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Feline breed profile: All about Maine Coon cats

Maine Coon cat

Traditionally bred as ship and farm cats in New England, Maine Coon cats are known for their large size and fluffy coats. They are incredibly affectionate and social companions who love to spend time with their families. If you are considering bringing a Maine Coon into your family, it is important to understand their unique personalities, potential health concerns, and grooming and activity needs. 

Table of contents 

History of the Maine Coon 

The Maine Coon cat is considered the only longhair feline breed native to the United States. While their origins are uncertain, breed experts believe that these cats were likely introduced to New England by sailors. When foreign ship cats bred with American cats, the Maine Coon was created. Despite their name and their fluffy ring tails, Maine Coons do not have any racoon ancestors. They are, however, the official state cat of Maine. 

Traditionally living as ship and farm cats, Maine Coons were popular mousers and hunters of other rodents in the 19th century. The rise of glamourous Persian and Siamese cat breeds in the early 1900’s threatened to the Maine Coon’s popularity. However, these cats began winning shows in the 1960’s and the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association was formed in 1968. Since then, the breed has been a beloved and highly recognizable family pet. In 2019, the Cat Fanciers’ Association listed the Maine Coon as the fifth-most popular cat breed in the U.S. According to Daily Paws, a female Maine Coon named Pebbles played Mrs. Norris in the Harry Potter film series. 

Size and appearance  

If there is one thing that Maine Coons are known for, it is their incredible size. These large cats have well-proportioned, muscular bodies and broad chests. They can weigh between nine and 18 pounds, with larger males weighing closer to 20 pounds. Maine Coons are typically 10 to 16 inches tall and can be up to 40 inches long. The record for the world’s longest house cat belongs to a Maine Coon who grew to be over four feet long! If you have a Maine Coon kitten, you might not know for a long time just how big they will get—these cats don’t reach their full size until they are between three and five years old! 

Maine Coons have substantial, medium-length legs and large, round paws tufted with fur. These big paws help them catch prey and serve as “snowshoes” in harsh New England climates. Many Maine Coons are also polydactyl, meaning they have extra toes, making their paws even larger. These cats have large, pointed ears often topped with wisps of hair, and expressive, oval-shaped eyes. Their eyes are usually green, gold, or a combination. 

Rugged Maine Coon cats have a shaggy, heavy, silky-smooth coat that is shorter around their shoulders, longer on their stomach and hind legs, and thick on their chest. The brown tabby coloring is the most common coat on Maine Coons, and those who do not have this coloring are sometimes referred to as Maine Shags. Maine Coon coats can also come in solid colors like black, red or white, bi-color patterns, and calico and tortoiseshell. This heavy coat keeps these hearty felines warm during Maine winters. 

Grooming  

The silk long coats of Maine Coons are relatively easy to maintain and do not mat easily as long as you groom them regularly. Twice weekly brushing is recommended, and even daily during periods of heavy shedding. Brushing will help keep Maine Coons looking their best and remove excess fur, which makes them more comfortable and minimizes shedding messes around the house. 

Maine Coons should be bathed as needed, which can range from every few weeks to every few months. If their coat feels greasy or stringy, it may be time for a bath. Like all pets, Maine Coons also require dental hygiene attention. Brushing their teeth regularly, at least weekly, helps prevent periodontal disease. 

Activity level 

It is essential for Maine Coons to have adequate exercise, approximately 30 minutes each day, which Maine Coon Central notes is not much different from the needs of other cat breeds. These cats can easily become overweight, which can have harmful health consequences, so physical activity is a must. Maine Coons love using their mouser instincts to run, hunt, and chase, so cat toys that tap into these skills are particularly helpful in getting your Maine Coon moving. Cat trees are also a good way to give Maine Coons a way to get out their energy.  

Unlike most other cat breeds, it is common for Maine Coons to love water. While they may not jump into the pool with you, the kitchen faucet or dripping shower can keep them entertained for hours. This also makes bathing these cats less of a challenge. 

Health  

Maine Coon cats are hearty animals and relatively healthy. According to Maine Coon Central, the average life expectancy for a Maine Coon is between nine and 13 years. These cats are, however, predisposed to some health issues due to genetics (and their size!). 

  • Heart – Maine Coons are susceptible to developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited form of heart disease. This can reduce cardiac function and lead to heart arrhythmias or even death. 
  • Kidneys – Polycystic kidney disease, which is common in Maine Coons, is a slowly progressive kidney disease that can result in renal failure. 
  • Joints – Like many large pets, Maine Coon cats are particularly susceptible to developing joint discomfort from wear and tear on their bodies. Owners should pay special attention to their cat’s hips. Joint discomfort and obesity can be a dangerous combination for big animals and often make the other issue worse. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are important considerations for Maine Coons to stay fit and keep joints healthy.

How can ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA help Maine Coons’ joint discomfort?   

CBD + CBDA is effective in helping Maine Coon cats find relief for joint discomfort. ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA feline oil and paste can offer support for these cats’ mobility issues and keep them active well into their later years. Addressing physical discomfort can lead to improved overall well-being. And we all want our feline friends to be happy and healthy! 

Personality  

Maine Coons are known for being affectionate, gentle, and friendly, making them wonderful family pets. They love being with their people, and although they are not typically lap cats, they often follow their family members around the house to always stay nearby. Main Coon cats love attention, even from strangers. They also typically get along well with both dogs and other cats.  

These cats are laid back and adaptable, so they are a great match for a variety of living environments, lifestyles, and personalities. These gentle giants may look intimidating and have a strong prey drive, but Maine Coons are not generally aggressive. Most will tolerate being picked up, held, and cuddled. They are not especially vocal, and instead tend to make quiet chirps, squeaks, and trills rather than meows. 

Maine Coons are often referred to as the “dogs of the cat world” because they are highly intelligent, fun-loving, and social. These cats often keep their kitten playfulness well into their later years. Due to their social nature, however, they can become lonely and depressed if they do not receive enough attention. These cats do not do very well when left alone for very long periods. 

Training 

While most cats are known for being independent, Maine Coons tend to have a more dog-like temperament and more eager to please their people than average cats. They are also highly intelligent, making them easy to train and happy to learn tricks. Maine Coon owners have trained their cats to walk on a leash outside and even play fetch, which is excellent exercise for these energetic cats. Their high intelligence also means that Maine Coons can become bored easily. Puzzle toys can help keep these cats mentally stimulated and avoid getting into mischief.  

Bottom line on Maine Coons 

Overall, Maine Coon cats are wonderful family pets full of love and affection. Owners should be sure to give their Maine Coon ample opportunities for exercise and be wary of obesity, as these cats are prone to developing joint issues that are likely to lead to mobility challenges and discomfort. Maine Coons are intelligent, easy-going, and great at making friends with everyone. 

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