History

One of the oldest natural breeds in North America, the Maine Coon is generally regarded as a native of the state of Maine (in fact, the Maine Coon is the official Maine State Cat). A number of attractive legends surround its origin. A wide-spread (though biologically impossible) belief is that it originated from matings between semi-wild, domestic cats and raccoons. This myth, bolstered by the bushy tail and the most common coloring (a raccoon-like brown tabby) led to the adoption of the name 'Maine Coon.' (Originally, only brown tabbies were called 'Maine Coon Cats;' cats of other colors were referred to as 'Maine Shags.') Another popular theory is that the Maine sprang from the six pet cats which Marie Antoinette sent to Wiscasset, Maine when she was planning to escape from France during the French Revolution. Most breeders today believe that the breed originated in matings between pre-existing shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs (perhaps Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or longhairs brought to America by the Vikings).

First recorded in cat literature in 1861 with a mention of a black and white cat named 'Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines,' Maine Coons were popular competitors at early cat shows in Boston and New York. A brown tabby female named 'Cosie' won Best Cat at the 1895 Madison Square Garden Show.

 

Charakteristics

Everything about the Maine Coon points to its adaptation to a harsh climate. Its glossy coat, heavy and water-resistant, is like that of no other breed, and must be felt to be appreciated. It is longer on the ruff, stomach and britches to protect against wet and snow, and shorter on the back and neck to guard against tangling in the underbrush. The coat falls smoothly, and is almost maintenance-free: a weekly combing is all that is usually required to keep it in top condition. The long, bushy tail which the cat wraps around himself when he curls up to sleep can protect him from cold winters. His ears are more heavily furred (both inside and on the tips) than many breeds for protection from the cold, and have a large range of movement. Big, round, tufted feet serve as 'snow shoes.' Their large eyes and ears are also survival traits, serving as they do increase sight and hearing. The relatively long, square muzzle facilitates grasping prey and lapping water from streams and puddles.

Males commonly reach 7 to 12 kg, with females normally weighing about 5 to 7  kg.

Maine Coons develop slowly, and don't achieve their full size until they are three to five years old. Their dispositions remain kittenish throughout their lives; they are big, gentle, good-natured goofs. Even their voices set them apart from other cats; they have a distinctive, chirping trill which they use for everything from courting to cajoling their people into playing with them. (Maine Coons love to play, and many will joyfully retrieve small items.) They rarely meow, and when they do, that soft.

 

Temperament

Unlike some other people-oriented cat breeds, Maine coon cats are not overly dependent on their human family. Instead of pestering you for attention, they will remain close by for companionship. Not usually “lap cats,” they prefer to sit beside you instead of on top of you. Maine coon cats make great buddies for kids and generally socialize well with other pets.

Part of understanding everything you need to know about Maine coon cats is the fact that this relaxed and laid-back breed develops slowly until maturity between ages three and five. Aging does not eliminate their playful, kitten-like temperament and reputation as “gentle giants” of the feline world.

 

Description

The most important features of Maine coon cats are the head, body shape and texture of their coat. With a head slightly longer than wide, these cats present a gently concave profile with high cheekbones. Ears are large and wide at the base, moderately pointed, with lynx-like tufting inside. Large, round and expressive eyes are their most distinctive feature. Well-bred Maine coon cats have a well-balanced, rectangular appearance.

Many colors and patterns are allowed in the Maine coon cat breed. Even eye colors can vary from green to gold to blue, with some white Maine coons presenting two different-colored eyes. Their voices -- a distinctive chirping trill -- also set them apart from other breeds. Although they rarely “meow,” when they do, it sounds like a soft, high-pitched voice that directly contradicts their size.

Everything you need to know about Maine coon cats includes their appealing personality traits. They have a loving, sometimes clown-like nature and often funny habits. They try to be helpful to their human family by jumping into the center of activities. Maine coons love to chase objects and can be taught to catch and fetch. This skill can prove very helpful for rural homes in need of pest
control. Because they are strong, hardy cats, novice breeders will find them a good choice for healthy kitten litters.

 

Care and training

Most breeders recommend a high-quality dry food. Most cats can free feed without becoming overweight. Middle-aged cats (5-10) are most likely to have weight problems which can usually be controlled by switching to a low-calorie food.Because Maine coon cats naturally drink a lot of water, always keep a clean, fresh source available at all times.

Their coats are relatively easy to maintain. A weekly combing with a wide-toothed comb, followed by a narrow-toothed comb, will keep a Maine coon cat’s fur shedding and mats under control.

Maine coons can be creatures of habit. This trait makes them easy to train when they associate an activity to something they like. By using positive reinforcement training that rewards good behavior, Maine coon cats can be trained to accept a harness and leash.