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What is a Maine Coon Cat?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

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.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

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.

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Discussion Comments


@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.


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.


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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