- Weight — 10-15 pounds (female), 15-25 pounds (male)
- Coat characteristics — Long, thick, and shaggy coat with a waterproof topcoat over the softer undercoat. With over 64 colors and markings, this breed has many opportunities for a unique appearance.
- Enrichment needs — High
- Intelligence — High
- Vocalizations — Highly vocal
- Life span — 12-15 years
- Temperament — Playful, inquisitive, affectionate, and family-oriented
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — United States
Maine coon fun facts
- The phrase “survival of the fittest” aptly describes this breed. The features and characteristics of the Maine coon were all developed through natural selection. Very few human-selected traits were bred for, leading to a purpose-built and functional cat.
- A Maine coon was the original award-winning “Best Cat.” In the very first American cat show held in May of 1895 at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden, a Maine coon named “Cosey” was granted a silver collar and the title of “Best Cat.”
- Is it a Maine coon or a raccoon? Due to their similar size, there was a myth that Maine coons were developed from breeding regular cats with raccoons. While believable due to their size similarity, this has been debunked through DNA testing.
Maine coon temperament and characteristics
The Maine coon is a tremendously playful cat breed always wanting frequent interactions with their owners. Highly intelligent and devoted, one can expect their Maine coon to follow them around the house as they carry out their tasks. Highly vocal, they will likely be carrying on full conversations with you as they follow in your footsteps.
Incredibly friendly and loving, the Maine coon does well in households that have children and other pets, though young children will need to be taught how to handle them. As sweet as they are, these cats are quite large, and neither they nor young children want to get hurt. With their high intelligence and inquisitive nature, Maine coons will be more reserved around strangers and visitors, but with enough trust being built, they will likely warm up to them.
Craving and requiring plenty of human interaction, Maine coons require frequent games and other things that stimulate their hunting instincts with their owners. They are able to be left alone due to their high intelligence and desire to see more, but they will do best with shorter periods of separation.
Common Maine coon health problems
The Maine coon is often noted for its hardiness and the fact that it is a naturally occurring breed as far as evolution goes. Due to this, it has fewer health concerns, and responsible breeders should work to keep the genetics of their kittens clean and clear of some of them. Regular vet visits should help catch these before they become an issue.
- Obesity. Maine coons have a slower growth rate than typical cats, reaching their full size in 3-4 years rather than 1-2. Overfeeding in an attempt to get your cat to grow to the expected size faster than this rate can lead to excessive weight gain. This can then lead to further issues, such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
- Hip dysplasia . This condition occurs when the end of the thigh bone doesn’t articulate properly in the hip joint, which can cause pain and mobility loss. Your veterinarian can help your cat with physical therapy, medication, or surgery if needed.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy . One of the most common heart conditions to be diagnosed, this condition occurs when the wall of the heart thickens. This causes the efficiency of the heartbeat to lower drastically.
- Spinal muscular atrophy . A hereditary genetic disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) leads to reduced motor function in your kitten’s lower body and muscular deterioration in its hindlimbs. It is generally not fatal, though it will take your Maine coon from being an outdoor cat to needing to be largely indoors for its safety.
🚨 Male neutered cats are susceptible to urinary tract infections (FLUTD), leading to fatal blockages if left untreated. Make an appointment with your vet immediately if you notice that your cat is having accidents, bloody urine, straining when trying to urinate, the inability to urinate, or extremely foul-smelling urine.
Cost of caring for a Maine coon
No one wants to think of their Maine coon suffering from any health issues. It can get expensive to treat certain feline health conditions, but these costs can be offset with a proper budget or insurance plan. These plans tend to benefit pet owners who sign their pets up early, well before any symptoms.
Initial diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can cost between $1,000-$1,5000, with monthly medication charges of $300. After spending $1,000-$2,000 for a purebred cat from a breeder or $100-$250 from a rescue, no one wants to drop such large sums when insurance could have helped.
History of the Maine coon
There are many myths and legends concerning the origin of the Maine coon, spanning from royal cats escaping the French Revolution to cats mating with bobcats or raccoons on the frontier. The most realistic and truthful of these are tales of North American-bound seafarers bringing a breed of cat with them to take care of rodents and other things on their ships. Some of these cats would have gone ashore, and, in the harsh climates of Maine, they would have to adapt.
These adaptations allowed the cats to thrive, earning their place as the official state cat of their namesake state. Developing into a robust, rugged breed, the Maine coon was able to win the hearts of the people around these tough places as well as the competitive scene. Earning early renown from cat fanciers, the breed lost its fame with the introduction of other long-haired breeds, such as Persians and angoras.
Falling in popularity when compared with these white cats from foreign lands, the Maine coon was thought to have gone extinct by the 1950s. Thankfully, Maine coon breeders across the nation had other plans in mind. The breed has surged back up in regards to popularity, ranking second only to the Persian among American households.
Caring for your Maine coon cat
It is very important to get vaccinations and set up an account for your cat with services such as Fido that will help you recover them should they go missing. To help avoid this, it is important that you cat-proof your home and backyard if your Maine coon is going to enjoy being an outdoor cat.
Maine coons are generally pretty good at taking care of grooming themselves, but occasional brushing can help them if they are not able to fully groom themselves. This will also present opportunities for you and your cat to bond and get closer. Just be prepared for how large your cat can be before you tackle this task. Even a female Maine coon is large compared to most other breeds.
There are times when your cat might need a bath, and it is important to know how to give one. Should they get into a mess or cause a mess of their own, it is a necessary task that needs to be done well.
Regardless if your cat is an expert at grooming, there are still some routine tasks you should help with to prevent issues like gingivitis. Brushing your cat’s teeth, bringing them to the vet for routine dental care, and trimming your cat’s nails are all essential to a healthy cat.
Diet and nutrition
How much you feed your cat depends on how active their lifestyle is, but it is important that you do not overfeed your Maine coon. More food will not cause them to reach their full size any sooner, but it can easily lead to health concerns like obesity and diabetes. Maine coons tend to be a very active breed, so it is important that they receive their full nutrients and the protein that they need.
If you have any questions about giving the appropriate amount, remember to contact your veterinarian for feedback and assistance. Also, if you are struggling to get your cat to drink its water, consider looking at different cat water fountains to entice them.
Enrichment and environment
Maine coons are a very large and active breed, and they crave enrichment in their environment. They are naturally outdoor cats, so there need to be many toys and activities that can stimulate them and let them tap into their instincts. Additionally, outdoor areas need to have fresh enrichment opportunities changed frequently so that they do not get bored and leave the confines of their play area.
These cats are highly intelligent and therefore highly trainable. Maine coons respond best to reward-based training and can be trained to do things such as sitting beside you as you watch TV or read your favorite book. They love to be close to you, but they are not likely to try and climb into your lap.
Cat trees and furniture need to be of sturdy make due to their exceptional size and weight. Additionally, during the warmer months if you live in a hotter climate than Maine, it is advisable to trim their coat to help them deal with the heat. Their thick coats and long tails will help them to handle nearly any winter.
Breeds similar to the Maine coon
Not quite sure that a Maine coon is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Norwegian forest cat. Another cat known for their rugged nature and outdoor needs, the Norwegian forest cat will easily find their way into your heart. Their thick coats make them perfectly suited for colder temperatures, much like the Maine coon.
- Persian. With a beautiful, long coat, the Persian breed is known for accenting any room they enter with their remarkable appearance. Playful and loving, this breed prefers to lounge about and be around their humans.
- Turkish angora. A playful and loving cat, the Angora breed gets along well with other pets in the household. They have a very easy-to-groom coat, though their sweet nature will make grooming and combing them an enjoyable task.
Frequently asked questions
Why are Maine coons so expensive?
Finding a reputable Maine coon breeder can be difficult, so the supply of kittens can’t always meet the demand. Therefore, the price goes up as does the waiting list for a purebred kitten.
How long do Maine coons live?
Considered a hardy breed, they have a better chance of living longer. With proper care, their life expectancy is 12-15 years.
Why does my year-old Maine coon still look like a kitten?
While most cats reach maturity by 1-2 years old, Maine coon kittens grow and mature slower and will not be their full size until 3-4 years old.
Are Maine coons prone to any illnesses?
Two illnesses that the breed is susceptible to are hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and spinal muscular atrophy.
Can I fatten up a Maine coon kitten?
You shouldn’t take any measures to fatten up this breed. Maine coons simply take longer to mature, and feeding them more in the hopes of speeding up growth can just lead to health concerns like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Always be patient with your kitten as they grow and develop.