Cat Breeds: The Maine Coon Cat

Cat Breeds: The Maine Coon Cat

The Maine coon is often described as a gentle giant and the clown of the cat world. These huge felines are the largest of the domestic cat breeds with their size only being enhanced by their long fur, huge fluffy mane and massive, bushy tail.

Don’t let their size intimidate you though, they’re one of the most friendly, easy going breeds of cat you can find. Their humble beginnings as a working cat mean they don’t have the airs and graces sometimes seen in other breeds, they want nothing more than some good company and a loving home.

Where does the Maine Coon cat come from?

The fact they originate from Maine and their thick, bushy tails resembles those of a racoon are generally considered the reason behind their name. It’s thought their ancestors were brought ashore by the American explorers who landed in Maine and then mated with the local cats. To this day, they still have a very strong prey drive and are great rat and mouse catchers making them popular farm cats.

They’re as pretty as they are practical though with a Maine coon winning the first ever cat show in America, in 1895.

What should a Maine Coon cat look like?

In a word, big! A male Maine coon will often tip the scales at over 20lb but it can take up to five years before they reach their full size. But it’s not just their sheer size that’s their defining characteristic. Their coat, whilst shorter around the shoulders, is long and thick round the stomach and britches and has a mane like appearance. Their coat can come in a large variety of colours and patterns as can their eye colour.

Their large, pointy ears are usually tipped with an extra few wisps of fur, these cats originated in a colder climate so any extra fur is a help. Also designed to help keep them warm, are their huge tails which are at least as long as their body. Maine coons tend to sleep with their tails wrapped around them like an extra blanket for warmth and protection. When out and about, it’s usually the tail you’ll spot before the rest of the cat.

What sort of personality does the Maine Coon cat have?

Despite their imposing size, the Main coon is a gentle and friendly cat with a down to earth personality. They’re very much people cats and love human company and can get anxious when left alone for long periods of time. Whilst they’re not as attention seeking as some cat breeds, many will take to following their preferred human throughout the day just to keep an eye on things.

These cats used to be mouse catchers so they love a good game and although the males tend to be a little more silly than females, they love toys.

They’re also not as phased by water as some cats with their love of playtime and desire to supervise their human leads to many owners reporting their Maine coons getting involved with washing the dishes!

Their laid back nature combined with their playful side make them great family cats. So long as any children are taught to be respectful, they love family life and will even play quite happily with cat friendly dogs.

What health problems are common with Maine Coon Cats?

As these resilient cats descended from working cats, spending long periods at sea and perfectly adapted to survive the harsh New England winters, they’re a strong breed. However, their larger size does mean they can be more predisposed to joint problems and hip dysplasia later in life.

It is reported that Maine coons are more predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy than some other breeds. This is a heart disease and is usually tested for by responsible breeders before they produce a litter.

Their long coats will also need a lot of human assistance to keep them in tip top shape. Luckily, whilst not the most traditional of lap cats, most Maine coons will enjoy any attention lavished on them so regular brushes and baths can be seen as a positive experience and also give you a chance to give your cat a regular health check.