About Maine Coons
A Maine Coon is a big rugged cat with a smooth shaggy coat who looks as if he could put in a full day mousing on a farm in all weather conditions. Indeed, he was built for just such work in the harsh Maine climate, and his breed standard reflects his heritage, calling for a medium-size to large cat with a well-proportioned body that is muscular and broad-chested. A Maine Coon has substantial, medium-length legs and large, round paws, well tufted with fur, to serve as “snowshoes” during winter.
The most important features of Maine coon cats are the head, body shape and texture of their coat. A heavy coat is shorter on the shoulders, longer on the stomach and britches (long fur on the upper hind legs), with a ruff in front and a long furry tail waving a greeting. With a head slightly longer than wide, these cats present a gently concave profile with high cheekbones. Large, well-tufted ears (lynx tips) are wide at the base, tapering to a point, and large, expressive eyes are green, gold, greenish-gold or copper. White or bi-colored Maine Coons may have blue or odd eyes. Well-bred Maine coon cats have a well-balanced, rectangular appearance.
The brown tabby pattern is so common in this breed that many people don’t know Maine Coons can come in any other colors or patterns. They might be surprised to learn that Maine Coons are found in solid colors that include black, red or white, all tabby colors and patterns, bi-color such as blue and white or red and white, and patterns such as tortoiseshell and calico. Even eye colors can vary from green to gold to blue, with some white Maine coons presenting two different-colored eyes. 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.
The Maine Coon is a native New Englander, hailing from Maine, where he was a popular mouser, farm cat and, most likely, ship’s cat, at least as far back as the early 19th century. He is a natural breed and little is known of his origins. Some say the Vikings brought him to North America, centuries before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, others that he is the descendant of longhaired cats belonging to Marie Antoinette, sent to America in advance of the doomed queen, who had hoped to escape there. Sea captains may have brought back longhaired cats that then mated with local shorthaired cats. One thing is for sure: the Maine Coon is not the result of a mating between a cat and a raccoon, even if his brown tabby coat and furry ringed tail suggest that biological impossibility.
The first published reference to a Maine Coon was in 1861, about a black and white cat named Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines. A female Maine Coon was named Best Cat in 1895 at a cat show held in Madison Square Garden. In Boston and New York, the home-grown felines were popular exhibits at cat shows, and when the Cat Fanciers Association was formed in 1908, the fifth cat registered was a Maine Coon named Molly Bond. Today the big, beautiful cats are among the world’s most popular.
This is a large cat. Most Maine Coons weigh 9 to 18 pounds (males are larger), and some tip the scales at 20 or more pounds. They don't reach their full size until they are three to five years old. Their coats are relatively easy to maintain and they have minimal shedding. So much so, that they are considered by many to be hypo-allergenic. 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.
The good-natured Maine Coon adapts well to many lifestyles and personalities. He likes being with people and has the habit of following them around, but he isn't needy. He's happy to receive attention when you direct it his way, but if you're busy he's satisfied to just supervise your activities. They have a loving, sometimes clown-like nature and often funny habits. They try to be helpful to their human family by jumping into the center of activities.
The friendly, laidback Maine Coon is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He loves the attention he receives from children, and he doesn’t mind playing dress-up or going for a ride in a baby buggy. He also retains his skill as a mouser. No rodents will be safe in a home where a Maine Coon resides. Even if you don’t have any mice for him to chase, he’ll keep his skills sharp by chasing toys and grabbing them with his big paws, especially if he is polydactyl. A Maine Coon also enjoys playing fetch and will retrieve small balls, toys or wadded-up pieces of paper. He’s also very smart and will happily learn tricks or play with puzzle toys that challenge his brain. This relaxed and laid-back breed develops slowly until maturity between ages three and five. Aging does not eliminate their playful, kitten-like temperament and reputation as “gentle giants” of the feline world.
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