Lovingly known as the “gentle giants,” the cat has a huge body. The chirpy cat breed is a favorite with children and cat-friendly dogs. He loves his human family but does not demand attention. They live up to 9-15 years.
Physical Characteristics of Maine Coon
With a huge body, the Maine Coon is among the largest domestic cats in the world. Known for his sizeable body and sociable nature, members of the cat breed reach their full size when they are 3-5 years old. A muscular, big-boned body is a key characteristic of the bulky Maine Coon that weighs anywhere between 9 and 18 pounds, with males bulkier than females. Some may even reach 20 pounds in weight.
The plus-size cat with a triangular-shaped body has a set of large beautiful eyes that slightly slant toward their large, well-tufted ears, a prominent neck ruff, robust bone structure, and dainty britches.
He has a sturdy, rugged appearance with an uneven shaggy coat with longer guard hairs. The undercoat has a finer texture with numerous downy and longer hairs. As kittens grow into big cats, the third outer layer of thick, coarse coat develops, known as guard hairs.
They have large, well-tufted paws that enable them to carry themselves on snow. Another key characteristic of their personality is their long, bushy tail, which is as long as the cat himself, from nose to butt. He loves to wrap his massive muscular tail around himself while napping to conserve body warmth. It is popularly said that the breed is a “tail with a cat attached.”
Personality and Temperament of Maine Coon
Despite their massive body and distinctive physical appearance, the Maine Coon is known as the “gentle giant.” The cat is noted for his intelligence and gentle disposition. They love the company of their human friends and know how to please and charm them. Do not be intimidated by his huge, bulky body, as the cat breed is known for his gentle, friendly, and affectionate nature. They are especially good with children and cat-friendly pets, a key trait that makes them a popular family pet.
The official state cat of Maine, the Maine Coon is an intelligent, playful kitty with “dog-like” characteristics. The cat breed is known for its friendly, outgoing personality and “cool” temperament. They are devoted and loyal to their human companions and conscious of their owner’s mood. The extremely loving cats can easily perceive the wellness of their owners and are unwilling to leave their side if the latter is unwell.
Do not be surprised to see your Maine Coon thinking while trying to figure out something.
They remain playful throughout their lives. Male members of the cat breed tend to be more clownish while females exhibit more dignity. The highly affectionate kitty is well known for his vocal skills, and it should not come as a surprise to see him frequently howling, yowling, or chirping.
The length of the coat increases on their stomach, with a lion-like ruff around their neck. The thickness of the coat shrinks on the head and shoulders. The coat fur becomes thicker in winters and shrinks in summers. The seasonal growth of the undercoat is mostly visible in the lower neck and underside, where the dense, water-resistant fur is shaggier for extra protection from the weather.
Long tufts of fur between toes keep them warm and give them an additional structure to help them walk on snow.
Health and Care of Maine Coon
They are generally a healthy cat breed that adapts to most climatic conditions. However, male members of the cat breed are vulnerable to feline hip dysplasia due to their sheer large size.
Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is also a common health condition that affects some members of the Maine Coon breed. The condition primarily affects the heart of middle-aged to older male cats.
Another potential health problem concerning the Maine Coon is spinal muscular atrophy, which is a genetically inherited disease that affects the spinal cord neurons.
Their coat does not require much grooming. Twice weekly combing can help remove dead hair. Although these cats are patient, they do not like their hair being pulled while combing, so it is advisable to use the comb gently, especially on their tail and stomach area.
History and Background
The Maine Coon is a natural breed. Not much is known about the history of the breed. There are different theories about the history of the Maine Coon. However, the generally accepted hypothesis about the history and origin of the Maine Coon is that the cat breed descended from the crossbreeding between short-haired domestic cats and long-haired foreign cat breeds brought by English merchants or 11th century Norsemen.
The first mention of the cat breed dates back to 1861 in “The Book of the Cat”, written by Frances Simpson. A full chapter is dedicated to the breed. The CFA gave a provisional status to the cat breed on May 1, 1975. The breed got championship status a year later on May 1, 1976. In 1985, the Maine Coon earned the title of the official cat of the State of Maine.