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All About the Maine Coon Cat - "The Gentle Giant"

Donna has been a cat parent and writer for many years and her passion is to share her love for cats with others.

All About the Maine Coon Cat "The Gentle Giant"

Maine Coon cats are known as "the gentle giant" they are called this due to their giant size and sweet personality, they are known to have a kitten-like personality. This feline is extremely intelligent, cuddly, playful, sweet, gentle, and friendly.

In This Article:

  • All About the Maine Coon Cat
  • Short History of Maine Coon
  • Are You Planning on Getting a Maine Coon Kitten?
  • Maine Coon Feline - The Giant
  • How Big Will My Maine Coon Get?
  • Personality Traits
  • Coat of Many Colors
  • Fun Facts
  • Caring for Your Cat
  • Nutrition
  • Health Issues
  • Maine Coons - A Sweet Soul for Every Home

Maine Coons is known for being one of the oldest natural breeds in North America and they were named the official state cat of Maine in 1985.

But where do they originate from and how did they get to the US? Numerous myths and legends surround this beautiful cat breed. From the royal connection to Queen Marie Antoinette to the decks of various sailing ships including Viking ships and the Horse Marines. Whatever tale you'd like to fancy, this beautiful cat ended up on the shores of Maine, USA.

Short History of the Maine Coon

  • In the 1800's the breed was considered the oldest native cat to the U.S.
  • In the late 1800's, farmers located in Maine told stories about their cats and held the "Maine Coon State Champion Coon Cat" contest at the local Skowhegan Fair.
  • In 1895, won the first Cat show in North America at Madison Square Garden.
  • In 1950, prematurely declared extinct (though exaggerated and recorded too early).
  • 1970, revival of interests in the breed.
  • In 1976, The Maine Coon regains its stature as was recognized by Cat Fancy Registries.
  • In 1982, CFA registered first National Winning Cats

Are You Planning on Getting a Maine Coon Kitten?

Here's What You Need to Know

Maine Coon Cats make excellent companions; they love interacting with their families and do not need constant attention, they are, however, don't expect this cat to be a "lap cat', that's not what they like to do. But instead tend to enjoy lying next to their owner. They also enjoy going for walks and if you train them to walk on a leash and harness while they are kittens, they will become accustomed to the harness and make for a happy walking day when they get older.

Maine Coon Felines - The Giant

Maine Coons is the largest domestic cat in the world and is in the Guinness World Records for being the largest cat. How big does this feline get? It can be as large as 18lbs. if not more. The males are larger than the females and both have long fluffy tails which can reach the length of 14 in. and is known to be heavily furred, almost resembling a raccoon's tail. (Though not related to the raccoon as some myths suggest).

Their bodies are solid and muscular, which is needed to support their enormous size and they do slowly mature physically; and they do not reach their full size until they are three to five years old.

How Big Will My Maine Coon Get?

Adult MaleAdult Female

Size

13 -18 lbs. (5.9 to 8.2 kg)

9 - 13 lbs. (3.6 to 5.4 kg)

Height

10 - 16 in. (25 to 41 cm)

8 - 14 in. (20 to 35cm)

Length

19 - 40 in. (48 to 101 cm)

19 - 40 in. (48 to 101 cm)

Average Lifespan

12 to 15 years

12 to 15 years

Personality Traits

The personality of a Maine Coon cat is quite unique. Although it's known for its enormous size and mysterious heritage, this cat is funny, sweet tempered and gentle. However, when this cat runs it's no mystery, you will hear them coming!

Other Traits

  • Maine Coons love to play with their toys on the ground and are not vertically oriented.
  • Known to be a very vocal cat - they rarely meow, instead they yowl, or howl and have a soft chirp or trill.
  • Maine Coons is fascinated with water.
  • They are extremely loyal to their families.
  • An intelligent cat that is easy to train.
  • Good natured goofs!
  • Males are prone to silly behavior while the females are more dignified.

Coat of Many Colors

Maine Coon's are known for their wide variety of colors over seventy-five variants to be exact. Their coats consist of assorted color and pattern combinations including tortoiseshell, calico, tabby, smoke, shaded, solid, and many others.

Color/Patterns:

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  • The Brown Classic or Mackerel Tabby: classic, mackerel, brown, blue, red, and cream
  • Solid Pattern: white, black, blue, and red.
  • Tortoiseshell: black and blue
  • Silver Pattern: black-silver, blue-silver, red-silver, and cream-silver

Other Maine Coon Coat Colors & Patterns

  • Silver coats have dark “eyeliner”, referring to the black outline that surrounds the eyes, and sometimes the nose.
  • White coats have pink noses and light pink paw pads. They do not have dark eyeliner around their eyes.
  • Blue coats their coat appears almost silver and might be considered a long-haired version of the Russian Blue.

Black Maine Coon Kitten

Black Maine Coon Kitten

Black Maine Coon Kitten

Maine Coon Cat - Black

One of the most common colors of a Maine Coon is black. They are black as coal and their features go beyond their coats such as their whiskers, nose, ears, and tufts and long black whiskers above their eyes.

Black Maine Coon cats are classified under the following four-color classes:

  • Solid Color Class
  • Bi-Color Color Class
  • Shaded and Smoke Color Class
  • Shaded/Smoke and White Color Class

The Chinchilla Blue Silver Maine Coon

Blue Silver Maine Coon Kitten

Blue Silver Maine Coon Kitten

Chinchilla Silver/Blue Silver Maine Coon

The Chinchilla Silver Maine Coon has a pure white undercoat, as well as their ears tufts, stomach, and chest. Their fur on their back, sides, head, tail, and legs are tipped black that gives that sparkling silver appearance.

The Maine Coon has distinctive swirls on their head, body, cheeks, and limbs with patches on their shoulders. The markings are known as either marbled or spiral patterns.


Smoky Colored Maine Coon Cat

Black Smoke MC kitten

Black Smoke MC kitten

Smoke Colored Maine Coon

The smoked colored Maine Coon is a semi-colored cat which is typically black and is the result of banding on the cat’s fur, which gives it their smoky appearance. This means that the cat's hairs are dark (usually black) at the tips but have lighter colored bands near the bottom. The most common color of a smoked Maine Coon is black, although they can be a variety of colors, including cream, tortoiseshell, blue, and red, among others.

However, the main difference is in the hue of the undercoat which is known as the "fade" on the felines undercoat and the chest, which is sometimes visible when the cat is sleeping upside-down.

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon

Tortoiseshell Maine Coons is typically a combination of two colors which are brindled patches of red and black or orange, yellow, or cream, and the “black” can be mixed colors such as chocolate stains, calico, tabby patterns, or blue ranges.

Tortoiseshell Maine Coons is exclusively female and is rare for a "tortie" to be male.

Tuxedo Maine Coon

Tuxedo Maine Coon Kitten

Tuxedo Maine Coon Kitten

Fun Facts

  • The male kitten will always be the color of the mother.
  • The color of the female kittens always has a combination of the father and mother's colors.
  • A kitten’s pattern can be inherited from either parent.
  • Two color pointed parents cannot produce a non-color pointed offspring.
  • Maine Coons sometimes has six toes and are identified by TICA as Maine Coon Polydactyl. meaning they are born with extra appendages on their paws.

Maine Coon Favorite Color/Pattern Poll

Caring for Your Cat

Maine Coons requires nutritious food, lots of clean water, plenty of exercise, and a variety of toys to play with. Make sure to get high quality shedding brushes, combs, scratching posts and an extra-large litter box or two, and large water dishes and beds.

Exercise

Known for its crepuscular nature, a crepuscular animal is one that is active primarily during the twilight period and this cat is no different. They are highly active during dawn and dusk. Make sure to play with your feline to run off that extra energy before bedtime or else they will play all night long.

Grooming

Maine Coon cats have cottony, high maintenance coats that do require regular grooming while others have silky coats easier to care for. Maintaining a grooming schedule is important because their fur can become easily matted and hard to manage.

Maine Coon Cat Grooming - Belly Shave by Love Cats Groomer

Nail Trimming

Nails should be trimmed about once a week for the kitten and less frequently (every 2-3 weeks) for an adult. Start trimming your kittens' nails while they're young so that they will grow accustomed to nail trimming and as they age it won't be such a fight.

Teeth

Daily dental hygiene is best which prevents periodontal disease in cats and is commonly associated with the accumulation of dental plaque (because of bacteria in the mouth) and tartar formation, therefore it is recommended to brush your cats' teeth regularly; you will find that a variety of pet toothbrushes/toothpaste is available. If you need advice or help talk with your veterinarian for more information.

Nutrition

Your Maine Coon needs a balanced diet that is rich in protein and low in carbohydrates such as dry kibble and "wet" food. Whatever combination of foods you choose for your cat make sure it meets its daily caloric intake to avoid an overweight feline.

Daily Nutritional Needs and Those to Avoid

Daily Nutritional Needs

Nutritional Value PointsHealthy FoodsIngredients to Avoid

High in protein (52%)

Chicken

Corn

Low in fats (35%)

Turkey

Wheat

Low in carbohydrates (12.5 %)

Lean Beef

Soy

Natural ingredients

Salmon

Additives

Vitamins, minerals and Taurine

Organic peas, pumpkin, and sweet potato

Gluten

Enriched with Omega's 3 and 6

Vegetables, Legumins, and Berries

Fillers

Maine Coon Health Issues

Symptoms and Complications

Maine Coons is well known for being a very hardy cat breed, though they can be predisposed in developing certain health issues.

These include:

  • Feline Hip Dysplasia (FHD) is a debilitating condition affecting the hip joints. This is common in Maine Coons. Common signs of this disease are stiffness, reluctance to run or jump. It can be severely painful and crippling if not treated correctly.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart muscle often caused by an overactive thyroid gland and is a primary inherited condition or secondary to other diseases that damage the heart. The common signs are rapid breathing, lethargy, and a poor appetite.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) which can be caused by a dietary deficiency of the amino acid taurine. While DCM used to be a huge problem in the past, all major cat food producers now add taurine to cat food, so this disease is rarely seen in cats who are fed high-quality diets.
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a condition that causes the spinal muscles to slowly degenerate, causing the cat to have a weak or abnormal gait, and posture abnormalities due to loss of motor neurons in the lower spinal cord and atrophy of muscles in the hind limbs. While the condition is neither painful nor fatal, cats with this disease require extra care and attention.

If you suspect that your Maine Coon is ill or if you notice any physical changes, contact your vet right away so that proper testing and/or treatment can be done.


*Only Maine Coons that are proven free of heart disease by echocardiogram and negative for the HCM mutation (A31P) should be used in breeding.

Maine Coons - A Sweet Soul for Every Home

The Maine Coon is sweet and gentle, an exceptionally beautiful cat that is a joy to any home. These felines love to play and are loyal and honest in their love and adoration of their owner. They require daily grooming and look lovely freshly brushed. Maine Coons is the "dog" in the cat world because of their size yet, they are as playful as a kitten!


*I prefer to adopt rather than shop and I have listed a few Maine Coon Rescue's below.

BIGGEST DOMESTIC CAT in the WORLD - Paradise Places on EARTH

Resources

Margo Lestz – The Curious Rambler

Maine Coon Hawaii

Loving Lynx Maine Coons

Maine Coon Central

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Donna Rayne

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