The Maine Coon is a popular breed of cat thanks to their posture, intelligence and love of humans.
While most cats are affectionate, there’s something about how a Maine Coon acts when around their family that makes them stand out.
While larger than most other breeds found in Britain, the Maine Coon handles that size well and manages to be elegant and light footed.
Great news if your cat loves to jump up onto your lap!
If you’re considering a Maine Coon as your next companion, here’s an overview of their likes, dislikes and key things to know.
The first thing you notice about a Maine Coon is its size. Where most cat breeds weigh up to 4kg, the Maine Coon starts from 4kg and can reach up to 8kg or more when fully grown.
The next thing you’ll probably notice is their ears. They have unique ears that stand upright and apart with long fur at the tip.
They are very feline in appearance with a leonine face that looks very intelligent. If there were awards for most statuesque cat breed, the Maine Coon would win hands down.
Maine Coons are also muscular and well-proportioned, with large feet, wide chest and a very proud appearance.
What’s more, the breed has a thick fur coat which comes in many colours and patterns, but is almost universally thick.
Key characteristics of Maine Coons
If we were asked to sum up the Maine Coon in two words, it would be ‘gentle giant’. They may be imposing and statuesque, but they are incredibly friendly and sensitive animals.
They love spending time with their humans and like nothing more than curling beside you or being close to you.
If you don’t want them making a bed of your lap, you’re lucky. They aren’t lap cats even though they like being close to us. Most will prefer sitting or sleeping beside you rather than on you.
Although don’t be surprised if yours likes to shuffle up to lean against you or lean a paw or their head against your leg.
Other characteristics of the Maine Coon include a lovely play drive that means you’ll spend many hours with them playing games. They keep this play drive throughout their life, so make ideal companions for children or those who love to interact.
Maine Coons are also intelligent so may require stimulation if they can’t go outside.
History of the Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is thought to be from Maine, New England. Their history isn’t clear but current thinking is that a long haired breed landed with early explorers and mated with native shorthairs.
The result is the Maine Coon, which is America’s only long haired cat.
The name is partly down to location, the Coon part of the name is thought to be from a sailor, Charles Coon who may have brought the original cat to the U.S.
Fun fact: A Maine Coon called Cosey won Best in Show at the very first cat show in Madison Square Garden in New York City on May 8th, 1895!
How to care for your Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is a healthy breed overall with just a couple of inherent issues.
As a larger cat breed, they are susceptible to arthritis or hip dysplasia. They can also be predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
Otherwise, they are a healthy breed that you can expect to be your companion for 10-13 years on average.
Caring for your Maine Coon is mainly about grooming.
Their heavy coat will require regular brushing to keep it in good condition and to minimise hairballs.
Some cats may also require monthly bathing, which is sure to delight everyone involved!
If your cat begins looking a little bedraggled or has a greasy coat, that’s a sign that a bath is in order.
Despite cat’s legendary dislike for baths, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty washing them if you make it a game or lavish attention on them while you do it.
As a social breed, Maine Coons should be socialised nice and early to get them used to other cats and how to behave. This is especially true if you have more than one cat or plan to introduce a friend to your Maine Coon at any time.
Believe it or not, you can train your Maine Coon just like you can train a dog. They are very intelligent and can be trained to sit, fetch and even walk on a lead!
While it’s unusual to see a cat being walked on a lead, it’s entirely possible with the Maine Coon and something you may both enjoy.
Otherwise, provide games, interactions and puzzles and your cat should have a great time!
Feeding your Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is a large breed so will need a balanced diet to keep them in good condition. They have a tendency to overeat and gain weight though, so their intake should be monitored.
They can tolerate good quality kitten and cat food but may eat more than standard cats. Use feeding guidelines as appropriate and monitor your cat’s intake and weight to balance their needs.
If you’re not always around during the day, careful portioning using an automatic cat feeder is better than letting them graze.
Senior cats benefit from senior cat foods to help maintain their joints, so feed appropriate to their age as well as size.
As long as you monitor their weight, your Maine Coon can eat what they need. As long as you buy quality food with good nutrition, your cat should enjoy a happy, healthy life!