestyle.

Ragdolls, on the other hand, are suited for living indoors. They do not enjoy climbing furniture, so they will not be thrilled about climbing trees either. Moreover, they are so easy going and docile that they can be easily taken by other people, if left unsupervised. Please note that indoor cats should always be supervised when they spend time outdoors. As an alternative, they can safely stay outside in a catio.

Maine Coon vs. Ragdoll – Differences in Care

Caring for the gentile giants requires dedication, but how is caring for a Maine Coon different from caring for a Ragdoll? In this section, we will go through the various needs that these breeds have and relay the specifics for each of them:

Shedding and Grooming Needs

Maine Coons and Ragdolls may have a different coat structure (Ragdolls do not have an undercoat), but these long-haired cats do not shed a lot compared to other cat breeds. In fact, they have very good coats that do not mat easily.

However, they do need regular care. In my book, Grooming the fluff, you can find out everything you need to know about how to properly groom a long-haired cat, from the best tools to use to how to deal with mats. Please note that if they are not groomed on a regular basis, they will develop mats. During shedding season, it is normal for them to shed more, so they need more attention during that time.

EquiGroomer cat brush grooming a Ragdoll cat

Food and Costs

Maine Coon males may be a bit taller than Ragdoll males, but both these breeds are large cats. The larger the cat, the more food it is going to need, and the more it is going to cost you on a regular basis. If you are used to paying for food for a small-sized cat, you should expect a cost increase with Ragdolls or Maine Coons.

However, what turns out to be difficult with these breeds is keeping them from becoming obese. It’s their friendly and curious nature that makes these cats very engaged and most owners have a difficult time saying no to them. Others even choose to display their affection by feeding the cat excessively.

It is very important to keep Maine Coons and Ragdolls in shape, but as long as you give the amount of food indicated by the veterinarian for their weight and age, you should have no problems.

Other things you should expect to spend money on are litterboxes for large cats, kitty litter, scratching posts, cat beds, and toys. Since these two breeds are so playful, you may have to spend more on toys than you would for a regular cat, but it is entirely up to you.

Vet Checkups

Maine Coons and Ragdolls need regular veterinary checkups, as all cats do. They are healthy cats, but they still need to be examined periodically by their doctor. They need to be vaccinated, neutered, and they need regular blood work performed, as part of their checkups.

Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat on a scale at the vets.

Breed-Specific Disease Predispositions

In general, these two breeds are both quite healthy, but there are some diseases that they are predisposed to. This does not mean that they are sure to develop them, but there is a chance that they will, which means that you already know what you should be looking out for. Here are the main ones:

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Unfortunately, both Ragdolls and Maine Coons have a predisposition for developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a thickening of the muscular wall of the heart, which can lead to very serious heart disease. This is yet another reason why these breeds must be kept in shape. Obesity complicates this by making them prone to even more heart problems in cats.

Urinary Tract Issues

While all cats are prone to developing urinary tract issues, Ragdolls are slightly more prone than others. If you notice any changes in the cat’s behavior, in its water drinking patterns, as well as urinating and defecating patterns, it is best to take the cat to the vet to rule out UTI’s. You should also make sure that the cat gets enough water and you should feed it wet food rather than dry food.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a common disease for large-sized cats, so both breeds are predisposed to it, but the Main Coon particularly. Hip dysplasia is the loosening of the hip ligaments, which causes the femur to get dislodged from the hip joint, as well as osteoarthritis.

While this can be cured surgically, it entails a complex procedure. Please note that this is also hereditary, so it is best to check the medical records of the cat parents, if possible. Moreover, cats with hip dysplasia are not allowed to reproduce, to help prevent the disease for the following generations.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

PKD is another hereditary disease, which causes the development of small benign cysts on the cat’s kidneys. While this is not a lethal disease, it can put a significant strain on the cat’s kidney function. This can be diagnosed with a simple ultrasound, and it is advised that both Maine Coons and Ragdolls are checked for PKD. Being aware of the disease can help prevent further complications.

As you can see, Maine Coons and Ragdolls are very similar in size, coat, and personality. It is the subtle differences between these two that makes them remarkable. What are your thoughts on the differences between the gentle giants? Tell us all about them in the comments section below.

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One thought on “Maine Coon Cats vs. Ragdoll Cats: The Differences

  1. Cindy Lou says:

    I have 2 Ragdolls, Seven & Neo. I’m guessing they are abnormal from the standards in a few areas. Both of mine are talkers. Well, Seven is a talker and the other, Neo, I call whiny boy. OMG, is he ever whiny! Another difference is that neither of them are lap cats and do not like to be picked up and held. Neither are even remotely floppy as the second you pick them up, they start fighting you to get down. They do love their rubdowns and to be petted, but only on their terms. I’m figuring some of their characteristics can be blamed on their previous owners (they were rehomed to me). They do like to be near you and will follow me when I go from room to room, especially the bathroom (captive audience)! I love them to pieces and wouldn’t trade them for anything.

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