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The Maine Coon is a sweet cat of medium to large size that was originally raised to keep rats out of the house and the barn. These muscular cats have long bodies and tails, which gives them a unique oversized look. Today, the Maine Coon is a popular house pet that humans love to cuddle with because of their soft, fluffy coats.
19 – 40 inches
12 – 18 pounds
11 – 13 years
White, black, cream, blue
Adults, families with kids, apartments, houses, multi-pet households
Gentle, affectionate, patient, intelligent
You will be more likely to encounter this cat while they are playing rather than napping. These cats are both popular and rare. The chance of finding one at the humane society or another animal rescue center is low. Many breeders only breed Maine Coon cats for sale during certain times of the year, so you may not even find one available at a local breeder depending on exactly when you look. But if you are committed to adopting a Maine Coon cat as a pet, you will eventually find the perfect pet to adopt for your household. Here is everything that you need to know about this interesting cat breed.
Maine Coon Characteristics
Maine Coon Kittens
Not all Maine Coon kittens are created equal. Some are extremely rambunctious or playful, while others are curious or shy. But every Maine Coon kitty is affectionate and loyal to their human family members. One of the greatest things about Maine Coons is that they often keep their playfulness well into adulthood, so even though they become much more independent they are always up for a little game of chasing the laser.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Maine Coon Cat
Maine Coons are easy-going, adaptable, and loyal. They will stick by their owner’s side through thick and thin, just like a dog would. These cats are smart and can read a room quickly, perhaps even more efficiently than their human companions, especially younger ones. They seem to know when drama or commotion is going to erupt, and they will be the first to leave the room before any action takes place. This breed is independent and does not mind spending time at home alone, but they expect plenty of love and attention from their human companions each and every day.
When it comes to smarts, this cat breed is considered to harbor above-average intelligence and can easily be trained to do things such as get into their beds when told, retrieve their toys and put them away in a designated area, and come when called. They can learn their names and those of their family members with ease. They can decern when someone is a friend or a foe. They also seem to know when it is mealtime without the provocation of humans or the convenience of being able to read a clock.
Related Read: 11 Cat Breeds That Act Like Dogs
Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪
Maine Coon cats are excellent pets for families of all types and sizes. They seem to get along with kids of all ages, and they rarely shy away from making new friends when people visit their homes. They should start being introduced to other people outside of the home from a young age to ensure that their outgoing and friendly nature shines as an adult.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
These cats do not mind spending their time with other cats, whether they are of the same breed or not. They can also learn to get along with other animal species, such as dogs, horses, goats, rabbits, and even guinea pigs. They do have a prey drive due to their ratting history, but they will not chase after animals that they live with if they are trained to do so from the time that they are kittens.
Things to Know When Owning a Maine Coon Cat
Here is everything that you should know about feeding, exercising, training, grooming, and caring for a Maine Coon if you adopted one as a pet of your own.
Food & Diet Requirements
The Maine Coon cat should eat high-quality commercial wet or dry food to ensure that all their nutritional needs are met. They are carnivores, so most of their diet should be made up of animal protein. In fact, the first thing on their food’s ingredient list should be chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or even fish.
In addition to quality commercial food, your Maine Coon should be offered an unlimited amount of fresh, clean water each day. Maine Coons are picky about water contaminants, even if it is a piece of food. So, refreshing the water multiple times a day may be necessary. If in doubt, your veterinarian can provide you with advice and recommendations when it comes to diet and nutrition for your Maine Coon cat.
These cats do need exercise to stay healthy and lean, but they should get all the exercise that they need by playing with toys and adventuring around the house throughout the day. If a Maine Coon lives in a small apartment, it may be necessary for human companions to take time out of their day for interactive play with them. This breed can be trained to walk on a leash for outdoor adventures, but leash walking is not necessary simply for exercise.
While Maine Coons may not be able to take on all the same training that dogs can, they can learn many commands and tricks that will help make life easier and happier for everyone in the household. They can be trained to walk on a leash for outdoor fun. They can also learn to come when their name is called and to sit down while waiting for a meal.
They can also clean up by learning how to retrieve toys and put them away in a designated area. Shaking paws, rolling over, and jumping over obstacles are fun things that they can learn. Like all cats, Maine Coons do things on their own time, so it takes a great deal of patience and practice to train them. Training is not necessary, but it is rewarding.
The Maine Coon’s hair is thick and long, so it should be groomed by hand a couple of times a week. Brushing or combing will help get rid of old, loose hair so it does not end up on your home’s furniture and flooring. Combing or brushing also minimizes the risk of knots and mats developing. Occasional bathing may be necessary, as these cats can get stinky, especially if they spend at least some of their time outdoors. Nail clipping should be done once a month or so to prevent damage to their nails and the furniture inside your home.
Health and Conditions 🏥
The Maine Coon can grow up to be a healthy, active adult no matter their lineage, but unfortunately, there are a few health conditions that they are genetically predisposed to. Here are the conditions that any Maine Coon should be monitored for by their veterinarian.
It is important to keep an eye out for any signs or symptoms that could mean the development of any of these health conditions. Your vet can provide you with a list of signs and symptoms to look for.
Male vs. Female
While it can be tough to tell the difference between a male and female Maine Coon, there are a few indicators. First, male Maine Coons are typically slightly larger than females, which is more noticeable when a male and female are standing right next to each other. Males also seem to be more dependent on their human companions than females are.
On the other hand, females tend to be more outgoing and independent, although they do love their snuggle time almost as much as the boys do. However, both boy and girl Maine Coons are fun-loving, affectionate, loyal, and playful creatures that are a joy to spend time around.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Maine Coon
Maine Coon cats are interesting and unique. While they do share many similarities to other cat breeds, their differences are worth celebrating. Here are a few facts about the Maine Coon that are less well known.
1. They Are an Official State Cat
The Maine Coon Cat is not only named after the state of Maine, but they are also the state’s official cat and are revered as such among breeders and families in the area. One reason this breed is the official state cat is that they have shown a remarkable ability to adapt to the extreme weather changes throughout the year that Maine is well known for.
2. They Are Referred to as Gentle Giants
These cats are referred to as gentle giants by their owners and those that know them well because they are large in size for their species, yet they are extremely gentle, sweet, loving, and/or shy. The extent to which they are any of these things depends on each cat’s unique temperament, but in general, all Maine Coons are loving.
3. They Love to Communicate
Maine Coons are vocal creatures and will take any chance that they get to talk, sing, or meow their way into your heart. They will keep you company with a conversation while making dinner, they will wake you up with a gentle song in the morning, and they will not hesitate to meow and wake you up in the middle of the night if any of their needs are not being met.
The Maine Coon cat breed is intriguing, interactive, and a loyal family companion. They are somewhat rare yet popular at the same time, which makes them a unique family pet that most people would be lucky to get their hands on. It is always a good idea to check the local shelters for a Maine Coon before buying one from a breeder, but chances are small that you will find one. If you do, though, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have helped save a life.
Looking for more cat breeds? Try our articles on 15 Cat Breeds That Get Along with Other Cats or 13 Asian Cat Breeds (with Pictures).
Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock