The natural coat for the domestic cat is shorthair. However many cat breeds have developed longhair coats.
There are 4 different types of mutations in the FGF5 gene, that give longhair cats:
|Type||Mutation||Found in Breeds|
|M4||A475C||All longhair and semilonghair|
|M3||474delT||Maine Coon, Ragdoll|
|M2||C406T||Norwegian Forest cat|
Maine Coons are known to have two of these longhair genes in their population: M3 and M4. It is unknown if the other types also exist in Maine Coon. There is also a 5th longhair mutation in Maine Coon, still not discovered.
The Maine Coon standard (the original) says:
The fur on the front shoulders is short and should become gradually longer along the back towards the tail, ending in a shaggy, heavy coat on the “britches”. The sides of the cat’s coat should gradually get longer until the stomach is reached, where it should be long and full. A full ruff is not expected, however, there should be a slight frontal ruff beginning at the base of the ears. The fur on the tail should be long and full. Feet should be tufted. Coat should be fine, heavy, lustrous, and should fall smoothly. A slight undercoat may be carried. This is the optimum coat and will vary with climate.
As many have observed, Maine Coons have quite a bit of variation in coat length and texture.
Since a cat inherits one copy of the gene from each parent, the possible longhair combinations for MCO are:
It is uncertain how much these differences actually influence each individual cat’s coat type. We do know that within the Maine Coon breed, the variation in coat length and structure is quite large. Actual coat types are obviously also decided by many other genes. Some also believe colours have an influence.
Laboratories that do testing of longhair types:
- VGL/UC Davies
We do extensive DNA-testing of most of our cats, and this is what we know of their coat type. What I describe as “all-weather coat” is a bit more coarse and greasy with more protection, and also a little less silky than the softer coats – unless just bathed. Cats also typically develop more wooly coats after neutering.
|Hieronymus||M4/M4||MCO e 09||Very long coat, lots of underwool|
|Viggo||M3/M3||MCO n 22||Medium long all-weather coat|
|Suki||M3/M3||MCO n 09 24||Medium long extremely silky|
|Olenna||M3/M3||MCO a 22||Medium long, soft silky plush quality, developed late|
|Arya||M3/M4||MCO n 09 22||Still a bit short all-weather coat|
|Aegon||M3/M4||MCO n 09 22||Medium long all-weather coat|
|Betzy||M3/M3||MCO f 09 22||Medium long all-weather coat|
|Brie||Mx/M3||MCO f 03 22||Medium long, very silky|
|Fleming||M4/M4||MCO n 22||Quite long, all-weather coat|
|William||M3/M3||MCO e 03 23||Medium long fluffy, all-weather coat|
|Daenerys||M3/M3||MCO a 03 22||Fairly short, soft silky plush like grandmother Olenna|
|Drogon||M3/M4||MCO n 09 24||Medium length, very silky like mother Suki|
Other factors that can influence coat type: Colours and patterns. Some people say dilute, especially blue, have coats the get matted more easily, others believe to see this in silver and smoke. Traditionally brown tabbies are said to have the easiest coats to care for.