The Maine Coon cat breed is the official state cat of Maine. It is considered to be the oldest cat breed and also the only longhair breed native to the United States. Maine Coons are known for their big sizes but gentle personalities and sociable natures. This is the reason why they are referred to as the “gentle giants” of cats. Let us know more about the history and characteristics of the Maine Coon cat breed.
The Maine Coon cat breed is a native New Englander which originated from Maine. It was a popular farm cat, mouse hunter, and ship’s cat which can be traced back to the early 19th century. It is a natural breed and there’s not much information known about its origins. There are some who believed that the Vikings brought them to North America many years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Others on the other hand, believed that it is the descendant of longhaired cats that belonged to Marie Antoinette and they were sent to America in advance of the doomed queen who hoped to escape there.
But no matter where it really originated, one this is for sure and that it is not the result of a mating between a raccoon and a cat, even if its brown tabby coat and furry ringed tail suggest that biological impossibility. But the resemblance is how the Maine Coon got its name.
A black and white cat named Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines in 1861 was the first published reference to a Maine Coon. In 1895, a female Main Coon was named Best Cat at a car show held in Madison Square Garden.
Home-grown felines were popular exhibits at cat shoes in Boston and New York, and in 1908, when the Cat Fanciers Association was formed, a Maine Coon named Molly Bond was the fifth cat that was registered. However, when the invasion of Persian and exotic Siamese cats from England came around the turn of the century, the popularity of the Main Coon ended for half a century.
In the 1960s, things took the turn for the better and in 1968, the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association was formed. In the present time, big beautiful cats are one of the world’s most popular breeds. And what counts most is that Maine Coons are the official state cat of Maine.
Characteristics of a Maine Coon
Average size: 9 to 18 pounds
Life span: 9 – 15 years
Maine Coons are large cats that can weigh from 9 to 18 pounds and males are usually larger and can sometimes tip the scales at 20 or more pounds. They will only reach their full size when they are three to five years old.
They are big, rugged cats with a smooth and shaggy coat because they are built for full day mouse hunting on a farm in all weather conditions, even in the harsh Maine climate. They have a well-proportioned body that is muscular and broad-chested. They also have substantial and medium-length legs and large, round paws which are well tufted with fur which serve as their snowshoes during winter.
Maine Coons have a medium-width head, large, well-tufted ears, and large expressive eyes that can be in colors green, gold, and copper. There are also white or bi-colored Maine Coons that have blue or odd eyes. Main Coons are usually found in solid colors such as black, red, or white and all tabby colors and patterns.
Main Coons, in terms of personality, are good-natured and affable and they can adapt to many lifestyles and personalities. They like to be around people and in fact, they love to follow their humans around. They are not typically lap-cats but they will always like to be near you. They still have their skill as a mouse hunter that’s why when you have them as pets, your home will definitely be rodent-free. They are also very smart and can also learn tricks and play with puzzle toys.
Since Maine Coons are friendly cats, they are perfect for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. In fact, they love the attention that children give them and they won’t mind playing dress-up with your kids.
Caring for Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coons can live outside but it’s better to keep them as an indoor-only cat.This will ensure their protection from diseases spread by other cats, and as well as from attacks by dogs or coyotes and other dangers outdoors like being hit by a car. They also have a high risk of being stolen because they are beautiful cats.
Maine Coons have coats that are silky but they do not mat easily especially when you groom them regularly. They are very easy to care for. You just need to comb their coats twice a week to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. Some of the useful grooming tools you can use are stainless steel comb to remove tangles, and a grooming rake to pull out dead undercoat. You can also bathe them as needed which can range from every few weeks to every few months. You should also brush your Main Coon’s teeth weekly to prevent periodontal disease. Trim their nails every couple of weeks and wipe their eyes’ corners using a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge.
A lot may also think that since Maine Coons are large cats, they might need a special diet or they might need a lot more food than other cats but that is wrong. When feeding Maine Coons, it’s important to give them a protein-rich diet because all cats are total meat eaters. The amount of food you should give to your pet will depend on the Maine Coon cat’s age, stage of life, activity level, and special health need if there’s any. But an adult Maine Coon should consume no more 10 to 15 pieces of dry cat kibble per meal.
With their friendly nature and beautiful looks, Maine Coons are definitely great pets especially when you’re looking for a pet cat that your kids will also love. Plus, they will help you hunt for annoying rodents at home if there’s any.