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Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is a long-haired breed that is native to Maine, where it has been held in high regard for its mousing talents for centuries.

Physical Characteristics

This is a large cat, weighing anywhere between 12 to 18 pounds, though the females of the breed are smaller. The typical physical characteristics of the breed do not develop until the cat's third or fourth year.

The Maine Coon's distinguishing feature is its smooth, shaggy, and water-repellent coat, which can come in a variety of colors, though brown is currently the favorite. Its hair is long and silky and is shorter on the shoulders and longer on the stomach.

Personality and Temperament

The Maine Coon is often in the top 10 of the most popular cat breeds in the U.S. The reasons for its popularity are not hard to find. Besides possessing a distinctive coat, it has extremely hardy, undaunted by most circumstances, and fiercely loyal to its human owners. In fact, this playful breed will get along well with other pets and children.

Although the Maine Coon is wary of strangers initially, it will grow accustomed to them if given time. It is docile, obedient, and, curiously, attracted to water. So don't be surprised if you see your Maine Coon taking a little dip.

Care

In addition to grooming the Maine Coon's coat twice a week with a steel comb, you will need to be sure to provide opportunities for regular daily exercise, often in the form of play.

History and Background

Maine Coons have inhabited America for centuries, even during the early colonial period. However, there is very little knowledge of how they first came to the continent. There are many tales related to trace their origin, though the authenticity of these tales is doubtful.

One far-fetched story claims that the Maine Coon's ancestor was a raccoon -- which is biologically impossible. Others say the breed was produced by the crossing of the indigenous Bobcat with a domestic cat. Yet another fanciful tale traces their ancestry to the long-haired cats belonging to the French queen, Marie Antoinette. According to this lore, an American captain named Clough rescued the queen's cats but was unable to save her life; the cats were then brought to America. Yet another narrative is that these cats were brought to the states in the 1700s by an American captain named Coon, who hailed from the Northeast coast of America.

This last tale may contain some grains of truth. Captains of ships often brought cats from foreign lands to counter the problems of mice, which thrived on the ships. On their arrival they may have made their home on the Northeast coast, in Maine. The climate was terrible and only the bravest and toughest cats could survive. The survivors were strong and hardy with a water-resistant coat.

The Maine Coon is one of the first breeds to be officially recognized in the early 19th century; since then it has gained rapid popularity. Mr. F. R. Pierce, who owned Maine Coons as early as 1861, mentioned in The Book of the Cat that a Maine Coon named Leo was awarded Best Cat in the New York City cat show of 1895 and was a consistent winner in Boston in 1897, 1898, and 1899.

The breed’s popularity plummeted in the early 1900s when more exotic cats arrived and became instant favorites. By 1950, the breed had dwindled alarmingly and very few members were left.

A few breeders, however, displayed an active interest in this cat and threw it a life line. They held Maine Coon-only shows and in 1968 founded the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association.

Thanks to the efforts of its staunch supporters, the Maine Coon regained much lost ground and was once again a candidate for Championship competitions. It remains one of the most popular breeds of cat today, with Championship status in all associations.

Comments  15

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  • Maine Coon
    06/26/2013 07:26pm

    I rescued a 6 - 9 mo. old kitten. His face has the markings of a Maine Coon but he has webbed feet & long curled back hair in his ears. Also he goes limp when you pick him up like a Ragdoll. Right now he's asleep in recliner 1/2 hanging off the seat. Any suggestions on his mix?

  • 07/29/2014 07:22pm

    My cat is a Mainecoon and has webbed feet too. But some cats who arent mainecoons have the markings too. so if you go to a vet. and ask their oponion they will anwser your q better because they have seen your cat. So i havent seen him or her i cant tell you if she/he is a mainecoon or not.

  • bumps on my cat
    10/11/2014 12:26pm

    I have a Maine Coon cat he is almost 2 yrs. old he has devolped bumps around his neck ,head , under his chin and they have started to come out in small clumps . I treated him with a flea collar about 6 mo ago and that is when i first noticed the bumps I removed the collar fight away thimking that this had caused them They did not clear up he scratches and pulls out little clumps I thought they werr fleas nests and treated with the once a month drops and home remedies of cider vineager mixed with water nothing seems to be working he eats and drinks well but lately he seems to only want to stay in a window where it is cool I am at my wits end I really can't afford vet as i am on a fixed income Do you have any idea what is causing this ? PLEASE I am desparte !! I LOVe my cat and don't want to see him like this PLEASE HELP!!! Deb Babb Machias Maine

  • 08/28/2015 02:12am

    Hi, Deb! Hopefully, you have resolved the issue of your cat having bumps, and hopefully, resolved the problem of affording veterinary care for your cat. Just in case either of these is still an issue, I would suggest a couple of things. First, Animal Welfare Society (AWS) is a "no kill shelter" in Maine, and they have a dedicated line for giving advice about pets behavior, etc. They may be able to help you to determine what is causing the bumps, and can most likely be able to find low cost/free pet care. On their website, they list Veterinary Financial Aid sources.
    AWS website: www.animalwelfaresociety.org

    Best of Luck!

  • 10/22/2015 02:24pm

    Hi Deb,

    As yours is an older post, this may no longer be relevant to you, but I had a similar issue with my cat that ended up being something rather rare, but easily treated if diagnosed correctly. It began as a quarter-sized crusty spot at the base of his fur in the center of his chest. He would scratch and pull his hair out in clumps, just as you describe. The vet had no idea what it was, and we took him for consultation multiple times. Gradually the spot spread to cover his entire chest, and he also had a couple of small spots on his hind leg, so we took him to an allergist. Right away he recognized the problem as Bowen's disease, a cancer of the skin. It is a virus that lives within the cat (as the wart virus in humans) and cannot be eliminated. It generally doesn't manifest itself as lesions until the cat gets older (mine was 12). The solution is laser ablation, which removes the lesions and makes the cat immediately more comfortable. The lesions may, and probably will return, but it could be a year or more before the laser surgery would be required again. We took our kitty to have it done, and his whole demeanor changed. It wasn't cheap, unfortunately, so it might not be an option for all. We paid just under $1000. for the procedure. I hope this helps someone in the future, because it's an awful thing for a cat to endure.

  • My Cuddles
    01/04/2015 04:45pm

    I got a kitten last year from the humane society. His name is Mr. Cuddles. He changed and changed, he now weighs 14.8, when I took him in to the vet just to weigh him they stated he had to at least part Main Coon. After researching pictures and information I think he is more than just part Main Coon. He looks like a giant raccoon going up the stairs. He is great with the dogs loves to kill flies, I had him declawed as he was too dangerous to the furniture. He is vocal, loves ice in the water. However, he bites me only. He will just come up and bite then take off. I am the only person he does this with. I am thinking he considers me his mom and wants to play. Any ideas? Also my desk chair is all taped as he keeps tearing and chewing parts off the arms. HE sleeps in the chair. He has tons of toys, the dogs to play with. He also tried to chew on one of my xmas decorations. Why does he do this and how can I get him to quit chewing?
    Lisa

  • 06/17/2015 09:52pm

    You do understand the torture you put your cat through by declawing, right?
    Maybe not, many people don't understand how inhumane this procedure is to a cat.....maybe that's why he bites you! It's ot my place to judge, but I do have a strong opinion on this, NEVER Declaw your cat. Here is a link to a short article, with alternatives that won't hurt your cat.
    http://www.declawing.com/

  • 10/24/2015 02:54pm

    I've never declawed my pets. I am a Vet and I know what you are saying. But, I also know how many of these kind and nutrient pet owners struggle with the issue. Do you think it would better to take a cat, not declawed, to a shelter? Life entails many complex choices. Most declawed cats are happy. They should be "inside" cats.

  • 10/24/2015 11:16pm

    I'm a bit surprised by you're reply. My point is that many people look at this a convenience, and minor procedure. They don't understand that when declawing a cat it amounts to 10 amputations and can create life long health and behavioral issues, such as "biting". And yes, I would much have them bring their cat to a shelter and be adopted by someone who would never put their animal through that kind of unnecessary torture. Additionally, 50% of cats that are declawed have post op complications that can become life long issues.

    The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights is opposed to cosmetic surgeries and to those performed to correct 'vices.' Declawing generally is unacceptable because the suffering and disfigurement it causes is not offset by any benefits to the cat. Declawing is done strictly to provide convenience for people."
    The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR)

  • 10/24/2015 02:45pm

    My 3 year old Kat rescued (from a parking garage) does the same thing.
    We have another super friendly kitty.
    But my older Coon cat is totally unique .. think about 'Garfield'.

  • Maine Coon mix?
    01/31/2015 01:37pm

    I also adopted/rescued a beautiful male Maine Coon who I believe is part Rag Doll. He has the face shape, long ringed tail, huge feet and hunting skills of a Maine Coon, as well as the shaggy long coat. However he is not a tabby; he has a white coat, brown saddle, and dark points with striking light blue eyes. I figured that he was part Siamese, but recently I looked up the Rag Doll breed and that seems like a better bet. I wonder how common it is for these two large breeds to mix? And can a vet determine a cats ancestry like they do with dog breeds?

  • 12/15/2015 02:26pm

    My Gizmo, has the siamese/rag doll... He has the tabby facial markings (M in the middle of his for head) strips on his legs, but weird carmel swirls on his body. He has striking blue eyes, slightly crossed. Thing is he HUGE for 8 months old.The fluffiest cat, curly fur on his stomach, full fluffy tail, and lion mane fur, I have had cats all my life. He is a bit of a mystery. Found at 3-4 wks old from a feral momma( killed with litter mates by dog) . He is scittish /scaredy cat around anything new. He's the ultimate shredder of anything paper

  • Help Popi Chulo
    09/04/2015 04:08pm

    My daughter adopted Popi Chulo , a beautiful black 12 pound Maine Coon cat last fall. He is eight years old. Recently, he urinated on our living room couch. We took him to the vet and we were told he had a UTI infection. He received an antibiotic and seemed better. Much to our horror, three weeks later he sprayed the couch. We are removing the couch!

    We love Popi! He is brings our family joy and is so lovable!

    What should we do? Is it his age?

    Granmere

  • Popi Chulo urinating!
    09/04/2015 04:14pm

    Popi Chulo is a beautiful eight year old Maine Coon cat. He recently urinated on our couch. The vet treated him for a UTI. He sprayed the couch. What can we do?

    Granmere

  • Main Coon
    01/26/2016 03:04pm

    A very beat up Coon found me last Spring. She scares my 2 cats by rushing/hissing at them, esp. my Tuxedo cat. Her breath is horrible, she sneezes a lot and sometimes the moisture from her nose has a tinge of blood in it. My Vet guesses her to be approx. 16 years old. He put her under sedation to give her a full testing and X-rays and found no issues. Upon my request while the cat was under, the Vet shaved all Ally's knots and tangles. A Lion Cut, which was comfortable for her last summer. Fur is grown out now, she hisses and scratches at me if I come anywhere near her with a brush. She's a tangled mess again! What can I do to help her be the beauty that she is?

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