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Maine Coon Cat Breed

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Maine Coon cat overview

Main Coon Cat sitting down

Maine Coon: the cat breed with a “dog-like” personality.

The Maine Coon is a truly majestic cat breed, famous for being one of the largest domesticated breeds. Maine Coon cats are revered for their thick double coats which are well suited for freezing Maine winters in the United States, as well as their unique “dog-like” personality.

Maine Coon cats are affectionately referred to as “gentle giants” due to their bubbly personalities and mighty stature. Maine Coon characteristics mean they make excellent family pets and thrive in a busy household! Maine Coons also require daily grooming, to keep that lustrous fur soft and silky.

Maine Coons are a native breed. A Maine Coons lifespan averages at 10-13 years, however, as with many breeds, they have also been known to have a longer life expectancy.

Breed history and origin

The Maine Coon’s ancestry is widely speculated on and filled with legends, which only adds to their mystique. They originated from Maine Coon in the United States, however, folklore speculates they were bred from angora cats once owned by Marie Antoinette or long haired cats brought to America by the Vikings. Another story links the Maine Coon’s name to a British captain who sailed New England in the 19th Century. Charles Coon was fond of longhaired cats and kept them aboard.

Genetic testing suggests that the Maine Coon is a descendant of both the Norwegian Forest cat and a mysterious extinct domestic breed, which makes the Viking theory a little more plausible.

Commonly mixed breeds include Ragdoll, Bengal, Siamese, Persian and Norwegian Forest Cat.

Key characteristics of the Maine Coon cat breed

This breed is a huge cat with a sweet personality. The Maine Coon is well known for their key characteristics, including their smart and bubbly temperaments. These cats have pointed ears and paw tufts, dense coats and extremely long and fluffy tails, which adds softness to their muscular build.

Maine Coon cat’s core characteristics include a warm, affectionate personality, mixed with a highly intelligent and inquisitive nature. Main Coons thrive in a busy home as they particularly enjoy human company, however, they can also live happily in smaller households.

Physical characteristics of the Maine Coon cat breed

These cats are easily recognisable by their impressive size, athletic bodies and distinctly soft fur. The average female weighs up to 6kg and the average male weighs up to 8kg, however, some males have reached 13kg.

Generally, Maine Coon coat colours include brown tabby, blue, white, cream, black and orange. The rarest shades of Maine Coon coats are considered to be Gold and Silver.

One of the most notable facial characteristics is those adorable ear tufts that the breed is known for, ear tufts are fairly uncommon traits found in felines.

Maine Coon cat’s grooming and hygiene needs

Maine Coon are known for their lustrous, double coats which help them retain heat in the winter. Therefore they require frequent grooming to avoid their thick coats matting. When matting occurs professional grooming will be required to restore the coat, therefore we suggest the following at-home grooming routine for maintaining a healthy coat:

  • Maine Coons need to be groomed once a day with a high-quality dual-sided, metal pin brush to keep their coats silky and remove dead hair and skin.
  • Focus your attention on the head of your cat first and work towards the tail, make sure to brush your cat's legs and belly, as Maine Coons are more prone to tangled fur in these areas. Special attention is required during the winter if your cat is outdoors.
  • Bathing your cat may be required once every 3 months if your Maine Coon is an excessive shredder and needs some help keeping clean.
  • Due to the Maine Coons ear tufts, they sometimes find it harder to keep their ears clean. You can clean your pet’s ears at home using a warm, slightly damp cotton pad. Avoid getting the area too wet, as this can cause problems. Be careful and gentle with your cat’s ears and never place anything into the ear, instead simply wipe the top of the ear clean and never insert a cotton bud.
  • You can also clean your pet’s eyes with a soft wet cloth or cotton ball, removing any build-up of eye discharge and keeping the fur of your cat’s face clean.
  • If your Maine Coon is an indoor cat you will also need to trim your cat’s nails to keep them healthy. You can do this at home using cat nail clippers or visit your local groomer if you find your pet is not cooperating.

Maine Coon cat’s behaviour and training needs

Due to their nature as extremely friendly, intelligent and curious animals, Maine Coons respond well to training. Litter training kittens is the first step to ensuring your pet settles into their new home smoothly. Litter training requires placing the kitten in the litter tray every 1-2 hours, showing them how to use their paws while inside the litter tray and providing gentle encouragement. Soon your pet will pick up these cues and litter training will be complete. Litter training comes naturally to this smart breed. You can also explore lead training (teaching your pet to walk with a lead outdoors) and basic tricks, like sitting and responding to different commands using positive reinforcement (treats!) or a training clicker.

Early socialisation is always important to ensure your pet gets on well with everyone coming in and out of your home and improve your cat’s behaviour. Problems like scratching furniture or excessive meowing can be resolved by making sure your cat has access to scratching posts to take this energy out on instead and socialising and playing with your pet every day with their favourite toys.

Main Coon cats sitting together

Mental and physical engagement for Maine Coon cats

Some suggestions for keeping your Maine Coon mentally stimulated include puzzle toys filled with WHISKAS® Cat Treats, cat shelves, cat trees, and wall-mounted climbing walls.

Quality play is especially important with this breed, as Maine Coons can be known for causing kitten-like mischief well into adulthood and having boundless energy. This breed needs consistent mental and physical stimulation from their owners.

Maine coon cat’s nutritional requirements

Your pet's diet is extremely important for maintaining their overall health, so selecting a high-quality cat food brand that you can trust is key. With this breed, it is important to maintain a balanced mix of fats and carbohydrates, achieved by feeding a complete and balanced cat food tailored for the cat's life-stage and life-style (including wet and dry food). This ensures that your pet stays a healthy weight while supporting joint health and coat shine. Common dietary sensitivities include beef and gluten. Maine Coons may benefit from a hypoallergenic diet if they are showing symptoms of food sensitivities, these cat foods do not contain common allergens like beef, wheat, soya, dairy, eggs, and additives

Hydration is also very important as this breed likes to drink a lot of water, especially out of the tap! Providing a water fountain as well as a bowl can help quench your pet's thirst, wet food also provides a natural source of hydration. 

Are Maine Coon's suitable for families?

Maine Coons make wonderful family pets due to their affectionate and warm temperament. They are known as gentle giants for a reason. These characteristics make them good with children due to their caring nature. They are suited to family life, new family members and pets as long as they have been well-socialised and slowly introduced.

This highly adaptable breed can thrive in harsher, cold environments however, they also appreciate the slower pace of indoor living.

Main Coon Cat sitting on the counter in the kitchen

Finding a responsible breeder for Maine Coon cats

You must choose a responsible breeder to support ethical breeding practices and ensure the future health of your new pet. Responsible breeding practices play a key role in the well-being of any cat breed. Checking the cleanliness of the Maine Coon kitten, their living conditions and the quality of the kitten’s food provided for them is essential.

Doing your research is key to finding a reputable Maine Coon kitten breeder, look for people with an excellent reputation within the Maine Coon community. You can also ask for references from previous buyers, to see the mother and father of the kittens and request information about genetic testing and vaccinations.

Genetic health consideration

Unfortunately, all breeds have some common genetic health issues to be wary of, this further emphasises the need for genetic testing to ensure responsible breeding practices. Responsible breeders should show you the Maine Coon kittens paperwork, including genetic testing.

Maine Coon cat: FAQ

Are Maine Coon cats high maintenance?

Like all cat breeds, Maine Coons have unique characteristics, grooming needs and health considerations. They can be deemed rather high maintenance by some owners, however with the right mix of physical and intellectual stimulation, a complete and balanced diet of wet and dry food and lots of love and care - they are the perfect family pet.

Do Maine Coons shed a lot?

Maine Coons are revered for their thick double coats which are well suited for freezing Maine winters in the United States. They do need to be groomed regularly, however, they do not shed any more than the average long-haired breed.

Ultimately, the Maine Coon is a perfect addition to your family as long as you have enough attention and love to dedicate to them, as they thrive off human interaction and play. They make bright, loving and loyal pets and are very adaptable to their environment.

Interested in finding out more about different cat breeds? Check out our breed finder page.

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