As amazing as this breed is, it is always a good idea to learn important Maine Coon cat information BEFORE adopting or buying one of these cats, to ensure that this breed is a good fit for you and your lifestyle.
The Maine Coon is a large, naturally occurring cat breed that developed in the state of Maine. They have long, thick fur, wide paws, and a muscular frame. This breed is known for its friendly, patient nature, extreme intelligence, and doglike personality. Maine Coons are loving and loyal but also very playful and active.
This breed fits into just about any home, but you should learn about the breed’s temperament and challenges before committing to one.
The Maine Coon has been steadily rising in popularity over the last few decades, and now it seems like just about every cat lover wants a Maine Coon of their own!
This breed comes with some challenges, though, so it is important to ensure you have what it takes to care for this intelligent, active breed.
Maine Coon Cat Breed Information
The Maine Coon is famous for being the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.
They have a large, muscular frame and long, thick fur.
They developed naturally in the state of Maine, where they became popular for their incredible hunting abilities.
The Maine Coon temperament is friendly and loving.
These cats love hanging out with their humans, and they get along well with children and other pets.
They are also extremely intelligent and can be trained to perform tricks and commands (see here).
Overall, this breed fits well in just about any household, so long as they are given plenty of enrichment, exercise, and attention.
Here are the main breed characteristics of Maine Coons at a glance, so you can get a general idea of what these cats are like:
1. Pictures Of Maine Coon Cats
While every Maine Coon looks different, they tend to share similar physical features.
Here are some pictures of Maine Coon cats, so you can have a general idea of their appearance.
The Maine Coon cat appearance is striking and unforgettable.
These muscular cats are so enormous, that the Maine Coon size is actually the biggest among domesticated cats.
They have wide paws to help them walk on snow, and a long, thick tail designed to keep them warm.
The Maine Coon’s coat is medium to long, varying in size throughout the body, with longer tufts on the ears and paws.
There are dozens of different Maine Coon patterns, and even more Maine Coon colors.
In fact, there are over 75 different color and pattern combinations, so you are sure to find a Maine Coon in your favorite color.
Although they are both genetically identical, Maine Coons have two different “looks;” the American Maine Coon and the European Maine Coon.
American Maine Coons have gentler facial features, whereas European Maine Coons tend to have more powerful jaws and brows, and a more serious expression.
Why not read my guide on European Maine Coon Vs American Maine Coon.
3. Temperament / Personality
Even more stunning than their enormous size or gorgeous appearance is the unique Maine Coon personality.
These cats are so patient and easygoing that they are well suited to just about any household.
Maine Coons are famous for being loving and gentle.
They are highly social, and they like to spend lots of time with their owners.
They also get along very well with children, other cats, and even dogs! Learn more here.
If you spend a lot of time away from the house, it is best to provide this breed with another companion so they do not get lonely.
The Maine Coon is also famous for its intelligence.
These cats love puzzles and motorized toys, and they tend to get bored with regular cat toys. It is therefore best to buy them one of these 5 Maine Coon cat toys.
They can also be trained to perform tricks and commands, and they can even play fetch or learn how to walk on a leash and harness, just like a dog!
Read my simple guide on how to train your Maine Coon cat to play fetch!
However, their intelligent nature can cause them to become bored if they do not receive enough enrichment.
This breed is also highly active.
Their incredible hunting instincts mean they love to chase and pounce anything they can get their paws on.
They are also strong climbers who need access to a large cat tree, and they also benefit from shelves to run around on.
Similar to their intelligence, if the Maine Coon’s exercise and play needs are not being met, they can become bored, and may release their pent-up energy through destructive behaviors like chewing or scratching.
Overall, Maine Coons make great family pets, and they thrive best in households that can provide lots of:
They need a large enough space to run around and find privacy if they ever get overwhelmed by their family members, as well as plenty of toys and high places to climb.
As long as you can provide your Maine Coon with all of the space, enrichment, and attention it deserves, then this is a great cat breed for you.
The Maine Coon’s long, thick fur may look gorgeous, but it can pose a challenge to some owners.
Overall, Maine Coon grooming needs are similar to other long-haired cat breeds, so they are completely manageable so long as you are willing to put in the time and effort to keep them clean and healthy.
Here are some great Maine Coon grooming tips that will come in handy.
The Maine Coon’s long, thick fur sheds moderately throughout the year, but sheds more heavily during seasonal transitions as they change from their summer coat to their winter coat.
They should be brushed at least twice a week, and more often during shedding season. I find these cat grooming tools to work the best.
Grooming Maine Coon cats is usually a breeze due to their docile nature, but it is a good idea to start grooming whilst they are young, so they become accustomed to it early on.
Maine Coons tend to have longer tufts of fur on their paws and backside, which can become soiled and tangled if they spend lots of time outside or have difficulties using the litter box.
If your Maine Coon’s fur tends to become dirty or tangled, you should trim away these longer tufts of fur to avoid matting.
Like all cats, you should also brush your Maine Coon’s teeth, as well as clean their ears and eyes, and trim their nails regularly.
If you have an outdoor cat, it is also important to apply flea and tick prevention every month.
Finally, while you can give a Maine Coon a bath if it is incredibly dirty, most cats do not need baths, and they should not be bathed more often than once every one or two months.
The Maine Coon diet is essentially the same as any other domestic cat, but nutrition is even more important for this breed than for most other cats.
Since they are so large, Maine Coons need a lot of calories and protein to reach their full size.
Improper nutrition can stunt your cat’s growth, and cause other health problems.
You should provide your Maine Coon with a mix of dry food and wet food. Wet food is more flavorful, and it also provides hydration.
Since domestic cats were originally desert dwellers, they drink little water and expect to get most of their water from their food.
Dry food is essential for dental hygiene, and it does not become spoiled as quickly as wet food.
However, it is also possible to provide your Maine Coon with a raw food diet instead, but this option is more expensive and time-consuming.
Before deciding which brand of cat food to buy, there are a lot of things to consider.
Many cheap and commercial cat foods use a lot of filler content, like corn or grains, because they are cheaper to produce.
These filler carbs, however, can lead to malnutrition, especially among Maine Coons.
It is important to provide your Maine Coon with a diet that is high in protein, with a moderate amount of fat, and a small level of carbohydrates.
When selecting food, make sure the first ingredients are from a named source of protein, such as duck or chicken, and avoid foods containing meat byproducts.
Finally, you should look for foods with the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, a seal of approval.
The AAFCO has researched all of the nutrients that cats require, such as zinc or taurine.
This seal of approval ensures that the food you are buying contains all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for your cat’s diet (source 1).
The Maine Coon lifespan generally averages between 12 and 17 years, and this breed is generally known to be quite hardy, particularly among purebred cats.
Purebred cats are often developed through inbreeding, which makes inherited genetic conditions more likely to occur.
Since the Maine Coon originated as a naturally occurring breed, they are much healthier than most purebred cats.
However, they are still susceptible to certain conditions.
So, let’s take a look at Maine Coon cat health and common issues found among Maine Coons:
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): HCM is a deadly genetic condition that causes the walls of the cat’s heart to thicken over time. Eventually, this constricts blood flow, and ultimately leads to death. Sadly, there is no cure, but responsible Maine Coon breeders genetically screen all of their breeding parents for this condition to avoid passing it onto their offspring.
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA): SMA is a degenerative condition that begins in the first months of a kitten’s life. The muscles near the back of the cat’s spine begin to atrophy, causing their hind legs to become weak, and making it impossible for them to run or jump.
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia causes the head of a cat’s femur to be malformed. As the femur rotates within the hip joint while the cat walks, jumps, or plays, the bone grinds against the hip, wearing away the joint until it becomes loose. This is a painful condition that eventually causes a cat to limp and have difficulty running and jumping, but it can be managed with pain medications.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD): PKD causes cysts to form in a cat’s kidneys. This condition can go unnoticed for years, and in some cases, a cat can go its entire life without being seriously affected by it. However, in more severe cases, these cysts can be large enough to cause health complications, and may even result in death.
7. History / Origins
The Maine Coon is a mysterious breed, because nobody knows exactly how they came to be.
The most likely theory is that they developed from cats left in America through trade, which bred with local domestic cats.
Over time, this breed developed long, thick, semi-water repellent fur and wide paws to help them navigate the cold, snowy terrain of Maine.
In the 1800s, farmers and sailors began to recognize this breed’s superior hunting abilities, and they kept them around to keep away rats, mice, and other pests.
Then, Maine Coon cats steadily became more established as loving companions.
In the mid-1900s, however, this breed nearly went extinct due to World War II and the increasing popularity of the Persian cat.
Thankfully, some dedicated fanciers of the breed were able to bring it back from the brink of extinction.
Today, the Maine Coon has skyrocketed in popularity due to their enormous size, beautiful appearance, and loving, intelligent personality.
Since this breed has become so popular over the last few years, it is a good idea to research Maine Coon cat breed information before making an impulse purchasing decision.
These beautiful, loving cats are easygoing and social, so they fit well into most households.
However, their high activity levels and extreme intelligence mean they need an owner who can provide plenty of exercise, attention, and enrichment, or they may become bored, lonely, and destructive.
What Two Breeds Make A Maine Coon Cat?
Maine Coons are not the result of a cross between two breeds. Instead, this is a naturally occurring breed that mysteriously developed centuries ago.
How To Find Out If Your Cat Is a Maine Coon
If you suspect your cat might be a Maine Coon, you can order genetic testing to determine its breed.