The Origin of the Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is one of the oldest breeds of cats in North America. It is native to Maine thus, the name and is even known as the State Cat of Maine.
A Royal Beginning
It is unknown how the breed really started, but a legend that’s often told is that the
breed originated from the infamous Marie Antoinette six pet cats that she apparently sent to Wiscasset in Maine. She did this as part of her escape plans during the French Revolution. The house that was built for her near the Sheepscott River in Maine apparently still stands up to this day. Those cats mated, and led to the development of the Maine Coon that we know today.
The Maine Coon is known to be the closest relative of the Norwegian Forest Cat because they have both evolved from the same climate, and that’s why some people believe that the Vikings may have had something to do with it.
Apart from that, historians also agree that the Maine Coon cat is the result of the mating of overseas longhairs and preexisting domestic short hairs in New England.In 1861, the name Maine Coon was finally coined, and was used in cat literature, the most popular of which being Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines, a white Maine Coon cat.
Since then, Maine Coons have been staples in cat shows and exhibitions, specifically in New York, and in Boston. In 1895, Cosie, a brown Maine Coon tabby, won the title of Best Cat at the show in Madison Square Garden.
Equipped to Survive the Winter
The Maine Coon is bred to survive the harsh cold winter season. It’s also said that they are not soft-hearted, but that they are natural-born fighters, especially before the age of planned breeding. These days, planned breeding of Maine Coons is prevalent so that the cats could be somehow soft-hearted, without losing their rugged, natural qualities making them healthy and strong, at the same time!
Characteristics and Statistics
Life Span: 9 to 15 years
Weight: 4 to 5 Kg (Females); 6 to 8 Kg (Males)
Grooming: Needs to be Groomed Weekly
Shedding: Moderate Colours: Maine Coons come in a variety of colours, but mostly:
classic and mackerel tabbies, tortoiseshell, white, silver, smoked, shaded, parti-
colour, and bi-colour.
- The Head
One of the most noticeable things about the Maine Coon are their ears. They have wide and large ears that have long tufts protruding out of them—and these are noticeable even in kitten hood!
When you look at a Maine Coon’s face, you will notice quite an intelligent, expressive
emotion in them. They have either copper, gold, or green eyes that seem to know everything about you, making it easy for you to connect with them. White or light-
coloured cats usually have odd, blue-coloured eyes, with noses that are anything but
Usually, Maine Coons have this feral expression in their faces—but you have to take
note that this is the complete opposite of their sweet and mild nature! Some have
naturally sweet faces, though.
The Body As aforementioned, Maine Coons could be around 4 to 9 kilograms,so they are some of the biggest cats around! In some cases, the cats may even reach 13 kilos! Every litter contains large, average, and small kittens—and some of them will be furrier and shaggier than the others. These cats would only reach their full size once they reach the age of three which means they take time to mature.Maine coons have bodies that somehow resemble rectangles;which means their bodies are well-proportioned, sturdy, and strong. The chest is full, and they also have long necks, and medium legs helping them stay flexible and balanced at all times. What you can expect is that their bodies are never out of proportion—making them some of the most beautiful cats around.
If there’s something else you’d notice in Maine Coons, it’s the fact that they have such large, furry feet with large tufts in them. While weird, their paws are still endearing just like the rest of them are. Some were even double-pawed in the early days, but those are not prevalent now, mostly because modern Maine Coons have been bred to get inside the cat flap.
Their tails are also quite exquisite—furry and huge, and cannot be duplicated just like the feathers of a peacock, which means that they are unique and one-of-a-kind!
In fact, some liken it to a feather duster because they drag it down to the ground because they are full and long.
Coat And of course, there is also the Maine Coon’s coat. Sometimes, the Maine Coon is called ‘The Shag’ because of their long, shaggy, and shiny coat. The said coat is soft underneath, and fluffy on the outside. The difference of their coat from others cats is that Maine Coons coats are not uniformed. They may even come in a variety of colours and patterns, as well!
Maine Coon Temperament
Friendliness 100% pet friendly, 100% kid/family friendly, 40% stranger-friendly While they may look feral and fierce, Maine Coons are ultimately friendly, especially to fellow pets. They are also recommended as family pets because they are quite sociable, and could even act like pack animals just like dogs! And just like dogs, Maine Coons would be there to greet you each morning, or whenever you come home from work or just outside the house. Maine Coons also know how to come to you when you call them. However, you have to be around them when guests or strangers are around. Maine Coons could be aloof to strangers at first, but once they get acquainted and the stranger gets their trust, they could be easy to play with!
Affection 85% Affectionate Maine Coons are generally loving creatures-but not all of them are as affectionate as you may want. Some may tend to be independent-even if you have raised them from kittenhood. However, there are some who would do everything to stay on your lap, and get snuggles. When your Maine Coon is affectionate, you can expect him to never turn down affection. He’ll take what he can take-which will definitely make you love and warm up to him more.
In short, Maine Coons are cats who need time from you—and if you love them, you’d give them a lot of it, no matter how you can.
Tendency to Vocalise 60% Tendency One thing about Maine Coons, though, is that they tend to vocalise-or sound off-as compared to other furry cat breeds. Maine Coons often vocalise-sometimes to ask for attention, other times to say they are agitated, or to show they are not extremely comfortable where they are-especially when the weather is too hot.
Grooming 50% Grooming Needs Maine Coons, though they have long coats, are actually easy to groom. While you need to brush their coats to keep them shiny, it actually does not take a long time-as long as you do it regularly. After all, Maine Coons know how to groom themselves. They also know how to shed their own hair-so you just have to be mindful of that. You’ll learn more about grooming later.
Playfulness 90% Playful Aside from being friendly and affectionate, Maine Coons are also quite playful-so you won’t have any problems leaving children around with them. Some of them-especially when they are still kittens-are full of mischief and energy, and are quite sweet and endearing, too! It’s also good to keep them around with other cats and animals as they’d be playing with them a lot, as well.
General Health 75% Healthy
There are certain health issues that Maine Coons suffer from-although their health is quite stable in general.
A Maine Coon is healthy, to begin with, but you do have to keep in mind that there are certain health issues that they could face later in life, and these are the following:
Hip Dysplasia is an inherited condition-which means that if the genetic disposition of his parents show potential for hip dysplasia to be around, the Maine Coon could suffer from it. However, it doesn’t show itself at once just like that-but becomes prevalent over time. This problem affects the joints of the hips, making it hard for the cat to bear his own weight-and any other additional weight. At this stage, the cartilage could also disintegrate, which would then cause a lot of pain-and eventual arthritis.
Symptoms of this include: Decreased activity Laxity/ joint looseness Joint disintegration Reluctance to climb stairs, jump, or run Persistent hind-limb lameness Swaying/bunny-hopping gait Enlargement of shoulder muscles Loss of muscle mass in the thighs Joint grating movements Pain in the hip joints Narrow stance in the hind legs Decreased range of motion To check for this, it is important for you to let the Maine Coon kitten go through screening-so you could be prepared for this issue.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Polycystic Kidney Disease, also known as PKD, is a hereditary or genetic disease. Aside from Maine Coons, Persian Cats are also often affected by this. In this condition, the Maine Coon is suffering from kidney cysts that can grow in size and number as time progresses-and may end in renal or kidney failure. In some cats, the rate of the growth of kidney stones could be slow-but no matter what, the condition is still fatal. You’ll notice that a Maine Coon is suffering from this when you see that he’s often thirsty, often urinates, loses weight, and vomits.
Also known as HCM, is a genetic disease that is the most serious among all Maine Coon problems. It is also prevalent in other cat breeds. What happens here is that the wall of the heart becomes thicker than usual, and because of that, blood flow becomes restricted and thus, sudden heart failure becomes imminent. Weight loss, labored breathing, lethargy, and rear leg lameness are all big symptoms of the said condition.
Always make sure to bring your Maine Coon to the vet for general checkup—and also to get screenings to make sure your cat is in the pink of health.