Maine Coons

Maine Coons originated in the New England area of the United States. The “Coon” part of their name refers to the resemblance to racoons’ brown tabby coat and ringed tail. 

They were known as mousers, farm cats and ship’s cats in the 19th century. Today’s Maine Coons are more likely to be found as family pets than working cats. This popular breed is friendly with adults, children, families and strangers.

These are very large cats who, surprisingly, need very little space to live comfortably. With medium exercise and grooming requirements, Maine Coons would make excellent pets for people who want a relaxed pet for a relaxed atmosphere. 

This cat will not likely jump, but will climb to find a perch for sleeping. Your Maine Coon will be an indoor cat, as it does not adapt to extremes in temperature.

a Maine Coon laying in the grass

Maine Coon Information

  • Average Height: 10 to 16 inches
  • Average Length: 19 to 32 inches
  • Average Weight: 13 to 18 pounds
  • Coat Type: Medium length and somewhat shaggy
  • Coat Appearance: They have a shaggy water-resistant coat that is soft and silky
  • Coat Colors: Brown tabby, black, white, orange, and gray.
  • Grooming Needs: Medium
  • Shedding: High shedding
  • Brushing Requirements: They need brushings twice a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: With family fine but not so much with strangers
  • Excessive Meow: Moderate
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: Cold yes, heat no. 
  • Good Pet: They are relaxed, friendly, and love to spend time with the owners, so yes!
  • Safe with Children: Yes, they love children!
  • Good with Other Cats: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Suitable for First-Time Cat Owners: Yes 
  • Exercise Needs: Medium need
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, polycystic kidney disease, spinal muscular atrophy, and other dental conditions
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 12 to 15 years
a Maine Coon kitten with a playful background

Physical Appearance of Maine Coons 

Maine Coons are a medium to a large-sized cat with a balanced and muscular body. They have large, medium-length legs with big and round paws. They have a broad chest, medium-length neck, and well-built shoulders. The tail of the cats is long, wide at the base and tapering towards the end.

Their head is of medium-length and is slightly longer than the width. They have a somewhat square-shaped, pointed snout of medium length. The ears are large and well-tufted with fur, being wider at the base and pointed towards the end. The eyes are large and wide, having an oval shape. The color of the eyes can be in shades of green, gold, or copper.

Maine Coons have a medium-length double coat that is heavy and shaggy. The coat has a smooth and silky feel which gives it a rich texture. The coat is shorter on the shoulders, back, and neck while being longer on the stomach and legs. The fur on the tail is long and flowing.

These cats can come in a variety of patterns – tabby or solid colors. Common tabby patterns are classic tabby and mackerel tabby. The most popular color in which Maine Coons are found in the brown tabby. 

Apart from this, the cat also comes in solid colors like black, white, orange, and gray. Maine Coons come in more than 75 colors. The Cat Fanciers Association actually has all 75 colors recognized.

Temperament of Maine Coons

They are friendly, smart, and playful. They can also be quite needy, and have a tendency to nip if they don’t like what you are doing to them. But they are curious and will often follow the owners around the house to watch what they are doing. Maine Coon loves to spend time playing with the family members, especially the children. They are very affectionate and will often seek out the attention of their owners if they are feeling needy. 

The cats are generally quiet but sometimes can make a unique chirping sound to get the attention of the owners. They do not like to jump like most other cats but prefer to move around closer to the floor. Even though they don’t care to jump, like most cats they enjoy perching as high in the home as they can, especially while they sleep.

Though they are large size cats, they have medium-energy which helps them to stay comfortably in an apartment, even smaller ones.

Training a Maine Coon

As long as you have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside you should have no problems with them using it.  Just remember to keep it clean as this is the main reason why a cat may not use the litter box.

You may see a few accidents in the beginning but do not punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they use the litter box. This will help them to understand what kind of behavior is expected of them. 

To take care of their scratching habits, set up scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or any other object, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. This will take care of their scratching habits and also prevent damage to your furniture. It may take time for them to get used to it in the beginning but eventually, they will learn.

If you already have pets in your home then there are some basic steps to take to teach the new cat how to interact with the existing pets.  After you’ve introduced the new cat to each pet, observe their behavior.  If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in and tell them no.  You want to do this before an existing pet tells the new one for you.

a Maine Coon outside looking at something in the distance

Their Compatibility with Children

Maine Coons are friendly and love playing with children. The cats really enjoy the attention they receive from children. They form strong bonds with children who treat them politely and with respect. 

As long as the cat is correctly trained not to nip when it gets annoyed there should not be any issues with them.  This cat is not as forgiving with children as others as it is known to let people know when they don’t like what they are doing.

To help the cats get along will the children, introduce them to the children when you get them home.  Because these cats are bigger, children under 5 years should not be lifting them as the cats can be quite heavy.

As they were bred to catch mice, they do enjoy toys that give them the feel of catching something. A mouse on a stick or string is a good example. This would be the fastest way for a child to build trust and affection with a Main Coon.

The cats are happy to seek out people when they want to be played with or receive affection.  Until you know how they play together it is always recommended to have an adult monitor their interactions. 

a Maine Coon high in a tree

Best Climate for Maine Coons

Maine Coons were originally bred to tolerate extreme cold. They have a thick double-coat on their body which allows them to manage with temperatures as low as 32 degrees. Remember that while they can handle this cold, they are still indoor animals and should not be going outside. 

For warm areas, you should keep them in an air-conditioned environment and provide them with lots of water. This will help them to stay cool. with their warm coat, it will be difficult for them to release extra body heat. Water and an air-conditioned home will keep them from overheating.

The Attention a Maine Coon Needs

Like every cat breed, the Maine Coon also loves getting attention from their owners. It is not at all uncommon for them to walk up to their owners and throw themselves into your hands. They sometimes almost demand affection from people.  

Maine Coons love being lap cats and want to cuddle and receive affection from its owners. They love just laying or sleeping beside you on the bed or couch. 

For as large of a cat as they are, they really are not terribly active.  They only need about 15-20 minutes of play time to be happy. This will help to make them feel loved and also take care of their physical needs.

Health Issues

Most health conditions found in these cats are hereditary. A common genetic condition in the Maine Coon is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). It happens when a part of the heart suddenly thickens. This reduces the efficiency of the heart to pump blood. It could then lead to lethargy, swelling in legs, and difficulty in breathing. Early detection and medication can help to prevent the disease from getting worse. 

Hip dysplasia is another hereditary condition that they can have. In this, the hip socket fails to fully cover the ball portion of the thigh bone. This leads to partial or complete dislocation of the hip joint and can cause pain and stiffness. In most cases, medication and exercise restrictions are advised by the vet. If the condition is severe the vet may recommend surgery to correct it.

Spinal muscular atrophy is also a genetic disorder they are known to get. It impacts the skeletal muscles of the middle body and limbs. This can cause instability in walking and abnormal body postures. 

Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition is also found in some Maine Coons. This is a problem that typically doesn’t happen until the cat is at least 7 years old.  It happens when cysts develop inside the kidney. This causes the kidney to enlarge and lose its efficiency. As it gradually grows, there could be severe health implications for the cat. With proper treatment, cats can have a healthy life.

Like other cats, Maine Coons can also have periodontal diseases. It is a tooth and gum condition that becomes serious when the plaque build-up in the mouth enters the bloodstream. This can lead to kidney and liver diseases. To prevent this from occurring you should maintain proper dental hygiene and brush their teeth frequently to prevent plaque buildup.

a Maine Coon walking on a branch
a Maine Coon kitten laying playfully on a blanket

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Though Maine Coons have thick and long coats, they do not have high grooming needs. The hair on the coat does not mat easily and can be maintained by brushing them two times a week. You should use a stainless steel comb to softly brush them. This will remove the loose fur from their body.

The fur under the tail can have bits of poop stuck to it. If you notice them with this problem it should be something that you watch for on a regular basis.  You really don’t want them dragging poop around the house.

Wipe the area using a wet cloth or baby wipes to keep it clean. Bath them as needed if the problem warrants it, and usually it will not. If you find their coat is oily or has become dirty use an animal shampoo to bathe them. 

Check the area around their eyes. Like other cats, they are also prone to having teary eyes. To take care of this, use a moist cloth to wipe the area daily and keep it free of stains. Check their ears for dirt or wax build-up. Use a wet cotton cloth to remove the dirt or wax only from the visible part of the ears. 

Trim the nails every week. This will prevent the cat from damaging your furniture or accidentally hurting the children. Check each week the nose, skin, and paws while brushing them. This will help to identify any signs of redness or infection. Take them to the vet, if you think they require a check-up.

a large pile of multi colored cat food

Feeding A Maine Coon

An adult Maine Coon needs ⅓ to ⅔ cup of high-quality cat food which should be divided into two meals. The food that you feed should contain taurine which is an essential nutrient that every cat needs. It is an amino acid that nourishes the brain, eyes, and also helps to improve the immune system of the cats. Consult your vet to find out if the food that you serve has the necessary nutrients.

Related Questions:

How long does it take for Maine Coons to fully mature?

Maine Coon kittens grow slowly. To reach their full length and weight, it can take them up to 4 years. For the first two years, their growth is relatively slow and the growth picks up only after their second year.

What are the differences between male and female Maine Coons?

The male Maine Coons are bigger than females. Another major difference is in their personality. The males are more demanding of their owners and want more playtime than what the females want. The males are also comfortable in socializing with strangers and other pets. The females tend to be more cautious in interacting with strangers than males.

Are Maine Coons polydactyl cats?

Polydactyl is a condition in which the cats are born with more than the usual number of toes in their paws. Some polydactyl Maine Coons can have six or even more toes on each paw while most cats have five toes on the front paws and four on the back. 

Because of this they have wider toes which could actually benefit them in balancing or climbing. It is caused by a genetic mutation and is considered harmless in most cats. Though any breed of cat can have this condition, it is more common in Maine Coons. Over the decades the number of Maine Coons born with this condition has significantly reduced.

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