Table of Contents
Though its most common gray and black coloring may be similar to a raccoon, this American breed is 100 percent feline — and what a feline it is! In fact, some may even argue that the Maine Coon is a national treasure, and we’d have to agree. After learning about them yourself, we imagine you’ll feel the same way!
Breed Personality and Characteristics
There’s no denying it: Maine Coons are one of the most beloved feline breeds in the world, and not just because of their majestic, ultra-fluffy appearance. This gentle giant has a personality that truly shines, making her a wonderful companion to children, adults, and other pets. In fact, Maine Coons have a very high tolerance for their surroundings, and generally do well even with heavy-handed, rambunctious kiddos and furry roommates. With that said, she may feel shy around new faces.
The Maine Coon is also known for not taking himself too seriously and is a playful goofball — sometimes downright mischievous — from kittenhood to old age. He’s more of a chirper and purrer than a meower, and is affectionate and cuddly with his owners. On that note, he’s also happy to enjoy some solo adventure time. Finally, when people say the Maine Coon is a big cat, they’re not kidding around! Once they reach full maturity (roughly at age four), they weigh in between 11 and 20 pounds for females, and 15 and 25 pounds for males. Add all that fur, which requires consistent grooming, and you’re talking mammoth fluff-ball status.
As mentioned, the Maine Coon is native to the Americas —specifically from the New England/Maine region. It’s one of the oldest cat breeds, dating back to the early 1800s, and surrounded by lore and loose history regarding its ancestry and origins.
For example, one theory is that French Queen and lover of desserts, Marie Antoinette, loaded a ship with her most cherished belongings, including six Turkish Angora cats. Though she did not make it on the boat (that whole French Revolution thing), it’s said that her cats traversed the Atlantic and landed in the New World, leading to the Maine Coon. Another legend says that an English boat captain named Charles Coon would keep long-haired felines aboard his vessel, allowing them to exit and mate with the local feline population whenever he’d anchor in New England.
Though these stories aren’t proven true, we do know that the Maine Coon has been very popular at cat shows and competitions as far back as the late 1800s, and has remained beloved to this day.
Common Health Issues
Maine Coons have a few health vulnerabilities to consider. One of the most common issues is a hereditary heart disease prevalent in Maine Coons called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Interestingly, veterinarian science is so advanced that you can have your vet conduct a DNA test to see if your cat carries the mutation that leads to this disease. Maine Coons are also susceptible to hip dysplasia, which affects the hip joint and can cause discomfort, pain, and potentially lameness; polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disease that may cause renal failure; and spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic issue that causes skeletal muscles to weaken and waste away.
By scheduling annual vet visits, you can stay on top of any potential issues and keep your Maine Coon happy and healthy. Their average life span is 12 to 15 years, and keeping them indoors helps protect them from disease and ailments.
- The Maine Coon was the first commercially cloned cat, giving truer meaning to the phrase “copy cat.” The cloned cat’s name was Little Nicky, and his owner handed over $50,000 to have its DNA transplanted into an egg cell. Shortly after, a surrogate cat birthed a kitten that was nearly identical to Little Nicky.
- This breed was also the first winner of the first American cat show, held in New York City in 1895. The winning cat was a brown-hued sweetheart named Cosey, and you can bet her owner, Mrs. Barker, was delighted!
- The biggest Maine Coon in the world is named Omar. He’s orange and white, lives in Australia, dines on human-grade raw kangaroo, and measures in at three feet, 11 inches (and 31lbs). And yes, you can follow him on Instagram.