Animal-World > Cats > Natural Cat Breeds > Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cats

American Forest Cat, American Coon Cat, American Longhair

Family: Felidae Maine Coon Cat, American Forest Cat, American LonghairFelis domesticusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough
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The Maine Coon is known for its massive appearance, lush coat, and luxuriant, plumed tail!

Despite its potentially intimidating size, the Maine Coon Cat is also known for pleasant personality. This cat breed has a gentle, mild-mannered, and friendly demeanor. Depending on the individual cat, their sociable tendencies may be variable. Some say that the Maine Coon is shy, while others say that it is out-going. But either way, the Maine Coon is a great family cat.

The Main Coon is one of the first true American cat breeds, originating in the state of Maine. Is is also known as the American Forest Cat, the American Coon Cat, and American Longhair Cat. One of this breed's defining characteristics is its large muscular body. Yet the finest trait of this natural breed cat is the long thick silky coat with a large ruff, and a very bushy tail that creates a plumed appearance. Despite its heavy coat, this massive long-haired breed requires only moderate grooming. It can withstand extremely cold weather but will then shed profusely in the summer time.

For many owners, the Maine Coon has an ideal personality. It is an affectionate, amiable breed that gets along with most people and animals, but is not too needy. It is gentle and easy-going, but also self-confident and a good hunter. This breed remains playful and "kittenish" throughout its years. It speaks softly to its owners in a chirping or squeaking voice.

For information about keeping a pet cat, see:
Cat Care: How to Take Care of a Cat

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Felis
  • Species: domesticus

Background The Maine Coon is a natural cat breed. It is one of the first true American breeds, however the specifics of its origins are disputed. The most interesting explanation is that it originated from a cross between a house cat and a raccoon. However, this is biologically impossible. Another unlikely origin is that it is a cross between a house cat and an American Bobcat. Other stories include the basic idea that this breed descended from Norwegian Forest Cats that were sent to America.

A more probable explanation is that the Maine Coon originates from house cats that became semi-wild and developed a heavier body and thicker coat in order to protect them from the cold. However, the most accepted explanation of this cat's origins is that it developed from the breeding of house cats and Angoras in Maine. There is no proof for this theory, though it seems probable since a cross between house cats and Angoras would look something like the Maine Coon.

One interesting fact about the Maine Coons is that they were the first cats to be shown in cat shows. Though the first official cat show occurred in 1871 in London, Maine Coon cat shows had been held since the early 1860's at the Skowhegan Fair in New England. The Maine Coon was successful in the first official show in America in 1995, since it had the advantage of over 30 years of previous show experience. However, as more exotic breeds began to appear, it lost some of its popularity. In the 1950s it caught the interest of many again, and a Maine Coon Cat Club was formed in 1953. The Cat Fancier's Association recognized the breed in 1976.

The Maine Coon arrived in Europe, more specifically, in Austria, in 1953 and in Europe in 1983. It is still a fairly rare breed in Europe.The Maine Coon originated in Maine, and is easy to find in the United States. However, it is rare in Europe and Australia. Common names for this natural breed cat include: Maine Coon Cat, American Coon Cat, Maine Cat, Maine Trick Cat, American Longhair, American Forest Cat, American Shag, and American Snughead.

Description One of this breed's defining features is its massive size. It has a large, muscular body that is long and rectangular. The head is medium-sized, but appears small compared to its large body. The eyes are large and slightly oval and the ears are large and tufted. The tail, a prized feature of the Maine Coon, is long and thickly covered, creating a bushy, plumed appearance. It has a soft, chirping or squeaking voice. It has a long lifespan of 13 or more years.

Maine Coon CatMaine Coon Cat Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough

The coat of this breed is long, thick, and silky with a large ruff. The traditional coat of the Maine Coon is tabby, but most other coat patterns and colors are acceptable. A few exclusions include Chocolate, Lilac and Siamese Points, blue or odd eyes in all coat colors except white, and Bi-color or Parti-color cats with white fur for more than a third of the coat. The Maine Coon weighs from 9 to 22 pounds.

Glossary terms:

  • Ruff: A band of fur around the neck.

Care and Feeding The Maine Coon cat has no specific dietary needs and this breed requires no special feeding accommodations.

Housing Your Cat The Maine Coon is likely to enjoy a garden or yard to exercise and hunt in. However, it can also enjoy a life as an apartment cat, especially if it is allowed time outside regularly.

Maintenance Unlike many long-haired breeds, the Maine Coon requires only a weekly brushing. However it will shed profusely in the summer, so will need some addtitional grooming during the hot season.

Social Behaviors The Maine Coon is not too needy, but is gentle and easy-going. It's not really a lap cat, but will stay close by. This is an easy-going breed that generally gets along with people, dogs, and other cats. It shows affection toward the whole family, but tends to become especially close with one person. If you are looking for a sweet loyal cat, this breed can offer that type of affection.

Activities This breed is playful and active. It is self-confident and a good hunter. It will enjoy playing with others, and can enjoy an interactive game of fetch. Yet it's also content to run around chasing things and exercising by itself.

Breeding/Reproduction Maine Coon litters are generally comprised of three or four kittens. They develop slowly and only reach full maturity at three or four years of age.

Common Health Problems The Maine Coon is a generally hardy cat, if you get a healthy kitten you will most likely have a healthy adult. Still there are a few maladies this breed could suffer from. These include Hip Dysplasia, which is a more prominent problem in large cats, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy or HCM, which is a common heart disease of all cats, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA, which is a genetically inherited disorder that shows up in kittens.

Availability Maine Coon Breeders can be located easily on the internet. Local breeders can also be located. Prices range from $200 to $1000.


Author: Ruth Bratcher
Lastest Animal Stories on Maine Coon Cat - 2020-05-13
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Our Ocelot kittens are hand raised and bottle fed. They are up-to date with all their worming and age appropriate vaccines. They are being raised in an environment with children and other home pets such as dogs, birds and other cats, so they are perfectly socialized.....

  • buyer - 2020-09-27
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Anonymous - 2019-12-19
My fiancé and i pulled over to take a look at an adoption truck in a parking lot in our small city one day. We’d been discussing a playmate for our other cat. When we got there there was a mother with kittens and one kitten caged alone shaking in fear from all the barking of the dogs. So i pointed to him and said hes so scared and all alone. My fiancé asked to see him and he instantly crawled up under his short beard for safety. Needless to say his heart broke for the baby and he wouldn’t let him go so I did the paperwork and found out he was only 3-4 weeks old. I was curious why they separated him from the rest and quickly found out. While he wasn’t weened and tried to suckle regularly he was a huge eater. We feed him with a syringe for a week adding tiny bits of soft food within a week he was eating on his own and switched to hard food without a hitch. After he chased our full grown dog into her kennel at a week old we named him Kimbo after Kimbo Slice the fighter as he had no fear! He slept daily wrapped around my neck and chest like a furr coller in July I almost wish I hadn’t had to pull him away. He would climb the dog chewing on an ear or wagging tail with glee. I kept telling my fiancé I swear he’s bigger than he was yesterday and he thought I was imagining it, but within the next two months he had joined the bandwagon; both of us wondering what we brought home because he was still increasing rapidly. Now at 7 months we know. Large as a full sized cat its hard sometimes to remember he's a baby. He’s still growing with huge paws and a ringed tail but is a picture of a tabby Maine Coon. I always wanted one but I’m an adopter with so many in need I’ve only bought one pet in my life from a breeder. Kimbo is a stereotypical Maine Coon in that he is MY cat and will be affectionate towards my fiancé ( especially at dinner) but he sleeps stretched out at night his back to my front. He is shy around strangers and tends to hide. I can do almost anything I want to him but he’s a little less trusting to others. He is so precious to me I’ve forgotten what life was like without him. He loves meat; lunch meat, any leftovers from dinner just like a dog. But he goes CRAZY for my fiancé’s smoked meats he makes especially the pork roast and brisket. And with a full belly of smoked meat he won’t leave my side all night long sleeping hard and content! We introduced him to another cast off kitten we ended up with who is a polydactyl calico runt of the exact same age, and he cooed in front of her kennel for nights instantly in love. They are a true Mutt and Jeff combo but they play hard and love hard. Curled together for naps running room to room they are almost inseparable. And when I cry Kimbo runs to comfort me. He is so easygoing and lovable, huge, handsome, playful, and precious I fear I will never love another like I do him. Im so glad we stopped that day and cant wait for all our experiences to come! Kimbo thank you for making my life so full and rich. I hope everyone else gets to feel like this someday!

pat - 2010-02-21
I just love Pumpkin, my maine coon. He is about 6 to 8 yrs old and he is a wonderful loving friend for me and I did decide to keep him in as a house cat because of where I live. He sleeps by me and lays next to me wherever I go. At one time he must have been hurt because of his one rear hip, runs but has a little problem with that hip. But right now I am having a real problem with him not eating and it is mainly the dry food I cannot seem to get him to enjoy and today he came out from sleeping and meowed at me and was telling me that he was hungry. Yes he eats some moist food but I cannot get him to eat a dry food. He drinks some water but not enough I don't think, and of course his stool has not been much. Has urinated quite a bit. You say they are not hard to feed but he is giving me run for my money. Have fed him Friskies and Natural food from a pet store and he does not like any. Is it time to take him to the vet? He is my big orange and white fluffy buddy.

  • shirley ross - 2010-07-08
    I'm sorry to say that he may possible have kidney disease. If you get him to the vet for test, and he is in early stages, you can continue to have him around for years. Or he could have a tooth problem, and need dental work. Dry food is not good for cats, no matter what has been previously stated. It can cause kidney disease. I know, because my 16 year old has had kidney disease for 6 years, and with careful monitoring.......testing, giving fluids with an i.v. under the skin,( you can easily learn to do it......she is your baby!) proper diet, and many trips to vet, she has held out 6 years past what she was supposed to. He has all the symptoms, drinking a lot of water, not eating, and urinating huge quantities. More goes out than they can drink........that's why the sub q fluids. It's very important to get his bowels moving so that the toxins that normal kidneys would filter. I just stumbled upon this site, so email me if you like.
  • casey Forest - 2014-09-27
    Sounds like a kidney problem how ever I am not a vet.!!!! PLEASE dont wait take him to a vet specaliazing in cats! I also have a maine coon cat a solid 36 lbs. They can have kidney heart or hip problems. Ask your vet to recomend a high QUALITY food. Most grocery store food brands w the exception of Iams is considered kitty junk food. GOOD LUCK a good vet is even better. Casey Forest
  • Carla Wade - 2019-12-19
    Mam you should really look up Maine Coon on the internet. Hip dysplasia and kidney issues are both listed in Wikipedia as health issues for this breed of cat. Im so sorry to hear of these issues so early but your kitty could possibly need medical attention.
Debbie Clifford - 2009-09-05
I recently lost my beloved Maine Coon Baron Munchmausen to rainbowsbridge - he was only 3 1/2years old but in that short time he lived the life of 40 cats. He had a massive personality and made an big impression on everyone he met. He was my puppycat- he'd follow me on walks and scuff around a bit whilst I walked ahead and run to me at full pelt just like a dog when I called him, his magnificent fur blowing in the wind and his big tail sweeping. He would follow me to my neighbours house to try and steal her cats food and would follow me round the house if he was not allowed inside and stand up and paw each window and mew. - He didnt chirp but he had a tiny high pitched mioaw which was far too small for him. He once got on the same neighbours conservatory roof during a residents meeting and ran up and down like thunder before settling just above my head until the end of the meeting. He disappeared into the christmas tree last year and eventually out flew a bird - and he managed to carry a baby rabbit though the cat flap up a spiral staircase and put it into his bed at easter!! It was unharmed. Mice and Voles were not so fortunate -he was an expert hunter with his massive paws. He could turn the taps on the kitchen sink and loved to drink water from running taps lapping it until it went up his nose and he sneezed. He would sit on a big red blanket and let me pull him round the floor like a sledge and he'd wake me up in the morning at 7 am on the dot with rough kisses. I could never have anything other than a Maine Coon now, but filling his boots will be a hard task.

  • Niza - 2014-08-11
    Im sorry for your loss and my condolences go out to you 💋
  • Anonymous - 2018-07-09
    I know how it feels to loose such a good companion. I lost mine after 4 years had him as a kitten. I saved him a few times from mischief he got into and couldn’t get himself out of (being pinned between 2 fences while trying to get birds and squirrels) He sounded just like a baby kitten calling. After awhile he was almost just like a person in my house the most loyal trusting loving caring person-like animal I have ever had. Not much is the same without him even the female smaller breed cat I got for him to have as a play pal still cries out for him. He has even brought home stray baby kittens that were left for dead to help them survive and find them a responsible owner. Personally I have never met a human that can match what he and I had together and what he offered life itself ..... I miss you kiki so much
  • CAMILLE RAMOS - 2019-10-02
    Sorry for all of the loss, i can relate to you all, it is very painful to overcome the loss of our unconditional companions. I have a Maine coon now but i lost my beloved Tiny (mix of a pug and pit) i had him for 16 years and when he passed away a year ago my heart was broken and a huge part of me died inside. I will never recover from not having him with me. I loved him dearly and more than many member of my own family, he was my life, my love, my baby. So i am one with you loss. Wishing you all fine solace and peace.
Reply - 2020-05-13
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  • buyer - 2020-09-27
    hello i would love to buy a Ocelot kitten from you.
Ali - 2017-05-01
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