All About Maine Coon Cats

A big, brownish, grey-ish fur with black striped Maine Coon cat looking at the camera straight on

Quick Facts

Lifespan: 9-15 years

Size (Adult): Adult males are typically over 12 pounds while females are 8-12 pounds. Their length can reach up to 40 inches long.

Personality: Mellow, friendly, affectionate, talkative, social.

Shedding: Maine Coons shed a moderate amount with their thick, long, shaggy haircoats. They should be brushed frequently.

Pet Friendly:  Yes, they get along great with other dogs and cats. Likely other animals too!

Vocal:  Extremely vocal. They also make a unique chirping sound.

Indoor/Outdoor Cat:  Great as either indoor or outdoor cats.

Intelligence: Moderate intelligence

IntroductionA greyish brown cat with black stripes on a bed with white sheets, clawing and biting a yellow stick

Maine Coons are a large, attractive, and social breed of cat. Their gentle, friendly personalities combined with their sturdy bodies and gorgeous haircoats make them unique cats and wonderful pets. For those considering adding a Maine Coon to their family, or if you’re just curious about this breed, we have compiled some helpful information about getting to know the Maine Coon cat.

 

Origin/HistoryA yellow and white Maine Coon cat looking directly into the camera

There are a variety of theories and legends about how the Maine Coon cat came to be. It is thought that true to their name, Maine Coon cats originated from Maine in the United States, and were made Maine’s official state cat in 1985. They are said to have come from mating domestic shorthair cats to longhaired Scandinavian cats and first appeared in the mid to late 1800s. A Maine Coon cat named Cosey was the winner of the first American cat show in 1895. The cats adapted to the harsh New England winters, with their thick hair coats, tufted paws, and sturdy bodies. Today, we know them as one of the largest domestic cats and the only longhair breed native to the country.

 

SizeA big grey, tan-ish, Maine Coon cat with black strips lying down on a cushion looking into the camera.

Maine Coon cats are known as the “Gentle Giants” of the Cat fancy. They evolved through natural selection into big-boned, sturdy, muscular cats that could withstand harsh outdoor environments. They strut a broad chest, large square head, sizeable tufted paws, and a long fluffy tail.

As with many species, the males tend to be larger than the females and typically weight over 12 pounds, often nearing the 20-pound range.

Their female counterparts weigh in smaller in the 8-12-pound range, although they can be over 12 pounds. Maine Coons have long bodies reaching close to 40 inches, and their fluffy haircoats and tails often make them look even larger and longer than they already are.

Due to their size, it takes longer for the Maine Coon to reach a mature body weight. They grow slow and steady until about 4 years of age. Compared to other common cat breeds, the Maine Coon may look large and intimidating, but they will be quick to win you over with their friendly personalities.

 

PersonalityA cute light tan puppy resting its head on a grey cats head. The cat is slight squashed by the puppy's head, in a cute way. Both are lying on the grass.

Imagine a dog in a cat’s body, which is often what a Maine Coon cat is compared to. They are commonly referred to as the “dogs of the cat world,” with their social, playful, and affectionate personalities, even dog lovers will want a Maine Coon!

They are gentle, easy-going, sweet-tempered, and enjoy interaction with humans and other animals. These traits make them a great family pet since they get along so well with children, adults, dogs, other cats, and probably many other critters.

The only downside of a Maine Coon’s personality might be that they require more attention and talk more than their other feline friends who tend to be more reserved and quieter. Some people describe the chatter of a Maine Coon to be more of a chirp combined with a purr, rather than the traditional cat meow.

Most cats are known to hate the water. Maine Coons have proven to be the exception to this rule. Many of these cats enjoy the water and have been known to be efficient swimmers. They often like to drink from running water sources and will dip their paws and heads under the stream. Some will drink or play by scooping the water up with their paws and splash around in their water bowls. Many people mention that their Maine Coon loves the water so much they try to shower with them!

Maine Coons are intelligent cats. Many people have trained them to perform commands or tricks. They are even known to walk with a harness.

Here Are Some Ways People Describe Maine Coon Cats:

  • Friendly
  • Affectionate
  • Easy-going
  • Gentle
  • Well-mannered
  • Playful
  • Adaptable
  • Social
  • Loyal
  • Intelligent
  • Talkative

 

Lifespan and Health

A young woman veterinarian checking a big grey cat that is lying down on the examination table. An assistant wearing blue in helping off to the left side, but you can only see their back and right arm.

The average lifespan of the Maine Coon cat is, on average, 9-15 years. Like any cat, Maine Coons can suffer from diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and periodontal disease. However, there are a few conditions that Maine Coons are especially prone to.

 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a disease of the hip joint that leads to lameness (physically disabled). This is often a hereditary condition and should be screened for carefully in breeding cats to ensure that it is not passed down to offspring. In minor cases, the condition only causes intermittent mild lameness. Moderate conditions can be medically managed with pain medications and exercise restrictions. Severe conditions can be treated surgically. Your veterinarian can diagnose hip dysplasia with a thorough physical exam and radiographs.

 

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

This is another commonly inherited condition that is common in Maine Coons. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is the most common heart disease in cats. It causes the heart muscle to become thick and work harder than it is meant to. Signs that your cat might have HCM include an increased respiratory rate, lethargy, or lack of appetite.

 

Polycystic Kidney Disease

In cats, polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, is a heritable condition characterized by cysts throughout the kidney tissue leading to kidney failure.

 

Spinal muscular atrophy

This condition affects the skeletal muscle by damaging the spinal neurons, which leads to muscle wasting. This condition isn’t painful but can cause weakness and difficulty jumping and running.

 

Obesity

Due to the size of the Maine Coon cat, they are more susceptible to weight gain than the average feline. Excess weight can lead to diabetes and worsen conditions such as arthritis. Hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, can develop when an overweight cat stops eating. The body uses fat rapidly to supply energy in the anorexic cat, and this overwhelms the liver and causes liver failure.

As with any cat, Maine Coons should be provided with regular veterinary care, including annual preventive care visits, vaccinations, dental cleanings, bloodwork, and fecal checks. They should have routine flea prevention and deworming to prevent intestinal parasites.

 

CareA man wearing a red and black plaid shirt holding a big grey, white, and blacked stripped cat with green eyes wearing a green collar.

Maine Coon cats are easy-going and require minimal special care. While they do love human interaction and attention, they don’t tend to be needy or overly obtrusive with their attention-seeking.

These cats were originally intended and bred to be outdoor hunting cats, but most are kept as indoor pets. They don’t require a special environment or conditions to thrive, but, as with any cat, their lifestyle should include enrichment such as hunting, playing, climbing, running, chasing, and access to fresh running water. They are active cats and should be allowed to live an active lifestyle. This will also help to keep them trim and athletic as well as stimulate their minds and body.

Maine Coons should be fed a typical cat food for their life stage and activity level. They don’t require any special nutrients or supplements unless they suffer a specific condition, which should be under your veterinarian’s direct care.

Maine Coons do require a little extra grooming care compared to their short-haired feline friends. They should be brushed daily to weekly and kept free from matted hair.

Every cat should have access to a fresh, clean litter box. Ideally, they should be provided with one additional litterbox in relation to the number of cats in the household. Since Maine Coons are larger cats, they may require a longer, wider, and deeper litterbox. Make sure to clean it daily and use a non-scented litter.

 

CostA bag of white cat food on the floor with a yellow cat standing over it with one paw on the bag. Someone's hand is holding some food to give the cat.

If you are considering adding a Maine Coon cat to your family, first check the local humane society or shelter to see if any need a good home. There are several Maine Coon specific cat rescues that can help connect you to your new friend. Maine Coon specific associations and organizations can provide you with reliable assistance as well.

If you insist on purchasing a Maine Coon cat from a breeder, it is essential to be diligent and do your research to find a reputable breeder. Ensure that they perform the appropriate health screening tests, provide exceptional veterinary care, have high standards regarding their facilities, and offer the best quality food and resources to their cats. Of course, this will come with a premium price, which on average, is around $1,000.

Avoid purchasing a Maine Coon cat or kitten from a pet store as these typically source their pets from unreliable sources and poor conditions.

If you already have a Maine Coon, you undoubtedly, have come to love these gentle giants, and if you are looking to add one to your family, you will soon find out what all the hype is about!

 

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