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Bengal vs Maine Coon Cats: The Differences (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Hepper - Bengal vs Maine Coon Featured

Bengal cats and Maine Coons are both remarkable cat breeds. They’re larger than most other cat breeds, and they have impressive coats. Bengal cats look like miniature leopards, while Maine Coons have soft and luxurious coats.

These cats share several similarities as well as distinct features. So, they’re ultimately suitable for different types of people.

If you’re looking to bring home a medium-sized or large-sized cat, a Bengal cat and Maine Coon are wonderful options to consider. Just make sure that you take time to understand the differences between these two cats to make sure that you bring home a cat that best matches your lifestyle.

Visual Differences

Hepper - Bengal vs Maine Coon Side by Side
Image Credit: Left: Bengal, Seregraff, Shutterstock | Right: Maine Coon, Olga Korvinuss, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Bengal
  • Origin: Yuma, Arizona
  • Size: 13-16 inches
  • Lifespan: 9-15 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes
Maine Coon
  • Origin: Maine, USA
  • Size: 10-16 inches
  • Lifespan: 10-13 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes

Bengal Cat Overview

Bengal cat biting its nails
Image Credit: Ilona Koeleman, Shutterstock

Characteristics & Appearance

The Bengal cat is a hybrid between a domestic cat and a wild Asian Leopard Cat. The first Bengal cat appeared in the 1960s by a breeder, Jean Mill. It was incidental as Jean brought home a leopard cat to keep her black tomcat company and did not think they could breed.

Today, Bengal cats are one of the most popular cat breeds in the US. They’re medium to large-sized cats. They typically weigh between 8-15 pounds, but they occasionally exceed 15 pounds. They have muscular bodies, and they’re agile, so they have no trouble jumping and leaping around the house.

Bengal cats have small, round heads and large eyes that can be brown, yellow, orange, or green. They have short coats that come in brown, silver, and white shades.

What makes Bengal cats’ appearance stand out from other cats is their distinct rosette markings inherited from the wild Asian Leopard Cat. However, some Bengal cats will have marbled or spotted coats.

One reason Bengal cats are popular is their friendly personality. Many Bengal cats enjoy being around their human companions and tend to show them a lot of affection. This cat breed tends to do well with children and other cats with early socialization. They can also live harmoniously with dogs.

bengal kneading blanket
Image Credit: K Lim, Shutterstock

Along with being friendly, Bengal cats are extremely intelligent and playful. They’re one of the rarer cat breeds that enjoys playing with water. Many also enjoy learning new tricks and can even learn how to play fetch or walk outdoors on a leash.

Because of their playfulness and love for people, these cats will do best with owners that can provide enough exercise and mentally stimulating activities for them. Bengal cats also don’t like being alone and thrive in homes where at least one person is usually present. If an owner can’t meet these care needs, Bengal cats can start developing destructive behaviors triggered by boredom.

Uses

Because of their attentive personalities, Bengal cats are popular cat breeds for becoming emotional support pets. They enjoy going wherever their humans go, and their playful personalities can brighten up anyone’s day.

Bengal cat lying on the ground
Image Credit: Uschi Dugulin, Pixabay

Maine Coon Overview

Big black maine coon kitten climbing in tree
Image credit: AVRORACOON, Shutterstock

Characteristics & Appearance

Maine Coons are one of the largest domestic cat breeds. In fact, the world’s longest cat is a Maine Coon. These cats can weigh between 9-18 pounds, but they can also exceed this weight, especially males. Their body matures relatively slowly, and they can continue to grow when they’re 3-5 years old.

Maine Coons have long coats that get matted easily, so it’s important to be on top of their grooming. Their coats need to be brushed at least 2-3 times a week. These beautiful coats come in a variety of colors and patterns. Maine Coons can be born with the following colors:

  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Cream
  • Brown
  • Silver
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Bluecream
  • Golden
tabby maine coon cat on couch
Image Credit: Jahhoo, Pixabay

You can also find Maine Coons with the following coat patterns:

  • Solid
  • Bi-color
  • Tri-color
  • Calico
  • Tabby
  • Smoke
  • Shaded

Although they may be large in size, Maine Coons have very sweet and good-natured personalities. They tend to be very gentle and do well with families with children and other pets. These cats also tend to enjoy perching in high places, so it’s important to find large cat trees or window perches that can support their size and weight.

Maine Coons are also highly intelligent cats. They typically enjoy playing with treat-dispensing toys and other puzzle toys that will challenge their brains. Many Maine Coons enjoy learning new tricks and have also been known to play fetch.

Uses

Maine Coons were originally bred as mousers. They’re excellent at hunting small prey and keeping the house free of pests.

Although these cats are skilled hunters, they’re also very good therapy cats. Their long and soft fur provides a calming effect on people, and their gentle personalities can help de-escalate people’s stress levels.

tabby maine coon sitting on grass
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

What Are the Differences Between Bengal Cats & Maine Coons?

Bengal cats and Maine Coons share several similarities, such as their large size and love for people. However, there are some key differences between the two cats.

Personality

Bengal cats tend to need to be around people more. They’re the ones that will get in the way of you and your computer if they feel ignored. They’re also very vocal and can even attempt to hold conversations with their owners.

Maine Coons aren’t as loud as Bengal cats and like their own space. While Bengal cats may enjoy cuddling and sitting on their owners’ laps, Maine Coons appreciate their owners’ company from a distance. They may not enjoy sitting on laps and may prefer just being in the same room as their owners.

Bengal cat standing in the garden
Image Credit: Jeannette1980, Pixabay

Companionship

In general, Bengal cats need to be in homes where someone is almost always present. They typically don’t do well being home alone and can benefit from living with dogs or other cats.

Maine Coons like being with people, but they can also be by themselves for a longer time than Bengal cats. While Bengal cats can be alone for just a few hours at a time, Maine Coons can spend about half a day on their own. These cats will be happy as long as their owners show them enough love and attention when they come back home after an extensive period of time.

Coats

Bengal cats have short coats while Maine Coons have long coats. Therefore, Bengal cats have fewer grooming needs. They just have to be brushed about once a week.

Maine Coons have more grooming needs. Since their long coats easily tangle, owners have to invest more time and energy to ensure that their Maine Coons’ coats don’t get matted.

Tuxedo maine coon lying outdoor
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Which Breed Is Right For You?

Both Bengal cats and Maine Coons enjoy human company. However, the Bengal cat tends to be needier, so they do best in homes where they’re not left alone for long hours. Maine Coons tend to enjoy human company at a distance, so they can do well on their own for a greater amount of time.

Another stark difference is grooming. Bengal cats aren’t heavy shedders and don’t need too much grooming because of their short hair.

Maine Coons have more extensive grooming needs. They need regular brushing several times a week to avoid tangles and mats. They’re also heavy shedders, so you’ll have to be on top of cleaning, or else your furniture will quickly collect large amounts of cat hair.

Overall, if you typically spend a lot of time at home or live with many people, a Bengal cat will fit in well with your lifestyle. If you don’t mind spending time grooming, a Maine Coon can be a great cat for you. Either way, both these large cats have wonderful personalities, so they’ll quickly become beloved family members and companions for many years to come.

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Featured Image Credit: Left: Bengal cat, Irina_kukuts, Pixabay | Right: Maine Coon, Pixabay

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