The exact origin of the Maine Coon is currently unknown with a variety of folk tales and theories in circulation. One such tale draws us to Marie Antoinette, who was Queen of France in 1793 and tried to flee during the revolution. She loaded a ship with her most prized possessions including six Turkish Angora cats. Although she was captured (and subsequently executed), her beloved cats made it to the US unscathed. Upon arrival, these cats mated with American domestic short hairs to churn out the breed we call the Maine Coon!
In the 19th century, Maine Coons were highly popular in the US and won numerous awards in cat shows. When immigrants brought Persians, Angora's and other exotic cats to the mix in early 20th century, the popularity of the Maine Coon started to wane. Favouritism towards these cats dropped so fast that they were almost declared extinct in the mid 20th century. Thankfully, a few people were dedicated to these crafty and playful cats and ensured the breeds survival. Nowadays, Maine Coons are increasingly desired as pets worldwide.
You can not help but be amazed by the sheer size of a full fledged Maine Coon adult. They are considered the largest domesticated cat breed. Height of adult cats can range from 25-41 cm and length can reach 120cm (including the tail). They weigh on average between 4 to 11.5 kg. Females are usually smaller than males.
Obvious physical traits such as their long flowing coat, large almond eyes, enormous pointy ears and intricate markings are tell 'tail' signs you have a Maine Coon in your midst.
Their plush 'lion' style coat comes in an array of colours including chocolate, lavender, tabbies, tortoise shell, red, blue, silver, black and siamese pointed colours.
Although these cats are traditional 'hunters', they seem to only dish out unconditional love and affection to their human owners. In a household with more than one occupant, your Maine Coon may choose one person to cherish the most. If this is you, lucky you!! You can expect to come back to a faithful cat that will follow you around your humble abode continuously and even talk to you at length about their adventurous day! Don't expect to ever be lonely when you own a Maine Coon.
Expect your Maine Coon to interact very friendly with guests and strangers. This could be a negative if you are worried of your feline being a little too trusting with people you do not know. Regardless, we suppose it is preferable that you have a social good-natured cat instead of one that wants to claw or spit at passers by.
For families, did you know that Maine Coons interact well with children of all ages? That is what most families who have owned a Maine Coon gush on about. These cats can put up with a bit of tugging/pulling/teasing by youngsters and hardly ever display aggression. However, still advise to keep an eye on children whenever they interact with your cat. Anything may happen!
In terms of communication, you may notice your Maine coon elicits 'trills' or 'chirps' instead of distinctive loud meows. It is rather cute to hear your lovable cat discussing the rat he/she chased that afternoon with their 'meeps'. You would hardly be woken up by howling or a crying cat at 3am! Phew! Check out the video below of Maine Coons chirping to some birds.
These cats are dexterous so you may notice your pet eating food with their paws and operating door handles in your home. This is one intelligent kitty!
Feed your Maine Coon weekly a healthy nutritional mixture of dry/wet cat food along with a bit of raw meat and shredded cheese. Realise that since your cat verges on the larger side of most cat breeds, you will have to feed them bigger portions! It costs on average $7 a week to feed an adult Maine Coon.
Unlike Persians and other fluffy cats, Maine Coons fur coats are very well self maintained and require minimal grooming. They should be brushed for 10 minutes weekly to ensure no tangled or matted hair develops.
Maine Coons live on average from 12-15 years.
These cats are generally regarded as fighting fit, robust and healthy cats. Rarely will you encounter major health problems with your Maine Coon. Research has documented these cats are prone to inheriting hip and heart problems, but these can be screened and treated properly by your local veterinary clinic. It is recommended to have your cat checked up by your vet at least once a year to ensure there are no underlying problems.
Is a Maine Coon the right pet for you?
Maine Coons are suitable for households of any type including families with small children, single adults and older couples. These cats get along easily with other pets in the household (including cats). They are not particularly demanding and thoroughly enjoy being in the company of their doting owners. Maine Coons have a love affair with the outdoors but if you live in an apartment ensure you provide enough mental and physical stimulation (i.e. toys, scratching posts). If you are looking for a cat that is sweet natured, attentive, smart and breath taking in appearance then maybe a Maine Coon is what you are looking for. Any one would consider having a Maine coon a colossal bundle of joy!