tortoiseshell maine coon

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon | Maine Coon Colors And Patterns

The Maine Coon is a popular cat breed that is famous for being the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.

According to the CFA, Maine Coons are available in 75 different Maine Coon colors which gives potential Maine Coon buyers a wide variety of Maine Coon colors and patterns to choose from (source 1).

The main five colors that Maine Coons can come in are:

  • Black
  • Red
  • White
  • Blue
  • Cream

White on a cat is actually the absence of pigmentation, while red and black can be “diluted” through genetic mutation to produce other colors.

In Maine Coons, the color black can be diluted to chocolate, cinnamon, blue, lilac, and fawn. Meanwhile, the color red can also be diluted to cream.

Maine Coons can also come in “silver” and “gold,” which refers to black and red dilute colors that appear silver or gold in color due to a rare inhibitor gene (source 1).

Have you ever heard someone ask, do Maine Coon cats change color?

This might sound like a rather bizarre question, yet, it is definitely a fascinating one since Maine Coon cats do change color!

Before you get excited though, please keep in mind that a Maine Coons fur may change in color, but the Maine Coon pattern will stay the same.

Cat breed specialists, such as CFA classify the Maine Coon as having eight distinct patterns. These patterns are as follows:

Here is a comprehensive list of all the possible Maine Coon patterns:

1. Solid

Solid-colored cats have even coloration of a single color throughout their body.

If we look at the Maine Coon cat specifically, the solids are monochromatic from head to tail.

Solid cats have no marks or stripes.

Here are some solid Maine Coon colors, that you can read about further:

2. Shaded

Shaded Maine Coon cats have a white or light undercoat with moderate tipping of another color on their sides, faces, and tails.

You will find shaded Maine Coon cats in the following combinations:

  • Shaded Tortoiseshell
  • Shaded Cameo
  • Shaded silver
  • Shaded blue silver

3. Tortoiseshell

A tortoiseshell cat has a base color of white with brindled solid or tabby patches of red and black (or their respective dilutes) 

This coat pattern is only possible for females since cat genetics dictate that the red and black pigment comes from the X chromosome.

If you look at the tortoiseshell Maine Coon coat you will see that their main color is black, interspersed with cream or red markings.

An example of a tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat is the tortoiseshell and white.

4. Smoke

Smoke cats have a white undercoat with deep tipping of another color on the sides, face, and tail.

Three common smoke Maine Coon colorings are:

  • Cream Smoke
  • Blue Smoke
  • Tortie Smoke

Cat specialists regard the smoke Maine Coon as similar to the solid since their furry coats are also monochromic which means it contains or uses only one color.

The key difference between the solid Maine Coon and a smoke Maine Coon, however, is that the smoke Maine Coon cat has a lightly silver-colored undercoat. This undercoat gives the cat a smokey faded look.

The easiest way to identify a smoke Maine Coon cat is by brushing or petting their fur since their lighter roots become visible when its fur is brushed.

You will likely find this harder to spot on a smoke Maine Coon kitten, though.

5. Tabbies

The most common Maine Coon pattern is the tabby Maine Coon cat.

A Maine Coon with tabby markings bares the closest resemblance to the original Maine Coon cats found in Maine!

Tabby cats have banded hairs which result in stripes, but tabbies can also have spots and whirls.

There are four different kinds of tabby markings, these are:

However, the CFA only considers there to be two acceptable tabby patterns (source 1):

  • Mackerel
  • Classic

There are multiple subcategories in the Maine Coon colors and pattern list.

For example, some Maine Coon cats are classified as Tabby with white. This relates to tabby kittens that have white paws and chests.

Within this color category, you will find various combinations, such as a red tabby white Maine Coon, or a silver tabby white Maine Coon cat.

6. Bi-Color

The bi-color Maine Coon cat’s fur has a combination of two colors, of which one color is always white.

Previously known as piebald cats, the bicolor cat is distinctive because it has one main coloring that has been combined with white.

There is no amount of white on a bi-color Maine Coon cat, instead, the level of white might range from covering the entire cat coat to just a small portion of it.

This coat color is caused by the white spotting gene.

Another possible bi-color pattern for Maine Coons is an underlying white coat with patches of either black or red (or their respective dilutes). This is where you can get Van or Tuxedo patterns.

7. Parti-Colored

According to the CFA, a “parti-colored” cat is a cat with more than one color present” (source 1).

Some common parti-colored cat colorings include:

  • Tortoiseshell
  • Blue Cream
  • Calico
  • Lavender
  • Tabby And White
  • Bi-Color

8. Other Maine Coon Cat Colors

Cat breed organizations are pretty strict regards what Maine Coon colorings are accepted, and permitted to compete at their shows.

Therefore, whilst ‘other Maine Coon cat colors’ is not necessarily a Maine Coon color classification, it is still worth mentioning.

Below are two Maine Coon colors that fall under this category:

  • Chocolate Maine Coon Color
  • Lavender Maine Coon Color

Other Cat Colorings:

Below are some other Maine Coon colorings that you might encounter:

Shell: Shell cats have a white undercoat with very light tipping of another color on the back, tail, flanks, and head, as well as possibly on the face and head.

Tri-Color: Tri-color refers to a combination of any three colors on a cat’s coat. Tri-color coat combinations, however, are only possible in females.

Calico: A calico cat has a base color of white with unbrindled patches of red and black (or their respective dilutes).

Maine Coon Markings

Many people mistakenly believe that the distinctive “M” shape on a Maine Coon’s forehead is unique only to Maine Coons. However, this isn’t actually the case.

This “M” shape is seen on all tabby cats.

Maine Coons are known for having a different kind of distinctive marking, however.

Many Maine Coons have several dark rings around the base of their tail, which often makes them resemble raccoons.

Maine Coon Cat Coat Genetics

The genetics behind a cat’s coloration and pattern is actually quite complicated.

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