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

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

Savannah vs Maine Coon

Savannah Cats and Maine Coons both look like wild cats. However, they are extremely different. One is designed for warm climates, while the other has one of the fluffiest coats around.

In this article, we look at the main differences between these two breeds, so you can choose the best option for you. Keep reading to find out where the Savanah Cat and Maine Coon differ.

Visual Differences

Savannah vs Maine Coon side by side
Image Credit: (L) Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock | Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Savannah Cat
  • Origin: United States
  • Size: 12–20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–20 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes
Maine Coon
  • Origin: United States
  • Size: 8–18 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–13 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes

Savanah Cat Overview

A Savannah cat is a mix between a serval and a domestic feline. This breed isn’t technically a “domestic cat” because they are a mix containing a wild feline. However, they have been around for so long that some lines are many generations in, making them more similar to domestic felines than modern cats.

savannah cat sitting on couch
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

Appearance

These felines are known for their tall and slim build. They look larger than they actually are. However, their size depends on the exact generation. The closer they are to the wild cat, the larger they are. F1 males are usually the biggest.

Earlier generations will have more of this breed’s exotic traits, which become more diminished as the breed is crossed more with domestic felines. Usually, these cats have a spotted pattern. In fact, the International Cat Association only recognizes spots in this breed. However, there are a few non-standard coat colorations that can occur, depending on the exact breed of domestic cat that they were crossed with.

Today, most breeders perform Savannah to Savannah pairings. Therefore, these cats are slowly starting to have the same traits, instead of the greater variance that occurs when they are bred with domestic felines.

Outcrosses are rare in this day and age.

Usually, these cats have tall ears, puffy noses, and rounded eyes. The hind end of the cat usually stands taller than the shoulders. They are exotic-looking cats, making them quite popular.

savannah kitten tilting its head
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

Temperament

These cats are known for being more dog-like than cat-like. They are social and friendly with new people. They aren’t nearly as fearful as some other felines out there.

However, about 50% of F1 kittens will exhibit anxious behaviors when they are adopted. These felines must have these behaviors corrected at a young age.

These cats are extremely good at jumping. They tend to seek out high places and are known for climbing. They can reach anywhere, so you’ll need to keep this in mind when you are adopting them.

Unlike most cats, Savannah cats like to play and immerse themselves in water. Some of them even like to shower.

Maine Coon Overview

The Maine Coon is a large breed that is known for being quite fluffy. They are one of the most recognizable domestic cats simply because of their huge size. They are also excellent hunters, which is one reason that they were so popular in the past.

We don’t know exactly where these cats came from, but they were likely carried over on ships from Europe during the colonization period. This breed was extremely popular in the 19th century, but the introduction of other long-haired cats threatened their popularity. However, they have since become popular again in the United States.

three different colored maine coon kittens
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Appearance

These cats are most known for being exceptionally fluffy and big. They are one of the largest domestic species. They have a prominent ruff on their neck and large bones. Their coat has two layers, which helped them survive in the northern United States.

These cats come in all sorts of different colors and patterns. The only thing that they can’t have is a Siamese pointed pattern, as this indicates crossbreeding. Some particular organizations don’t recognize certain coat types.

A Maine Coon’s fur is shaggier than that of most other cats, especially on their underside and rear. Theoretically, this protects them from ice and snow, which they would have evolved in historically. They have a raccoon-like tail that is snow resistant. In the snow, they sometimes curl up their tail and then sit on it to protect their rump from the snow.

Many of these cats have multiple toes. In fact, this was once quite common, but breeders have attempted to remove the trait from the breed in recent years. They still have large paws, though, which would help them walk on top of the snow with ease, similar to snowshoes.

two maine coon cats with blue background
Image Credit: Kirgiz03, Pixabay

Temperament

These felines may be large but they are also gentle. They are more intelligent than most other breeds out there, which makes them easy to train.

They are somewhat cautious around strangers, similar to other cats. They are loyal to their families, though, and are known for bonding closely with them.

That said, they are not known for being cuddly. They are active and typically don’t like to be held. Instead, they are known for carrying toys around and bringing them to their people. However, their gentle disposition does make them a good choice for families. They often easily get along with children and other animals.

These cats are known for their fascination with water. Some are more prone to water play than others, though. Early introduction will help ensure that they enjoy the water.

What Are the Differences Between Savannah Cats and Maine Coons?

The main difference between these species is their appearance. Maine Coons are fluffy cats, while Savannahs are shorthaired. Maine Coons vary in coat appearance, while Savannah cats vary in size.

The personalities of these two cats are quite similar. However, early generations of the Savannah cats will be quite a bit more “wild” because they are not fully domesticated. They may be less suitable as family pets. Savannah cats also cost much more.

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Which Breed Is Right for You?

The breed that’s right for you depends largely on what you’re looking for. Maine Coons are going to be a better option for most people because they are fully domesticated. However, later generations of the Savannah are practically fully domesticated. The early generations are more of a handful.

You may want to consider your climate when adopting one of these felines because they are adapted to different areas. The Savannah is better for warm environments, while the Maine Coon does best in cold environments. However, you should also take into account their other differences.


Featured Image Credit: (L) Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock | (R) Dora Zett, Shutterstock

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