The Maine coon cat stands out for being a large, robust and docile feline. However, due to its peculiarities in terms of characteristics, personality and the specific care that it needs, it is essential to do some research before adopting this cat. Known as the "gentle giant" cat, this feline is among the most popular giant cat breeds.
In this AnimalWised breed card, we will teach you everything you need to know about a Maine coon cat. We will start with its origins as a rural cat, looking at its character and at the specific care that it needs. We will end with common health problems related to this breed. Discover below how Maine coon cats are and allow yourself to be seduced by their beauty and sweet character.
- United States
- Category II
The origin of Maine Coon
The Maine coon is an endemic race from the United States, specifically from the state of Maine. It is estimated that in around 1850 long-haired cats came from Europe and Asia. These cats then mated with local short-hair cats, which resulted in large cats with long fur and strong builds. Its ringed tail resembles that of raccoons and for that reason, it is known as "coon", stemming from the diminutive raccoon.
This breed was popular and widespread across farms and rural areas in northeastern America. They were imported into the United Kingdom in 1980 and in 1982 they were recognized by the FIFE (Federation International Feline). Later, in 1993, they were recognized by the GCCF (Government Council of the Cat Fancy). The Maine coon is currently considered one of the most popular pets in the world.
Physical Characteristics of the Maine Coon
If you want to know everything about this spectacular cat, it will be essential to review the characteristics of the Maine coon cat. For this, we provide you with all the information about the standard according to the FIFE (Fédération Internationale Feline) :
The Maine coon cat breed is large in size and stands out mainly for having a square head, large ears, a broad chest and a long, flowing tail. Its body structure is robust, due to solid bones and a strong musculature. When a Maine coon has good muscle tone, the cat appears more powerful and robust.
The head is medium in size with a square contouring. Its profile shows a gentle concave slope. Its forehead is gently curved and its cheeks show high and prominent cheekbones. The snout also stands out for being of square contour and there is a noticeable transition between the snout and the cheekbones. Its chin is firm and in vertical alignment with the nose and lower lip.
A male Maine coon stands out for having a muscular and very strong neck. This breed has an elongated body showing its extremities from medium length to large legs which are round and well interlaced. The tail is normally as long as the cat's body, from the scapula to the base of the tail. In addition, the tail is usually wide at the base, tapering proportionally to the top, showing a full and fluid coat.
The ears are large, broad at the base and moderately pointed. Tufts similar to those of a lynx are visible, as well as tufts of hair on the ears that extend beyond the edges. The ears are placed in such a way following a slight outward inclination.
The eyes are large and broad, slightly oval, but not almond-shaped. They show a particularly rounded shape when they are wide open and are located slightly towards the outer base of the ears. Any eye color is normal, although it should be noted that light colors are more common and more desirable. There is no relationship between the color of the eyes and the coat.
The coat of a Maine coon appears dense and short on the head, shoulders and legs, but longer on the back and on the sides. It also shows much more density in the hind legs and in the belly, as well as a "steering wheel". The mantle has a silky texture and a body that falls gently. The inner coat, otherwise known as the base coat, is soft and very thin. It is covered by the outer layer that is thicker. You can find Maine coon of all colors, including all varieties of white, except for pointy patterns, lilac, cinnamon or fawn.
The character of the Maine coon
The Maine coon’s character can be defined as friendly, playful and sweet. In general, these are very sociable cats, who enjoy the company of their owners. However, to ensure this cat is balanced and sociable in its adult stage, special attention should be paid to socialization of the cat in its puppy stage. This stage begins at 3 weeks and ends at around 7 weeks old. Until that time, a kitten must remain with its mother and siblings, which will allow him or her to learn feline language, game rules and the inhibition of bites. In this stage a kitten should also meet people and other animals to avoid possible fears later in life.
Maine coon’s are considered extremely intelligent, fun and playful felines, capable of recognizing varied words and orders. The Maine coon is a cat famous for its frequent howls, gurgles and chatter. This breed are also fans of water and snow.
The possession of a Maine coon is recommended to dynamic families, familiar with cats, who may or may not have children. It is a very adaptable feline that enjoys different environments, but specifically rural settings, where it can explore and manifest its instinctive behavior without limits. It is a particularly docile cat and, if well socialized, does not usually present behavioral problems.
Caring for a Maine coon
The care of a Maine coon cat is relatively simple, although mainly due to its large size, it can be expensive. Expenses are high mainly because of its diet, which should include high quality products. Maine coons prefer homemade recipes or raw diets. Choosing good products will have an impact on its health, well-being and radiant fur. Due to its propensity to obesity, it is recommended to adequately ration its food into 2 or 3 daily doses.
Although, like all cats, Maine coon’s usually devote long hours to their personal grooming. Due to their long coats, it is advisable to dedicate a few hours per week to brushing. This routine will help keep its coat clean and beautiful, but it will also help the owner detect skin problems, pain or presence of parasites. A card brush is also suggested to comb and release any knots apparent in the fur. In principle, bathing a Maine coon is not necessary , since cats clean themselves. However, if the cat has been accustomed to bathing since birth, using specific cat shampoo and conditioner can guarantee a shiny and clean feline.
A large sandbox and cat scrapers should be provided for this cat, allowing it the opportunity to practice self-care and cover its own excrement's.
It is also very important to pay attention to the environmental enrichment of the feline. You can do this by filling your house with feline structures, catwalks, catnip, water sources or canvas tunnels. Due to its playful nature, it is strongly recommended that the owner dedicate hours of play to the animal. A good games session should last between 20 and 40 minutes a day, with the use of fishing rod-type toys, food vending toys, the use of catnip or simple toys.
The health of the Maine coon
It is advisable to visit the veterinarian every 6 or 12 months to perform a general examination and detect possible health problems. In addition, a professional will help to adequately follow a cat vaccination calendar, as well as the internal and external de-worming that needs to be performed on a regular basis. Preventive medicine is essential to ensure good health of a Maine coon. An owner of a Maine coon should always be aware of their animals behavior. If for whatever reason your animal is acting strange, or showing symptoms and signs which are uncommon, you should see a veterinarian immediately.
The most frequent diseases of a Maine coon are:
- Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Hip dysplasia
- Pectus excavatum
By following good care and applying preventive medicine guidelines, the life expectancy of the Maine coon should last from 9 to 15 years.