The very large Maine Coon cat breed originated in Maine, after having arrived in Viking ships to the U.S during the nineteenth century. This cat breed was a breed that some believe to have originated from Marie Antoinette’s longhaired cats. Marie Antoinette sent her cats over to the U.S ahead of time. She was executed before being able to escape to the U.S.
Ship workers and captains are believed to have possibly bred the longhaired imported cats to shorthaired U.S cats. Although this breed does resemble the raccoon by having tail similarities, there is no genetic link. The Maine Coon did get its name from the tail similarities. In 1861, Captain Jenkins, a Main Coon cat that was black and white was mentioned in a publication. In 1895, a female Maine Coon showed at a cat show in Madison Square Gardens. The Maine Coon attended plenty of cat shows throughout Boston and New York.
In 1908, The Cat Fancier’s Association was formed, and the 5th Maine Coon cat was registered. Her name was Molly bond. When Persians and Siamese cat breeds became popular, the Maine Coon lost popularity, and nearly became extinct. That said, by 1960, the Maine Coon Breeder’s and Fancier’s Association was formed, and today the Maine Coon is fabulously popular! The Maine Coon was a companion, a mouse cat, and most definitely, a ship cat!
The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed. With medium or long hair, this cat breed has soft and silky hair. The hair is of a shorter length on the head and shoulders, and is of a longer length on the stomach and flanks. Some Maine Coon cats have a ruff around the neck. The coat comes in many colors and patterns. The coat is waterproof, with the coat being thicker on the underside and flanks for protection. The most common being the brown tabby. Eye color will vary. The tail helps prevent sinking in the snow, and is used to keep the Maine Coon warm during the cold, winter months. The Maine Coon has super large paws which facilitate walking in the snow. There are long tufts of hair between the toes to help keep paws warm. These serve as “snow shoes.” Polydactyl Main Coon cats have an extra toe. The polydactyl gene was removed from the Maine Coon through selective breeding. The ears are also heavily furred for warmth. The temperament is gentle and intelligent. They are loyal with family, yet cautious of strangers. The Maine Coon is very vocal and yowl, howl, and chirp.
The Maine Coon has above intelligence, and is very loyal to family. They are easy to housetrain, and enjoy lots of mental stimulation through interactive cat toys. This cat breed is independent, yet needs family and to be indoors. This is not a lap cat. The Maine Coon gets along with dogs, other cats, and most domesticated animals. They enjoy playing feather-chase with children. Males are quirkier, with females being more dignified, and perhaps needing more alone time. Maine Coons love water, and can sit for hours watching water come out of a faucet. They also enjoy drinking cold water from a running faucet. This is a terrific cat breed to have as a companion.
The Maine Coon is a “mouser “cat breed that loves to play. It does not enjoy being picked up or held. Although these are “gentle –giants,” the Maine Coon still needs his personal space. This cat breed does best as an indoor cat. That said, this breed thrives on affection, and plenty of cat toys. This cat breed is docile, and does well with apartment living or home living. This breed needs to be indoors during the hot summer months, as it is heat sensitive. It is a wonderfully easy cat breed to live with, but does need mental stimulation. The Maine Coon gets bored when alone for long periods of time. Eye tearing may be a problem with this cat breed. Inactive cats tend to pick up weight, and are prone to more medical conditions, like liver disease. Daily grooming needs to be a priority with this cat breed.
Exercising cats is more difficult than with dogs, yet cat parents can do so by purchasing certain cats toys to promote exercise. Litter box training needs to start during kittenhood. All cats are super clean animals, so it is very easy to litter box train. Litter boxes for cats need to be kept clean, or your cat may not use it. All cats will need parasite control and routine health care throughout their lives. This means vaccinating your cats. This is an important part of keeping your cats healthy throughout their lives. Your cat will also need to be spayed or neutered. Consult with your veterinarian, and always consider veterinary health insurance for your cat. Special care needs to be given to the Main Coon’s health needs. The Main Coon may be prone to hip dysplasia. Lots of mouse themed toys are recommended for this awesome cat breed!
Possible Health Concerns
The Maine Coon is a healthy and moderately active cat breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:
- Hip Dysplasia: This is rare in domestic cats, and is common in purebred cats. This occurs when the hip joint is loose, and leads to degenerative joint disease. (osteoarthritis) Symptoms include lameness that can be mild to severe. Cats generally need no surgery for hip dysplasia. Weight reduction can help reduce discomfort.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): This is a heart muscle disorder where the heart walls of the left ventricle thicken. This results in the walls becoming stiffer. This is a common primary heart disease in cats. It tends to noticed at around 3 months to 17 years of age. Most cats will be middle aged when this disorder occurs. This disorder tends to affect males more than females, and it is an inherited genetic defect. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs. Fluid may also accumulate in the lungs, and in the space between the lungs and chest wall. Veterinary treatment will aim at improving cardiac function, and reducing blood clots. There is a good longterm outlook for mildly affected cats. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease: This occurs when the polycystic kidney has numerous cysts within the functioning part of the kidney resulting in enlarged kidneys. Consult with your veterinarian if your cat vomits frequently, has a decreased appetite, and increased thirst or urination.
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy: This is a genetic disorder that Maine Coons are predisposed to. It is a neurodegenerative disorder where the spinal cord neurons die. Symptoms include muscle atrophy and weakness that shows up at around 3-4 months. Maine Coon kittens will walk in a strange way. Consult with your veterinarian for advice. Affected cats can live a normal indoor life. This is a pain-free condition where muscle mass is reduced.
Playtime for indoor cats is extremely important. Because cats are natural predators, and are kept in a domestic environment, daily playtime schedules should mimic “hunt, eat, and chill.” This would be the same schedule that they would have out in the wild. By providing a healthy and stimulating playtime schedule, many feline behavioral problems are eliminated or reduced in frequency. Cat parents need to mimic a cat’s “natural environment combined with activity” within their household, to ensure that their cats are well-balanced and happy.
The Maine Coon cat breed needs daily exercise combined with plenty of mental stimulation through active play and interaction with people. This breed loves to “mouse hunt.” Cat parents can use cat toys like the Mousr or Cat Dancer to get their cats to play.
Finding a variety of mentally stimulating cat toys will allow for your cat to lead a well-balanced life, with the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation. Cat harnesses also allow for daily walks. Cats can benefit from being outdoors and going for a safe walk on a harness. Indoor cats will get to experience new sights and sounds. There are many new cat harnesses on the market that allow for your cat to have more freedom. These include 10-foot cat leashes that are retractable, and come in corded and taped styles.
This cat breed is a moderately active cat breed that thrives on being with family members. Males are more playful than females. Cat gyms, cat scratchers, and interactive cat toys within a cat friendly home environment work best for this super gentle cat breed.
Look out for the latest cat toys like Ripple rug play mats, the Feather Whirls, pet cube toys, food trees, turbo scratcher toys, cat companion interactive toys, and electronic motion toys. Interactive cat toys help to keep cats entertained when you’re out and about.
Cat trackers like the Pod are waterproof and allow for cat parents to track their cat’s daily activities. Cat parents can track their cats by mobile phone and computer applications.
The Maine Coon cat breed will need high-quality nutrition. That said, a high-quality diet that is appropriate for the specific life stage of the cat is necessary. Protein as an ingredient, needs to come first. Dry cat food is a popular choice because it promotes healthier gums and teeth. Yet wet food is more often recommended by veterinarians because it provides more moisture to cats. Cats don’t drink a lot of water and tend to sometimes get dehydrated. Wet cat food also has its benefits. By choosing a well-known name- brand cat food that has scientific backing, as well as quality control, cat parents can be assured that they are providing a well-balanced diet.
All cat breeds need high- quality fat and protein in their diets. They also need amino acids, including taurine that cannot be found in either human food or dog food. There are also numerous specialty diets for your cat that are formulated specifically for certain medical problems like urinary tract disorder, obesity, or kidney disease.
All cats do well by being fed twice daily. During kittenhood, kittens will need to be fed every few hours. Growing kittens need more calories, nutrients, vitamins, protein, and calories. Your cat should be able to enjoy a peaceful meal in a quiet corner of the house. Some cat parents prefer to leave cat kibble out 24/7. When looking for a high-quality cat food, here’s what to look out for:
- No low-quality fillers
- No artificial additives
- Low grade ingredients or toxic ingredients
- All cat food has to be meat-based because all cats are carnivores.
- No garlic
- Plant-based ingredients should be listed after the protein-based ingredients
Consult with your veterinarian for the best dietary advice for your Maine Coon.
The Maine Coon needs daily grooming to remove shedding hair, and to prevent hair from matting. This coat does not mat easily though, because it has a silky texture. That said, it can still mat if not groomed. Because this breed has a long and wonderfully soft coat, extra grooming care is required. Stainless steel combs help to remove dead hair. Care must be taken when grooming leg hair and body hair to avoid missing spots that could tangle or mat easily. Curry brushes help with grooming, and will remove dead hair and debris from your cat’s coat. Grooming needs to be gentle, since all cats dislike having their fur pulled.
Look for high-quality pet products to decrease shedding, and help prevent hairballs. Products like the Furminator will easily groom through your cat’s topcoat, and safely remove dead hair without hurting your cat. Soft tip massagers, deluxe nail trimmers, and de-shedding tools all help make cat grooming so much easier.
All cat breeds will groom themselves several times throughout the day. Daily grooming is necessary because it limits the amount of hair that your cat will consume. This helps limit the development of hairballs. Your cat will enjoy being groomed. Coat hair always looks best during the cold winter months. Cats that have been spayed or neutered will have great coats year-round. This is because hormonal changes in cats affects coat length and thickness.
Cat parents can remove mats by using cat clippers which are safer than using scissors. Daily cleaning with pet wipes beneath the tail is necessary. Ears should be checked weekly for cleanliness and sensitivity. If there is a build-up of wax and dirt, organisms can lead to an ear infection. Consult with your veterinarian about safe and gentle ear cleaning techniques. Nail trimming is necessary every few weeks. Eyes should also be cleaned gently every morning with cotton wool or a soft wipe. Each eye should be cleaned with different wipes or cotton balls to avoid eye infection contamination in both eyes.
Healthy cats need minimal bathing with a gentle cat shampoo. Your cat will need dental care as well. By feeding dry food, and having professional dental cleanings with your veterinarian throughout your cat’s lifetime, your cat will have less of a chance of developing gingivitis or gum disease.
Adopting a Maine Coon
Maine Coon cats have a compliant nature, and are easy to live with. These are gentle giants that dislike being picked up. These beautiful cats are docile, and adapt easily to new environments. Without a doubt, it is the Maine Coons easy- going temperament, that earns them a favorite spot in every cat lover’s heart as best feline companions.
The Maine Coon deserves the very best home with caring feline pet parents that are geared towards their cat’s needs. This breed is sturdy and well-built. That said, it does best as an indoor cat breed.
As with all cats, it’s necessary to consider pet insurance for your cat. Too many cat parents wait until a serious medical issue affects their pets, only to find out that they cannot afford the veterinary care. Make certain that you are able to afford good feline care before adopting your Maine Coon.
Before bringing your cat home, locate both an emergency and regular veterinarian. Prepare your home by removing all dangerous and toxic items. Your Maine Coon needs to be in a safe place when home. Your cat will also need to be protected from household hazards, most especially electrical cables, poisonous plants, medication, and open windows. As usual, make sure that children are always gentle and quiet around your Maine Coon.
Give your Maine Coon cat plenty of time to adjust to his new surroundings. As with any cat adoption, make sure that you have the time and resources to take good care of your cat!
Oooo Boy! I just read this entire article. What am I in for, now?! I already have one cat. It’s of the “Unknown” breed. (It’s fairly standard, if that can be said). About 15 months old. Then my daughter “sneaks” this little kitten into our house. It turns out to be a Maine Coon cat. The first pictures I saw of this creature showed the cat bigger than the person/child handling it and up to 75 pounds! I suppose I can use him to scare away intruders, but beyond that, I’m already thinking that one of these two animals is not going to live here very long! Coupled with the time required to make him happy, healthy, less hairy, a mouse-slayer and to wipe its butt* every day is going to require that I hire a nanny of sorts to care for my cats! Plus the cost of regular veterinary visits, a dental adder, oh, and cat medical insurance, I have to think that this cat is a cat intended for nothing but the royal and rich!
*”That IS what this meant, I presume: “Daily cleaning with pet wipes beneath the tail is necessary”.
I sure hope you have fallen in love already with the kitten, I know your daughter has! Mine was born May 5th and I got him the end of July, he does fine wiping his own butt lol but a lot of this article is very informative, especially the history. I absolutely love this breed, I did not know what I was getting but I’m so glad I did! Having a cat that is NOT mean is such a joy! He does need toys and I think the article could have stressed cat condo, he loves his! He is working on winning over the other cat in the house. Best Buy I e made is a cat play pen which is in essence a tent you can see into, it gives him a safe place when he is not out playing, and kittens need lots of rest, it fits a litter box and food and water and rest and play area. I hope you keep the Maine coon, a great companion for a child.
I adopted a calico Maine coon from a cat rescue I volunteer for since I retired from48yrs of nursing..i added her 2 my furrmily of 4(19,17,13+8 yr olds) I fell in love with her the 1st time I saw her..she has all the Maine coon cat characteristic that u list…she a calico..4years old..gorgeous silky coat with the bib looking shorter fur around her neck..whether she is Maine coon or not, shes mine, all mine(wish I could send u a pic..my other 4 are ok with our new addition…noone is missing any fur+no blood seen..usually soft hissing…she is the sweetest kitty..