Boasting a sweet-tempered and pleasant demeanor, the Maine Coon cat is a much more gentle feline despite being the cat fancy’s largest domestic breed. Adding to its plus-size is its distinctive look, characterized by an elegant neck ruff, shaggy tail, fussy pantaloons, wispy feet, and smooth, silky coat. This feline is highly adaptable to varied environments, has a habit of sleeping in odd places, and has a fascination with water, making it a sturdy and entertaining family companion.
Origin of the Maine Coon Cat
Lots of myths surround the origin of the breed. First, this feline is regarded as a native to Maine, and though it is biologically impossible, the cat is said to be a product of semi-wild cats with raccoons. Combining their appearance and their place of origin, the breed was named Maine Coon.
Second, it was deemed that Maine Coon cats trace their roots from Marie Antoinette’s pet cats that were brought to Maine when she was working out her escape from France amid the French Revolution in the 18th century.
However, a more likely theory suggests that the feline breed came into existence due to the matings of domestics shorthairs and foreign longhairs. Then, natural selection did its job, producing huge, stocky, and heavily-coated cats that can withstand Maine’s severe weather conditions.
Whichever theory is true, the Maine Coon is one of the first feline breeds to be recognized in the late 19th century. They became an early favorite among many cat enthusiasts but were outshadowed by newer breeds introduced in the country. In fact, they were even considered extinct in the 1950s. Luckily, the reports were only overstressed, and the Maine Coon cat is now back as one of America’s most famous feline breeds.
Physical Characteristics of the Maine Coon Cat
Length: 30 to 40 inches
Weight: 12 to 15 pounds (Males) 9 to 12 pounds (Females)
Life Expectancy: 9 to 13 years
Coat Color: White, blue, black, cream, red, brown, silver, blue-cream, golden, tortoiseshell, plus different shadings and patterns
Type of Coat: Long
Eye Color: Copper, gold, green, odd-eyed
The Maine Coon cat is the largest of all the domestic cat breeds, sporting a powerful, robust body, and massive bone structure. The head is large, with wide tall ears. The chest is broad, while the legs are substantial. A distinct characteristic is their coat, which is shorter on the head, neck, and shoulders, but gets longer on the sides, back, and the tail. The hair on the stomach and pantaloons is full and fuzzy, while the tail hair is long and flowy. Tufts also occur on the paws, giving a snowshoe shoe appearance.
Maine Coon Cat Personality
Despite its immense size, Maine Coon cats boast good-natured and pleasant personalities. They are sociable and loving furballs though they would not be needy of attention. These cats will follow their owners around the house but will be content in watching whatever their families are doing whenever they are busy. If their owners are up for some cuddling, they would be glad to oblige. They are not lap cats but are happy to be beside their masters.
Maine Coon cats retain their incredible mousing skills through their semi-wildcat ancestry. Having them in the house ensures that the home is rodent-free. They’d also be happy making fun in the water, sleeping in odd places, or chasing toys and snatching them with their huge tufted paws. Blessed with smarts, they will love puzzle toys that will stimulate their brain or learn tricks if adequately trained.
These felines have a soft, quiet voice, contradicting its huge stature, proving that there’s a lamb inside its lion-like appearance. They will communicate in an array of sounds, from purs to news, chirp, and trills. Plus, they also use body language, often giving their owners a slight headbutt to show their affection.
Caring for the Maine Coon Cat
Maine Coon cats’ distinct coat requires daily attention, making them unfit for families looking for a low-maintenance feeling breed. Their coat needs to be brushed daily to prevent it from matting and tangling and to keep it in its tip-top condition. If they are trained to grooming at a young age, this task is usually painless and fun for both the Maine Coon cat and its owner.
These felines’ nutrition should be keenly watched as they tend to be overweight when not carefully monitored. Moreover, they need ample exercise to keep them in shape. Perches and cat trees are suitable investments, plus there should also be enough space for them to run around. These furballs are happy to engage with interactive play. However, it is best to organize things in the house as they can easily knock them over without any intention.
When it comes to children, Main Coon cats have no issues living with them, and they will relish attention from kids that would treat them with respect. They are also amenable to get along with cat-friendly dogs and pets well as long as a proper introduction is observed at a young age.
As with other cats breeds, Maine Coons are vulnerable to certain conditions and diseases. These health issues include polycystic kidney diseases, hip dysplasia, spinal muscular atrophy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Regular consultations with the vet help detect or prevent any condition and ensure that these cats live a long, healthy life.
Maine Coon cats are perfect for families looking for gigantic felines but with a soft demeanor. Despite their size, they are good-natured, affable, and highly adaptable furballs, allowing this “gentle giant” to melt any cat enthusiast’s heart.