The Maine Coon is a large cat that originates from North Eastern America. They are an old breed that over the years has become among one of the most popular cats on the planet and for good reason. They have lovely, semi-long coats which paired to their charming looks and affectionate, loyal natures means they are ideal companions and family pets.
The Maine Coon is an old breed that's native to the United States. It's thought the breed came about when early seafarers took longhaired cats with them to America. These cats then mated with local shorthaired breeds and the result was large, robust cats that boasted having semi-longhair coats and bushy tails that looked very much like the tail of a racoon. Because the matings were random, these large cats came in a variety of coat patterns and colours, but they were bred to withstand Maine’s cold winter temperatures. They were originally kept as farm cats because they were natural hunters and extremely good "ratters". However, these large cats soon found their way into the hearts and homes of many people who then neutered them and kept them as pets which meant their breed numbers remained quite low.
Today, the Maine Coon is one of America's most popular breeds and since they first arrived on British shores in the 1980s, they have found a big fan base over here too. The breed was granted full recognition by the GCCF in 1993.
The Maine Coon is an extremely large cat that boasts having a muscular well developed body and robust, strong legs. Their heads are a little longer than they are wide with a cat's nasal bridge being halfway between their ear line and the tips of their noses. Muzzles are square and Maine Coons have firm chins. In profile there is a concave curve at a cat's nasal bridge, but no obvious break.
Their ears are large being tall and wider at the base before tapering to pointed tips. Ears are set high and nicely apart. They have large, round eyes that are set well apart on their faces and a little obliquely. Their eyes can be gold, copper or green and do not have to match a cat's coat colour. Cats with white coats often have odd coloured eyes or one blue eye.
They have strong, muscular, rectangular shaped bodies and powerful broad chests. They mature slowly and never really reach their full size until they are between 3 and 5 years old. They have wonderful bushy tails which are typically as long as a cat's body.
When it comes to their coat, the Maine Coon has a glorious semi-long coat that boasts having a glossy sheen to it. They come in just about every colour and pattern, but there are certain colours that are not allowed under the GCCF breed standard which are as follows:
The most commonly seen acceptable breed colours are as follows:
The Maine Coon is known for being a gentle giant and a cat that also boasts being an expert "ratter". They are extremely smart and thrive in a home environment because they like to know what is going on in a household. They enjoy being involved in everything that goes on and learn new things quickly. Many Maine Coons even enjoy being taken for a walk on a lead, much like their canine counterparts.
Maine Coons often choose the strangest of places to take a nap which could be a trait that's deeply embedded in their wilder psyche. They do not meow like other breeds either, but make a rather sweet chirping noise which for such large cats adds to their endearing personalities. However, they boast having quite a range of sounds which includes a "yowling" sound that can be quite loud at meal times. They form strong bonds with their owners and families, but are never clingy being quite independent characters by nature.
They remain very kitten-like right through to their senior years which is one of the reasons why it's so much fun sharing home with a Maine Coon. Males tend to be more clown-like in their behaviour than their female counterparts. Females are generally more dignified, but both males and females are extremely affectionate by nature because they thrive on human contact and don't like to be left on their own for long periods of time. As such, they are best suited to households where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house or where there are other pets whether it be a dog or another cat so a Maine Coon always has company.
The Maine Coon is known to be a highly intelligent cat and one that learns things extremely quickly. Being high energy cats, they enjoy playing interactive games like fetch and like being taken out for walks on a lead, much like their canine counterparts. They need to be kept busy to be truly happy although like other breeds, the Maine Coon likes to spend a lot of his day cat napping in the strangest of places which many people think could be a trait that goes way back to when they were kept as farm cats.
Maine Coons with their outgoing, affectionate and gentle personalities are the perfect choice for families with children and this includes toddlers. However, care has to be taken when very young children are around cats and any interaction should always be well supervised to make sure things stay nice and calm. Children need to be taught how to behave around cats and when to leave them alone.
They also get on well with dogs especially if they have grown up together. However, care has to be taken when introducing a Maine Coon to dogs they don't already know just in case the dog does not get on with their feline counterparts. They are incredibly social by nature and have been known to get on with smaller pets too. However, it's always wiser to keep a close eye on any cat when they are around smaller pets, just in case.
The average life expectancy of a Maine Coon is between 9 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate, good quality diet to suit their ages.
They are known to be a healthy breed, but there are two hereditary health issues that seems to affect the breed and which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these large and affectionate cats is as follows:
As with any other breed, Maine Coons need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. On top of this, cats need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives which is especially true of kittens and older cats.
Maine Coons boast having semi-long coats and as such they need a twice weekly brush to keep their coats in good condition and to prevent any tangles from forming. Like other breeds, they tend to shed quite heavily in the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to keep on top of things.
It's also important to check a cat's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections. Cats often suffer from ear mites which can be a real problem which is why it's so important to check their ears on a regular basis.
The Maine Coon is a high energy cat and one that boasts being a natural hunter. They love being able to roam around in the great outdoors and are renowned for being extremely good ratters. They are best suited to people who live in a country environment where it is safer for a cat to be able to explore their outside environment.
Cats kept as indoor pets need to be given lots of things to do and places to hide when they want to, bearing in mind that cats love to climb up high so they can look down on the world below and because Maine Coons are natural hunters, it allows them to indulge a deeply embedded instinct. They also need to have lots of places they can snuggle up for a snooze when the mood takes them because Maine Coons like other breeds love to cat nap throughout the day.
If you get a Maine Coon kitten from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same kitten food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a kitten's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older cats are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature cat several times a day making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements which is especially important as cats get older. It's also essential to keep an eye on a cat's weight because if they start to put on too much, it can have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing. Like all other breeds, Maine Coons need free access to fresh, clean water at all times.
If you are looking to buy a Maine Coon, you would need to pay anything from £300 to over £500 for a well-bred pedigree kitten. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Maine Coon in northern England would be £15.59 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £29.34 a month (quote as of Sept 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a cat's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a cat’s life. This would set you back between £15 - £20 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Maine Coon and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a cat when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £600 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Maine Coon would be between £30 to £50 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your cat, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred kitten.
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