The Maine Coon: a friendly and intelligent cat

Maine Coon outside

The Maine Coon is a half longhaired cat that looks very tough. The cat is known for being very playful and likes to go outside. Before you take this cat into your house it is wise to know a few things. Are you curious what kind of things they are? Then read on!


The origin: a natural breed from North America

The Maine Coon is a cat that comes from the state of Maine in North America. There are several stories about the past of the cat. One story is more likely than the other. There is uncertainty about the past of the Maine Coon.

For example, there is a legend that the Maine Coon originates from a cross between a domestic cat and a raccoon. The tail of the Maine Coon is very similar to that of a raccoon. This story remains a legend as a cross between a domestic cat and a raccoon is genetically impossible.

There are also stories that the domestic cat has been crossed with other local cats from the state of Maine. The cat is said to have been crossed with the Bobcat, the Lynx and other small wild cat species. Although this idea is more plausible than a cross with a raccoon, the wild cats mentioned have a short blunt tail. In this case a cross with a domestic cat cannot lead to the full long tail that the Maine Coon has.

Because crossing a domestic cat with a raccoon is genetically impossible and crossing the domestic cat with one of the mentioned wild cats would result in a completely different tail, it is assumed that the Maine Coon is a natural breed. The cat probably sailed on ships to the United States after which it adapted to the environment and the prevailing climate. Based on the theory of evolution the Maine Coon came into being. The weak cats died while the strong cats survived and adapted to the cold climate of Maine.


The appearance: a tough cat with a rough coat

The Maine Coon is quite muscular and a bit bigger than the average cat. A Maine Coon is often 1 meter long from head to tail. The weight is usually between 5 and 9 kilos with males often a bit heavier than females. The muzzle of the cat is square, and the cat has a big chin. Lynx tufts also occur on the ears and this is seen as an extra beauty of this cat, just like the “fluffy pieces of hair” on the legs.

The cat has a rough coat which gives the cat a tough look. The cat has a full collar and very long belly hair. Also, the tail is full of volume and quite long. The ears are quite long and have a crest hair. The same goes for the legs which are quite big and round in shape.

Maine Coon being held

The coat of the Maine Coon

The Maine Coon has a rather rough coat which makes many people think the cat looks tough. In general, the coat has a strong structure. The structure of the coat only depends on the pattern. The coat of the Maine Coon occurs in several patterns. Because of this the coat in one pattern can be a bit soft and fluffy, while in another pattern the coat is a bit stiffer and fatter.

The coat of the Maine Coon comes in several colours and patterns. Brown-tabby is the most popular. This type of coat has a marble pattern because there are black spots on a brown background. Small parts of the coat may turn white. You can think for example of the chin, neck and legs.

In total the coat of the Maine Coon can be found in more than 75 colour combinations. Almost all colours and patterns are allowed according to the breed standard. Only the pattern colourpoint and the colours lilac, chocolate, cinnamon and fawn are not allowed.


The character: playful, intelligent and friendly

The Maine Coon is known as a friendly and intelligent cat. The cat loves to play and as the Maine Coon is generally quite intelligent, they can often fetch. The Maine Coon also has a rather quiet character, so it is not easily upset or gets into a fight. The cat doesn’t use its nails very quickly, so you won’t be scratched by this cat. With unknown people and situations that are new to the cat, the cat is a bit shy and first looks at the cat from the tree. All in all, these characteristics combined with the appearance make the Maine Coon a very unique cat.

Maine Coon kitten

Upbringing: let your cat get used to human contact from an early age.

It’s important to socialise your kitten at a young age. By letting your kitten get used to people and human touch at an early age, you can start caring for your kitten at an early age. This way, brushing the teeth, cleaning the eyes and ears and cutting the nails will become a lot easier over time.

Socialising your cat at a young age is also very important for other reasons. By getting your kitten used to people, strange noises but also other animals at an early age, you’ll prevent your kitten from having complaints about anxiety and stress. These complaints can eventually lead to medical and behavioural problems.

A kitten generally has two socialisation periods. The first period is when your kitten is between 2 and 7 weeks old and the second period is when your kitten is between 7 and 14 weeks old. Breeders who are members of a cat club are only allowed to give away their kittens from the age of 13 weeks. With these kittens both socialisation periods are almost over. So, it is important to check if the breeder has socialised the kittens well when you take your kitten away from a breeder.


The care of the Maine Coon

In caring for the Maine Coon, it is important to cut the cat’s nails, brush the teeth and clean the eyes and ears in due time. By keeping these things up to date, your cat will stay in good health. It is also important to comb your cat’s coat regularly.

The Maine Coon’s coat is relatively easy to maintain compared to other cats. The coat repels water and hardly tangles. This is because the Maine Coon has almost no undercoat. It is therefore sufficient to comb and brush the coat once a week. In general, tangles develop the quickest at the armpits of the cat. When brushing your cat, it is important to bring the armpits with you.


The food the Maine Coon needs

The Maine Coon is a pretty big cat with a lot of energy. It is important that the cat gets sufficient food of good quality. Ideally you should alternate high quality dry food with occasional wet food. For example, you can give your cat wet food twice a week. It is important to buy good quality dry food as it is important for cats to use their teeth. Dry food prevents tartar in your cat.

Cats naturally eat mice. Mice consist for the most part of meat and for a small part of vegetable substances. So, cats are real meat eaters and get most nutrients from meat as well. In addition, cats have difficulty processing carbohydrates. When looking for the right food for your Maine Coon, it is important to take this into account. When buying food, it is important to look carefully at the ingredients listed on the label.

Maine Coon kitten laying down

Diseases and disorders common to the Maine Coon

Like humans, cats can also be affected by diseases and disorders in their lives. There are diseases and disorders that are common to all cats but there are also hereditary diseases that only occur in certain breeds. Some of the diseases and disorders that occur with the Maine Coon are:

  • Patella luxation (PL)
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
  • Polycistic Kidney Disease (PKD)
  • Hip dysplasia (HD)

Patella luxation is an abnormality that can occur in other Maine Coons. With this disorder the cat has a disorder of the kneecap near the hind legs. There is a considerable chance that a cat with this disorder will become lame in the long run. It is a hereditary disorder and therefore it should be carefully monitored when breeding Maine Coons.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disorder that occurs in many different types of cat breeds and therefore also in the Maine Coon. It is a disorder of the heart muscle that can be recognised by symptoms of tightness of the chest and rapid breathing in the cat. As a result of this disorder a cat can start eating very badly and eventually even experience paralysis. A sudden death due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy without these symptoms is also possible. The condition cannot be cured but your cat’s quality of life can be improved with medication and good nutrition.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a condition of the muscles that is hereditary. In this condition the muscles are not controlled properly. When your cat is between 8 and 12 months old it may seem that the condition is getting less but this can vary from cat to cat. There are no medicines available for this condition. However, it is possible to do a DNA test to test the parents. Especially for breeders this is recommended to prevent the disorder.

Polycistic Kidney Disease is a hereditary kidney disease. In this disease, the kidney function deteriorates over time. This disease can be recognised by the following:

  • The cat has less appetite
  • The cat can become very skinny
  • The cat can drink more and urinate more
  • The cat can move less
  • The cat may suffer from dehydration
  • Anaemia and vomiting can cause the cat to list pale mucous membranes.

As the polycistic Kidney Disease is a hereditary disease it is recommended to perform a DNA test before breeding the Maine Coon. Hip dysplasia is a kind of worn-out hip. It occurs more often in pedigree cats than in non-pedigree cats where the disease is most common in the Maine Coon. It is suspected that hip dysplasia is hereditary but there is no hard evidence for this yet. The disease can often be recognised because the cat is less active, moves stiffly and has difficulty doing its needs.

The pain associated with these complaints can eventually result in behavioural changes in the cat. The disease develops at an early age and the symptoms can be recognized for the first time on average between the age of 3 months and 3.5 years. In most cases, treatment is still possible to reduce the complaints. It is best to contact a veterinarian for this.


How old can the Maine Coone get?

If you have the Maine Coone in your house, you can assume that it will be about between 12 and 14 years old. This of course depends on the care and health of the cat. Will your Maine Coone have to deal with certain diseases and/or disorders? Is there a lot of stress in the house? Then your cat will feel the same. In that case the life expectancy will be lower.


What do you need to know before you take the cat into your home?

If you are looking for a Maine Coon with papers it is wise to visit a breeder who is a member of a cat club. When you are planning to buy a kitten, it is important to make sure that the kitten has grown up in a domestic environment and in the presence of the mother cat. Breeders should only give kittens when they are at least 13 weeks old. So, kittens go through almost the entire socialization process at the breeder. When buying it is important to make sure the cat is well socialized, dewormed and chipped.

Maine Coon cat

What kind of price do you have to think about?

For the Main Coone, you have to pay a price between 600 and 800 euros. If you have decided to buy a cat you have to distinguish between two types of costs. The first is the cost of the cat itself. With a real Maine Coon this is usually between 600 and 800 euros. These costs can differ, and you have to check if the kittens are already checked for diseases, if the kittens are neutered or if the kittens are suitable for breeding or for shows.

Besides the costs of purchasing the Maine Coon it is also wise to take into account additional costs for the purchase of a cat basket, scratching post and other accessories. Also, the cost of food and the costs of the vet should not be forgotten. The sum of just the food and veterinarian costs quickly amounts to 400 euros per year.


Are you planning on buying a Maine Coon?

When you are planning to buy a Maine Coon it is important that you take a good look at what having a Maine Coon exactly means and what it involves. We hope to have answered your most important questions. Do you have any questions? Then feel free to ask them in a comment under this article!

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