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What is a Maine Coon Cat?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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The Maine Coon cat is a large breed of domestic cat easily recognized by its puffy, squirrel-like tail, tufts of fur at its cheeks and large size. These cats are usually long-haired with a white chest and they have large, rounded paws with tufts of hair between the toes. The Maine Coon cat is native to the United States and is the official cat of the state of Maine.

The Maine Coon cat is thought to be developed from breeding between long-haired cats and short haired domestic cats. They have thick undercoats and hair between their toes to help them adapt to the weather conditions of Maine, although of course they are domestic cats and are meant to live indoors.

These cats are said to be clowns that purposely slide off furniture to get the attention of their owners. The Maine Coon cat is known to be very affectionate and to get along well with children, dogs and other cats. They are said to be intelligent and may learn to open cabinet doors and turn on water taps. The Maine Coon Cat is also said to prefer to eat with humans or other animals rather than eating by themselves. They may also like to follow their human companion around the house.

The Maine Coon Cat is generally a very hardy, healthy cat, but the breed is prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the thickening of the left ventricle heart muscle that can lead to heart failure and death. It may also cause aortic thromboembolism. However, a cardiac ultrasound, or echocardiography, can help to detect hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats between one and seven years of age.

Coat colors and markings vary in the Maine Coon cat. Tabby striping patterns on some part of the body are common on Maine Coon cats as is a brownish gray body color. Some Maine coon cats have tortoiseshell coloring. This breed does not have points like Siamese cats and may have tufts of longer hair on the chest and/or cheeks. Their coats are fairly long but they don't usually need more than a weekly brushing as they are mostly self-grooming.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Maine Coon Cat?

Maine Coon cats are one of the largest domesticated breeds, known for their distinctive physical appearance and friendly personalities. They have a robust bone structure, shaggy fur, tufted ears, and bushy tails. Originating from the United States, specifically Maine, they are well-adapted to cold climates and are often referred to as gentle giants.

How big do Maine Coon Cats get?

Maine Coon cats are notable for their size. Males can weigh between 13 to 18 pounds, while females are slightly smaller, typically weighing between 8 to 12 pounds. They can reach lengths of up to 40 inches from nose to tail tip and take about 3 to 5 years to reach full physical maturity.

What is the personality of a Maine Coon Cat?

Maine Coon cats are renowned for their sociable and affectionate nature. They are intelligent, trainable, and known for their dog-like behaviors such as playing fetch and following their owners around. Despite their size, they are gentle and get along well with children and other pets, making them excellent family companions.

Are Maine Coon Cats high maintenance?

While Maine Coon cats have long fur, they are not as high maintenance as one might expect. Their coat is less prone to matting compared to other long-haired breeds. Regular grooming, about once a week, is sufficient to keep their coat in good condition. However, they do require ample space to move and play.

Do Maine Coon Cats have any common health issues?

Maine Coon cats are generally healthy, but they can be predisposed to certain genetic conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), hip dysplasia, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Responsible breeding practices and regular veterinary check-ups can help manage and prevent these issues.

How long do Maine Coon Cats typically live?

Maine Coon cats have a lifespan that is on par with other domestic cats, typically living between 12 to 15 years. With proper care, regular veterinary check-ups, a healthy diet, and an active lifestyle, some Maine Coons can live into their late teens or even early twenties.

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Discussion Comments

By lluviaporos — On Feb 16, 2012

@umbra21 - It's admirable to try and get a Maine coon from a rescue although they seem to be in high demand, so if you really want one you might have to either go on a waiting list, or try to get one from a breeder.

There are some benefits to using a Maine coon cat breeder for finding your cat.

For one thing a reputable breeder will be able to tell you the ancestry of your cat, and you will be able to check to make sure there aren't any diseases in its history. There are a few diseases this cat is known for and good genetic screening helps the whole genetic pool.

For another, a good breeder will support you for the duration of the cat's life. They are attached to each and every kitten and will often call you up themselves, just to get a progress report.

Maine coons are a really nice cat to have in the family, but they aren't for everyone. They are close to dogs in nature and will need lots of love and attention, more so than the average cat, so you need to be able to provide that for them.

By umbra21 — On Feb 15, 2012

Maine Coons are so gorgeous I've always wanted to have one. I don't normally go for pure breed cats, since often there are different genetic health problems with them, and they can be very expensive to buy and keep compared with a run of the mill moggy cat.

But I think I would make an exception for a Maine coon cat. They just have such a lovely, friendly personality. And they are such a big cat as well. I've always liked the idea of having a big cat, just because it makes me think more of the big cats in the wild. And the Maine Coon has that mane that makes them look a little bit like a lion as well.

I would want to go to a Maine coon cat rescue organization though, since I don't really like the idea of getting one from a breeder.

By clyn — On Jul 09, 2009

I got my cat from the pound, and later discovered that he's (mostly) Maine Coon. I can't imaging a better cat! He's amazingly friendly and social, unlike any other cat I've ever had. If I ever need to get another cat, I'll definitely look for another Maine Coon.

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