The Main Coon cat has existed in the U.S. since the 1800s, and in fact, it is considered the oldest native cat breed in the U.S. Massive in stature, the Maine Coon cat is renowned for its shaggy coat and distinctively large ears, which are similar to those of a bobcat. The Maine Coon might appear intimidating to some, but this breed is a gentle giant with a sweet, laid-back personality. Brown tabby Maine Coons are perhaps the most recognizable, but the Maine Coon comes in almost any color and pattern, aside from chocolate, lavender, and the Himalayan (pointed) pattern.
characteristics of the Maine Coon Cat
The Maine Coon cat is intelligent, friendly, and gentle, and has been compared to a dog because of its demeanor. Laid-back and self-assured, Maine Coons take everything in stride and are great playmates for gentle children. They coexist peacefully with other household pets, including other cats and cat-friendly dogs.
Maine Coons are sociable and inquisitive, and can usually be found wherever the action is in the house, inserting themselves into every interesting situation.
The Maine Coon is a talkative but not overly loud, expressing itself through a variety of soft and melodious meows, chirps, and trills. They are quite trainable cats and enjoy learning tricks, responding well to positive training methods and tasty food treats. Despite the old stereotype, Maine Coons actually love water, and will play in it, bathe in it, and dip their food in it and even swim.
The Maine Coon Cat: A Brief History
The Maine Coon developed naturally in the Northeastern United States. Though many legends persist about the Maine Coon having be bred from bobcats or raccoons, they are 100 percent housecat, descending from cats brought to American by settlers.
The breed evolved to be quite large and hardy, with a thick, shaggy coat. These traits were necessarily for the cats to survive and thrive the harsh winters of the region.
Although Maine Coon-type cats were likely known throughout New England, they were especially popular in the state of Maine. Beginning around the 1860s, some farmers began exhibiting their prized “coon cats” at the Skowhegan Fair, which is the nation’s oldest consecutively held agricultural fair, dating back to 1818. Here, the predecessors to today’s modern Maine Coon breed competed for the title of Maine State Champion Coon Cat.
A female brown tabby Maine Coon named Cosey won what is regarded as the first American cat show, held at Madison Square Garden in New York City on May 8, 1895. The Cat Fanciers’ Association’s first stud book and breed registry from 1908 lists the Maine Coon as a foundation breed (listed as “Maine Cats”). The breed is also recognized by the International Cat Association. The Maine Coon was designated as the state cat of Maine in 1985.
Maine Coon Cat Care
The long, shaggy coat of the Maine Coon cat is silky and slightly oily, making it water-resistant and useful for keeping the cat warm and dry during bad weather. The cat’s long hair doesn’t shed much if you brush and comb it thoroughly on a regular basis, at the very least once a week. Bathe the coat every now and then to keep it looking and feeling fresh.
Since most Maine Coons enjoy playing in the water, it’s unlikely that they’ll mind if you bathe them. Weekly or biweekly, trim your Maine Coon’s nails and once a week, check inside their ears to see if they need to be cleaned with a pet-safe ear cleaner. Any redness or excessive dirt in the ears is an indication that it’s time to schedule a veterinary visit.
Maine Coons are active, but not overly so, like many other species of ducks. They enjoy playing (many Maine Coons are reported to love games of fetch just like a dog) (many Maine Coons are reported to love games of fetch just like a dog). To keep your Maine Coon physically and mentally stimulated, engage him with playful toys like feather teasers or other favorite toys. Scratching is a natural behavior that is also mentally and physically enriching.
In order to prevent your Maine Coon from scratching the couch, set up approved scratching areas in your home with vertical scratchers (such as tall posts or cat trees) and horizontal scratchers that lie flat on the ground for your Maine Coon (like cardboard or sisal scratchers).
Common Health Problems
Some purebred cats are more disposed to developing certain genetically linked health issues. Maine Coons are predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart), hip dysplasia, and spinal muscular atrophy (a genetic disease that causes degeneration of the spinal cord and atrophy of the muscles in the hind limbs) (a genetic disease that causes degeneration of the spinal cord and atrophy of the muscles in the hind limbs).
A genetic test is available for spinal muscular atrophy so breeders can avoid breeding affected cats or carriers. Responsible Maine Coon breeders have their adult cats screened for these and other health concerns prior to breeding them.
Appearance Maine Coon
As a working cat, the Maine Coon has the strength and sturdiness to succeed. Although the Maine Coon is massive, it is always well proportioned and balanced. The Maine Coon has a muscular, long, rectangular body with a broad chest. It has large, round paws with tufts of hair sticking up from the toes.
There are high cheekbones, a square muzzle, and well-tufted, large ears on this dog’s head, which gives it a slightly longer length than breadth. The Maine Coon cat coat is heavy and shaggy with a ruff on the chest. The breed comes in many different colors and patterns expect for chocolate, lavender and the Himalayan (pointed) pattern.
Nutrition and Diet
As with other heavily built breeds, it’s important to keep Maine Coon cats from becoming overweight, something that can easily happen if the cat is free fed (food kept in the bowl at all times) rather than fed measured meals twice a day. It is better for all cats to maintain a healthy weight.
For Maine Coons, which are prone to hip dysplasia, staying lean can prevent the development or worsening of joint issues. Consult your veterinarian or breeder for guidance on daily feeding amounts and what to feed.
Maine Coon Cat Adoption and Purchase Options
Buying a kitten from an excellent breeder of the Maine Coon is easy because it is one of the most popular pedigreed cat breeds in the United States. Lists of Maine Coon cat breeders can be found online from the Cat Fanciers Association and the International Cat Association. If you are rescue-minded, you might also be able to find adult Maine Coon cats or Maine Coon mixes in animal shelters and breed-specific cat rescue groups.
They make wonderful pets because of their friendly, kind, and steady demeanor. Maine Coons are also quite trainable and sociable, and many have been certified as therapy cats, visiting with people in hospitals and senior care facilities.
Maine Coons are affectionate and want to be close to you, but they are not overly clingy and generally aren’t lap cats. Maine Coons can be entertaining to watch as they engage in silly antics, and they tend to get into everything. The Maine Coon is slow to mature, with most not reaching their full growth until about 4 years of age.
Cat shows and popularity
Cosey, the first American cat show champion, 1895
The Maine Coon at the age of twoThe first mention of Maine Coon cats in a literary work was in 1861, in Frances Simpson’s The Book of the Cat (1903). (1903). A chapter on the Maine Coon was written by F.R. Pierce, who had several of the dogs.
During the late 1860s, farmers located in Maine told stories about their cats and held the “Maine State Champion Coon Cat” contest at the local Skowhegan Fair.
In 1895, a dozen Maine Coons were entered into a show in Boston. The first North American cat show took place in New York City’s Madison Square Garden on May 8, 1895. We entered a brown tabby Maine Coon kitten named “Cosey” in the show. Owned by Mrs. Fred Brown, Cosey won the silver collar and medal and was named Best in Show.
The CFA Foundation received a donation from the National Capital Cat Show to help them purchase the silver collar. The collar is kept in the Jean Baker Rose Memorial Library, which is home to the CFA’s main office.
Other long-haired breeds, like the Persian, which originated in the Middle East, began to gain popularity in the early twentieth century, and the popularity of the Maine declined. More than 40 years ago, in Portland, Oregon, a Maine Coon won a national cat show for the first time. The breed was rarely seen after that.
After such a rapid decline, the breed was officially declared extinct in the 1950s, though this claim was widely disputed at the time.
The Central Maine Cat Club (CMCC) was created in the early 1950s by Ethylin Whittemore, Alta Smith, and Ruby Dyer in an attempt to increase the popularity of the Maine .
Over the course of its 11-year history, the CMCC has hosted cat shows and exhibitions of Maine photographs, and it is credited with creating the breed’s first official written standards.
The Maine Coon was denied provisional breed status—one of the three steps required for a breed not yet recognized by the CFA to be able to compete in championship competition—by the CFA three times, which led to the formation of the Maine Cat Club in 1973. On May 1st, 1975, the CFA granted provisional status to the breed, and on May 1st, 1976, championship status was granted. In the following decades, the Maine gained in popularity, winning championships and climbing the national rankings.
It was announced that the breed would be designated as the official state cat of Maine in 1985. Today the Maine Coon is the third most popular cat breed, according to the number of kittens registered with the CFA.
The Maine is a large and sociable cat, hence its nickname, “the gentle giant.” It has a long, bushy tail and a thick, two-layered coat with longer guard hairs on top of a silky satin undercoat, all of which contribute to its distinctive appearance.
The Maine is a long- or medium-haired cat. The coat is soft and silky, although texture may vary with coat color. There is a leonine ruff on some cats’ necks, which makes them appear to have a shorter neck and shoulders than they actually do.
As compared to other long-haired breeds, this one requires the least amount of maintenance due to its coat’s self-maintenance and its light undercoat. The coat’s thickness varies seasonally, with winter fur being thicker and summer fur being thinner.
Almost any color is acceptable for Maine . Some breed standards do not accept colors that indicate crossbreeding, such as chocolate, lavender, the Siamese pointed patterns, or the “ticked” patterns. This is not universal; the ticked pattern, for example, is accepted by TICA and CFA.
The most common pattern seen in the breed is brown tabby. The only exceptions to this rule are blue or odd-eyes, also known as heterochromia iridium or two different-colored eyes, in cats with coat colors other than white.
A four-year-old Maine female \Maine have several physical adaptations for survival in harsh winter climates. Their dense water-resistant fur is longer and shaggier on their underside and rear for extra protection when they are walking or sitting on top of wet surfaces of snow or ice. To keep warm and shielded from the wind and blowing snow, they can curl up their bushy tail like a raccoon to keep it from sinking into the snow.
When sitting on a frozen surface, it can even be curled around their backside like a seat cushion. Large paws, and especially the extra-large paws of polydactyl Coons, facilitate walking on snow and are often compared to snowshoes. Long tufts of fur growing between their toes help keep the toes warm and further aid walking on snow by giving the paws additional structure without significant extra weight.Ears with extra long tufts of fur growing from the inside, which are heavily furred, are better able to maintain their body temperature.
Maine Coons are known as the “gentle giants” and possess above-average intelligence, making them relatively easy to train. They are known for being loyal to their family and cautious—but not mean—around strangers, but are independent and not clingy.
While the Maine Coon isn’t generally thought of as a “lap cat,” its calm demeanor allows it to get along well with other cats, dogs, and children. Many Maine have a fascination with water and some speculate that this personality trait comes from their ancestors, who were aboard ships for much of their lives.
A second well-known trait of Maine is their vociferous nature. They are known for their frequent yowling or howling, trilling, chirping, and making other loud vocalizations.
Male, black marble, four years old The Coon of MaineUntil the introduction of the Savannah cat in the mid-1980s, the Maine Coon was considered the largest domestic cat breed. It is still the largest non-hybrid breed today. On average, males weigh from 13 to 18 lb (5.9 to 8.2 kg), with females weighing from 8 to 12 lb (3.6 to 5.4 kg) (3.6 to 5.4 kg).
The height of adults can vary between 10 and 16 in (25 and 41 cm) and they can reach a length of up to 38 in (97 cm), including the tail, which can reach a length of 14 in (36 cm) and is long, tapering, and heavily furred, almost resembling a raccoon’s tail. The body is solid and muscular, which is necessary for supporting their weight, and the chest is broad.
Maine Coons possess a rectangular body shape and are slow to physically mature; their full size is normally not reached until they are three to five years old, while other cats take about one year.
In 2010, the Guinness World Records accepted a male purebred Maine Coon named “Stewie” as the “Longest Cat”, measuring 48.5 in (123 cm) from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail.
Stewie, who lived in Reno, Nevada, died of cancer on February 4th, 2013, at the age of eight.
As of 2015 the living record-holder for “Longest Cat” is “Ludo”, measuring 3 ft 10.59 in (118.33 cm) (118.33 cm). He is a British citizen and currently resides in the English city of Wakefield. In May 2018 the Maine Coon “Barivel” measured 120 cm (3 ft 11.2 in), making him the current holder of the Guinness World Records. Guinness Book of World Records confirmed this on May 22nd, 2018. Large Maine Coons can overlap in length with Eurasian lynxes, although with a much lighter build and lower height.