Maine Coon cats are the oldest natural breed from the United States and, like a lot of American history, their origins are shrouded in myth. One theory is that this breed is descended from Marie Antoinette’s favourite Angora cats, which she sent to the new world before literally losing her head. Another tall tail is that this breed is a mix of feral cats and racoons. This may be scientifically impossible, but we think it’s a lot more fun to speculate.
We told you the Ragdoll was big, but the Maine Coon is straight up Big. These enormous cats can grow as long as 120cm, with a heavy-boned frame and muscular body to match. As befits the state cat of icy Maine, this cat breed is built for snowy winters. Their slick, long fur keeps them warm, and is especially dense on their body and rear. And don’t forget the thick, bushy tail that inspires so many racoon comparisons. Even their big ears are extra fuzzy for fighting the cold. This is one functional kitty! However, the Maine Coon might be a little overdressed for our Australian summer – make sure you keep your home cool to keep your kitty happy.
The Maine Coon comes in virtually any combination of coat colour, coat pattern and eye colour – way too many to list, anyway.
Don’t judge this gentle giant by its intimidating size. The Maine Coon is a very affectionate, easy going cat that’s relaxed around dogs, other cats and children. That said, they are not really a lap cat, which might be a good thing given how big they are – nobody likes that dead-leg feeling. They are very loyal and cling to their family, although, like most cats, they may take some time to warm to strangers. Once they do, expect to hear about it: this is a very vocal breed and is known for yowling, trilling, chirping and all manner of speech.
In particular, stray mice might find themselves the victims of the Maine Coon’s impressive hunting ability. Also, be careful keeping fish, as this breed has a real love of water. Be prepared to share the shower, bath or pool with your amphibian feline. If your cat had opposable thumbs it might even help with the dishes!
Even though the Maine Coon is a long-haired breed, its coat is very low maintenance. You need only comb your cat once a week, in addition the general grooming routine that any cat needs to stay happy and healthy.
Given that it is such a good hunter, the Maine Coon may be a particular threat to native wildlife if allowed to roam. If you want to let your kitty explore, we recommend buying an outdoor enclosure to let it climb and play in peace. This will also protect it from other dangers, including cars, animals, disease and theft.
Because of their size, this breed requires some particular care:
- Make sure to support your cat’s full body when holding it. Not doing so may hurt its spine.
- Make sure your cat has room to go to the bathroom. A large litter box is essential!
- Make sure to give your cat enough protein. Maine Coons take up to five years to reach their full size, and they need food to grow! We recommend dry food, with some wet food mixed in 2-3 times a week. However, a fat cat is not a healthy cat: males should be between 5.9 and 8.2kg and females 3.6 to 5.4kg. Any more than that and your furry friend is definitely overweight!
- Don’t worry if your cat has an extra finger – polydactyly is common in Maine Coons but is perfectly harmless
- Maintain regular checkups. Large cats are at particular risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can cause death or serious injury.
The Maine Coon sheds its thick winter coat come summer, and the last thing you need in hay-fever season is a nose full of fur. If you suffer from allergies, you might have to admire the Maine Coon from afar.
We couldn’t ignore the Maine Coon’s proud Yankee heritage when coming up with these names. Here are our suggestions: