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Maine Coon: Pet Profile
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The Maine Coon cat is characterized by its large size, elongated muzzle, large tufted ears, and medium to long-haired coat length. Maine Coons are famous for their dog-like personalities and loyalty, along with their mellow nature. All of these traits make them a popular breed that’s great for families and busy households.
Maine Coons make great companions for those who want a cat that loves to play yet is just as happy hanging out on a lap. The qualities and traits of the breed are consistent, although they do have an increased risk of a genetic condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Reputable breeders of Maine Coons work on reducing the risk of HCM in the breed by breeding individuals together who are proven to have a lower risk factor.
Are you interested in owning Maine Coon for yourself? Read on to learn more about the Maine Coon cat breed and get an idea of what to expect when bringing one home for the first time.
- History & Origin of Maine Coon Cats
- Physical Attributes
- Behavioral Characteristics
- Caring For a Maine Coon Cat
- Health of a Maine Coon Cat
- Maine Coon: Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Notes
History & Origin Of Maine Coon Cats
There are a few myths and legends surrounding the origin of the Maine Coon cat breed. What we know about the breed is that they originated in Maine, and Maine farmers bred the cats for their hunting abilities. They eventually developed thick coats to withstand the harsh Maine winters.
However, this all changed in 1895 when a female brown tabby Maine Coon, won first place at a cat show.1 The win established the Maine Coon as a fixed breed and began its journey into a show and house cat.
The Coon portion of the breed's name is somewhat shrouded in mystery. Some people believe they’re a cross between a raccoon and a cat and point to the tabby markings on the tail as proof. However, it's more likely that the appellation comes from the fact that a full-sized adult is similar in size to a raccoon.
What's certain is the fact that the Maine Coon is descended from the Norwegian Forest Cat, a breed that's similar in size and appearance.2 The features of the Norwegian Forest Cat are more refined, but it's a hardy breed with a luxurious coat that helps it withstand Norwegian winters. Maine farmers most likely selected individuals from the Norwegian Forest Cat to create a distinct cat breed that could handle Maine winters and perform job duties for cats on the farm.
The Maine Coon cat breed is frequently described as being heavy-boned, muscular, and rectangular in shape. In fact, the Maine Coon cat size is one of the reasons why people are attracted to the breed, as it's the largest cat out of all of the domestic cat breeds. Its head and face are boxy in appearance, with a prominent muzzle and large, triangular ears with tufts. The whiskers are long and luxurious, sometimes resembling a mustache.
Maine Coon cats typically have a medium to long-haired coat length that's silky to the touch. Their toes and ears are tufted to protect delicate pads and ear cartilage against the cold. A ruff or mane around the neck is always present, especially in longer-haired individuals, and its size changes with the seasons. The mane is longer in the winter and shorter in the summer.
The mane of the Maine Coon cat is just one-half of its glory. Its tail makes up the other half with the appearance of an ostrich feather that gently sways as it sashays around its domain. You'll notice the overall appearance of the Maine Coon is one of a solid body that's covered in a shaggy coat that features a pattern of some type. The most common coat is the tabby, a striped coat that comes in colors including orange, silver, and gray. A total of 75 coat colors are found in the breed and range from patches to solid colors.1
Maine Coon kittens exhibit the same physical traits, but they can look awkward at times as they grow up and fill out on their way to adulthood.
The breed's behavioral characteristics play a large role in the popularity of the Maine Coon. They're playful, energetic, loving, and smart. Many will point out that this is typical of most cats, which is true, but these traits are amplified in the breed through selective breeding. Maine Coons embody everything that cat lovers enjoy in their feline companions.
One of the major Maine Coon characteristics is that they’re a very intelligent breed. The breed is known for being able to figure out puzzles, knowing how to open doors, playing fetch, and getting into trouble.3
Vocalization is another common trait of the breed, and some can be very loud.1 The constant meowing is often one of the least desired Maine Coon characteristics, but it's also their normal behavior.
For the most part, Maine Coon cats are very friendly, so introducing other cats to them tends to go smoothly. However, always take care when introducing new cats to each other to avoid fights and difficulty with territorial behavior.
Maine Coons are people-oriented, so they’re a great family cat and can cope well with a busy household. They’re very sociable and lovable, which makes them ideal for first-time cat owners. However, they still maintain their sense of independence and are happy to go their own way when warranted. 2
Maine Coon cats are also very active and inquisitive, so make sure to buy plenty of toys. They will enjoy playing inside and outside the house, so provide them with enough enrichment to keep them entertained. They’ll want to play games with you, as well as climb, jump, and explore their surroundings.2
Caring For a Maine Coon Cat
The Maine Coon is an obligate carnivore. That means your cat’s diet needs to consist primarily of wet food so they can get its daily intake of water, protein, vitamins, and minerals in one meal. It's OK to feed a Maine Coon dry food as long as it doesn't contain carbohydrates or grains and fresh water is kept out at all times. Wet food is preferable because it takes less work to ensure that the Maine Coon gets adequate nutrition and maintains its water intake. Many pet food manufacturers have products that are formulated for Maine Coons and help them maintain their health.
Sometimes, a cat may show signs of allergies, either due to their food or environment. These can show up as skin conditions such as dermatitis or frequent vomiting. In this case, you’ll want to feed your cat a diet formulated for cats with food sensitivities
The breed features a long coat that needs regular grooming and trimming to prevent mats and reduce shedding.2 It's best to start grooming a Maine Coon when they're a kitten, so they get used to the experience of going to the groomer.
Health of a Maine Coon Cat
Maine Coons are prone to the same health issues as any domestic feline, but they're prone to genetic issues that aren't as common in other breeds.
Health issues that are more pronounced in the Maine Coon breed include:
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) or thickening of the left ventricle of the heart.
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a condition of the motor neurons that causes loss of function and muscle weakness in the rear end.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a condition that causes cysts to form in the kidneys.
- Hip Dysplasia, a skeletal condition that causes loss of hip joint function.4
Maine Coon: Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a Maine Coon cat cost?
The cost of buying a Maine Coon kitten from a breeder ranges anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 and up. Adults typically cost between $400 to $600.5 A Maine Coon rescue organization will usually charge around $400 to adopt an individual that's been surrendered.
The cost of a Maine Coon from a breeder depends on its bloodlines, physical characteristics, and if they're show or pet quality. Breeders often charge less for sterilized cats to prevent future breeding. When looking into Maine Coon cats for sale from a breeder, ask about the breeder's price range and the reason for their Maine Coon price structure.
Is a Maine Coon a good pet?
The Maine Coon is a great pet, especially because of its outgoing personality and desire to be with people. Its dog-like personality makes them a pleasure to be around and interact with, along with the occasional kittenish behaviors.
What is the lifespan of a Maine Coon?
The average lifespan of a Maine Coon is anywhere from 9 to 15 years.2 Their lifespan average tends to be shorter due to the genetic issues that are found in the breed. Individuals can live long lives if they don't have any health issues.
The Maine Coon cat is a wonderful cat breed that delivers the joy of owning a cat with interesting and unique characteristics. They're great family pets and are extremely social, playful, and loving. It's true they come with health and grooming challenges, but these issues are easily overcome by providing the cat with regular grooming and veterinary care.
At Dutch.com, we make it easy for you to provide the best possible care for your Maine Coon in one online shopping session. We offer telemedicine for pets and can help you work out a healthcare plan for your feline friend. We make it easy for you to get cat medicine online so your cat can get the care they deserve.
Log onto our website to discuss your pet's health needs with a licensed veterinarian and get your pet back on the road to health today.
About the Maine Coon Cat. The Cat Fanciers Association Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2023, from https://cfa.org/maine-coon-cat/.
Maine Coon Cat Breed Information. Purina. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2023, from https://www.purina.co.uk/find-a-pet/cat-breeds/maine-coon.
Coleman, E. (2022, September 21). How smart is a maine coon cat? (7 interesting facts). MaineCoon.org. Retrieved February 22, 2023, from https://mainecoon.org/how-smart-is-a-maine-coon-cat-7-interesting-facts/.
Coleman, E. (2022, September 27). Unique health issues affecting Maine coons. MaineCoon.org. Retrieved February 22, 2023, from https://mainecoon.org/unique-health-issues-affecting-maine-coons/.
Plummer, J. M. (2023, January 3). How much do Maine coon kittens cost? - average price. FVEAP. Retrieved February 22, 2023, from https://www.fveap.org/maine-coon-kittens-cost/.