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All About the Maine Coon Cat “The Gentle Giant”

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Maine Coon cats are gorgeous with beautiful soft fur and long bushy tails! And they are majestic felines, the biggest of all domestic cats. But did you know that their owners have nicknamed this giant cat "the gentle giant?"

Why?

Because even though this cat is ginormous, to say the least, they have kitten-like personalities. Let's face it; they act like kittens no matter how old they get! Plus, they are intelligent, cuddly, sweet, loving, gentle, and super friendly.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to want one really bad after reading this article!

Short History of the Maine Coon

The Maine Coon Cat is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America. In 1985, Maine declared the Maine Coon as the official state cat! But where do they originate from, and how did they get to the U.S.?

Many myths and legends surround this beautiful cat breed. Some have said they have a royal connection to Queen Marie Antoinette. And others say this feline arrived on the decks of Viking ships and the Horse Marines.

Whatever tales you’d like to fancy, this beautiful cat ended up on the shores of Maine, USA.

Fun Historical Maine Coon Facts

  • In the 1800s, the breed was considered the oldest native cat in the U.S.
  • In the late 1800s, farmers in Maine told stories about their cats and held the "Maine Coon State Champion Coon Cat" contest at the local Skowhegan Fair.
  • In 1895, it won the first Cat show in North America at Madison Square Garden.
  • In 1950, prematurely declared extinct (though exaggerated and recorded too early).
  • In 1970, there was a revival of interest in the breed.
  • In 1976, the Maine Coon regained its stature as Cat Fancy Registries recognized it.
  • In 1982, CFA registered the first National Winning Cats.

Are You Planning on Getting a Maine Coon Kitten?

This beautiful and loving feline makes an excellent companion. They love to lay beside their owners and interact with their families. Yet, they do not need constant attention. But don’t expect this cat to be a “lap cat’; that’s not what they like to do.

Helpful Hint:
Maine Coon cats enjoy going for walks; train them to walk on a leash and harness when they are kittens. That way, they get used to the saddle and leash. This makes for an enjoyable outing for both you and your cat!

How Big Will My Maine Coon Get?

This cool cat has been in the Guinness World Record for being the biggest giant cat in the world! But exactly how big does this feline get? Well, it can grow as large as 18lbs. if not more.

The most loved characteristic of this breed is its long fluffy tail. Which almost resembles a raccoon’s tail. (Though not related to the raccoon, as some myths suggest). Their bodies are solid and muscular, which supports their enormous size. This cat doesn’t reach its full size until they are three to five years old.

Adult MaleAdult Female

Size

13 -18 lbs. (5.9 to 8.2 kg)

9 - 13 lbs. (3.6 to 5.4 kg)

Height

10 - 16 in. (25 to 41 cm)

8 - 14 in. (20 to 35cm)

Length

19 - 40 in. (48 to 101 cm)

19 - 40 in. (48 to 101 cm)

Average Lifespan

12 to 15 years

12 to 15 years

Personality Traits

The personality of a Maine Coon cat is unique. Although they’re known for their enormous size and mysterious heritage. This cat is funny, sweet-tempered, and gentle. They are also kind, friendly, quite trainable, sociable cats, and super affectionate!

Did you know?
Many Maine Coons cats have been certified as therapy cats! And they visit people in hospitals and senior care facilities.

You can’t help but fall in love with this big cat!

This feline is funny to watch; when this cat runs, it’s no mystery; you will hear them coming! They romp and play and are a joy to watch; this big giant is not light on its feet by any means!

Other Traits

  • Maine Coons love to play with their toys on the ground and are not vertically oriented.
  • Known to be very vocal cats, they rarely meow. Instead, they yowl or howl and have a soft chirp or trill.
  • Maine Coons is fascinated with water.
  • They are incredibly loyal to their families.
  • They are intelligent and easy to train.
  • They are usually good-natured goofs!
  • Males are prone to silly behavior, while females are more dignified.

Coat of Many Colors

Maine Coon's are known for their assorted coloring and pattern combinations, including tortoiseshell, calico, tabby, smoke, shaded, solid, and many others. (Over seventy-five variants, to be exact).

Colors/Patterns

  • The Brown Classic or Mackerel Tabby: Classic, mackerel, brown, blue, red, and cream
  • Solid Pattern: White, black, blue, and red
  • Tortoiseshell: Black and blue
  • Silver Pattern: Black-silver, blue-silver, red-silver, and cream-silver. It appears almost silver and could be the long-haired version of the Russian Blue.

Black Maine Coon

One of the most common colors of a Maine Coon is black. They are black as coal and have predominate whiskers, nose, ears, and tufts, and long black whiskers above their eyes.

Black Maine Coon cats are classified under the following four-color classes:

  • Solid
  • Bi-Color
  • Shaded and smoke
  • Shaded/smoked and white color

Chinchilla Silver/Blue Silver Maine Coon

Chinchilla Silver Maine Coons have a pure white undercoat, ears, tufts, stomach, and chest. The fur on their back, sides, head, tail, and legs is tipped in black, giving that sparkling silver appearance.

Silver Maine Coons have distinctive swirls on their head, body, cheeks, and limbs with patches on their shoulders. The markings are known as either marbled or spiral patterns.

Smoke Colored Maine Coon

The smoked-colored Maine Coon is a semi-colored cat that is usually black. With banding on the cat’s fur, giving it a smoky appearance. This means the cat’s hairs are dark (black) at the tips but have lighter-colored bands near the bottom.

The most common color of a smoked Maine Coon is black. Yet, they can be a variety of colors, including cream, tortoiseshell, blue, and red, among others.

But, the main difference is in the undercoat’s hue, known as the “fade.” The fade is on the feline’s undercoat and the chest, which is visible when the cat sleeps on its back.

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon

Tortoiseshell Maine Coons are a combination of two colors. Brindled patches of red, black, orange, yellow, or cream. The "black" can be a mixture of colors such as chocolate stains, calico, tabby patterns, or blue ranges.

Tortoiseshell Maine Coons are only female, and it is rare for a "tortie" to be male.

Maine Coon Fun Facts

  • The male kitten will always be the color of the mother.
  • The color of female kittens always combines the father's and mother's colors.
  • Two color-pointed parents cannot produce non-color-pointed offspring.

Caring for Your Cat

Like all cats, feed your Maine Coon nutritious food, and provide them with plenty of clean water. Exercise is the key to keeping this cat entertained. Take them on long walks if you can. Interactive toys help stimulate them, which keeps them engaged and active.

Remember that you need high-quality shedding brushes, combs, and scratching posts. You can buy an extra-large litter box at any retail store (a giant storage container works). Plus, it would be best to have extra-large water dishes, beds, and soft blankets.

Exercise the Night Away!

Maine Coon are crepuscular animals, a what? Meaning they are most active during the night. So, when the lights go out, and you're ready to get some shut-eye, nice try! It won't happen!

Let me ask you a question.

Did you make sure to play with your feline before you went to bed? Cats need to run off some extra energy before bedtime, or they will play all night long. You know the pain is real! True story, folks!

Grooming - It's Salon Time

Most cats love their fur brushed, says no cat owner but, who knows, one might hope! And yes, your furry child may be the exception to the rule.

Maine Coon cats have cottony, high-maintenance coats requiring regular grooming. While others have silky coats that don't need as much care. Regardless groom your cat at least twice a week so their coats from matting and becoming hard to manage.

Nail Trimming

Trimming your cat's nails is always the most significant event of every cat's life. They scream and yell, hiss, and cry… no, wait… that's me… Well, Ya'll know what I mean.

How many times have you had to chase your sweet cat to get them to the cat salon? Then when you finally catch them, they turn into catzilla, acting like they don't know you! And they try to smack you in the face? Haha…

Seriously though… Trim your cat's nails about once a week for kittens and less for adults. Start cutting your kittens' nails while they're young so they will grow accustomed to it.

Teeth

Daily dental hygiene is best, which prevents periodontal disease in cats and is commonly associated with the accumulation of dental plaque (because of bacteria in the mouth) and tartar formation.

Brush your cats' teeth regularly; you will find that a variety of pet toothbrushes/toothpaste is available.

If you need advice or help, talk with your veterinarian for more information.

Nutrition

Your Maine Coon needs a balanced diet as any other cat does. Be sure to choose foods rich in protein and low in carbohydrates, such as dry kibble and “wet” food. And make sure it meets its daily caloric intake to avoid an overweight feline.

Daily Nutritional Needs and Those to Avoid

Daily Nutritional Needs

Nutritional Value PointsHealthy FoodsIngredients to Avoid

High in protein (52%)

Chicken

Corn

Low in fats (35%)

Turkey

Wheat

Low in carbohydrates (12.5 %)

Lean Beef

Soy

Natural ingredients

Salmon

Additives

Vitamins, minerals and Taurine

Organic peas, pumpkin, and sweet potato

Gluten

Enriched with Omega's 3 and 6

Vegetables, Legumins, and Berries

Fillers

Maine Coon Health Issues

Maine Coon cats are a hardy cat breed. They are rugged, strong, agile, and natural mousers, but sadly, some may be prone to developing specific health issues.

  • Feline Hip Dysplasia (FHD) is a debilitating condition affecting the hip joints. Common signs of this disease are stiffness and reluctance to run or jump. It can be painful and crippling if not treated.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a heart muscle thickening caused by an overactive thyroid. It is an inherited condition.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a dietary deficiency of the amino acid taurine. While DCM used to be a massive problem, all major cat food producers now add taurine to cat food.
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a condition that causes the spinal muscles to degenerate. In contrast, the situation is neither painful nor fatal. Cats with this disease need extra care and attention.


*If you suspect your Maine Coon is ill or notice any physical changes, contact your vet immediately for proper testing and treatment.

Maine Coons Are a Sweet Soul for Every Home

The Maine Coon is sweet and gentle, a gorgeous cat that is a joy to have in any home. These felines love to play and are loyal and honest in their love and adoration of their owner. They are super bright and love to take walks.

They need grooming at least twice a week and look lovely after brushing them. Maine Coons are the "dog" in the cat world because of their size! If a big loving cat is what you want to add to your family, then this gentle giant is perfect!

Sources

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Donna Rayne