- Maine Coons are built for the cold, living in some of the chilliest environments on earth.
- A Maine Coons cat’s size is much larger than a standard issue house cat, reaching 32 inches not counting the tail, and weighing in at 20 pounds.
- The Mane Coon Barivel from Italy won World’s Longest Cat from the Guinness Book of World Records at an astonishing 3 feet 11 inches long!
The Maine Coon cat is widely known as a “gentle giant”, and that’s not just due to their big personalities. Maine Coons rank with Ragdolls and Siberians as one of the biggest domestic cat breeds in the world, and members of this breed have actually been ranked multiple times as the largest domestic cats alive. But size can be evaluated in a few different ways, and that means that there are a few contenders for the largest Maine Coon cat ever. Here’s what you need to know.
A Primer on Maine Coon Cats
Traditional evolution can often provide users with very astute observations on what conditions allowed a particular creature to survive in its environment, but that’s not always the case with domesticated cats. But the Maine Coon’s most distinctive features are also well-suited to the environment in which it lives. Maine winters are known for being particularly brutal, but the Maine Coon is well adapted. The heavy coat of the Maine Coon is resistant to both cold and water, and their heavy paws are well suited to walking on the surface of snow without sinking in.
It’s believed that the Maine Coon cat was descended from the similarly enormous — and similar-looking — Norwegian Forest Cat, with the prevailing theory being that they were brought to the country as part of a Viking colony led by a Captain Coon. More fanciful explanations suggest that they’re the result of interbreeding between cats and raccoons or were brought to America as a special breed raised by Marie Antoinette.
In either case, the Maine Coon cat’s size seems to be the result of environmental circumstances rather than designer breeding. Maine Coons can be documented in American life at least as far back as the mid-19th century, and they were popular as mousers built for the cold climes before they’d eventually become recognized for their beauty. The first major cat show of the modern age was even won by a Maine Coon cat.
Average Size of a Maine Coon Cat
The cats on our list are going to be large even by the standards of their breed, but it can be hard for anyone who hasn’t seen a Maine Coon to really understand how much larger they are than the typical domestic cat. The average house cat measures between 18 and 20 inches long without including its tail. They’ll typically measure 9 to 10 inches tall.
By contrast, the average Maine Coon cat size can be anywhere from 19 to 32 inches tall before even accounting for the tail. And they tower over the typical domestic cat with a height of 10 to 16 inches. It only stands to reason that a big cat would carry more weight, and the Maine Coon cat doesn’t disappoint in that regard. While a typical house cat will weigh about 10 pounds, a typical Maine Coon can easily double that. Suffice it to say, the largest Maine Coon in the world is guaranteed to be a giant among giants.
Largest Maine Coon Cat Alive: Barivel
The Italian town of Vigevano may not be as renowned as the nearby fashion capital of Milan, but it does have one thing that Milan doesn’t: the longest cat in the world. Barivel took the crown on May 22, 2018, when he was awarded the title by the Guinness Book of World Records. Barivel was recorded at 3 feet and 11 inches, making him just an inch shorter than a regulation hockey net!
Edgar Scandurra and Cinzia Tinnirello are the proud parents of Barivel, and they aren’t shy about the fame he’s gained in the community. They’ve been known to take him on walks through the neighborhood. You may want to withhold asking for autographs if you happen to see him in public, as Barivel is notable for his shyness. When in public, he rides in a buggy pushed by his pet parents. He lives a spoiled life, although his serious and shy personality hardly suits his name, which translates roughly into English as “clown”.
Formerly Largest Maine Coon Cat Alive: Ludo
The town of Wakefield in the United Kingdom can be proud knowing that they were home to the largest Maine Coon cat in the world at least for a little bit. Ludo was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2017, just a year before Barivel scooped up the prize himself. But there’s a good chance you couldn’t even tell the difference if you were there in person. At three feet and ten and a half inches, he’s only a fraction of an inch shorter than his Italian counterpart.
Ludo shares a household with three other Maine Coon cats — and while he may be almost the same size as Barival, his personality couldn’t be any more different. Ludo is an affectionate and sociable cat who loves nothing more than to snuggle. Ludo’s brief position as the largest Maine Coon in the world brought with it a flurry of photo shoots, but Ludo seems to love all the attention he’s gotten from his brief flirtation with fame.
Contender For Largest Maine Coon Cat Alive: Omar
The orange tabby Maine Coon cat known as Omar has yet to be evaluated by the judges at the Guinness Book of World Records — but if his owner’s assertions that he measures four feet and 11 inches are true, he could conceivably knock Barivel from his throne. Omar’s size might have something to do with his somewhat unconventional diet — he feasts on kangaroo meat specially prepared by his owner.
Regardless of whether or not he’s the biggest Maine Coon in the world, Omar has a fan base that’s worthy of world recognition. This enormous cat enjoys an Instagram account with over 160,000 followers. Even if he doesn’t grow to the point that he can snag the record, the love for Omar is likely only going to grow.
Maine Coon Cat With the Longest Tail on Record: Cygnus
The unique silver markings of the Maine Coon cat named Cygnus made him stand apart from the rest of his brethren, but it was his tail that truly put him into world record territory. At 17.58 inches, his tail was the longest not just of any Maine Coon cat on record but of any domestic cat period.
In an odd coincidence, Cygnus also shared a home with the largest cat on record: a member of the Savannah breed named Arcturus who measured in at an imposing 48.4 inches. Sadly, both Cygnus and Arcturus died tragically in a fire shortly before earning their respective spots on the record books. They’re remembered as a friendly and kind pair of cats who shared an inseparable bond.
Largest Maine Coon Cat of All Time: Stewie
The largest Maine Coon cat of all time is also a reasonable contender for the Maine Coon cat with the longest name of all time. Mymains Stewart Gilligan measured an impressive 48.5 inches in length, and he was known for his curious and sociable curiosity.
Unfortunately, Stewie passed away at the age of eight. But the Reno, Nevada, resident still stands as the largest Maine Coon cat in recorded history — at least for the time being. But perhaps the most interesting thing about Stewie is that he was a humanitarian in addition to a celebrity. He was a certified therapy animal, and he spent his free time making visits to the local senior center. This Maine Coon will be remembered as much for his big heart as for his big frame.
What is the lifespan of a Maine Coon?
The Maine Coon is a hardy cat breed with few health problems. If you are contemplating adopting one of these gorgeous cats you may wonder if giant cats have shorter lifespans just as giant dogs tend to live shorter lives. The answer: not really when compared to other large breeds. The average lifespan of a Maine Coon cat is 12 – 15 years. If you compare the Maine Coon’s lifespan to other large cat breeds – there isn’t much difference. There have been Maine Coon’s who have lived to 27! Like any pet – your Maine Coon can live longer with proper care and nutrition.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.