What is the origin of the cat breed called the gentle giants, Maine Coon cats? The answer to that depends on which legend you choose to believe. However, there are many other well-documented facts about this breed that you may not realize.
Although their exact origin is unknown, they are believed to be the result of breeding between native domestic short-haired cats and longhaired cats, which were brought to colonial America by seamen.
Officiating as the Maine state cat, and bearing the title “America’s native longhaired cat,” these massive cats are one of the largest domestic cat breeds. Many of their physical attributes such as their water-resistant coats or rounded tufted feet are clearly adaptations made to enable them to survive the harsh Maine winters.
Maine Coon Cats Are One of the Largest Cat Breeds
What Do Maine Coon Cats Look Like?
The breed ranges from 13 to 18 pounds with females being slightly smaller at just 9 to 12 pounds. This larger-than-your-average-cat size is part of what earns them their gentle giant nickname. Their docile personalities are the other part.
The eyes are large, slightly oval, and oblique. The breed's fur is smooth but shaggy and accented by the trademark plume-like tail. The paws resemble snowshoe-type rounded feet, and the head is punctuated with tufted ears. Maine Coons with lion-like front ruffs are particularly prized.
The overall appearance of a Maine Coon cat is one of balance and symmetry, with a head that is longer than it is wide, high cheekbones, and large ears with tufts of fur inside the ear. Ears taper to a point and are wider at the base.
The chest is large and the body well muscled. To be registered, the cats may not be polydactyls (have an unusual number of toes.)
Maine Coon Cat Cool Tricks
Fun Facts About Maine Coon Cats
Did you know these 10 interesting facts about these Native American cats?
- They are excellent mousers.
- Their nickname is gentle giants.
- The first recorded mention of the breed is in 1861. The cat was Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines who was owned by Mrs. E. R. Pierce (as reported on the TICA website.)
- Their average lifespan is about 12 to 15 years.
- The only restricted coat colors are chocolate, lavender, ticked tabby, or Siamese patterns.
- Accepted eye colors are green, gold, green-gold, and copper. Blue-eyes or odd-eyes acceptable in white or bi-colored cats
- Because of their lightweight undercoat, the breed is low maintenance for grooming. Weekly brushings keep their coats lustrous and flowing.
- These cats are good companions without being overly dependent. Moderately vocal and social, they are intelligent enough to be leash-trained and smart enough to decide when they want companionship.
- Maine Coons are loving and good-natured.
- There are four common health problems with Maine Coon cats: feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), polycystic kidney disease (PKD), and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP.)
- Senior cats may gain weight due to decreasing activity levels so monitor their diets carefully.
- Maine Coon cats socialize well with children and other pets.
Consider An Adoption First
If you are looking for a cat to give you lots and lots of love, one of these gentle giants (Maine Coon cats) might be just what you need. While you can always find one by locating a breeder, consider searching at your local animal shelter or Maine Coon cat rescue groups first.
With so many cats and other pets that are always in need of good homes and loving families, why not give one of them a second chance at a happy life?