Animal-World > Cats > Natural Cat Breeds > Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cats

American Forest Cat, American Coon Cat, American Longhair

Family: Felidae Maine Coon Cat, American Forest Cat, American LonghairFelis domesticusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough
Latest Reader Comment - See More
I recently lost my beloved Maine Coon Baron Munchmausen to rainbowsbridge - he was only 3 1/2years old but in that short time he lived the life of 40 cats. He had... (more)  Debbie Clifford

The Maine Coon is known for its massive appearance, lush coat, and luxuriant, plumed tail!

Despite its potentially intimidating size, the Maine Coon Cat is also known for pleasant personality. This cat breed has a gentle, mild-mannered, and friendly demeanor. Depending on the individual cat, their sociable tendencies may be variable. Some say that the Maine Coon is shy, while others say that it is out-going. But either way, the Maine Coon is a great family cat.

The Main Coon is one of the first true American cat breeds, originating in the state of Maine. Is is also known as the American Forest Cat, the American Coon Cat, and American Longhair Cat. One of this breed's defining characteristics is its large muscular body. Yet the finest trait of this natural breed cat is the long thick silky coat with a large ruff, and a very bushy tail that creates a plumed appearance. Despite its heavy coat, this massive long-haired breed requires only moderate grooming. It can withstand extremely cold weather but will then shed profusely in the summer time.

For many owners, the Maine Coon has an ideal personality. It is an affectionate, amiable breed that gets along with most people and animals, but is not too needy. It is gentle and easy-going, but also self-confident and a good hunter. This breed remains playful and "kittenish" throughout its years. It speaks softly to its owners in a chirping or squeaking voice.

For information about keeping a pet cat, see:
Cat Care: How to Take Care of a Cat


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Felis
  • Species: domesticus

Background The Maine Coon is a natural cat breed. It is one of the first true American breeds, however the specifics of its origins are disputed. The most interesting explanation is that it originated from a cross between a house cat and a raccoon. However, this is biologically impossible. Another unlikely origin is that it is a cross between a house cat and an American Bobcat. Other stories include the basic idea that this breed descended from Norwegian Forest Cats that were sent to America.

A more probable explanation is that the Maine Coon originates from house cats that became semi-wild and developed a heavier body and thicker coat in order to protect them from the cold. However, the most accepted explanation of this cat's origins is that it developed from the breeding of house cats and Angoras in Maine. There is no proof for this theory, though it seems probable since a cross between house cats and Angoras would look something like the Maine Coon.

One interesting fact about the Maine Coons is that they were the first cats to be shown in cat shows. Though the first official cat show occurred in 1871 in London, Maine Coon cat shows had been held since the early 1860's at the Skowhegan Fair in New England. The Maine Coon was successful in the first official show in America in 1995, since it had the advantage of over 30 years of previous show experience. However, as more exotic breeds began to appear, it lost some of its popularity. In the 1950s it caught the interest of many again, and a Maine Coon Cat Club was formed in 1953. The Cat Fancier's Association recognized the breed in 1976.

The Maine Coon arrived in Europe, more specifically, in Austria, in 1953 and in Europe in 1983. It is still a fairly rare breed in Europe.The Maine Coon originated in Maine, and is easy to find in the United States. However, it is rare in Europe and Australia. Common names for this natural breed cat include: Maine Coon Cat, American Coon Cat, Maine Cat, Maine Trick Cat, American Longhair, American Forest Cat, American Shag, and American Snughead.

Description One of this breed's defining features is its massive size. It has a large, muscular body that is long and rectangular. The head is medium-sized, but appears small compared to its large body. The eyes are large and slightly oval and the ears are large and tufted. The tail, a prized feature of the Maine Coon, is long and thickly covered, creating a bushy, plumed appearance. It has a soft, chirping or squeaking voice. It has a long lifespan of 13 or more years.

Maine Coon CatMaine Coon Cat Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough

The coat of this breed is long, thick, and silky with a large ruff. The traditional coat of the Maine Coon is tabby, but most other coat patterns and colors are acceptable. A few exclusions include Chocolate, Lilac and Siamese Points, blue or odd eyes in all coat colors except white, and Bi-color or Parti-color cats with white fur for more than a third of the coat. The Maine Coon weighs from 9 to 22 pounds.

Glossary terms:

  • Ruff: A band of fur around the neck.

Care and Feeding The Maine Coon cat has no specific dietary needs and this breed requires no special feeding accommodations.

Housing Your Cat The Maine Coon is likely to enjoy a garden or yard to exercise and hunt in. However, it can also enjoy a life as an apartment cat, especially if it is allowed time outside regularly.

Maintenance Unlike many long-haired breeds, the Maine Coon requires only a weekly brushing. However it will shed profusely in the summer, so will need some addtitional grooming during the hot season.

Social Behaviors The Maine Coon is not too needy, but is gentle and easy-going. It's not really a lap cat, but will stay close by. This is an easy-going breed that generally gets along with people, dogs, and other cats. It shows affection toward the whole family, but tends to become especially close with one person. If you are looking for a sweet loyal cat, this breed can offer that type of affection.

Activities This breed is playful and active. It is self-confident and a good hunter. It will enjoy playing with others, and can enjoy an interactive game of fetch. Yet it's also content to run around chasing things and exercising by itself.

Breeding/Reproduction Maine Coon litters are generally comprised of three or four kittens. They develop slowly and only reach full maturity at three or four years of age.

Common Health Problems The Maine Coon is a generally hardy cat, if you get a healthy kitten you will most likely have a healthy adult. Still there are a few maladies this breed could suffer from. These include Hip Dysplasia, which is a more prominent problem in large cats, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy or HCM, which is a common heart disease of all cats, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA, which is a genetically inherited disorder that shows up in kittens.

Availability Maine Coon Breeders can be located easily on the internet. Local breeders can also be located. Prices range from $200 to $1000.

References

Author: Ruth Bratcher
Lastest Animal Stories on Maine Coon Cat

Debbie Clifford - 2009-09-05
I recently lost my beloved Maine Coon Baron Munchmausen to rainbowsbridge - he was only 3 1/2years old but in that short time he lived the life of 40 cats. He had a massive personality and made an big impression on everyone he met. He was my puppycat- he'd follow me on walks and scuff around a bit whilst I walked ahead and run to me at full pelt just like a dog when I called him, his magnificent fur blowing in the wind and his big tail sweeping. He would follow me to my neighbours house to try and steal her cats food and would follow me round the house if he was not allowed inside and stand up and paw each window and mew. - He didnt chirp but he had a tiny high pitched mioaw which was far too small for him. He once got on the same neighbours conservatory roof during a residents meeting and ran up and down like thunder before settling just above my head until the end of the meeting. He disappeared into the christmas tree last year and eventually out flew a bird - and he managed to carry a baby rabbit though the cat flap up a spiral staircase and put it into his bed at easter!! It was unharmed. Mice and Voles were not so fortunate -he was an expert hunter with his massive paws. He could turn the taps on the kitchen sink and loved to drink water from running taps lapping it until it went up his nose and he sneezed. He would sit on a big red blanket and let me pull him round the floor like a sledge and he'd wake me up in the morning at 7 am on the dot with rough kisses. I could never have anything other than a Maine Coon now, but filling his boots will be a hard task.

  • Niza - 2014-08-11
    Im sorry for your loss and my condolences go out to you 💋
Reply
Carla and kids - 2013-03-03
We got Chase 8 years ago from the ASPCA. He was just a tyke and running around with his friend and so we planned to take both, but couldn't :( Well, we got Chase home and he immediately got us wondering why we hadn't gotten a cat sooner. At the time we had a mouse problem and Chase earned his name because he snatched them up, brought them to us, which ALWAYS scared me to death, but he was always so proud! Needless to say, the Misee problem cleared up quick-fast! After a few months a friends cat had kittens- so in order for Chase to have company, we got Little, a female tabby. Chase was amazing with her. He accepted her immediately and whenever w couldn't find her, we asked Chase and he always led us to her. In July I got a daschund puppy for my daughter birthday. Chase once again showed he's a hospitable guy and welcomed her. She has since grown and has tried to prove her dominance as a dog, but Chase remains the true alpha male. Its the cutest thing, because Mocha is much smaller than Chase (she's a mini), she does a barking dance around him while he just sits. When he gets up, she runs sooooo fast. Chase has been the most loving, personable, beautiful cat. I can't imagine ever being without him. Yes, he's finicky-he refuses to eat hard food, but he's worth all the fancy feast in the world. He loves to be petted and told how beautiful he is, and he is! I massage his lush mane and tell him that he's my 'big handsome'and he loves that. People love to come see him and take pictures because he's so big and good-looking, easily the 'prettiest boy' they've ever seen. When he talks to me its with the teeniest voice, yet I love to hear that, as well as his big bear snore while sleeping. I know this is long, but as I type from my bed, Mocha is sleeping to my right, and my Big Handsome is sleeping on my left. I can't tell you just how much Chase is loved by the entire family.

Reply
Jo Bueckers - 2010-07-12
What great Maine Coon stories!~ We, too, love our silver tabby, Fantasia /Fancy. She is 11 1/2 and still going strong. She weighs around 15# and has brought untold joy to us. Every-one loves her, and she chooses those who will be graced with her attention. The chirping is so cute! She bonded with our Husky as they were raised indoors together and still remembers her even though Xena is now outdoors in her one acre corral. Three other cats share her domain, and she rules with an iron paw. They are, indeed the perfect pet for a family. Her main interest is her food bowl! She has an uncanny sense of time (when it's time for us to rise and shine) and won't quit until we do...yes, the tail is exquisite as is the gorgeous coat and eyes. We also love the tufted ears and paws---huge. All your stories mirror our experiences with our special girl. They have quite the purrsonality.

  • Best Cattery - 2014-04-29
    I would like to recommend Maine Coon cattery – Smart Lynx*LT

    kittens with strong genetic bloodlines - http://www.meinokates.lt

    We are more thankful to Smart Lynx*LT cattery for our kitten than we can express in words. Please accept our gratitude, now and always!
Reply
Memory - 2012-07-23
From the comments listed already I've come to the conclusion that my kitty is indeed a Maine Coon. She's fiesty, 15 years old now and still plays :) she has a snowy white tummy and a gorgeous block calcio pattern on her back. I was wondering, about how long does this breed live? I've had her since I was 2 and I know she is old and that I need to prepare my self for her death. But she is still quite healthy, I look forward to any answers!

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-23
    They say on an average the maine Coon will live between 12 and 15 years but many have healthy lives longer than that.  Enjoy.
Reply
pat - 2010-02-21
I just love Pumpkin, my maine coon. He is about 6 to 8 yrs old and he is a wonderful loving friend for me and I did decide to keep him in as a house cat because of where I live. He sleeps by me and lays next to me wherever I go. At one time he must have been hurt because of his one rear hip, runs but has a little problem with that hip. But right now I am having a real problem with him not eating and it is mainly the dry food I cannot seem to get him to enjoy and today he came out from sleeping and meowed at me and was telling me that he was hungry. Yes he eats some moist food but I cannot get him to eat a dry food. He drinks some water but not enough I don't think, and of course his stool has not been much. Has urinated quite a bit. You say they are not hard to feed but he is giving me run for my money. Have fed him Friskies and Natural food from a pet store and he does not like any. Is it time to take him to the vet? He is my big orange and white fluffy buddy.

  • shirley ross - 2010-07-08
    I'm sorry to say that he may possible have kidney disease. If you get him to the vet for test, and he is in early stages, you can continue to have him around for years. Or he could have a tooth problem, and need dental work. Dry food is not good for cats, no matter what has been previously stated. It can cause kidney disease. I know, because my 16 year old has had kidney disease for 6 years, and with careful monitoring.......testing, giving fluids with an i.v. under the skin,( you can easily learn to do it......she is your baby!) proper diet, and many trips to vet, she has held out 6 years past what she was supposed to. He has all the symptoms, drinking a lot of water, not eating, and urinating huge quantities. More goes out than they can drink........that's why the sub q fluids. It's very important to get his bowels moving so that the toxins that normal kidneys would filter. I just stumbled upon this site, so email me if you like.
Reply

Copyright © [Animal-World] 1998-2012. All rights reserved.