Do all Maine Coons have an "M" on their forehead?

The answer to the question in the title is, no, because some Maine Coons have an "M" on their forehead but not all Maine Coons. This is because not all Maine Coons are cats with a tabby coat. Although the Maine Coon perhaps looks its best with a tabby coat, the cat associations allow a wide range of coat colours and patterns under their breed standards.

Tabby Maine Coon with the classic M Mark on the forehead. This varies tremendously in this design so don't expect a perfect M!
Tabby Maine Coon with the classic M Mark on the forehead. This varies tremendously in this design so don't expect a perfect M! Photo: Helmi Flick.

The question in the title almost presupposes that all Maine Coon cats are tabby cats, which, as mentioned, is untrue. A lot of people prefer the Maine Coon with a tabby coat because this is a rugged, barn cat in terms of its history. So you don't want to make the cat look too pretty. 

That is the theory. This is meant to be a solid, substantial and now refined purebred cat but the history of this cat goes back about 400 years to the barn cats of the state of Maine in the USA. Some would agree that you don't want to selective breeding to deviate too far from that original type of cat.

Clear tabby M mark on forehead
Clear tabby M mark on forehead. Pic in public domain. This looks like a silver classic tabby but we can't see the body.

'M' tabby marking

The "M" Marking on tabby cats is simply part of the tabby pattern which happens to be of that shape on the forehead. It is put their by genetics. There have been some myths and legends circulated over the years about how the 'M' mark came to be. I wrote an article about the origin which you might enjoy-please click the link below to read it. It is called the 'fleur-de-lys' mark by Sarah Hartwell.

How tabby cats got their “M” marking

It is probably fair to say that the Maine Coon cat breed has perhaps the largest range of coat and pattern types of all the cat breeds. Of course, the cat associations including the Cat Fanciers' Association allow tabby patterns.

Tabby coats allowed by CFA under Maine Coon breed standard

Specifically, they list the classic tabby pattern, mackerel tabby pattern and take tabby patterns. They also include and specifically list the various tabby coat as follows: brown tabby, brown patched tabby, silver tabby, silver patched tabby, blue-silver tabby, blue-silver patched tabby, blue tabby, blue patched tabby, cream tabby, cream silver tabby, cameo tabby, brown tabby and white, brown patched tabby and white, silver tabby and white, silver patched tabby and white, red tabby and white, tabby and white, patched tabby and white. Phew.

All of the above listed tabby patterns will include the classic 'M' mark on the forehead which can vary widely in design but it is always essentially the same. But sometimes the 'M' is barely recognisable 😢.

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