Maine Coon Cat: Breed Profile, Characteristics & Care

Brown tabby Maine Coon cat

The Main Coon cat has been bred in the United States since the 1800s, making it the nation's oldest indigenous cat breed. The Maine Coon cat is a robust, well-built cat that is renowned for its enormous size, shaggy hair, and huge tufted ears that resemble bobcat ears. Although the Maine Coon may come across as threatening to some, this breed is actually a gentle giant with an easygoing disposition. Although chocolate, lavender, and the Himalayan (pointed) pattern are the only colors and patterns available for Maine Coons, brown tabbys are perhaps the most identifiable.

Breed Overview

OTHER NAMES: Gentle Giant.

PERSONALITY: Amiable, gentle and dog-like.

WEIGHT: Average of 9 to 18 pounds; males can weigh 20 pounds or more.

LENGTH: About 19 to 30 inches. 

COAT LENGTH: Heavy and shaggy. Silky with coat falling smoothly.

Solid (white, black, blue, red, and cream), tabby (classic, mackerel, and ticked), bi-color (black and white, blue and white, red and white, and cream and white), parti-color (tortoiseshell and blue-cream), parti-color and white (calico, tortoiseshell and white, blue-cream and white), shaded and smoke, and shaded/smoke and white are the different types of coat colors.

EYE COLOR: Varies according to coat color, but may be green, gold, green-gold, copper, blue or odd-eyed.

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 15 years.

HYPOALLERGENIC: No.

ORIGIN: United States.

Characteristics of the Maine Coon Cat

The Maine Coon cat is said to have a dog-like temperament and is clever, sociable, and kind. Maine Coons are ideal playmates for sensitive kids since they are laid-back and confident. They live happily among other family pets, such as dogs that get along with cats and other cats. Maine Coons are gregarious and inquisitive birds who tend to hang out in the middle of any fascinating scenario in the house. The Maine Coon is a chatty but not obnoxious cat that communicates through a range of gentle and musical meows, chirps, and trills. They react well to positive training techniques and enticing food rewards. They are fairly trainable cats who like learning tricks. Contrary to popular belief, Maine Coons adore water and will play in it, take baths in it, dip their food in it, and even swim in it.

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

History of the Maine Coon Cat

The Northeastern United States is where the Maine Coon naturally evolved. Despite several urban tales to the contrary, the Maine Coon is a housecat descended from cats brought to America by settlers, despite persistent claims to the contrary. The breed developed into a somewhat robust, shaggy-coated, huge animal. These characteristics were essential for the cats to flourish during the region's severe winters. Although cats of the Maine Coon variety were probably well-known across New England, the state of Maine was where they were most prevalent. Farmers started displaying their best "coon cats" at the Skowhegan Fair, the country's longest continuously hosted agricultural fair, starting in 1818, starting around the mid-1860s. Here, contestants for the title of Maine State Champion Coon Cat competed with the ancestors of the contemporary Maine Coon breed.

The inaugural cat exhibition in the United States was held on May 8, 1895, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and was won by a female brown tabby Maine Coon named Cosey. The Maine Coon is recognized as a foundation breed (identified as "Maine Cats") in the Cat Fanciers' Association's first stud book and breed registration from 1908. Additionally, the International Cat Association acknowledges the breed. In 1985, the Maine Coon was chosen as the state feline.

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Maine Coon Cat Care 

The long, shaggy hair of the Maine Coon cat is silky and slightly oily, which makes it water-resistant and enables it to repel rain and snow, keeping the cat warmer and drier in bad weather. As long as you carefully brush and comb the cat on a regular basis, at least once per week, the cat's long coat doesn't shed excessively. Bathe every so often to keep the coat feeling and looking clean. Since most Maine Coons like to play in the water, they probably won't mind getting cleaned. Trim your Maine Coon's nails once a week to twice a month, and once a week check inside their ears, cleaning them if necessary with a pet-safe ear cleaner. It's essential to arrange a veterinarian appointment if the ears are red or have a lot of dirt in them.

The Maine Coon is energetic without being too so. They delight in playing (many Maine Coons are reported to love games of fetch just like a dog). Engage your Maine Coon with playthings like feather teasers or other beloved toys to keep him intellectually and physically active. Scratching is a common habit that benefits both the mind and body. Set up acceptable scratching spots in your home with vertical scratchers (such tall poles or cat trees) and horizontal scratchers that lie flat on the ground to ensure that your Maine Coon scratches in the proper places and away from the sofa (like cardboard or sisal scratchers).

Common Health Problems

Some purebred cats have a higher propensity to acquire specific genetically based health problems. Hip dysplasia, spinal muscular atrophy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are among conditions that Maine Coons are prone to (a genetic disease that causes degeneration of the spinal cord and atrophy of the muscles in the hind limbs). Breeders can avoid breeding carriers or cats with spinal muscular atrophy by using a genetic test that is available. Before breeding their adult cats, ethical Maine Coon breeders get them checked for these and other health issues.

Appearance

The Maine Coon is a strong, hardy cat that is appropriate for use as a working cat. Despite its size, the Maine Coon is always proportionate and balanced. The Maine Coon has a large chest and a long, rectangular body. It has broad, rounded paws with hairy tufts on the tips of the toes. The head has high cheekbones, a characteristic square nose, and huge, well-tufted ears. Its length is somewhat greater than its breadth. The thick, shaggy coat of a Maine Coon cat has a ruff on the chest. Except for chocolate, lavender, and the Himalayan (pointed) pattern, the breed comes in a wide range of colors and patterns.

Diet and Nutrition

In order to prevent Maine Coon cats from gaining weight, which is easy to do if the cat is free fed (food is left in the dish at all times) rather than given measured meals twice a day, as is the case with other highly built breeds. Keeping a slender body is beneficial for all cats. Maintaining a healthy weight can help Maine Coons, who are prone to hip dysplasia, avoid developing or exacerbating joint problems. Speak to your doctor or breeder for suggestions on what to feed or how much to feed each day.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Maine Coon Cat

One of the most well-liked pedigreed cat breeds in the US is the Maine Coon, and there are several of great breeders from which you may buy a kitten. On their websites, The International Cat Association and The Cat Fanciers Association both provide lists of Maine Coon cat breeders. If you have a heart for animal rescue, you might also be able to locate adult Maine Coon cats or Maine Coon hybrids in zoos and breed-specific cat rescue organizations.

Breed Overview

The kind, loving, and stable nature of the Maine Coon cat makes them excellent companions. Additionally, Maine Coons are quite trainable and friendly, and many of them have received certification as therapy cats who visit patients in hospitals and senior living institutions. While loving and desiring to be near you, Maine Coons aren't too clinging and aren't often lap cats. Maine Coons are amusing to watch because of their funny behavior and propensity to get into everything. The Maine Coon matures slowly; the majority do not reach their full size until they are 4 years old.

Pros
  • Gentle and laid-back

  • Affectionate and entertaining

  • Gets along well with kids and other pets, including dogs

Cons
  • Not big on cuddling/not a lap cat

  • Coat requires weekly brushing and combing

  • Doesn’t do well when left alone for long periods of time

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

If you like the Maine Coon cat, you might also like these cat breeds: 

·      Norwegian Forest Cat

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