The Maine coon cat is one of the largest of the domestic cat breeds as well as a natural breed of cat. The body of the Maine coon cat is usually between medium to large, very muscular, with a broad chest and an affordable well balanced rectangular appearance.
This breed of cat comes with a coat that is naturally heavy and shaggy. The coon cat’s coat is longer on the britches and stomach areas and shorter on the shoulders. The coon is a very handsome cat with a front ruff, foot tufts, ear tufts, and a glorious long flowing tail.
Talk about cool and accommodating and you can trust the Maine coon cat to be friends with the children, older people, and even other pets like dogs. The coon cat is one of the most ideal family cat and that has earned it fame as it becomes the third most famous domestic cat breed in the united States of America. Little wonder why it has been nicknamed the gentle giant by its lovers.
Overview of the Maine coon cat breed
Size of the Maine coon cat: Males grow to become as big as 15 to 17 pounds on average, while the females grow up to 9 to 15 pounds in size which is still huge.
Coat and colour of the Maine coon cat: this cat breed has a total of 75 colour combinations and comes with a double coat with long hair.
Life expectancy of the Maine coon cat: These guys can live between 9 to 15 years if properly cared for.
Characteristics of the Maine coon cat
The attention level and friendliness of the Maine coon is on the medium part, but it is highly kid and other pet friendly which is a good quality. The coon has high exercise needs as well as plenty of play time and activity. The energy level of coon cats is very high and they are highly intelligent with a medium tendency to vocalise. Nevertheless it is important you know this cat has a high shedding tendency so you need to give it really good care.
History of the Maine coon cat
One funny folklore that many people have come to believe about the Maine coon cat is that it’s the love child of a raccoon and a cat but that’s far from the truth. The Maine coon cats have a strong resemblance to the Norwegian forest cats and for that reason it is not difficult to imagine the Vikings bringing some over. More similar is another story of the American domestic cat being cross breed with a long haired cat ( maybe an angora) and brought to Europe by ship with traders or settlers.
These beautiful cats are specially designed to fit the extreme climatic conditions of Maine with their fit tufts and lynx-like ear tufts. These robust cats have been used for a long time as barn cats and mousers around new England.
The Maine coon cat was first featured in a play held in Maine in the 1860’s. Also, in 1869 one Maine coon cat won the award for best in show at the first ever north American cat show which took place in New York city. The brown tabby cat who went by the name Cosey was owned by Mrs. Fred Brown.
Nevertheless, the Maine coon cat almost varnished as other breed of cats like the Persian which is also a long haired cat breed took over the show ring. The existence of the breed was revived by the Central Maine Cat Club and was also accepted in 1979 by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) after several denials. In 1985 the Maine coon cat was declared the official cat of the state of Maine.
What is considered the typical Maine coon cat is often a brown tabby cat but this breed can come is a variety of colors or patterns. Most patterns and colors including parti-colors and tortoise are allowed by the CFA standard. The only exceptions are the pointed patterns like the Himalayan of the Siamese, and the lavender or chocolate colors.
There is no mention of colours in the breed standard of the international cat association asides the white trim around the eyes, chin, and lips which is allowed except in solid colors.
Worthy of note is that the Maine coon cats made the Guinness book of world record as the the longest cat in the entire world, with one coon cat that measured exactly 48.5 inches from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail.
Care for Maine coon cats
It can be a lot of work to take care of a fully grown Maine coon cat. It usually takes about three to four years for the Maine coon cat to grow to its full size. While coon cats are loyal, friendly, and affectionate, they are not the kind of cats that will be clingy or comfortable been handled like lap cats.
They show you they are independent but can be charming when they feel like. Don’t worry about carrying your coon cat on your laps as it will naturally find its way to you when it feels like being petted.
The coat of the coon cat only requires the minimum standard grooming and regular combing can allow for the removal of dead hairs that can cause hair balls. Every couple of weeks you can trim your coon’s toenails and it’s also a good idea to make a scratch post available. Oral hygiene is also important so you should endeavor to brush your cat’s teeth regularly and also visit the vet for cleaning.
Maine coon cats may not be clingy to their owners but they want to observe all the activities their owners engage in. It is necessary that you keep this intelligent cat breed occupied with toys that are interactive and with games like playing fetch, and chasing laser pointers. Other cat breeds may love to climb but these guys are less likely to engage in climbing activities.
If you have cat friendly dogs or other cats in your home then you have nothing to worry about as your coon cat is sure to get along with then just fine. However, coon cats can be a little withdrawn in the presence of strangers.
If you have pet rodents then you can’t have a coon cat because they can’t stop being mousers. If you have kids who are grown enough to know how to treat an animal with respect then your coon cat can comfortable play dress up and do other activities with them.
Maine coon cats can do just fine in cold whether but for health and safety reasons it is best that all cats are kept as indoor cats.
Common health problems of Maine coon cats
Just like any other domestic cat breed, the Maine coon cat should recieve the basic vaccinations and preventive treatment that every other domestic felines gets. There are some diseases that this cat breed may be more prone to and they include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: This medical condition is usually inherited from parent cats and it features an enlarged heart that may cause heart failure and even blood clot.
- Spinal muscular atrophy: is an inherited condition as well that causes weakness and muscle atrophy.
Also, some Maine coon cats have been discovered to grow extra toes. This polydactylism is often considered to be a defect for show felines but it doesn’t have any negative effect on the overall health of the cat.
Diet and nutrition
The Maine coon cat may be adorable and special but that doesn’t mean you should give it any special diet. This breed of cat will eat basically what every other cat eats. Whether you choose to feed them with dry or wet food is the decision to make but a balance of both should do just fine.
Unlike some other cat breeds, Maine coon cats take longer to become fully grown so you have to keep feeding them kitten food till they are nine months of age. As you feed your cat, always take note of its body weight because obesity can shorten it’s life span by several years. You can also discuss any other nutritional needs with your vet especially if your cat has any medical condition.
Whether it is a friend you are looking for, it just a play mate for the children, what you should always look out for is a healthy cat. Only get your pet cat from a responsible breeder or a car owner who you are sure is trust worthy.