Ah, the lion of the cat world! The Maine Coon is considered to be the only long-haired breed native to the US. They were thought to have arrived at the continent on ships that sailed into New England. The cats that left the ships likely bred with native cats, ultimately creating the gentle giant with the luxurious long coat as we know them today!
The Maine Coon is one of the largest cat breeds, with males reaching weights of 12lb or more! Females weigh around 8-10lbs on average. Their most distinctive feature is a prominent ruff of thick hair that runs along the chest.
They also boast muscular, rectangular-shaped bodies, large paws, and long bushy tails which are almost as long as their bodies. Their ears are wide and tall, with cute fluffy tips (lynxtips), sitting high on a square head that is slightly longer than it is wide.
Maine Coons boast a dense, shaggy double-layered coat that drapes down along the stomach and around the hind legs. The silky coat of this breed has a gorgeous glossy sheen to it, and comes in a wide variety of colors from tabby and white, to brown and smoky variations. There are even chocolate, lilac and cinnamon flavors to be found, but these are not compliant to the official breed standard.
The eyes are large and almond-shaped. Unlike some other breeds, Maine Coons can have a variety of eye colors that don’t necessarily match the color of the coat. Green and copper are the most common colors. Interestingly, cats with white coats often have mismatched eyes of different colors, which is thought to be caused by a genetic defect related to the gene responsible for white fur. All Maine Coon kittens (and kittens in general) are born with blue eyes, which change as they get older.
These cats are known to be incredibly friendly and playful which has made them one of the most popular cat breeds in the world today. The Maine Coon is a high-energy breed that is famed for being a natural hunter. They can very easily adapt to most environments; They love to roam the outdoors, but can also be successfully kept indoors, as long as you give them enough places to climb and enough toys to satisfy their strong hunting instincts.
Maine Coons are highly social cats that love to be involved in everything that is going on in the home (when they are not napping of course!). They are also highly intelligent and can pick up new tricks and commands quickly. Compared to other breeds, Maine Coons mature slowly, only reaching full maturity at 3-5 years old. They continue to keep their kitten-like personalities throughout their lives. Their vocabulary is wide and includes sounds like chirps, yowls, and trills, but they do not often meow like other cats do.
Maine Coon and other pets/children
Maine Coons are affectionately known as the gentle giants of the cat world for a reason! They are incredibly tolerant of young children which make them a good choice for families. Maine Coons will also get along with dogs, particularly if they have grown up together. They may also be tolerant of smaller pets but you must supervise all interactions between these cats and smaller prey animals because of their high predatory instinct.
Maine Coons have incredibly thick, double-layered coats which are perfectly designed for the cold climates they evolved in. Because of this, their coats need brushing daily to avoid tangles, and ensure you purchase a brush or comb that is able to reach into the undercoat. Luckily, most Maine Coons enjoy daily grooming, especially if they have been exposed to it from a young age.
Why you should adopt a Maine Coon
These impressive-looking cats have become incredibly popular for their endearing, fun-loving personalities. Looking to adopt one of these beautiful cats? Here are a few pros and cons to consider:
Maine Coons are perfect for families with young children due to their laid-back attitudes and social natures. They are also incredibly affectionate and love to curl up on their owners’ laps when they are not entertaining the family with their clown-like antics! These cats are social without being overly clingy, which is down to their wild ancestry and use as ratters throughout history.
Maine Coon cats can shed a lot of fur, so are probably not the best of fits for those who happen to suffer from allergies. Their coats also require daily brushing to avoid matting, so you must ensure you have the time to keep up a regular grooming routine. This cat loves to hunt, so if you plan to allow your cat to roam outdoors, be prepared for the odd ‘present’ to be left on your doorstep!
Maine Coons are not only stunning to look at but have the personality to go with it too! These gentle giants form strong bonds with their owners without being overly needy which makes them the perfect companion for fun-loving families that have the time to care for one of these impressive beauties!
Things to consider
Maine Coons are a relatively healthy breed, but there are a couple of hereditary health issues to be mindful of:
- Hip dysplasia: This is caused by an abnormal formation of the hip socket, which can cause issues such as arthritis if left untreated.
- Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Characterized by a thickening of the heart muscle, this cardiovascular disease is often hereditary. Many cats show no symptoms until later in life, where it can cause heart complications.
- The diet of the Maine Coon should be monitored closely, as this breed is prone to obesity. They also have very sensitive stomachs that will do better on a consistent diet.