The history of the Maine Coon is a rich, diverse topic open to debate. Some stories say the Coon has descended from Marie Antoinette’s prized cats, which were smuggled into America as she was beheaded. Other stories suggest that British Captain Charles Coon had longhair cats aboard his ships, which mated with the native feral cats when ashore. One theory also puts forward the introduction of longhair to the American coastline as far back as the Vikings; this theory is supported by the Coon’s strong resemblance to the Norwegian Forest Cat.
The breed was extremely popular in the 19th century, and a Maine Coon, Cosey, was the winner of the first cat show in the United States in 1895. However, its existence was threatened by when foreign longhair such as the Persian began to gain more popularity. The Maine Coon was brought back from the brink of extinction due to dedicated efforts from American breeders, and received Championship status by the CFA in 1976. The breed was adopted as the official State Cat of Maine in 1985.
Intelligent, playful and doting, this cat is extremely loyal and follows its owner around everywhere, which can sometimes become intrusive. Despite their appearance, the Coon is extremely friendly, and gets along well with children and other pets.
- Activity level: 2/5 (moderately active)
- Intelligence level: 3/5 (quite intelligent)
- Curiosity: 3/5 (quite curious)
- Friendliness: 3/5 (quite friendly)
- Vocal: 2/5 (mildly vocal)
The Maine Coon has a large bone structure and a rectangular body shape; it is the largest domesticated breed of cat. Its fur is long, flowing and dense to protect it from harsh winters, and is longer and shaggier on the underside and rear. Its distinct appearance is what sets the Coon apart from the other cats.
- Fur: Whether longhaired or medium-haired, the coat usually soft, silky and water repellent. The undercoat is light density. Most common colours are brown tabby, cream and white.
- Eyes: All eye colours are accepted under breed standards; only colour exceptions are blue and odd-eye.
- Body structure: Large bone structure with solid and muscular body; the chest is broad. Its long tail is usually tapering and heavily furred.
- Facial features: High cheekbones; head slightly longer than it is wide; large, moderately pointed, well tufted ears.
- Weight: Owing to their large size, the male Maine Coon can weigh between 15 lbs to 25 lbs, whereas the female weighs around 10 to 15 lbs.
Despite being a longhair, The Maine Coon requires very little grooming. Its coat is self maintaining, owing to the presence of a low density undercoat. Weekly brushing with a stainless steel comb is recommended for removing dead undercoat and removing tangles. Brushing teeth once a week is recommended to prevent periodontal diseases. Also, despite their outgoing nature, it is highly recommended to breed the Maine Coon as a house-cat to prevent contracting a disease from strays.
The main medical conditions affecting the Maine Coon are hip dysplasia, feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease and spinal muscular atrophy. HCM can be diagnosed by through an echocardiography test, whereas pelvic radiographs, blood work and urinalysis are used to diagnose hip dysplacia. Electromyogram and genetic testing are utilised for diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy.
We have gathered this information from our breeders based on their experience with this breed. However, remember that each animal is different with its own personality and needs (just like people!), so use this information wisely.
Do you know more about this breed and want to share your knowledge with us? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org