Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Maine Coon Cat!
Maine Coon Cats are notorious for being large, plush, and beautiful cats! I have been to a few cat shows where I have gotten to hold and pet these cats. Most of them have been quite lovable and their owners always give good reviews of them! Their personalities can vary depending on the individual cat (just like humans!), but in general, they are praised for being friendly cats. Words often used to describe them include mild-mannered, gentle, affectionate, easy-going, and pleasant.
The true background of the Maine Coon Cat is unknown. There are several theories on how it came to be, however. The most accepted theory is that house cats and Angora cats were bred together in the state of Maine. It is just a theory though, with no proof. Other less plausible theories include breeding between a house cat and an American Bobcat, that they are descended from Norwegian Forest Cats, that they are house cats which became semi-feral living outside and evolved into stockier bodies, and that they are house cats bred with raccoons (which is obviously impossible!). Other names these cats go by include the American Coon Cat, the American Forest Cat, and the American Longhair.
The most obvious feature of these cats is their size. They are huge! At least huge for house cats. They can be anywhere from 9 to 22 (or more) pounds. They have long, plush fur which needs moderate grooming care. They also have large tufted ears and a long, plumed, bushy tail. They have squeaky little voices and come in a variety of colors and patterns! Their “common” pattern is a tabby pattern. This cat can live to be over 13 years old as well.
The Maine Coon Cat is a very popular breed to show. They were actually the very first cats ever shown! In the early 1860′s people started showing Maine Coons in New England at the Skowhegan Fair. Shortly after this in 1871 was the first official cat show in London. They were shown successfully in the first American show as well, in 1895. In 1976 they were officially recognized as a breed by the Cat Fancier’s Association!
The care and feeding of these cats is similar to most house cats. They can be fed a regular, good quality cat food and should be provided with fresh water. They enjoy outdoors time, but it is not a necessity. They can be good indoor cats and/or apartment dwellers if given plenty of attention and room to explore and play. They should be groomed regularly to keep their long coat looking nice and mat-free, however they don’t need as much grooming as some other long-hair cats. Once a week should suffice for a Maine Coon Cat. They do shed a lot during hot summer months and may need more grooming during that time.
Health problems are few for these cats. They are generally healthy if taken well care of. This breed can suffer from Hip Dysplasia, however, especially if they are on the larger side. Other common cat diseases that can affect them are a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), but these are not specific to the Maine Coon.
Generally you will have to pay to obtain a Maine Coon that is licensed. They can range anywhere from $200 to $1000 depending on the breeder, location, color, and other characteristics.
To read more on Maine Coon Cats, follow-up on the Maine Coon page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.