Pet Advisor Blog

Maine Coon Cat – Cat Breeds Guide

Adopt a Maine Coon Cat, Cat Breeds Guide

Introduction

The Maine Coon is considered to be a longhaired or semi-longhaired domesticated cat that is more famously called as the American Longhair. This feline breed has a distinctive physical trait and prized hunting talents that distinguishes it among other cat breeds that are locally bred in North America. The Maine Coon is one of the oldest domestic cats in the entire North American Continent. It is also one of the biggest, with male Maine Coon weighing about 12 to 18 pounds and the females weighing from 10 to 14 pounds.

Official Name

Maine Coon
This American bred longhaired cat is also known to be called as the Coon Cat, Maine Cat, Maine Shag, Snowshoe Cat as well as the American Longhair. But the most common nickname for the Maine Coon is the Gentle Giant of the American cat breeds.

Origin

The Maine Coon is a long-haired domesticated cat breed that originates from New England, USA. The precise date of this breed’s creation is unknown but it is believed to be in existence for several centuries now.

The Maine Coon was named after the State of Maine, where this domesticated feline is recognized as the official State Cat.

Quick FAQs
Size:
The Maine Coon is one very large cat. It is one of the biggest, heaviest and longest domesticated cat breed in North America.
Coat Type:
The Maine Coon is also called the American Longhair as the breed has long coats.
Body Type:
Maine Coon cats have moderate type bodies.
Grooming Requirement:
The Maine Coon’s long coat requires grooming at least two times a week.
Vocal Tendency:
Although considered quiet, Maine Coon cats can get loud if they want to.
Energy Levels:
Maine Coon cats have average activity levels.
Time Alone:
These cats require 4 to 8 hours of alone time every day.
Care
The Maine Coon is a cat that will need average time in attention and will be easy to handle even for their large size.

Recognized By:
Australian Cat Federation Inc.
Cat Fanciers’ Association
Co-Ordinating Cat Council of Australia
Fédération Internationale Féline
Governing Council of the Cat Fancy
New Zealand Cat Fancy
Southern African Cat Council
The International Cat Association
World Cat Federation
Livre Officiel des Origines Félines
American Cat Fanciers Association
Cat Fanciers Federation
Cat Federation of Southern Africa
Canadian Cat Association
American Association of Cat Enthusiasts
Cat Aficionado Association

The exact history of the Maine Coon or American Longhair breed’s creation is unknown. There are several theories (some are folk tales) regarding the Maine Coon cat’s past. Theories, legends and myths of this cat breed’s history comes in various tales from the fantastic to the romantic, proving that the Maine Coon cat has embedded itself deep in the consciousness of the local people.

Among the more fantastic myths says that the modern Maine Coon cats are actually the descendants of the nearly feral domestic cats that mated with the raccoon. This myth is genetically impossible and was only created to explain the Maine Coon’s somewhat similar color and bushy tail traits to that of the raccoon. Another theory tells how this breed was produced from a cross between domestic cats and the American bobcat. This is again a tall tale and was only created to explain the Maine Coon cat’s tufts of hairs on the tips of the ears, which is similar to that of the wild bobcat.

A theory that is somewhat believable includes an English seafarer by the name of Captain Charles Coon. It is said that the captain kept long-haired cats aboard his merchant maritime fleet. His long-haired cats often “jump ship” when Coon docks his ship in the port of New England. The long-haired cats were believed to have mated with the local feral cats in the area. Coon’s cats were famous in New England and when long-haired cats started appearing in the local domestic cat population, the locals fondly called them “Coon’s cats” and as the story goes, the name stuck and these cats became the foundation base of the modern Maine Coon breed.

Then there’s a very romantic theory telling a story that involves the executed French Queen Maria Antoinette. The story tells how the French Queen attempted to escape the French Revolutionaries through the help of naval Captain Samuel Clough, whose ship was filled with the personal effects of the ill-fated French royal. Among the personal effects boarded to the ship were six of Maria Antoinette’s prized Turkish Angora cats. Obviously the Queen was not successful joining her beloved cats in escaping as she was executed in 1793 at the height of the French Revolution. Her Turkish Angora cats were more fortunate, making their way to the New World, eventually landing on the shores of Wiscasset in the State of Maine. It is believed that these “royal” felines were then bred with the local short-haired breeds of Maine, eventually leading to the modern Maine Coon breed.

There are to generally accepted theory about the history of the Maine Coon cat breed. One of them is the more believable theory that involves English Seafarers who brought long-haired British cats that paired with the local short-haired cats of New England. Captain Charles Coon may have been one of the English seafarers. The other more believed theory traces the breed’s roots to the Vikings of the 11th century. A strong resemblance of the Maine Coon cat to another Viking rooted feline, the Norwegian Forest Cat is the source of this theory.

Regardless of all the theories depicting the Maine Coon’s colorful history, the breed first appeared in Maine’s history books sometime during the 1860’s when local farmers held the first Maine State Champion Coon Cat competition which was held at the local Skowhegan Fair in the State of Maine. The breed was first mentioned in writing in the year 1861 by F.R. Pierce who did a literary piece about his black and white Maine Coon. The same author wrote an entire chapter about the breed in France Simpson’s Book of the Cat that was published in the year 1903.

The first recorded Maine Coon cat entry to a cat show happened in 1895 in an event held in the City of Boston. The same year, the first cat show was held in New York City’s Madison Square Garden where a Maine Coon was entered to compete. This Main Coon eventually won the Silver Collar and Medal and also got the Best in Show that year. The now historical silver collar awarded to the Maine Coon Champion of 8195 is in the safekeeping of the Cat Fancier’s Association or CFA Foundation and is now permanent “resident” of the Jean Baker Rose Memorial Library, is run and maintained by the CFA Foundation.

It became very popular during the later part of the 19th century but the influx of foreign long-haired cats from Europe and Asia during the early part of the 20th century threatened the existence of this long-haired American cat breed. The decline of popularity of the Maine Coon cats was considered catastrophic as this breed ended up being declared as extinct during the middle decades of the 20th century. The extinction declaration was considered an exaggeration, as there were a few numbers of Maine Coon Cats. Efforts to revive the breed in the past couple of decades is seen successful, this is through the diligence of Ms. Alta Smith and Ms. Ruby Dyer who created the Central Maine Cat Club in order to repopulate the Maine Coon in the United States.

By 1973, the Maine Coon Cat Club was created after several failed attempts to have the Cat Fancier’s Association of CFA recognize the breed under the Maine Coon name as it was declared as an extinct feline breed. But by 1975, the CFA eventually accepted the modern Maine Coon Cat but classified it under the Provisional Status List. By 1985, the State of Maine named the Maine Coon as the official State Cat. Today, this breed is on the top three of the most popular feline breeds in the United States. It is only surpassed in popularity by the Persian and Exotic cat breeds.

Personality

Maine Coon cats are the Gentle Giants of the American feline breeds. These cats have naturally gentle and calm personalities that perfectly match their intelligent temperament. These are cats that will display their loyalty towards their masters but will be cautious towards strangers. A Maine Coon cat is independent and will never be clingy, and known to be playful from puppyhood to their senior years. They may have a clownish at heart but this breed is equally dignified and affectionate as they are humorous. Maine Coon cats can get a bit loud and very talkative and known to be chattering, chirping and yowling cats!

Standards
Appearance
The Maine Coon is one of the largest domesticated American cat breeds. These cats are known for having very large bone structures and bodies that are rectangular in shape and covered with long and flowing coats and tail that resembles that of the raccoon. Also called the American Longhair, this cat breed comes in a various colors.

General
The large Maine Coon cat is a feline with a solid and muscular body that is capable of supporting its massive weight and board chest. These are cats with rectangular shaped bodies.
Body
Maine Coon cats have medium to large bodies that are muscular and with a broad chest area. The body is long, creating a well-balanced and developed rectangular appearance.
Head, Ears and Eyes
The Maine Coon cat has a head that is medium in width and length. It has high cheekbones and a square shaped muzzle area. The eyes on these cats are large and well tufted that is wide at the base and tapering to what looks like a pointed end. Ears are set high and well apart on the head of a Maine Coon cat. This breed’s eyes are also large and wide set, with a slight oblique set that is slanting towards the outer are where the ears are based. Colors of the eyes may come in shades of copper, gold and green.
Coat and Tail
A Maine Coon cat’s tail is long and wide at the base and tapering. It is covered with a long and flowing fur. The breed’s coat is heavy with a shaggy appearance and a silky texture that lets the coat fall smoothly to the touch. The hair on the cat’s shoulders is short but longer in length when it comes to the stomach and britches.
Color
Maine Coon Cats come in all colors and patterns except for pointed colors and patterns that will display hybridization.

Health

Maine Coon cats may suffer from various health problems that may include hip dysplasia and feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM. To help minimize the risk of having your Maine Coon develop such diseases, it is advisable to have your pets undergo screening methods. Talk to your veterinary regarding this and have your feline companions screened. This breed is also at risk on developing SMA or spinal muscular atrophy. PKD or polycystic kidney disease has also been seen to affect this breed.

Comments

comments