Orange Maine Coon Cat on the Grass highlighting Everything You Need to Know About Maine Coon Cats

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Maine Coons, known for their gigantic size and friendly temperament, are popular pets often referred to as the gentle giants of the feline world.

Keep reading through this guide for everything you need to know about Maine Coon cats, if you’re considering adding one of these magnificent felines into your home.




Maine Coon Cat Breed Overview

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1Official NameMaine Coon
2Other NamesAmerican Longhair, American Coon Cat, Coon Cat, Maine Cat, Maine Shag
3OriginUnited States (Maine)
4Height Range10 to 16 inches (25 to 41 cm)
5Weight RangeMales: 13 to 18 pounds (5.9 to 8.2 kg) / Females: 8 to 12 pounds (3.6 to 5.4 kg)
6Shedding LevelModerate to High
7Coat TypeLong, thick, shaggy
8Coat ColorsWhite, blue, tabby, black, brown, gold, cream, and silver solid colors.
9Eye ColorsGreen, gold, copper, blue (white cats), odd-eyed (white cats)
10Average Lifespan9 to 15 years
11TemperamentGentle, playful, intelligent, dog-like, sociable, good with children and other pets
12Health IssuesSpinal muscular atrophy (SMA), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), hip dysplasia, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), periodontal disease
13Grooming NeedsRegular brushing to prevent matting, occasional baths, nail trims, ear cleaning
14Energy LevelsModerate
15Social NeedsEnjoys human interaction and the company of other pets
16Vocal LevelsModerate (known for chirping and trilling sounds)
17Gestation63 to 67 days
18Mean Litter Size4 kittens



Maine Coon Cat Breed History

As the name suggests, Maine Coons originated from the US state of Maine, and they are highly regarded as the oldest native breed in the land.

The exact ancestral origin of Maine Coons is often a subject of debate, but it is widely accepted that European settlers brought them into the United States.

Orange Maine Coon Cat walking on snow
Image Credit: we.are.chilipepper from Instagram

One popular myth about the lineage of Coon cats suggests they’re hybrids of raccoons or bobcats, which is biologically impossible.

The second widespread myth links these giant felines to Norwegian Forest cats brought over by Vikings, but their lineage is likely distinct.

Another mythical story about the Maine Coon’s origin is linked to a European queen attempting to escape to America with her beloved long-haired cats.

The tale suggests that these long-haired felines may have found a new home in America and evolved into the modern-day Maine Coons.

Maine Coons as we know them today have evolved over the years to become gigantic and hardy, with a shaggy exterior. These external features were crucial to help them tackle the harsh winter in the region.

Coon-type cats were present throughout New England, but they achieved particular popularity within Maine state.

Starting in the 1860s, farmers showcased their ‘coon cats’ at the Skowhegan Fair, the nation’s oldest continuously held agricultural fair, which dates back to 1818.

At this fair, the early ancestors of today’s Maine Coon cats competed for the prestigious title of Maine State Champion Coon Cat.

Taking home the top prize at what’s considered the first American Cat Show, held at Madison Square Garden in New York City on May 8, 1895, was a brown Maine Coon cat known as Cosey.

In 1908, Maine Coons were recognized as a foundation breed within the Cat Fanciers’ Association. This was documented in their first stud book and breed registry, where they were listed as ‘Maine Cats’.

In addition to CFA, the Maine Coon cats are also recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA), and they also proudly hold the title of Maine’s official state cat since 1985.




Maine Coon Cat Appearance

The external appearance of Maine Coon Cats is perhaps their most distinctive characteristic. They boast a massive size and a rugged appearance with a well-proportioned body structure.

Coon cats have a muscular body frame, rectangular appearance, and a broad chest that completes their solid appearance.

White Maine Coon Cat sitting on the floor
Image Credit: polar_coons from Instagram

They have a high cheekbone, making their heads slightly longer than wide, with a characteristic square muzzle and fine crested ears.

Purebred Maine Coons have long and thick fur which comes in a variety of colors and patterns except for lavender, Himalayan, and chocolate, which can indicate possible crossbreeding.

The TICA breed standards accept all eye colors for Maine Coons, save for blue or heterochromia iridum (eyes with two colors).

The average size of a purebred male Maine Coon cat is between 18 – 22 pounds, and 12 – 15 pounds for their female counterparts.

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The shoulder height of a fully grown Maine Coon can vary between 10 – 16 inches, but they can attain a length of about 38 inches, plus the tail.

Mymains Steward Gilligan, or simply ‘Stewie’ was a Maine Coon who earned the Guinness World Records title of ‘Longest Cat‘ in 2010, with a length of 48.5 inches from nose to tail.

He sadly passed away at age 8 after a serious battle with cancer at his home in Reno, Nevada, on February 4, 2013.




Maine Coon Cat Temperament and Personality

Despite their imposing presence, Maine Coons are one of the sweetest felines you’ll ever meet. They have a gentle disposition and a friendly personality, making them favorable household pets.

Their chilled nature is perhaps one of the top reasons why many people love hanging around these shaggy beasts.

The combination of Maine Coon’s placid personality and large stature has earned them the nickname ‘gentle giants’

Most Maine Coon cats are content with clinging around their owner for extended periods. They enjoy moving from one room to the other following their owner and trying to participate in various activities.

Maine Coons are often likened to household dogs because of their high-level loyalty toward their owners and their forever kittenish nature. These gentle giants are also intelligent and highly trainable.




Maine Coon Cat Grooming and Care

Maine Coons with their long shaggy coats are surprisingly easier to maintain than other long-haired felines. This is because Coon’s coat is not dense, it’s silky smooth, and oily making it easier to maintain.

To keep their luxurious fur tangle-free, brush your Maine Coon two or three times a week. Special Maine Coons grooming tools can make the process even smoother.

Occasional bathing can help keep the cat’s coat clean and prevent the buildup of odor from the skin oils. You’re unlikely to experience problems bathing your Coon because they enjoy playing in the water.

Schedule regular nail trims to keep your cat’s paw neat and prevent them from scratching your furniture.

Make sure to check inside your cat’s ears for unusual debris, foul smell, or any excretion that may suggest the presence of an infection.

A weekly wipe-down using a vet-approved ear cleaner and a cotton wool ball will do the trick to keep your cat’s ears hygienic and clean.

Remember to brush your cat’s teeth using vet-approved toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. This will wipe off the plaque and leave a fresh breath for warmer cuddles.

Just like dogs, Maine Coons are content with an indoor or outdoor setting. You should however keep your Coon cat indoors to avoid the dangers associated with free movement.




Maine Coon Cat Diet and Nutrition

Maine Coon cats should subsist on well-balanced cat food for energy and nutritional supply. Make sure to practice proper portion control to avoid overfeeding your Coon cat.

Heavily built cats can overeat at the risk of becoming overweight and obese. Do not free-feed your Maine Coon. Ensure their food is kept in a quantified bowl all the time.

Black maine coon cat
Image Credit: Elena Tassel Magic from Instagram

Whether dry or wet, your food choice should contain lean protein, minerals, healthy fats, and minimal carbs.

Remember to fill your cat’s water bowl with fresh drinking water every time to keep your Maine Coon hydrated, especially during warmer months.

It’s best to consult a veterinarian nutritionist on the type and amount of food you should give your Maine Coon to keep them healthy.




Maine Coon Cat Health Problems

Maine Coons are generally healthy cats, but just like any other purebred cat, they are prone to certain medical conditions.

Highlighting these conditions doesn’t mean your Maine Coon cat will suffer any or all of them. It’s just safer to be aware of these medical problems.

1. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

SMA is a genetic disorder that causes loss of motor nerves controlling the limbs. Cats with SMA are likely to develop an abnormal walking posture and lose their ability to jump by the age of 6 months.

Sadly, there’s no cure for this neurodegenerative disorder, but your vet will recommend supportive lifelong care and management to improve your quality of life.

2. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Feline HCM is the most common heart disease in cats, and Maine Coons are particularly susceptible to this cardiac disease.

This condition causes the heart muscles of the affected Coon to thicken, decreasing the efficiency of pumping blood.

Feline HCM can be deceptive because many affected cats show no outward signs of illness. Some may, however, develop congestive heart failure, causing labored breathing, open-mouthed breathing, and fatigue, signaling fluid buildup around the lungs.

3. Hip Dysplasia

This degenerative joint problem where the ball and socket joints are misaligned or loosened, leading to pain and arthritis is more prevalent in Maine Coons than most other cat breeds.

The affected cats can show decreased activity levels, unsteady gait, and limbing. Pain management is the most common treatment method, but your vet may recommend surgery in severe cases.

4. Feline Stomatitis

This condition refers to severe chronic inflammation of the cat’s mouth and gums beyond normal gingivitis or periodontitis.

Stomatitis is painful and can cause ulceration of the mouth’s soft tissues (oral mucosa). This condition can affect any cat breed, but it seems to be more common among Maine Coons.

Some of the clinical signs of stomatitis include oral pain, excessive drooling, dropping food, ‘chattering,’ and bad breath (halitosis).

Your vet may recommend tooth extraction to manage this condition. Regular dental care is recommended to prevent stomatitis.

5. Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

Feline PKD is an inherited renal disease where cysts (fluid pockets) form in the affected cat’s kidneys, hindering their function.

These pockets of fluid are normally present at birth, although they may be so tiny at this stage. They usually grow with time to become larger to the extent of causing kidney failure.

Symptoms often don’t appear until advanced stages, so genetic testing is crucial. Treatment focuses on managing the disease’s progression and complications.

6. Maine Coon Cat Exercise and Play Needs

Maine Coons have medium-level exercise needs. They are likely to sleep for long hours, just like many other cats, and have short sessions of activities.

These cats are well-built and energetic, so they will happily join you for an interactive play session. Invest in a variety of cat toys to keep your Coon engaged and alleviate boredom.




5 Fascinating Facts About Maine Coon Cats

1. Maine Coons are one of the largest cat breeds

Maine Coons, alongside Siberians, Ragamuffins, and Ragdolls, are some of the largest domesticated cat breeds. Some people sometimes even confuse them with bobcats due to their large size.

2. You can walk a leashed Maine Coone

Perhaps another reason why Maine Coons are comparable to our canine friends is the ability to walk them around using a leash.

Yes, you read that right! Maine Coon cats are intelligent enough, and they can be leash-trained in outdoor settings while strolling the neighborhood.

3. The Pride of Maine

Maine Coons pride themselves as Maine’s official state cat. They achieved this feat because many breeders agree that Coons are natives of the northeastern state of Maine.

Elegant Maine Coon cat during winter
Image Credit: we.are.chilipepper from Instagram

4. They’re Water Lovers

Maine Coons are famous for their unusual fascination with water, a trait that sets them apart from many other cat breeds.

Their thick, partially water-resistant coat, with longer fur on the stomach, ruff, and flanks, may have developed as an adaptation to cold winters.

Coon’s water-resistant coats might explain why they don’t seem to mind getting wet. Besides, their shorter undercoat makes them less prone to matting than other long-haired breeds.

5. A Maine Coon Cat Has Been Cloned Before

The sale of Little Nicky, a cloned Maine Coon kitten, marked a scientific milestone in October 17, 2004 as the first commercial sale involving a cloned pet.

Driven by grief, a Texas woman paid $50,000 to have her beloved 17-year old cat cloned by a California-based biotech company.

Despite the ensuing controversy, Little Nicky’s owner (Julie) said the cloned cat was a carbon copy of the original Nicky.




Conclusion

There you have it guys! That’s everything you need to know about Maine Coon cats. One thing to remember about these gigantic cats is their friendly disposition despite their intimidating size.

They also have a heavy, smooth, glossy coat with longer fur on the ruffs that points to their adaptation to harsh winter.

Maine Coon cats make excellent additions to families as they are known for their ability to bond with multiple family members and integrate into households.

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

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