Maine Coon Description
Maine Coon's are large cats, with males averaging 12-15 pounds, some as large as twenty. Females are slightly smaller with weights between 9-12 pounds. Solid and rugged, the Maine Coon has adapted to endure harsh climates and this should be reflected in the bone structure. An appearance of delicacy should be avoided. Head and muzzle should appear strong and balanced though pleasant; with large, well-tufted ears. Ears should taper to a point and be set only an ear's width apart on the head. The cat should display a long, rectangular body with large, well-tufted paws.
The cat is broad chested and sturdy, with an easy to maintain coat. The fur of the animal should be heavy but smooth and silky and should appear shaggy. This breed has a history as a working animal and should appear it. The Maine Coon is slow to mature, taking three to four years, and comes in a large variety of colors over five color classes: solid, tabby, tabby with white, particolor, and other. There are only three recognized tabby patterns for Maine Coons, classic, mackeral, and patched. One color class is the OMCCC or Other Maine Coon Cat Color class. Though the cat is often seen in a variety of colors, these do come with restrictions and no Maine Coon should show colors which come from hybridization including chocolate, lavender, or these mixed with white.
Being the first cat to win the first American cat competition and the first indigenous house cat, the Maine Coon had a place of relative security in the hearts of the American people until the early 1900's and the arrival of flashier cats such as the Persian. The Maine Coon faded out of the public eye and was even declared extinct in the 1950's, a claim that was completely inaccurate. Perhaps shocked by the thought of a home-bred cat falling so clearly by the wayside, American breeders took up the challenge of rebuilding the Maine Coon's popularity and by the 1970's and secured a provisional acceptance for the breed in the CFA once again. Their efforts were successful as can be seen by the current popularity of the breed - the Maine Coon is the second most popular cat in the CFA.
Maine Coon Temperament
If you're looking for a cat to be your best friend, but not your baby, the Maine Coon is the cat for you. The first indigenous cat of North America, the Maine Coon is friendly and loving, a fantastic companion that loves to give and receive attention but will not pester you for it. They love to 'hang-out' with their owners, following them through the house and waiting patiently outside shut doors for their return. They are a very vocal cat, speaking in a range of tones and a vocabulary that includes trills and chirprs. Maine Coons tend to display a pack-like affection for their families, loving children, adults, guests and even dogs. They adapt easily and are great for big, busy families. It is no surprise that the Maine Coon has earned the nickname "Gentle Giant".
Maine Coon Care
Though a sturdy animal, professionally bred Maine Coons have a tendency towards hip dysplasia and cardiomyopathy. Be sure to discuss with your breeder any history with these problems and have the kitten examined by an animal health professional prior to purchase.
Maine Coon History
The Maine Coon hails from the state which bears it's name, and is even the state cat of Maine. There are a number of myths surrounding the history of the breed, ranging from mating with bobcats and raccoons to travel viking ships and Marie Antoinette sending them to wait for her to escape from France. One story even includes a sea captain who sailed the New England coast with an army of North American cats aboard. When he went ashore they went ashore and so the Maine Coon was born.
The true history is likely far less fanciful. It is more likely that when the eastern seaboard was settled, the feline companions of the settlers mated with those accompanying the sailors who brought supplies. Over the years the breed developed into the Maine Coon we know today with it's strong, sturdy body, long fur, and excellent mousing abilities.