The Maine Coon cat breed has quickly climbed to one of the most popular breeds in America. What’s not to love about those huge paws, tufted ears, and that impressive mane? Many people looking to adopt a new cat instantly fall for the majestic Maine Coon. However, it’s important to keep in mind that every cat breed has different requirements when it comes to feeding, grooming, and health. Furthermore, every cat breed has a different temperament. Are you wondering whether or not the Maine Coon is the right breed for you? In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Maine Coon cat breed so you can learn all there is to know about it!
The Maine Coon is a naturally occurring cat breed that first originated in Maine in the 1800s. They can weigh up to 25 pounds, making them the largest domestic cat breed. Maine Coons cats are known for their gentle and loving temperament. Their maintenance requirements are moderate, which makes them relatively easy to care for.
If that sounds like the kind of cat you’d love to spend many long years with, read on! A Maine Coon might be the perfect cat breed for you. If you are interested in adopting a Maine Coon into your home, there are still a few things you should know, including how to feed and groom them, as well as what sort of temperament to expect. We will cover all of these things later on in this article.
Maine Coon Cat Breed
The Maine Coon is one of the most easily recognizable cat breeds out there. First and foremost, they’re huge! The average house cat weighs between 8 and 10 pounds, whereas the average Maine Coon can weigh anywhere between 8 and 25 pounds! These cats also have tufted ears and a distinctive mane or ruff around their necks. While Maine Coons come in a variety of colors and patterns, due to their large silhouette, it is not at all difficult to recognize them.
These enormous and loving creatures are often referred to as the “gentle giants” of the cat world. According to the Cat Fanciers Association, the Maine Coon was the most popular cat breed of 2018, and it seems that their popularity is only increasing. More and more people are becoming intrigued by these cats. The most popular cat of 2018 was the Ragdoll, but the Ragdoll may have to look out; the Maine Coon may just steal the spot for number one!
Maine Coon Origins
Many cat breeds have a fascinating history surrounded by myth and legend, and the Maine Coon is no different. While the exact origins of the Maine Coon are somewhat murky, the consensus is that they are a naturally occurring breed that was discovered in the 1800s in America. True to their name, the breed was first found in Maine. The Maine Coon’s large, wide paws were excellent for walking through snow, and their long and thick coat helped to insulate them against the cold. These cats were also excellent mousers, and they became popular for keeping away pests.
While there is no factual evidence to suggest this is true, one wild and popular myth surrounding the Maine Coon implies that Marie Antoinette helped to create this breed. According to one cat specialist website Marie Antoinette brought six royal cats with her to America while escaping the French Revolution. Supposedly, her cats bred with some American farm cats and resulted in the elegant Maine Coon. While this story is highly unlikely, especially considering that there is no record suggesting Marie Antoinette ever owned any long-haired cats, it is still a fun legend (source).
Another popular myth is that Maine Coons are the result of a cross between a domestic cat and a raccoon. The only thing to suggest the origin of this myth is the name “Coon,” but as you likely already know, it is physically impossible for such wildly different animals to produce offspring together.
While we may never learn the true origins of the Maine Coon, it is always fun to speculate. Though we don’t know exactly how this wonderful breed came to be, there are some facts we are certain about.
While Maine Coons were incredibly popular in the 1800s, the breed saw a stark decline in popularity when the Persian cat was introduced to America in 1895. If we delve into the cat history books, we can see that the Persian was one of the first breeds registered under the Cat Fanciers Association in 1906, and the breed quickly became the most popular in America at the time. Unfortunately, the poor Maine Coon was left out, and the breed dwindled until its near extinction in the mid-1900s (source).
A few enthusiasts of the Maine Coon were hesitant to let it go, however, and in 1985, the breed was made the official state cat of Maine. Its popularity immediately soared, and the breed was saved from the brink of extinction.
Maine Coon Physical Appearance
While it is incredibly unlikely that the Maine Coon is a descendant of the royal cats of Marie Antoinette, there is certainly something stately and majestic about this breed. Their elegant posture, coupled with that lion-like mane around their necks, screams “royalty.”
Maine Coons are not only enormous, weighing on average between 8 and 25 pounds, but most of that weight is due to muscle. Maine Coons have broad shoulders and thick legs. They are also known for their distinctive square jaw, which is reminiscent of many big wildcats. Their tail is long and plumy, and their ears, which are wide at the base and pointed at the top, have long tufts of fur.
Some cat breeds only come in certain coat colors and patterns, but this is not the case when it comes to Maine Coons. In fact, did you know that this particular cat breed comes in roughly 75 different colors?! Obviously I’m not about to list every single possible color combination, but here are just a few of the most well-known:
Furthermore, Maine Coons also have a variety of possible coat patterns:
- Solid and White
The eyes of a Maine Coon can also come in a variety of colors. The most common colors are gold, green, or green-gold, but they can also come in blue or copper.
Here is a diagram I produced, to help my readers compare the Maine Coon size of a male vs female Maine Coon cat:
Maine Coon Size
Maine Coons are the largest domesticated cat breed, and their size is one of the reasons they are so popular. On average, a Maine Coon weighs between 8 and 25 pounds, which is quite different from the average 8 to 10 pounds of most domestic house cats. On average, males are larger than females. The average female Maine Coon weighs between 8 and 12 pounds, while the average male is typically 12 to 25 pounds.
In addition to their exceptional weight, Maine Coons are also much longer and taller than other cat breeds. The average Maine Coon has a length of 19 to 40 inches from their nose to the base of their tail. Compare this to the length of an average house cat (about 18 inches) and you’ll get a good idea of just how big Maine Coons are.
Finally, Maine Coons typically reach an average height of 8 to 16 inches tall, (8 to 14 inches for females, 10 to 16 inches for males) while the average height of most cats is between 9.1 and 9.8 inches tall.
To put the Maine Coon cat breed size into perspective, I created the following diagram to emphasise the difference between the average cat and a Maine Coon:
Maine Coon Personality
While the overall temperament of a breed can vary from cat to cat, Maine Coons are still highly sought after for their naturally sweet dispositions. Here are some key personality traits which most Maine Coon cats exhibit.
1. Maine Coons Are Intelligent
Maine Coon cats are highly intelligent, which makes them very easy to train. Because they are also sociable, you will probably find that your Maine Coon is able to recognize your schedule, such as when you leave for work in the morning.
2. Maine Coons Are Dog-Like
Most people are surprised by just how dog-like Maine Coons can be. They tend to greet their owners after they return from work, and most Maine Coons love nothing more than a good game of fetch. They are also exceptionally loyal to their owners.
3. They Are Very Playful
Most cats slow down in their old age, but Maine Coons are the exception. These large cats remain kittens at heart for their whole lives. If you are the kind of person who wants long play sessions with your cat, then a Maine Coon could be perfect for you!
4. Overly Friendly Cat Breed
Maine Coons are one of the most sociable cat breeds. While they are not usually overbearing, they can be a tad bit clingy. Maine Coons are capable of being independent, but they love to spend time near their people. Even just sitting in the same room as you can be enough to satisfy the social needs of a Maine Coon.
5. Maine Coons Are Gentle
With such a massive size, some prospective Maine Coon owners might worry that their cat will use their enormity to their advantage when they are upset. However, with this breed, it is quite the opposite! Maine Coons are rarely aggressive, and they are often called “gentle giants” due to their naturally sweet disposition.
6. The Relaxed Maine Coon
While Maine Coons are quite similar to dogs in many regards, they do differ in some ways. Maine Coons are usually laid-back and comfortable to observe the action of the house from a quiet spot.
7. Maine Coons Are Family-Friendly
Maine Coons are the perfect pet for large families. This is a patient breed who will willingly accept all sorts of children’s games, from dress-up to tea parties! As long as any children in the family are properly taught how to safely handle a cat, you will not have any issues with your Maine Coon. Furthermore, this breed is also tolerant of other pets, including dogs and other cats.
From personal experience, I have found our pedigree Maine Coon cat to be exceptionally family friendly. In fact, Pippin and little Aimee have been very close since the beginning. Here is a video of our Maine Coon interacting with our young child:
Maine Coon Characteristics
Different from personality traits, the characteristics of a Maine Coon include specialized skills and traits which set them apart from other cat breeds.
1. Maine Coons Are Excellent Hunters
Due to their intelligence and love for play, Maine Coons make excellent hunters. If you have an outdoor cat, you had better be prepared for a few “surprises” left on your doorstep; these cats are prolific mousers! If you have a pest problem in your garage, a Maine Coon will make a perfect addition to your household.
Here’s a short video clip of my Maine Coon cat hunting a piece of string!
2. These Large Cats Are Strong Swimmers
A common stereotype about cats is that they hate water, but this couldn’t be more untrue when it comes to Maine Coon. Not only do they tolerate water, but they love it! While Maine Coons don’t require frequent bathing, you’ll never have to worry about the struggle to get your cat into the bathtub. You might also find your Maine Coon sitting patiently by the faucet, hoping you’ll turn it on.
3. Maine Coons Are Emotionally Intelligent
Maine Coons are known for being intelligent, and this also stretches to emotions. They are considered highly sensitive to the mood of their humans and can tell what emotions you are experiencing. If you are feeling down, don’t be surprised if your Maine Coon chooses to cuddle up with you until you feel better!
4. Family Friendly Cat Breed
Maine Coons are incredibly tolerant when it comes to children. You will have to teach your children how to interact properly with the cat to avoid any injury, of course. Once your children know how to behave around a Maine Coon, however, you won’t have anything to worry about! Maine Coons are loving and wonderfully patient. They will put up with game after game, and any children in your house will be sure to develop a close bond with your Maine Coon. This cat breed is the perfect addition to any large family, even if you have pets!
How Much Do Maine Coon Cats Cost?
While Maine Coon cats have many wonderful attributes, it can be a little disheartening to learn how expensive this breed can be. More common colors like black and orange will be less expensive. Rare colorations and patterns, such as silver and gold, will be significantly pricier.
The table below summarises the cost differences, of buying a Maine Coon cat in various countries across the world:
|Country||Maine Coon Cost|
|United States||$400 – $2000|
Average: $1,000 +
|United Kingdom||£325 – £1623|
|Australia||$1,000 – $3,000 AUD|
|Shelter / Rescue||$100 – $250|
As you can see, if you are purchasing a Maine Coon in the US, the price can range between $400 to $1500, while the average price for an adult is $1,000 or more.
By comparison, depending upon the quality of Maine Coon kitten purchased, you can expect to pay an average £750 and £850. The price of Maine Coon kittens ranges wildly in the UK though, between £325 – £1623. This is likely dependent upon the individual cats pedigree status i.e. is the kitten a purebred or Maine Coon mix?
Finally, Australian Maine Coons typically cost at least $1,000.
All of the prices listed are specifically the cost of buying from a breeder, however. If you are lucky enough to find a Maine Coon at a shelter, you will probably only have to pay a maximum of $400, although most shelters cost between $100 to $250 per cat.
Maine Coon Cat Breed Diet
To keep your Maine Coon as healthy as possible, you should follow these guidelines to ensure maximum nutrition.
|Wet Food||Feed high quality wet food 2 – 3 times a week. |
Excessive amounts damage cats teeth
|Dry Food||Dry food can be provided daily. It helps prevent tartar buildup in teeth|
|Protein||High amounts of protein necessary in diet. Keeps them in great shape|
|Grains||Avoid grains – not a natural part of cat’s diet|
Maine Coon Grooming Routine
If you are new to the Maine Coon cat breed, be aware that these large cats have moderate to high grooming needs. There, make sure you have time to groom your Maine Coons long-hair at least 2-3 times every week. Daily brushing is however preferable. Such regular brushing is necessary, since the fur of long-haired cats is more likely to become matted or tangled.
You only need to bathe your cat and clip its claws as needed, although it’s a good idea to create a consistent schedule. Thankfully, Maine Coons are so laid-back that they will usually tolerate grooming. Some Maine Coons even grow to enjoy it!
Maine Coon Lifespan
The Maine Coon lifespan ranges between 10 and 15 years on average. Before adopting a Maine Coon, you should make sure you are ready for that long of a commitment!
There is more to the Maine Coon cat breed lifespan than you might first assume, here’s my article on this very subject ‘What Is The Average Lifespan Of The Maine Coon Cat Breed‘.
Common Maine Coon Health Issues
While Maine Coons are typically considered to be a healthy breed, there are still a few health issues you should look out for.
1. Hip Dysplasia
This is a common disorder in many Maine Coons because they are so large. Its onset usually occurs while the cat is young, typically 2 years or younger, and can lead to limping.
2. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is an inherited genetic mutation that usually presents itself during adulthood, but is inherited at birth.
3. Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Also known as SMA, this chronic condition leads to the atrophy of the muscles in a Maine Coon’s lower spine and hind legs.
4. Polycystic Kidney Disease
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is inherited at kittenhood and causes cysts in the affected cat’s kidneys.
Stomatitis is an oral disorder that causes inflammation of a cat’s oral mucosa and can lead to drooling and chattering, among other symptoms.
6. Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is the second stage of gingivitis, which can occur if your cat’s teeth are not properly taken care of. To avoid this, make sure you do not give your Maine Coon wet food more than three times a week.
Maine Coons love to eat, and because many owners don’t know exactly how large their Maine Coon should be, they might overfeed their cat. To avoid obesity in your Maine Coon, you should consider keeping a Maine Coon growth chart during kittenhood, as well as regulate your cat’s food intake.
For further information on these health issues, including signs and symptoms, take a look at this article ‘Top 7 Maine Coon Health Issues‘.
Maine Coon Talking (Voice/Sounds)
One last characteristic that makes Maine Coons so charming is their voice. This breed is especially talkative, and will often “chat” with their owners through a variety of different sounds. You won’t have to worry about forgetting to feed your Maine Coon; they will let you know with a few loud meows until they are fed. This talkative breed is not shy about asking for attention!
If you aren’t too sure what a Maine Coon cat sounds like yet, listen to my talking Maine coon below!
The Maine Coon cat breed is beloved by many cat owners throughout the world. These gentle giants are highly intelligent and loving, and owning a Maine Coon is an extremely rewarding experience.
If you think you can provide a Maine Coon with all of the love and care it deserves, this cat will make a wonderful addition to your home!