Maine Coons are the oldest cat breed in North America and the largest domesticated breed. The cat has a medium to large, muscular, and broad-chested body. Its coat is shaggy and heavy, longer on the stomach and britches, and shorter on the shoulders.
The Maine Coon is strong yet friendly, and that’s why it’s nicknamed “gentle giant”. In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about these lovely cats and how to care for them.
Maine Coon cats are gorgeous, having a range of coat color and patterns. They get pretty big compared to other cat breeds, often growing larger than a medium sized dog. With good care, Maine Coons can be your companion for many many years.
– Coat Color and Pattern
Their heavy coat is longer on their stomach and britches (the long fur on the cat’s upper hind legs) and shorter on their shoulders, with a long, furry tail and ruff in the front.
They have a long head with a medium width and a squarish muzzle. Their well-tufted ears are wide at the base, and their large, expressive eyes have different color varieties, including copper, greenish-gold, gold, and green. Bi-colored or white Maine Coon cats may have odd or blue eyes.
The breed’s most common pattern is the brown tabby, and several individuals don’t know that Maine Coon cats can come in any other patterns and colors.
It might be astonishing to discover that Maine Coon cats can be found in solid colors, including white, red, or black, all tabby patterns and colors, bi-color such as red and white or blue and white, and patterns such as calico and tortoiseshell.
– Size and Weight
The Maine Coon is a very large cat breed. Most of them weigh between nine and eighteen pounds. The male cats are larger and may tip the scales at twenty or more pounds.
They only reach their maximum size after attaining about three to four years old. Length can reach 100 cm, and they can be up to 40 cm high.
Marines Coons are a big, rugged cat breed with a shaggy, smooth coat that looks like it can mouse all day on a farm, tolerating any weather condition.
They are indeed bred for such tasks in the harsh Maine conditions, with their breed standard showing their heritage and calling for a muscular, broad-chested cat.
A Maine Coon cat has substantial, medium-sized legs with large, round paws and well-tufted fur that serve as “snowshoes” in winter.
Maine Coon cats have an average lifespan of 13 years and can even be more if they receive proper care.
Behavior and Personality
The lovely and good-natured Maine Coon cats can adapt perfectly to several personalities and lifestyles. They love following people around and being with them, though they’re not needy.
While they’re glad to receive the attention that comes their way, if you’re too busy, they’ll happily watch you performing your tasks. If you close the door on them, they’ll patiently wait until you realize your mistake and allow them in. While they’re not typical lap cats, they love being close to you.
Maine Coons also retain their skills as mousers. Keeping this cat as a pet implies that rodents will be far from your home. Even if there are no mice to chase, the Maine Coon will keep sharpening its skills by hazing toys or other household items and grabbing them with its big paws.
The cat also loves playing fetch, which involves retrieving toys, rolled up pieces of paper, or small toys. It can climb as high as other cat breeds but prefers to remain on the ground level.
After all, that’s where it functions most. It’s also very intelligent and will gladly play with puzzle toys or learn tricks that challenge its brain.
Maine Coon cats enjoy playing. The males are prone to silly acts. Female cats are more dignified, though they can participate in a game of chase. They’re not especially vocal as they make their requests in a soft trill or chirp.
Every cat is prone to developing genetic health conditions, just as all humans can inherit diseases. No experienced breeder can claim that their breed has no genetic or health issues.
Maine Coon cats have a few hereditary health conditions that can even lead to death, especially if you’re not careful about who you purchase from. These health issues include spinal muscular atrophy, hip dysplasia, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
- Spinal muscular atrophy is a hereditary issue that causes the skeletal muscles of the cat’s limbs and trunk to die, leading to muscle degeneration and weakness. Kittens with spinal muscular atrophy have difficulty jumping and will walk in abnormal gaits. This condition doesn’t cause pain. Although there’s no known treatment, you can carry out a DNA test to diagnose affected kittens.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common kind of heart disease among cats. It causes the heart muscle to thicken (hypertrophy). An echocardiogram is used to confirm the presence of Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in a cat. Run away from breeders who claim their lines are HCM-free. There’s no guarantee that the cats won’t ever develop HCM. Screen any Maine Coons you’re hoping to breed for HCM, and remove those identified with HCM from breeding programs. Some researchers have discovered the genetic mutation causing HCM development in the Maine Coon cats and developed a test that helps breeders screen these cats before breeding. Don’t purchase any offspring of cars that haven’t been tested for the HCM disease.
- Hip dysplasia is another hereditary condition that affects the hip socket. This problem can be mild, causing very little pain, or severe, eventually leading to lameness. Cats with hip dysplasia may avoid jumping or move slowly. Depending on how severe the condition is, medication, surgery, or weight loss are treatment measures to relieve pain. At two years old, Maine Coon cats that you hope to breed should have their bones x-rayed and graded. Request evidence from the breeder that proves the kitten’s parents have healthy hips.
The Maine Coon’s is longer on its stomach and shorter on its shoulders. It’s shaggy, smooth, and shreds moderately (not as much as other cat breeds with plush coats).
Although they don’t need frequent grooming, these cats enjoy the attention and won’t mind being brushed.
Grooming and Care
It takes an average of 3 to 4 years for the Maine Coon cat to reach its full size. Although they are affectionate, loyal, and easy-going, they’re not prone to becoming clingy lap cats. While they show independence, they also have the ability to charm you. They usually climb into their owner’s laps when they’re ready and on their terms.
Their beautiful coat doesn’t require regular grooming. Combing their coat every week will help remove any dead hairs that can cause hairballs. Ensure to trim their nails regularly and make provision for a scratching post. Ensure also to brush your cat’s teeth regularly and take them to the vet for regular dental cleanings.
Maine Coons love to observe a thing you’re up to, whether it’s demanding your attention or not. Keep your pet busy with interactive toys. They can be trained to play fetch, chasing a laser pointer. Don’t indulge them in climbing games as they’re not great climbers.
These lovely pets are sociable with cat-friendly dogs and other cats but can be reticent around strangers. Maine Coons make excellent pets for families with kids, provided the children are old enough to handle their pets with respect. If treated right, they can accept to play dress-up.
This cat breed does well in cold climates, though it’s recommended to keep all cats as indoor-only cats. It prevents them from attacks by predators, fights, diseases, and vehicle accidents.
Food and Diet
Maine Coons don’t require any special diet other than that which is healthy for every cat. Most breeders believe choosing either wet or dry food depends on individual preference, but feeding a mix of both kinds can strike the proper balance.
Maine Coon cats should be fed with kitten foods for up to nine months as they take longer to attain maturity. Always provide enough freshwater.
Ensure to monitor your cat’s weight as obesity can shorten their lifespan. Consult your vet for nutritional needs and recommendations.
- Maine Coons Love Water: Unlike other cats, the Maine Coons love water and are great swimmers. Due to their extra dense and moisture-resistant coats, they remain relatively dry even when exposed to water.
- Official State Cat of Maine: The Maine Coon breed was recognized in 1985 as the official state cat of Maine. The breed’s large size, unique origin story, and built-in winter wear make them the ideal representative for the Pine Tree State.
- First Commercially Cloned Pet: Little Nicky, a Maine Coon cat, was the first commercially cloned pet. In 2004, its owner paid fifty thousand dollars to the Genetic Savings and Clone company to clone some of the cat’s tissue stored in a gene bank. The cloned cat reportedly acted and looked so much like Little Nicky.
- Longest Domestic Cat: Stewie, a Maine Coon had the Guinness World Record for the longest domestic cat in the world. It measured 48.5 inches long, from nose to tail. Note that the breed’s average length is between 39 and 40 inches.
- Longest Living Cat: Another Maine Coon cat named Corduroy clinched the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest-living cat. In 2017, however, after 27 years, the cat went missing.
Maine Coons are very large cats. While their size might be intimidating, they’re very gentle and make lovely pets. If you’re looking to breed one, ensure to check for any health issues.