Maine Coons are one of the most popular large cat breeds in the US, thanks to their teddy bear-like appearance and gentle temperament. The American Shorthair is a slightly less common cat breed, but it is a beloved breed by those who keep it. Both of these breeds are excellent cats that are overall considered to be healthy breeds with trainable, friendly temperaments.
Choosing between the two breeds can be difficult due to the large number of positive attributes each breed exhibits. One breed does require a little bit more exercise than the other, while one requires much higher grooming needs. Both of these cat breeds are, overall, relatively low-maintenance cats that will appreciate any time you spend with them. To help you pick between the Maine Coon and American Shorthair, it’s important to understand the differences in the breeds.
At a Glance
Maine Coon Overview
The Maine Coon is a beloved cat breed that is well known for its large size and dog-like personality. These cats are a long-haired breed that has proven a perennial favorite among cat enthusiasts for their long list of positive attributes.
Personality / Character
Often described as “dog-like”, the Maine Coon is an intelligent, curious cat that loves spending time with its people. They tend to be gentle and good-natured cats that can be great for homes with children and other pets. They retain a kitten-like charm throughout their lives, making them playful and entertaining throughout their lives. These cats don’t reach full maturity until they are around 4–5 years of age.
Due to their intelligence and curious nature, Maine Coons can be very trainable cats. They can be trained to perform tasks and tricks, as well as walk on a leash and harness. They are intelligent enough to understand boundaries and rules within the home, although their curiosity may push them to break the rules on occasion. Consistency is key with training your Maine Coon.
Health & Care
This is an overall hardy breed, but they are prone to a few hereditary health problems. Responsible breeders will test for many types of diseases that Maine Coons are prone to, which helps reduce the risk of these disorders continuing to occur in the breed. Some hereditary diseases that Maine Coons are prone to include hip dysplasia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and spinal muscular atrophy.
Due to their long, thick coat, Maine Coons require regular brushing and may require a groomer visit from time to time. They do need to be brushed at least three times per week to remove loose hairs and keep the skin and coat healthy and moisturized. Mat breaker combs can be used if needed, but if your Maine Coon becomes significantly matted, then you may need a professional groomer to help you out.
Maine Coon cats are excellent family cats, even for homes with small children. Children should be taught to be gentle with these cats, although they are quite large and well built. They are also a good option for homes with other pets since they typically get along well with other cats and dogs, although they may expect a playmate out of the other pets in the home.
American Shorthair Cat Overview
The American Shorthair is a sturdy, medium-sized cat that is prized for its high trainability and sociability. They are great cats for families and singles alike, as well as homes with other pets. They have a lifespan that easily puts the American Shorthair in the running as one of the longest-lived cat breeds.
Personality / Character
The American Shorthair is an overall laid-back cat breed, but they originated as working cats, so they do still have moderate exercise needs every day. A bored American Shorthair may be prone to getting into trouble, so make sure to keep your cat entertained with games, puzzles, and daily exercise and affection. These cats are highly intelligent, and their mellow personality makes them suitable for just about any type of home.
This is an intelligent breed that is known to be very trainable. They can be trained to perform tasks and jobs, as well as participate in cat sports, like feline agility. They can also be taught to perform tricks, walk on a leash and harness, and obey the rules within the home. If kept exercised and entertained, they are likely to follow the rules within the home.
Health & Care
Although a generally healthy breed, the American Shorthair is prone to some medical issues. Thankfully, responsible breeders are working to breed these issues out of the breed, but they do still occur. Like the Maine Coon, American Shorthairs are prone to hip dysplasia and HCM. They may also be prone to urinary diseases and kidney failure.
The American Shorthair has low grooming needs, making it a great cat breed for someone who forgets routine cat grooming. Ideally, these cats should be brushed weekly to maintain the health of the coat and skin and keep everything moisturized. Loose hair and skin cells can build up on the coat if not routinely brushed. This breed is unlikely to need professional grooming services.
This cat breed is a great option for families with children, but the children should be educated on giving the cat its space when desired and respecting its boundaries. They are also suitable for homes with singles, including seniors who are home regularly. They can be great companions to other pets in a home with proper introductions.
Which Breed Is Right For You?
The Maine Coon and American Shorthair are two very distinct breeds that have different personalities, but are both highly trainable cats that are suitable for homes with children and other pets. The Maine Coon does have higher grooming needs than the American Shorthair, and may be more prone to breaking rules due to their kitten-like temperament throughout their life.
Both of these breeds require daily activity, but the American Shorthair may require a little more exercise and play than the Maine Coon, although this can vary significantly between cats. Both cats can be trained to perform tricks and tasks, as well as to walk on a leash and harness.
Featured image Credit: Olga Korvinuss, Shutterstock /CC0 Public Domain, pxhere