The next breed for us to examine in our Getting to Know Your Breed series is the Maine Coon Cat. The Maine Coon Cat is #3 on the list of favorite cats per Cat Breeders Association.
Life expectancy: Maine Coons have a good life expectancy and can live up to 11-13 years.
Size: Maine Coons are one of the largest cat breeds, big boned and muscular with males weighing up to 13-18 lbs and females 8-12 lbs. They range in height from 10-16 inches and 3 feet in length – including their tails.
Color: These beautiful cats are known for their size as well as their luxurious fur and long bushy tail. They come in a variety of colors, most frequently shades of brown, but cross breeding results in any normal cat coloring. They have longer soft, silky fur with somewhat of a lion’s ruff around their neck.
Origins: There are several myths surrounding the origins of the Maine Coon. Some say they were beloved pets of Marie Antoinette and she shipped several of her Turkish Angora’s to the United States as part of a failed escape plan. These cats then bred with local short-haired cats to produce today’s Maine Coon.
Another tale involves a ship’s captain, Captain Charles Coon, who frequented the ports of Maine and cats from his ship would breed with local cats and result in what the locals would call “Coon’s Cats”.
A third hypothesis, that local cats bred with raccoons, is genetically impossible, although the Maine Coon’s tail does resemble a bushy raccoon's tail.
Personality: The Maine Coon is one of your friendlier cats. They enjoy being around people and are friendly and good natured to all, even dogs.
Health Issues: Maine Coon’s are known to have three genetic disorders, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a form of heart disease, hip dysplasia – severe arthritis of the hip and spinal muscular atrophy which impacts the spine and limbs. It’s important to know your breeder and to question them about these disorders before purchasing a Maine Coon.
Fitness/energy level: The Maine Coon cat loves the outdoors and is known to be willing to learn to walk on a leash, making them a good walking or hiking companion. They are medium energy and intelligent, so it’s important to challenge them with cat toys and other games to keep them at top performance. They are known to be excellent mousers.
Grooming: Their heavy, shaggy coats needs minimal grooming, a once-a-week combing should suffice unless your cat is outdoors more.
Native foods for the Maine Coon: Native proteins found in the New England area of the 1800’s would include deer, rabbit, cod, salmon and vegetables such as tomatoes, apples, cranberries.
Good foods to feed your Maine Coon: Based on the Maine Coon’s New England origins, here are a few foods that contain some of the key ingredients that the original Maine Coon’s would have likely eaten. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather provide ‘food for thought’.
- Fromm, Four Star - Hasen Duckenpfeffer
- Instinct, Original - Original Real Salmon
- pawTree - Real Turkey & Oatmeal
Fun facts about the Maine Coon:
The Maine Coon is the official state cat of Maine.
Contrary to most cats, the Maine Coon loves water and will jump in the tub with you if you’re not careful.
A Maine Coon named Stewie holds the record for the longest cat, measuring 48.5 inches from nose to the tip of his tail.