Maine Coon Cats: The Ultimate Guide to their History, Types, Characteristics, Temperament, and Care

If you are looking for a cat that has the personality of a dog, and is the size of a small dog, you need to check out Maine Coon cats. These gorgeous animals can grow as large as 20 pounds, and some even larger.

This is a cat that is sweet and friendly, and loves nothing more than cuddling with its people, even though it isn’t going to demand attention. This is the gentle giant of the cat world, and the Maine Coon cat loves people as well as other animals.

Origin and history of the breed

There are all kinds of myths surrounding the origin of the Maine Coon cat. Some even believe that it is a cross between a raccoon and a cat, but we all know that this is impossible, as these two animals do not mate.

Another theory is that they descend from cats that were sent from France to Maine by Marie Antoinette as she was planning her escape from France.

Another, and more likely theory, is that they are a mix of shorthaired domestic cats from North America and long-haired cats brought home from overseas by sailors.

The first time the world heard of the Maine Coon cat was in 1861. This was a black and white cat with the name Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines. From this point, these cats became popular attractions at cat shows that were held in New York and Boston.

In fact, a Maine Coon with brown tabby markings received the Best Cat award at the Madison Square Garden Show in 1895.

Today, these cats are among the most popular of all the pedigreed cats. According to the Cat Fanciers Association, they rank third among all registered breeds.

Physical standards of the breed

Maine Coon cats generally have long hair, although some do have medium-length hair. The fur is soft and silky, but oddly, the texture of the coat can vary, depending on the coloration of the cat.

They have shorter hair on their heads than on their shoulders and back, and many have a beautiful ruff or mane around their necks. They can be found in just about any color and pattern that you would see in any other cat.

Health and possible diseases

No matter what the breed, all cats can be prone to developing genetic health issues. If a breeder tells you that their cats will never have any genetic health problems, they are either lying to make a sale, or they have no idea what they are talking about.

Either way, this isn’t the breeder you want to do business with. Maine Coon cats do have some hereditary health issues, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hip displacement, and spinal muscular atrophy.

Height and size

Here is a cat that can grow to be as large as a small dog. Some Maine Coon cats can dwarf a regular cat, and even their humans.

An adult Maine Coon cat can measure as long as one meter from nose to tail, and they can grow to around 16 inches in height.

Weight

Maine Coon cats tend to be large in stature, and they can have a tendency to become overweight. When you hear about a 30 pound Maine Coon cat, chances are it is a very fat and unhealthy cat.

Generally, these cats weigh anywhere from nine to 20 pounds, and you will always know it when one jumps onto your stomach at night.

Activeness

While the Maine Coon cat is very docile and loves to cuddle, it can also be quite active, and loves to play. These cats really love to play fetch, and one of the best toys you can give them is a crumpled up piece of aluminum foil.

They have plenty of energy, and will always do something to keep you entertained. They are also very protective of their people, and will defend them from perceived dangers.

Hypoallergenic

There really is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat. Some people are even allergic to hairless cats. Because the Maine Coon cat has a long coat, there is going to be a lot of shedding.

This can be combatted somewhat by frequent brushing. Some people suggest weekly brushings, but it is best to get into the habit of doing it daily.

Lifespan

With the exception of the genetic health problems mentioned earlier in this article, Maine Coon cats tend to be quite healthy overall. They generally have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, but with the proper care, many can live several years longer.

Caring Difficulty

Caring for a Maine Coon cat really isn’t much different than caring for any other type of cat. Your cat needs a healthy diet, and you need to make sure they are not fed too much so they don’t become overweight.

Grooming is important with these cats, and they do need to be brushed regularly in order to keep their coats lustrous and shiny, and avoid matting.

Where to get a Maine Coon Cat

If you are looking for a pedigreed Maine Coon cat, your best option is to search out reputable breeders. You need to do a lot of research before purchasing any pet, because not all breeders are responsible breeders.

The first thing to do is to search out breeders in your area, and then start researching each one. If you can talk to people who have bought Maine Coon cats from any of these breeders, take that opportunity to learn as much as you can.

Another option is to visit your local animal shelter. Sure, it is going to be hit or miss as to the types of cats that will be there, but you never know.

There have been many times when a pedigreed cat has been surrendered to a shelter, and is just waiting for a new place to call home.

How much does a Maine Coon Cat cost?

If you are buying a Maine Coon cat from a reputable breeder, you can expect to pay around $1,000, or even more in some cases. So, the purchase of this, or any other type of pedigreed cat, is not something to be taken lightly.

Choosing the right type of Maine Coon Cat

The neat thing about Maine Coon cats is that they come in just about every color and pattern you can think of in a cat.

So, whether you want a cat that has silver markings, or a fluffy brown tabby, you can ​find a good breeder that will have just what you are looking for. The only problem you are going to have is choosing between so many beautiful cats.

Responsibilities to consider in the care of a Maine Coon Cat

When it comes to pet ownership, there are many responsibilities involved. You are responsible for the health and well-being of your Maine Coon cat.

With a cat like this, or really, any pet for that matter, no-name cat food just won’t do. Your fur baby needs to eat foods that are going to help to maintain its health. It may cost a bit more, but the healthier your pet’s diet, the less apt he is going to be to have health problems.

Maine Coon cats do need a bit more attention than short-haired breeds. Yes, cats do very well at grooming themselves, including Maine Coon cats, but they also need a bit of help from their human friends to make sure that their coats are soft, shiny, and free of tangles and mats.

A daily brushing will only take a couple of minutes, and it is a great way to spend some quality time with your pet.

Characteristics of Maine Coons

The Maine Coon cat is a cat that has many stand-out characteristics, and is a character to boot. Did you know that this cat is the only longhair breed considered to be native to the United States? This large, fluffy, lovable cat is definitely a great family pet. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of the Maine Coon cat.

Behavior

If you love a cat that is a big old goof, the Maine Coon cat is a great choice for you. They are lovable and playful, and will be your most fierce protector.

Pattern

One of the great things about Maine Coon cats is that they can be found in dozens of colors and patterns, from solids to tabby and calico markings.

Affectionate

Maine Coon cats love to cuddle, and they can often be as affectionate with other animals as they are with humans.

Dog/child-friendly

These cats are the ideal family pet, blending in well with children and other pets, including dogs.

Intelligence

Maine Coon cats are highly intelligent, and can be taught to do tricks. They can learn to play fetch, and it is a game they love.

Energy

Your Maine Coon cat will have tons of energy, so you will need to make sure they have plenty of ways to stay entertained. This is a fun cat to interact with.

Maintenance

As a rule, a Maine Coon cat is fairly low-maintenance. They do need regular brushing and a lot of attention though.

Find out more about about the characteristics of Maine Coon Cats on the short video below:

Types of Maine Coon Cats

While there are no specific types of Maine Coon cats within the breed, you do have a vast selection of options when it comes to the coloration and marking of your cat. These cats can have the markings of a Himalayan, be a solid color, or have tabby and other markings.

Maine Coon Cats vs. Persians

Compared to a Persian cat, the Maine Coon requires a lot less maintenance. It also has fewer health problems, because it isn’t going to be prone to sinus and breathing issues.

 Both have beautiful, long coats, and both need regular grooming. Both cats have docile, loving personalities, but the more playful of the two is definitely the Maine Coon.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a pet that is as loving and loyal as a dog, but as easy to care for as a cat, you will find the best of both worlds in the Maine Coon cat.

These adorable giants make a great addition to any household, and will give you a lifetime of love and affection.