Maine Coon Cat: Majestic Felines of Distinction

The Maine Coon cat has been in the United States since the 1800s. It’s actually the oldest native cat breed in the country. These cats are tough and sturdy. They’re known for their big size, shaggy fur, and large tufted ears that look a bit like a bobcat’s. While they might seem imposing, Maine Coons are actually gentle giants with a friendly and relaxed personality. Brown tabby Maine Coons are probably the most familiar, but you can find them in almost any color or pattern except for chocolate, lavender, and the Himalayan (pointed) style.

About the Breed

Other Names: Gentle Giant

Personality: Friendly, easygoing, and similar to dogs

Weight: Usually between 9 to 18 pounds, but males can get even heavier, up to 20 pounds or more

Length: They measure about 19 to 30 inches

Coat Length: Their fur is thick and shaggy, but it feels smooth

Coat Colors: They come in solid colors (white, black, blue, red, and cream), tabby patterns (classic, mackerel, and ticked), bi-colors (combinations of black and white, blue and white, red and white, cream and white), parti-colors (tortoiseshell and blue-cream), and shaded and smoke patterns

Eye Color: It depends on the fur color, but their eyes can be green, gold, green-gold, copper, blue, or even odd-eyed

Life Expectancy: About 12 to 15 years

Hypoallergenic: Nope, they’re not hypoallergenic

Origin: They hail from the United States

What Makes Maine Coon Cats Special

Maine Coon cats are like dogs in terms of their personality. They’re smart, friendly, and gentle. They’re also very relaxed and confident. Kids can have a blast with these cats because they get along great. Plus, they’re cool with other pets in the house, including cats and cat-friendly dogs. Maine Coons are curious and sociable. You’ll often find them where the action is at home, wanting to be part of everything. They’re chatty, but not too noisy, using soft and melodic meows to communicate. They’re pretty easy to train, especially if you use positive methods and treats. And here’s a surprise: they actually like water. You might catch them playing, bathing, or even swimming in it.

Maine Coon Cat Stats

  • Affection Level: High
  • Friendliness: High
  • Kid-Friendly: High
  • Pet-Friendly: High
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate
  • Playfulness: Moderate
  • Energy Level: Moderate
  • Intelligence: High
  • Tendency to Vocalize: High
  • Amount of Shedding: Moderate

A Bit of History

Maine Coon cats naturally evolved in the Northeastern United States. Despite legends that they descended from bobcats or raccoons, they’re actually 100% housecats, brought to America by early settlers. These cats grew big and hardy, with thick, shaggy coats to survive harsh winters. They were especially popular in Maine, and by the 1860s, some farmers showcased their “coon cats” at the Skowhegan Fair. This fair, dating back to 1818, is the nation’s oldest consecutively held agricultural fair. The ancestors of today’s Maine Coons competed there.

In 1895, a female brown tabby Maine Coon named Cosey won what’s considered the first American cat show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Cat Fanciers’ Association’s first stud book from 1908 lists Maine Coons as “Maine Cats.” They’re also recognized by the International Cat Association. In 1985, Maine declared the Maine Coon as its state cat.

Taking Care of Your Maine Coon

Maine Coon cats have long, shaggy, slightly oily fur. This makes their coat water-resistant, keeping them warm and dry in bad weather. Their fur doesn’t shed too much if you brush and comb it weekly. They’re usually okay with baths since many enjoy water. Trim their nails regularly, and check their ears once a week. If they’re dirty, clean them with pet-safe ear cleanser.

Maine Coons are active but not overly hyper. They love to play, some even fetching like dogs. Keep them mentally and physically engaged with toys like feather teasers. Scratching is natural and enriching; provide approved scratching areas to protect your furniture.

Common Health Issues of Maine Coon

Like many purebred cats, Maine Coons can be prone to certain genetic health problems like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a heart disease), hip dysplasia, and spinal muscular atrophy (a spinal cord and muscle degeneration disease). There’s a genetic test for spinal muscular atrophy to help breeders avoid mating affected cats or carriers. Responsible breeders screen adult cats for these issues before breeding.

What They Look Like

Maine Coons are solid and tough, perfect for working cats. Despite their massive size, they’re always proportionate and balanced. They have a muscular, rectangular body with a broad chest, large round paws with hair tufts, and a distinctive head with high cheekbones, a square muzzle, and large, tufted ears. Their coat is heavy and shaggy with a ruff on the chest. They come in many colors and patterns, except for chocolate, lavender, and the Himalayan style.

Diet and Nutrition

Maine Coon cats, like other big breeds, need to stay lean to avoid health issues, especially hip dysplasia. Avoid free-feeding and consult your vet or breeder for feeding advice.

Where to Get a Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coons are among the most popular pedigreed cats in the United States. You can find them from reputable breeders listed on websites like The Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association. If you’re into rescue, check animal shelters and breed-specific cat rescue groups for adult Maine Coons or Maine Coon mixes.

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In a Nutshell

Maine Coon cats are friendly, easygoing, and great companions. They’re trainable and sociable. Many even become certified therapy cats. While they’re affectionate, they’re not the clingy lap cat type. They’re entertaining, slow to mature, and will definitely get into everything!

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