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All About the Maine Coon Cat “The Gentle Giant”

Donna has been a cat parent and writer for many years, and her passion is to share her love for cats with others.

The Gentle Giants

Maine Coon cats are known as "the gentle giant" they are called this due to their giant size and sweet personality. However, they are known to have a kitten-like character. This feline is intelligent, cuddly, playful, sweet, gentle, and friendly.

In This Article, You'll Find

  • All About the Maine Coon Cat
  • Short History of Maine Coon
  • Are You Planning on Getting a Maine Coon Kitten?
  • How Big Will My Maine Coon Get?
  • Personality Traits
  • Coat of Many Colors
  • Fun Facts
  • Caring for Your Cat
  • Nutrition
  • Health Issues
  • Maine Coons Are a Sweet Soul for Every Home

Short History of the Maine Coon

The Maine Coon Cat is known for being one of the oldest natural breeds in North America and was named the official state cat of Maine in 1985.

But where do they originate from, and how did they get to the U.S.?

Numerous myths and legends surround this beautiful cat breed, from the royal connection to Queen Marie Antoinette to the decks, 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).
  • There was a revival of interest in the breed in 1970.
  • 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?

Maine Coon Cats make excellent companions; they love interacting with their families and do not need constant attention.

However, don't expect this cat to be a "lap cat'; that's not what they like to do.

Instead, they tend to enjoy lying next to their owner. They also enjoy going for walks, and if you train them to walk on a leash and harness while they are kittens, they will become accustomed to the saddle and make for a happy walking day when they get older.

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

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How Big Will My Maine Coon Get?

Maine Coons is in the Guinness World Records for being the giant cat. How big does this feline get? It can be as large as 18lbs. if not more.

The males are larger than the females. 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, and they slowly mature physically; they don't reach their full size until they are three to five years old.

You can't help but love this breed! Ask any owner or pet parent, and they tell you how loving and sweet this cat is!

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.

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

However, 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).

Coat Types

  • Silver Coats: They have dark "eyeliner," referring to the black outline surrounding the eyes and sometimes the nose.
  • White Coats: This cat has a pink nose and light pink paw pads. They do not have dark eyeliner around their eyes.
  • Blue Coats: Appears almost silver and might be considered a long-haired version of the Russian Blue.

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

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/smoke 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 typically black and results from banding on the cat's fur, which gives it a smoky appearance. This means the cat's hairs are dark (usually black) at the tips but have lighter-colored bands near the bottom.

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

However, the main difference is in the undercoat's hue, known as the "fade" on the feline's undercoat and the chest, which is sometimes visible when the cat is sleeping upside-down.

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon

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

Tortoiseshell Maine Coons are exclusively 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

The Maine Coon cat breed requires nutritious food, clean water, exercise, and various toys to keep them entertained and active.

It would help if you had high-quality shedding brushes, combs, scratching posts, an extra-large litter box, and large water dishes and beds.

Exercise

A Maine Coon is a crepuscular animal, meaning they are primarily active during dawn and dusk. Make sure to play with your feline to run off that extra energy before bedtime, or they will play all night long.

Grooming

Maine Coon cats have cottony, high-maintenance coats requiring regular grooming, while others have silky coats that don't need as much care.

Maintaining a grooming schedule is essential because their fur can become easily matted and hard to manage.

Nail Trimming

Nails should be trimmed about once a week for the kitten and less frequently (every 2-3 weeks) for an adult. Start cutting your kittens' nails while they're young so they will grow accustomed to nail trimming, and as they age, it won't be such a fight.

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.

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

Nutrition

Your Maine Coon needs a balanced diet rich in protein and low in carbohydrates, such as dry kibble and "wet" food. Whatever combination of foods you choose for your cat, make sure it meets its daily caloric intake to avoid an overweight feline.

Maine Coon Health Issues

Symptoms and Complications

Maine Coons are a very hardy cat breed, but they 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 severely painful and crippling if not treated correctly.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart muscle often caused by an overactive thyroid gland. It is a primary inherited condition or secondary to other diseases that damage the heart. The common signs are rapid breathing, lethargy, and a poor appetite.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a dietary deficiency of the amino acid taurine. While DCM used to be a massive problem in the past, all major cat food producers now add taurine to cat food.
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a condition that causes the spinal muscles to slowly degenerate, causing the cat to have a weak or abnormal gait and posture abnormalities due to loss of motor neurons in the lower spinal cord and atrophy of muscles in the hind limbs. While the condition is neither painful nor fatal, cats with this disease require 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.

*Only Maine Coons are proven free of heart disease by echocardiogram and harmful for the HCM mutation (A31P) breeding.

Maine Coons Are a Sweet Soul for Every Home

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

They require daily grooming and look lovely freshly brushed. Maine Coons are the "dog" in the cat world because of their size!

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

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