Maine Coon cat breed profile
Big in stature and heart, these cats make sweet family additions.
Whether your cat is a purebred Maine Coon cat, or a Maine Coon cat mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health.
Maine Coons are known for their impressive stature. But these cats are just as sweet as they are large and can make a great addition to any family.
The history of Maine Coon cats
Maine Coon cats originated in Maine in the 19th century where they were valued as mousers, barn cats and ship cats. In fact, Maine Coons are still the official state cat.
“Modern Maine Coons are much larger than your average house cat, and they have developed a thick coat meant to keep them warm all throughout the harsh Northeastern winters,” Monica Frenden-Tarant, chief innovation officer of feline lifesaving at the Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society, says.
What do Maine Coon cats look like?
Maine Coons were named for their resemblance to raccoons. They generally have brown tabby coats and furry ringed tails. While brown tabby is the classic Maine Coon appearance, they can come in any coat color.
“They have an uneven two-layered coat with longer guard hairs over a silky undercoat and a prominent crest along their chest much like a lion's mane,” Frenden-Tarant says. “Built for the unforgiving Maine climate, Maine Coons have lots of long, thick, shaggy — but easily manageable — fur.”
These cats are easily distinguished by their size, often tipping the scales at 20 pounds or more. According to Frenden-Tarant, Maine Coons have robust bone structure and a rectangular body. Their large paws support a muscular body and their dense two-layered coat keeps them warm and dry, all traits that originally helped Maine Coons’ hunting skills and adaptability.
It’s important to note that, as with all cats, Maine Coons are not hypoallergenic, so fur and other allergens in their saliva, skin and dander can cause allergic reactions in some people.
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What is the difference between Maine Coon cats and other large cat breeds?
A Maine Coon's body is proportional and large, including eyes that are larger than other breeds. Their bodies are rectangular with a broad chest.
“Maine Coons have ears much like a lynx with tufts of hair tapering off to points,” Frenden-Tarant says. Maine Coons also have tufted hair on their paws, a feature unique to this breed, to protect their feet from inclimate weather.
It should come as no surprise that Maine Coons hold several world records for longest cat, longest tail and largest house cat. Maine Coons are also slow to physically mature in relation to other cat breeds and may not reach their full size until they are 3 to 5 years old.
“While most weigh 9 to 8 pounds, males over 20 pounds are not uncommon and they often reach between 19 to 40 inches long,” Frenden-Tarant says.
What are Maine Coon cats’ personalities like?
These big cats have above-average intelligence and are independent, but loyal, creatures. While not necessarily regarded as clingy lap cats, they’re often very relaxed and can get along well with other pets, including dogs.
“Stemming from their ancestral origins aboard ships, Maine Coons often have a fascination with water and are known for being quite vocal, chatting with you throughout their day and updating you on their adventures,” Frenden-Tarant says.
Maine Coon typically live 13 to 14 years. Much like large-breed dogs, their robust size results in a shorter lifespan than other smaller cat breeds.
Adopting a Maine Coon cat
Are you interested in adopting a Maine Coon cat, Maine Coon cat mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend.
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