Many feline fans have heard of the Maine Coon cat, but not many know that they are the official symbol of the state of Maine. In this post we will explore one of the oldest natural breeds in North America: The Maine Coon.
The History of Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coons have a long history in the U.S. The ASPCA says that the first mention of a Maine Coon cat was in 1861, in F.R. Pierce’s The Book of the Cat. Pierce wrote about their history in the Northeastern corner of the country, where they have long been a favorite breed. The Maine Coon’s hearty build and long fur is ideal for the cold New England winters and the breed has also been popular for their ability to hunt mice.
According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association, Maine Coons evolved from glorified barn cats to one of the most popular pedigreed pets in the U.S.
Maine Coon Coats
Maine Coon cats come in 75 different color combinations. They can have solid coloring, tabby stripes or smokey shading which occurs when a solid color gets lighter toward the tips of the fur.
Maine Coons are known for their long coats, which can easily become matted or tangled so weekly brushing is recommended. All grooming can be done at home, but many use a professional groomer with expertise, particularly with trimming nails.
Maine Coons have large, beautiful eyes that typically have a slight slant. Maine Coon kittens are born with blue eyes, with the color transitioning through development. Purebred Maine Coon cats typically have gold/yellow or green eyes.
Biology & Health
Maine Coons are generally healthy pets. However, there are a few health concerns to be aware of:
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This occurs when the walls of the heart thicken, resulting in inefficient pumping and possibly leading to heart failure.
- Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition in which the hip doesn’t fit properly in the joint, resulting in wear on the joint and even the inability to move.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease: This is a genetic condition where cysts develop in the kidney, causing an increase in size and inefficient function. Ultimately, Polycystic Kidney Disease can progress to chronic renal failure.
Maine Coons are one of the largest domestic cat breeds. At full size, males can weigh between 15 and 25 lbs. while females can weigh between 11 and 20 lbs. Typically, Maine Coons don’t reach their maximum weight until they are around 4 or 5 years old.
Widely known as a healthy breed, Maine Coons will see average lifespans of 10-13 years but it’s not uncommon for them to live 15 years or longer. A healthy diet is crucial for a Maine Coon’s health, and can contribute to their energetic personality.
5 Facts About Maine Coon Cats
Here are some fast facts about Maine Coons from the ASPCA and Mental Floss.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are Maine Coon cats hypoallergenic?
A: Maine Coons may be more allergenic than other breeds because of their long coats and excessive shedding.
Q: Do Maine Coons get along with children and other pets?
A: Maine Coons are known to be gentle giants. They are a one of the friendlier breeds of cats with easy going personalities that make it easy for them to be around children and other pets. However, all pets will react differently, so it’s important to be cautious when introducing new humans or pets to your Maine Coon.
Want to learn about the history, personality and biology of other cats? Check out these articles: