Maine Coon Cat: Breed Information And Care

grey tabby Maine Coon cat

Last updated on February 4th, 2024 at 03:32 pm

Maine Coon cats are popular. They are the most searched-for cat breed on the internet. What is it about these cats that makes them so popular?

Maine Coon cats are the largest non-hybrid domestic cat breed, reaching up to 25 pounds in weight and 40 inches thick. They have long, thick fur and a large frame. This, combined with their friendly, laid-back nature has earned them the nickname “gentle giants”. 

But there’s more to these cats than just their looks. Read on to learn more about the Maine Coon cat, including their care needs and why they have become such a popular breed.

Maine Coon Cat Origins

Although the origin of Maine Coons remains a mystery, it is believed that these cats are descended from either Norwegian forest cats or Siberian forest cats who journeyed to North America during the 19th century with early settlers.

The Maine Coon Cat, as we are familiar with it today, first originated in the state of Maine. This breed was officially recognized by the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) during the mid-1970s and even named Maine’s official state cat in 1985.

The CFA registry records show that this cat breed is now ranked third amongst the most popular feline breeds across the globe.

Maine Coon  Cat Characteristics

Maine Coon Cat Intelligence

Maine Coon cats are known for their intelligence. They have a knack for understanding instructions and can even be trained to do simple tricks. Learning how to play fetch is a commonly reported behavior in these cats.

Maine Coons are known for being excellent hunters. As housecats, they put these hunting instincts to a different use, using their problem-solving skills to learn things such as opening cupboards and latches.

They are also very curious. Maine Coons often explore their environment and can get themselves into trouble if they find something interesting to investigate. A bored Maine Coon cat can find all sorts of ways to get into trouble!

Are Maine Coon Cats Affectionate

Maine Coons are known for being extremely affectionate cats. They are social animals and will often follow their owners around the house, wanting to be close to them at all times.

While they are reserved when it comes to strangers, they form strong bonds with their owners and remain very loyal to them.

grey tabby Maine Coon kitten

Are Maine Coon Cats Friendly With Other Animals

Maine Coon cats are generally quite friendly and can easily get along with all sorts of other animals, including dogs. They can also be territorial though, so it is important to introduce them slowly to any new animals in the house.

As with most cats, Maine Coon cats do best when raised with other animals from a young age.

When raised alongside other furry family members, these cats can form bonds with them that are just as strong as those they have with their human family members.

Maine Coon Cat Personality

Maine Coon cats are known for having a laid-back, easygoing personality. They are fondly known as “gentle giants” because of their large size and sweet, mellow nature.

They are very social and love to be the center of attention in the household. While they can be quite vocal, they tend to have an even temper that makes them ideal family house pets and companions.

Are Maine Coon Cats Good With Children

Maine Coon cats are known to be very tolerant of children, making them a great choice for families with children. They have a history of being reliable pets who enjoy cuddles and playtime with their people.

Because they can become quite large, it is important that young kids learn how to handle the cat properly. Teaching children to respect the cat and how to interact with them is essential when introducing any cat into a household with children.

Maine Coon Cat Vocalization

Maine Coon cats are very vocal, with a rather unique set of sounds. They emit a distinct chirping sound that is quite different than the meowing of many other breeds.

The chirping that Maine Coon cats make is often something they do to get their owner’s attention. It can signal “pay attention to me!”, or be an indication of curiosity or playfulness.

They also make trilling and cooing noises as part of their communication repertoire and often use these sounds to show their happiness and affection.

Like other cats, Maine Coons can also purr loudly when they are content, and make low growling noises and hiss to express their displeasure.

They are also very good at howling and can be quite loud when the mood strikes them. While there is no way to know exactly why Maine Coon cats have this tendency, it is thought that their ancestors may have inherited it from their wildcat relatives.

With their wide range of unique sounds available to them, many Maine Coon cat owners say they never actually hear their cats give a “normal” meow like other cats do.

black and white Maine Coon cat

Maine Coon Cat Energy Level and Exercise Needs

Maine Coons are active cats, and they love to play a lot. Fortunately, they are very good at keeping themselves entertained, so long as you have provided plenty of toys for them to play with.

If you haven’t provided for their entertainment, they are quite happy to find their own. This often means getting into things that they shouldn’t, so it’s important to make sure they have plenty of cat-safe toys and activities to keep them busy.

Interactive play with their owners is also a great way for Maine Coons to get the exercise they need. Activities like fetch and laser pointers are great ways to engage them and keep them active.

Are Maine Coon Cats Easy to Train

Maine Coons are intelligent cats who learn quickly when given positive reinforcement. They can be taught basic commands, like “sit” and “come”, with patience and consistency.

They are also very food-motivated, so treats can be a great way to reward them for good behavior.

Maine Coon Cat Appearance

How Big Do Maine Coon Cats Get

Maine Coons are the biggest non-hybrid cat breed and usually weigh between 10 to 25 pounds, with females typically slighter than males. These cats frequently grow to be up to 40 inches in length, including the tail. Newborn kittens are, on average, larger than kittens from most other domestic cat breeds.

The world record title for the longest domesticated cat is held by a Maine Coon that measured an incredible 48.5 inches long.

Even Maine Coon crosses tend to be on the larger size, along with inheriting many other of the Maine Coon’s characteristics.

Maine Coon Cat Coat Type

Maine Coons cats are considered a longhair breed, though in reality their coat length can range from medium to long. Their coats are usually silky-smooth, with longer hair creating a ruff around the neck and a very fluffy tail.

Many Maine Coons also have tufts of fur between their toes that, if they were outdoor cats, would help protect their feet and toes from the cold as well as help them walk better in the snow.

The Maine Coon cat is easily identifiable by its tufted ears, a notable feature of their breed.

Maine Coon Cat Whiskers

Among all the cat breeds, Maine Coon cats have the longest whiskers. Their whiskers grow up to six inches long.

Cat whiskers are essentially vibration sensors, which help the cat hunt as well as evade predators by increasing their ability to sense when something is close by or lurking nearby.

Maine Coon Cat Color

Maine Coon cats come in the same variety of colors that other cats do. The most common coat coloring is a brown tabby, though they may also be shades of black or gray, white, cream, blue, or orange/red.

The rarest colors for a Maine Coon are the true solid colors, such as solid red, solid white, or solid black. Many cats will appear at first glance to be solid colors, but on closer inspection, you are likely to find an underlying tabby pattern or hair that is a different color at the roots.

Maine Coon Cat Coat Patterns

Maine Coons cats have many of the same coat patterns as other cats. Common coat patterns include tabby, calico, and tortoiseshell. They can also be bi-color or tricolor.

Maine Coon Cat Eye Color

Maine Coon cats are often known for their stunning eye colors, which can range from bright yellow to intense green. They may also have a combination of other colors, such as blue and gold depending on the cat’s genetics.

Like other cats, eye color is strongly linked to coat color. So, Maine Coon cats with light coats usually have lighter eyes, while darker-colored cats tend to have brighter, more vivid eye colors.

Maine Coon Cat Body Type

Maine Coon cats have distinct body types that are easily recognizable. Their build is muscular and well-proportioned, with broad chests, strong backs, and strong legs.

Their muzzle is visibly square and blunt-ended when viewed from the side. The tail is long and fluffy, while the head is triangular and broader at the base. The ears are large and wide at the base, tapering up so that they appear pointed with the tufted tip.

Maine Coon Cat Lifespan

Most Maine Coon cats can live up to 12-15 years, though some may live even longer with proper care.

A healthy lifestyle is key for these cats to reach their full potential and stay happy and active throughout their lives. As with any pet, regular veterinary checkups are also essential for maintaining long-term health.

It is important to be aware that these cats have the same average lifespan as most other cats, they do mature quite a bit later than other cats. Maine Coon cats do not reach their full size until 3-4 years of age.

two silver tabby Maine Coon cats

Maine Coon Cat Health Issues

Maine Coon cats are generally healthy, but like all cats, they can be prone to certain health issues. There are also some breed-related health concerns that owners should be aware of:

Hip dysplasia: a common joint disorder of large breed cats that can cause arthritis and lameness in the hind legs.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): a disease of the heart muscle which, if left untreated, can lead to congestive heart failure.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD): a genetic defect caused by the formation of cysts in the kidneys which leads to kidney failure.

Spinal muscular atrophy: a condition that causes the progressive loss of muscle mass and mobility due to nerve damage.

They are also prone to entropion, an eye problem that can cause eyelid irritation and vision problems.

Maine Coons should be tested for any of the above issues before breeding. Additionally, regular veterinary check-ups and good nutrition can help ensure they remain healthy throughout their lives.

Maine Coon Cat Care

Maine Coon Cat Grooming

With their long, thick coats, Maine Coon cats require regular grooming. Brushing their coats several times a week is essential for preventing matting and keeping the coat looking healthy and well-groomed.

Since they are large and long-haired, they also tend to shed more than other cats because there is so much more of them to shed! Regular grooming not only helps prevent matting and keeps them looking nice, but it can help reduce excess shedding.

Maine Coon cats should also have their claws trimmed regularly to keep them dull and prevent them from becoming overgrown. Make sure you provide them with a scratching post or cardboard scratching pads to prevent them from damaging furniture or carpets.

To prevent any potential ear issues, you should make it a point to inspect your cat’s ears each week. If necessary, use either a wet cloth or cotton ball soaked in an appropriate solution recommended by your vet to clean the sensitive area.

While cats may not enjoy it, brushing their teeth regularly is highly recommended. If you can get your feline to tolerate the process of having its teeth brushed, it can save them from major dental problems down the line.

Finally, they need regular baths to keep their coats clean and healthy. They have so much hair, they usually can’t do a really good job themselves. Bathing them once a month is usually sufficient, however, more frequent bathing may be necessary if they get particularly dirty.

Maine Coon Cat Diet And Nutrition

Maine Coon cats don’t require a special diet; instead, they can enjoy the same food that other housecats do. To ensure your cat is getting the nutrition they need, it’s essential to give them a balanced diet of high-quality food that is specifically formulated for cats.

If you opt for a raw diet, be aware that it can take some extra effort and expertise to make sure all their nutritional needs are met. Consider consulting a pet nutritionist or vet if you choose to feed your cat a raw food diet to ensure they are getting the nourishment they need.

grey and white tabby Maine Coon cat

Being as large as they are though, your Maine Coon is definitely going to need to eat more than your average housecat.

Are Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic

Maine Coon cats are not hypoallergenic. All cats produce some allergens and can cause reactions in people who suffer from allergies or asthma. If you suffer from allergies, it’s best to avoid owning a cat or else be prepared to take lots of allergy medicine.

Where To Buy Maine Coon Cats

As an advocate for rescuing animals from shelters, I urge you to adopt whenever possible; however, your local animal shelter is unlikely to have a purebred Maine Coon cat. You may be able to find a crossbred though since these cats are very popular.

The best place to find a purebred Maine Coon cat is from a breeder.  Reputable breeders screen their animals for health issues and will usually provide a written health guarantee that your kitten is free from common genetic diseases.

Try searching online for a list of breeders in your area. You can try this one to get you started.

Maine Coon Cat Price

Maine Coon cats can be quite expensive and prices vary widely depending on the particular breeder. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for a purebred Maine Coon cat, with breeding and show-quality cats costing the most.

Conclusion – The Nitty Gritty About This Kitty

Maine Coon cats are beautiful, intelligent, and full of personality. They can make wonderful companion animals for adults and children as well.

These cats require lots of love, attention, and grooming to keep them looking their best. Due to their larger size, they are just “more” of everything that is wonderful about cats.

These gentle giants are a wonderful addition to any family that has room in their home and hearts for them. There is a reason they are so popular, and it’s not just for their looks.

brown tabby maine coon cat

Author

  • Dr. Wendy Wilkins, DVM, PhD

    Dr. Wendy Wilkins is an experienced veterinarian and epidemiologist with over 20 years of expertise. She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a Doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Throughout her career, Dr. Wilkins has excelled in clinical practice, academia, research, and regulatory veterinary medicine. She is a respected voice in knowledge dissemination, delivering factual information in a readable and understandable manner through articles, books, and public engagements.

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