Maine Coon History
As with many domestic cat breeds, the origin of the Maine Coon is not known to man. However, there are many different stories about the development of the breed, some could be true others are just ridiculous! One story arose that Maine Coons are a domestic cat/raccoon hybrid, hence the name and the tail similarities. Obviously this is biologically unachievable but it didn't stop people believing the rumour. Another well known story is that they are the descendants of Marie-Antionette's long-haired cats.
The most realistic tale of the Maine Coon origin is that of a seaman with a rodent problem. Captain Coon sailed the seas in the 18h century and used long-haired cats to control rats on board the ship. It is believed some of the cats went ashore in Northern America and lived on farms with early settlers. There is no hard evidence that suggests any of these tales are true, all we know is that somehow this large, beautiful, affectionate breed of cat was given to us and we are very thankful.
In 1968 the Maine Coon Breeds and Fanciers Association was founded in the US, more recently the Maine Coon Cat Club and the Maine Coon Breed Society were set up in the UK. It took until 1994 for the Maine Coon to be granted full GCCF Championship Status in the UK. Now it is the 7th most popular breed in their registry.
Maine Coon Appearance
Maine Coon's are one of the largest domestic cat breeds, at full maturity males usually weigh between 12 and 18 lbs and females between 10 and 14 lbs. Often their coats make them appear larger than they actually are due to the placement of longer hair against short hair. Their ears are large, set quite far apart and slightly pointed. Eyes are also large and can be green, copper or gold, sometimes white Maine Coons have blue or odd coloured eyes. This breed of cat can take up to four years to reach full size.
The coat has to be one of the most desirable aspects of this breed, it is long and scruffy looking but feels silky when touched. The fur is shorter towards the cats head and longer on the stomach and back, their tails are long (as long if not longer than their bodies) and fluffy with flowing fur. Brown tabby is the most common colour and pattern for a Maine Coon but many other colours are accepted as well. Fur can become tangled quite easily therefore grooming a few times a week is recommended.
Maine Coon Character and Temperament
Maine Coons are often labelled the clowns of the cat fancy, although quiet and reserved, small things can turn them silly! They are intelligent and learn to adapt well to changes in their lives and love nothing more than to be adored by their human companions. They are loving, affectionate animals but also enjoy their independence � a garden is a great place for them to run around and practice their hunting skills. They are a playful breed of cat but also love a long sleep on the sofa. You may be surprised to find your Maine Coon sleeping in a very strange place, they are well known for this.
It is common for a Maine Coon to bond strongly with one member of the family, this is usually the person that spends the most time with them and of course... feeds them! Sometimes they can shy away from people they don't know but just give them time to get used to the situation. They are great with young children and other domestic pets and do not crave too much attention unlike some other breeds.
Some of the Maine Coons' important characteristics are shown below:
Maine Coon Lifespan
9 - 15 years
Average Litter Size
4 - 5 kittens
The Maine Coon is a healthy and hardy breed of cat and many live into their late teens. Like with all breeds they should be checked by the vet yearly for teeth deficiencies and liver problems from about the age of 8 or 9 onwards.