The first thing most people notice about these cats is their size. Maine Coons are huge. In fact, the largest cat ever recorded was a Maine Coon that grew over 4 feet long. These cats are impressive, and if you’re not familiar with the breed, you might be surprised that they are actually very gentle. If you want to get a Maine Coon or you simply want to know more about the breed, here are a few basic things you have to know about these cats.
The exact history of Maine Coons remains unknown. However, there are many different theories about their precise origin. Most cat breeds were created through human interference and selective breeding, but not the Maine Coon. These cats came to life through natural selection, which might explain their impressive size and power. What we do know about Coons is that they were used as mousers in Maine farms. These cats were also popular boat cats and vermin controllers. These were very popular cats in the 19th century, but the imported longhaired breeds nearly drove them to extinction. Luckily, the breed made a full recovery and is now one of the most popular cat breeds in the US.
Cat Breed Characteristics
The most dominant Maine Coon characteristic is its size. However, these cats have a lot to offer, not only their size. Maine Coons have beautiful physical characteristics that make them somewhat unique in the feline kingdom. Here are the most important characteristics you should know about these cats.
The first thing you should know is that the “Coon” part of the name comes from the word “raccoon.” The Maine Coon has a furry ringed tail, much like the tail of a raccoon. The resemblance is clear, which is why they are named Coons. These cats have thick, shaggy coats ideal for working in harsh weather conditions.
Another thing that might surprise you is that the Maine Coon cats come in all sorts of colors. Most of us were aware of the “traditional” brown tabby pattern. Still, we didn’t know that they can come in all sorts of colors ranging from solid to bi-color and patterns like calico or tortoiseshell.
The Maine Coon is considered a large cat. They will reach their full size between their third and fifth year. Male cats are larger than females and can reach more than 20 pounds. These cats are usually 30 - 40 inches long.
Even more important than the Maine Coon’s appearance is its temperament. They love following their people around, but they are not considered needy. They are mainly happy to supervise the situation from above. Maine Coons are happy to show and receive affection, but they are also fine with being left alone for some time. They might not be used as mousers anymore, but the instinct remains. This is not a good choice if your household has pets like guinea pigs, bunnies, ferrets, or gerbils. The cat will see them as prey, which is simply a recipe for disaster.
Maine Coons are generally considered healthy, but like any other cat breed, there are specific issues they are prone to. Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean a cat will develop any of these issues, but it would be a good idea to keep an eye on early signs or symptoms. Here are some health concerns regarding Maine Coon cats;
- Spinal muscular atrophy - A genetic disorder that affects skeletal muscles of the trunk and limbs.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - This is another genetic disease, but some tests might tell you which cat carries the gene for the disorder.
- Hip dysplasia - A skeletal problem that will cause improper hip development and function.
- Polycystic kidney disease - A progressive kidney disease that might cause kidney failure.
World Cat Finder Team