History The Maine Coon cat is Maine's official state cat and it is also one of the oldest cat breeds in North America. Shrouded in mystery, there are several legends surrounding the origin of the breed. One of those legends states that the breed descended from the pet cats of Marie Antoinette that were sent over by ship when she was planning to escape France during the French Revolution. Many breeders today hold that Maine coon cats are the product of mating between preexisting shorthaired domestic cats and longhairs introduced from overseas by seamen or brought to America by the Vikings.
Features The Maine Coon cat is a large, sturdy cat with the typical weight of a male being 13 to 22lbs., while a female averages between 9 to 17 lbs. The coat is long, thick and water resistant. Although the common colors are brown tabby and tortoiseshell, the Maine Coon cat's coat comes in a variety of colors and patterns. They have tufts of fur behind the ears, long hair on the back of the legs and hair between the toes. They also have long hair on the chest that resembles a lion's mane. The Maine Coon has a bushy tail and is also known to sometimes have one or more extra toes on the paws, which gives it added dexterity. This breed of cat develops slowly and may not reach full size until 3 to 5 years of age. Their voices -- a distinctive chirping trill -- also set them apart from other breeds. Although they rarely “meow,” when they do, it sounds like a soft, high-pitched voice that directly contradicts their size.
Temperament Unlike some other people-oriented cat breeds, Maine coon cats are not overly dependent on their human family. Instead of pestering you for attention, they will remain close by for companionship. Not usually “lap cats,” they prefer to sit beside you instead of on top of you. Maine Coons are great with kids, dogs, and other cats. A Maine Coon kitten arrives to their new home as a confident, friendly explorer. They tend to integrate into the family quite quickly. Some things you can expect your Maine Coon to do include greeting you at the door when you arrive home, chirping or trilling to you in conversation, playing in their water dish (or even the shower!), following you from room to room, and "helping" you as you work around the house. They are often described to behave more like a dog than a cat which I have found to be very true. This is a relaxed and laid-back breed develops slowly until maturity between ages three and four. Aging does not eliminate their playful, kitten-like temperament and reputation as “gentle giants” of the feline world. Unlike many cat breeds, they prefer to remain low to the ground rather than jumping up to higher surfaces.
These friendly, affectionate, loving, goofy animals have a disposition that totally belies their formidable size. These pets are big in size and huge in character. These are very social family members! This is a pet who prefers to be in the company of his family, much like a dog! Sometimes they seem like pack animals. You can count on him to be there to greet you every morning, and every time you get home. And yes, they come when called! When company arrives, he'll be right there to greet the guests. They will be surprised to meet such a friendly cat!
Care and Training Maine Coons are generally healthy and hardy. They don't require any extensive grooming since they keep their coats in good condition themselves. A weekly combing with a wide-toothed comb, followed by a narrow-toothed comb, will keep a Maine coon cat’s fur shedding and mats under control. Although the Maine Coon cat enjoys human companionship, it is also an independent cat that can be mischievous at times, especially when bored. Overall, the intelligent, easy-to-train, good-natured Maine Coon is the perfect choice for any cat lover. Maine coons can be creatures of habit. This trait makes them easy to train when they associate an activity to something they like. By using positive reinforcement training that rewards good behavior, Maine coon cats can be trained to accept a harness and leash.