Breed of the Week: Maine Coon

This week we’re taking a look at the Maine Coon, the largest domesticated cat breed.  My sis and I have decided that we want one, so I’m doing a post about it 😀

MaineThe Maine Coon is “native” to Maine, though it was likely brought over from another country and bred and perfected in the US.  No records exist before its introduction in the US, though, so it is considered a native of New England.  There are theories regarding its origin, the most likely being that the Maine Coon resulted from the breeding of Norwegian Forest Cats brought over by seafaring Norsemen to New England, or that the long-haired cats of Captain Charles Coon would exit the ship once docked and breed with the short-haired cats of New England, or that the Maine Coon resulted from the crossbreeding of long-haired cats with the bobcat, which could explain the tufts of fur at the tips of some Maine Coons’ ears.  Wherever this majestic cat originally came from, it is now the state cat of Maine and a favorite among many cat lovers.

Maine Coons were used primarily as mousers, farm cats, and ship cats in the harsh Maine climate.  Their oddly uneven two-layered coat helps insulate them from the cold and keeps them from overheating in warmer weather, much like a Great Pyrenees’ double layer coat.  Their fur is also longer on their belly and the backs of their legs and rear where it’s likely to come into contact with wet ground and snow.  They are equipped with large paws and toes padded with extra thick tufts of fur between them that allow their paws to act somewhat like a snowshoe.

Maine Coons are one of those breeds some people consider “dog-like.”  They enjoy playing fetch, learning tricks, and following their humans around the house.  They are not, however, clingy cats.  They’ll accept attention when given, but will go do their own thing once their human is busy with something else.  They’re chill like that.

Although the most common color among Maine Coons is brown tabby, they can actually come in just about any color.  The only colors not accepted in the show ring and that indicate crossbreeding are chocolate, lavender, Siamese pointed patterns, and “ticked” patterns.

Their coat only needs brushed twice weekly.  It’s recommended one use a steel comb to pull out any tangles and a grooming rake to pull out any of the undercoat that has died, which is the primary cause of tangles.  It can also be rather itchy if left there, so it’s best to accustom one’s Maine Coon to brushing early on.

Maine Coons are often called “gentle giants.”  They adapt to many lifestyles and personalities and can even get along with children and cat-friendly dogs due to their amiable nature.  Males tend to be very kittenish in play and even clown-like while the females tend to be more dignified.  They both, however, enjoy playing with teasers and chasing mice – real or fake.

If you are interested in purchasing or adopting a Maine Coon, please do your research.  These cats could very easily be for anyone with their amiable nature and love of people, however, understand that they are usually larger than other cats and will require more food.  Please be sure you are able to afford their appetite!  If, however, you are looking for a fluffy feline companion that loves you but isn’t needy, that isn’t much of a climber, and is usually fairly quiet, this cat might just be the pet for you!

Fun Fact:  There is another theory about the Maine Coon’s origins based on its traits, though it’s more of a myth as it’s genetically impossible, and that is that the Maine Coon descended from semi-feral domestic cats and raccoons, which is where the cats get their brown tabby color and bushy, raccoon-like tail.

Do you or have you owned a Maine Coon? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below! I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions? Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week? Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

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