Meet the Breed: Maine Coon Cat

maine coonMaine Coon cats are extremely popular, second only to the Persian cat. They are gentle giants that you aren’t likely to forget if you’ve had the pleasure of being acquainted with one.

Learn why these cats are one of America’s favorites!

History of the Breed

The Maine Coon Cat is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America. This breed is the official Maine State Cat. There are several interesting myths to explain the origins of the breed, including one with Marie Antoinette trying to escape France, but only her beloved cats making the trip to the shores of Maine. Another genetically impossible myth is that feral cats interbred with raccoons which is to explain the dramatic tabby coloring and bushy tail. Others believe Vikings may have brought over long-haired cats.

Appearance

Maine Coons are one of the largest breeds of domestic cat. Males weigh from 15 to 25 lb with females weighing from 10 to 15 lb. The body is solid and muscular, but they are slow to mature to their full size, taking 3-5 years to reach their full size. Main Coons, being a natural product of the harsh New England winters, have selected these hardy, large cats that are amazing hunters. Only recently have planned breeding programs begun with these cats, and these rugged attributes have been selected to preserve a strong, healthy line. One of the more unusual features is that many of them are polydactyl, (more than 5 toes) which may help them in the snow with a wider foot base.

Health

Maine Coons are generally healthy because of their natural selection process in their harsh natural environment. One of the things these cats do occasionally have is feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Temperament

Main Coons love their people, but they are not too dependent. They are generally not considered lap cats, but they are affectionate. They are more ground oriented, with some even manifesting this trait by learning to play fetch with their owners. They generally get along with kids and dogs. These cats are second in popularity only to the Persian because of their great personalities.

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar.

Have any stories about a Maine Coon?

2 thoughts on “Meet the Breed: Maine Coon Cat

  1. What a cat …….I found one waiting to be adopted, and checked him out. My allergies began in earnest as soon as I picked him up, and held him near. We have two long-haired cats at home, my son and I take allergy tablets to curb the dander with them. Are Maine Coon’s all prone to a high dander count, would like to about this …………thank You ……

    • Hi Cheryl. It is not unusual that you are reacting to this Maine Coon differently than others. I have heard that their dander is different, containing different proteins than other breeds. Because of this, some people who are allergic to other kinds of cats find that they can tolerate the Maine Coon, and some people find that they are only allergic to Maine Coon cats.

      When I was adopting my cats from the shelter, I literally did a rub test with the cats there to see which ones I didn’t react to and adopted the two I had the right “chemistry” with. My kitties even sleep with me, and we are fine.

      Some people have found that using a Furminator with the vacuum attachment to be helpful for reducing dander. There are also other dander-reducing shampoos and sprays. I hope this helps!

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