Maine Coon Breed Guide
Middle Age: 6 years
Life Span: 12 to 14 years
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Maine Coons are a family favorite due to their large size, sweet temperament, and good-natured personalities. Some even dub Maine Coons as “gentle giants.” They are playful, great with kids, and a handy friend to have around the house as natural hunters.
The History of Maine Coons
Interestingly, Maine Coons are one of the few breeds that originate back to North America. It’s hard to nail down specific dates of when the Maine Coon originated, but the breed surged in popularity in the 19th century. They continue to be popular all around the world and even while competing with other notable long-haired breeds, Maine Coon cats remain one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. Maine Coons earned their keep because of their natural hunting ability and have been used as farm cats and ship cats for centuries. This playful nature still shines through in today’s Maine Coons.
Maine Coon Size and Appearance
One of the most notable characteristics of Maine Coons is their size. They are one of the largest domesticated cats. Females can weigh up to 18 pounds, while males can be even larger. Famous Maine Coons top the scales at over 20 pounds. Maine Coon cats often don’t reach their full size until three to five years.
In addition to their size, Maine Coons are often identified by their long coats and specifically mane-like fluff around their necks. They have tall, pointed ears, a robust bone structure, and long, bushy tail. One common myth is that Maine Coons are domestic cats mixed with raccoons because of their size and tail.
Maine Coons come in almost every color combination. While the tabby coloring is most common, Maine Coons are also found in black, red, white, bi-color, brown, tortoiseshell and many others. The only pattern that Maine Coons don’t show is pointed, which is when a nose, paw, and ears are a darker color than the rest of the coat.
Maine Coon Grooming Needs
Like any good New England native, Maine Coons have a full coat to keep them warm in the winter. Their coat consists of two layers, a shorter undercoat and a long, silky top coat. Compared to some of their other long-haired counterparts like Persians and Ragdolls, Maine Coons require a lot less brushing because their coats are thicker and less likely to mat or tangle. Although they don’t need extensive grooming, they do shed. This is an important consideration if anyone in your family is allergic to cats.
Maine Coon Personality and Temperament
Maine Coon cats are a great addition to any family, including those with young children and cat-friendly dogs, because they are playful, kind, and very sweet. They love attention and have what many pet experts call “dog-like” characteristics – they are known to follow you around the house, play games, and even say hello. Maine Coons are some of the most vocal kitties and love thanking you for belly rubs. They also love to snuggle and are the perfect lap cat.
Maine Coons are very affectionate, so if you are considering this breed for your home, make sure that you have the time and love to give them. Unlike other breeds, they like to be around their owners and if left alone for a long period of time can develop separation anxiety. For cat owners with busy schedules, this might not be the right fit. But for those looking for a furry friend by their side, Maine Coons are a safe bet.
Maine Coon Health Issues
With any domesticated cat, it’s important to look at potential health problems in the breed. Because of continued selective breeding, some breeds are more sensitive than others. Maine Coons originated as sturdy hunters and farm cats, but unfortunately today they are susceptible to hip dysplasia, kidney disease, and heart disease.
- Hip Dysplasia – Hip dysplasia is a hereditary defect that can be found in dogs and cats alike, and Maine Coons are a breed that is more susceptible. The good news for Maine Coon owners is that hip dysplasia can be more minor, causing only infrequent pain in your cat, and it’s treatable.
- Kidney Disease – Some Maine Coons may face kidney disease, and more specifically polycystic kidney disease (PKD). This condition is progressive and is found in many purebred breeds of cats. Many studies have examined the genes found in Maine Coons that can lead to PKD. Luckily, though, with regular visits and vaccinations, owners can make sure their Maine Coon buddy is in optimal health.
- Heart Disease – Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most popular form of heart disease in cats and Maine Coons are susceptible to this disease. Unfortunately, no breeder can guarantee that their cats don’t have HCM, but there are precautions you can take to make sure your Maine Coon is healthy. There are various screenings and genetic tests to ensure the safety of this favorite breed.
Although this breed can suffer from the health issues above, they are a relatively healthy breed and the Maine Coon lifespan ranges from 12-14 years.
Maine Coon Exercise Needs
Maine Coons are a lot more active than other domesticated cats because they were bred as natural hunters. Plus, their larger size makes them very athletic and great playmates. With that being said, Maine Coons benefit from regular exercise and both indoor and outdoor. Maine Coon kitties in particular needs lots of engagement. Their playful nature also makes them great with kids and other animals in the house.
Maine Coons are a wonderful addition to almost any household thanks to their gentle nature, playfulness, and adaptability. They do shed and grow to be pretty large, but make great companions and are sure to fit right in with your children, dogs, and other cats. They are love-seekers and the perfect lap accessory.
Health Issues Associated with this Breed:
- Heart Disease
- Hip Dysplasia
- Kidney Disease (Cat)