If you’re looking for an affectionate cat with a great personality, the Maine Coon might be right for you. Despite its large size, the Maine Coon is a gentle giant with a sweet disposition. This breed makes a great family cat and does well with children and other pets.
- Adult Height: 10-16 inches
- Adult Weight: 10-20 pounds; some males can exceed 20 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 13-14 years
- Coat Length: Mid-long to long
- Coat Texture: Shaggy, thick
- Coat Colors: Up to 64 unique color/marking combinations; solid colors (white, black, blue, red, or cream); tabby, bi-color, tortoiseshell, calico, shaded, and smoke.
- Affection: high
- Shedding: yes
- Origin: Maine
Characteristics of the Maine Coon Cat
The Maine Coon is a muscular cat with a luxurious coat that comes in a variety of colors. Their coat is shaggy and full, often making this large cat look even bigger. The Maine Coon has distinctly tufted ears, reminiscent of a bobcat.
Because of their impressive appearance, the Maine Coon can look intimidating. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Maine Coon cats are very affectionate and docile. They love to play with everyone in the household, including children, and retain their kitten-like tendencies into adulthood. However, this is not a hyper cat. Maine Coons have an easygoing temperament and aren’t bothered by the daily hustle and bustle of a family. Unlike most cats, Maine Coons actively seek out action in the household and want to be included. The Maine Coon has a pack mentality, and some even come when called.
Because of their intelligence and desire for human interaction, Maine Coon cats are easily trainable. Many seem to love learning tricks and playing games with their humans.
Maine Coons are vocal, but not overly loud. They communicate through mews, purrs, chirps, and trills.
Caring for the Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is a hardy cat breed, prone to very few health issues. Some common concerns for this cat include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a hereditary form of heart disease), hip dysplasia, and spinal muscular atrophy. If you have concerns about your cat, your veterinarian is a good resource for help and support.
Grooming the Maine Coon is essential because their long double coat can become easily tangled and matted. You should brush your Maine Coon weekly, beginning when they are a young kitten. Always make sure to give your cat lots of treats and praise, helping them to view grooming as a positive experience.
In addition to brushing their coat and giving them the occasional bath, Maine Coon cats also need their teeth brushed, and their claws clipped. If you prefer not to clip your cat’s claws, many vets and groomers offer this service.
Because of their large size, the Maine Coon needs quality nutrition. These cats normally do not require a special diet, so you’ll likely have a lot of options when choosing their food. If you feel overwhelmed, your veterinarian can help you determine what type of food is best for your cat.
History of the Maine Coon
As you can probably guess from their name, Maine Coon cats are native to the American state of Maine. In fact, the Maine Coon is Maine’s official state cat, and their physical characteristics make them especially suited to the harsh northeastern winters.
The ancestry of the Maine Coon is a bit of a mystery, however. Some historians speculate that the Vikings brought over long-haired cats, which mated with domestic short hairs and created the Maine Coon. Others say that Maine Coons are the descendants of Norwegian forest cats or Siberian Forest cats, brought by European settlers to New England.
One popular folktale says that before her execution, Marie Antoinette attempted to escape France with the help of a sea captain. As the story goes, Antoinette stowed her six favorite cats onto his ship, along with several other prized possessions. Although Antoinette never made it out of France, legend has it that the ship docked in the northeastern United States, and her cats interbred with domestic felines, resulting in a new breed— the Maine Coon.
Fun Facts About the Maine Coon
- Unlike most cats, the Maine Coon loves water and can often be found “helping” with the dishes or playing in the sink!
- Their coat is essentially waterproof. Snow and rain just slide off the top layer of their fur, keeping the Maine Coon dry and comfortable.
- As relaxed as these cats are with humans and other pets, Maine Coons make excellent mouse hunters.
- Because they are so people-oriented, Maine Coons are often known as the dogs of the cat world!