Maine Coons

a ginger Maine Coon cat in a tree

Maine Coons are a popular breed of cat that have been around for centuries. They are known for their large size, intelligence, and playful personalities. These cats make great family pets, as they are very affectionate and loyal to their owners.

Maine Coons have a unique look that sets them apart from other breeds. Their coats can range in color from black to white, and they have a long, fluffy tail. They also have tufts of fur on their ears and feet, which gives them an extra layer of protection from the cold.

The Maine Coon cat is an extremely large cat native to North America, originating in the New England area of the United States. They have been bred for their size since the early 1900s. Today they are still one of the largest domesticated felines. The “Coon” part of their name refers to their 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 but less so with strangers.

Maine Coons don’t like to jump, but are happy to climb to find a perch to sleep. Your Maine Coon should be an indoor cat, because they don’t adapt to extreme temperatures very well.

Maine Coons are generally friendly, playful, curious, and independent. They are highly adaptable and enjoy living in a variety of environments. They are excellent hunters and you won’t find too many mice around a home where they live.

Maine Coons are very loving and affectionate cats. They are very social and like to spend time with people. They are also very smart and learn quickly.

Maine Coons are also known for being relatively low maintenance cats. They don’t need regular grooming, and their coats are relatively easy to care for. They also don’t need a lot of space, so if you live in an apartment or small home, a Maine Coon might be the perfect pet for you.

Overall, Maine Coons make great family pets. They are intelligent, affectionate, and playful cats that can give your family years of companionship and love. If you’re looking for a new pet, then a Maine Coon might be the perfect fit for you.

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 to be brushed twice a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: With family fine but not so much with strangers
  • Excessive Meow: Moderate
  • 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
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet 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

Physical Appearance of Maine Coons

a beautiful Maine Coon cat looking at something in the distance

Maine Coons are rather large cats 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. Their ears are wider at the base and pointed towards the end. They have large and wide oval shaped eyes. The color of their eyes can be 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 that gives it a rich texture. Their coat is shorter on their shoulders, back, and neck but longer on their stomach and legs. The fur on the tail is thick, long and flowing.

Their fur can have a variety of different patterns – tabby or solid colors. Common tabby patterns are classic tabby and mackerel tabby. The most popular color fur Maine Coons have is brown tabby.

Apart from the tabby patterns, their fur can also be a solid color, the most common being black, white, orange, and gray. While those are the most common colors, there are 75 different colors that a Maine Coon could have. 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 at you if they don’t like what you are doing to them. But they are curious and will spend a lot of time with their owners and watch what they are doing. Maine Coons love to spend time playing with the family members, especially the children. They are very affectionate and will push their head into their owners, or climb on them if they are feeling needy.

The cats are generally quiet but sometimes can make a unique chirping sound to get attention. 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 live comfortably in an apartment, even smaller ones.

Training a Maine Coon

a Maine Coon cat climbing through a tree branch

You’ll want to have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside. As long as you can do that you should have no problems getting them to use it. Just remember to keep it clean because this is the main reason why cats stop using the litter box.

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

Like most cats, they do enjoy scratching their nails on things. If you like your furniture looking new it’s a good idea to set up one or two scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or anything else, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post.

A scratching post will give them a place they can scratch anytime they have the urge and prevent damage to your furniture. Like teaching them anything, it may take time for them to understand the purpose of the scratching post. If you stick with it 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, watch their behavior. If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in to interrupt the behavior. If you want your current pets to accept the new one it’s best to do this before an existing pet gets too annoyed.

Clicker training is becoming more popular now. We have an entire article that shows you how to train your pets with clicker sounds. Basically you make a noise with the clicker when the cat does something which is considered good behavior. It will let them know that this is something that you like and hopefully they will continue to do it.

Their Compatibility with Children

a Maine Coon kitten

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 other cats might be. They will usually let you know when they don’t like what they are doing, usually by nipping at you.

To help the cats get along with the children, introduce them to the children when you get them home. These cats can be heavy, children under 5 years should not be lifting them because the cats can be quite a handful for them.

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 with something tied to it is a good example. This will be the fastest way for a child to build trust and affection with your Main Coon.

These cats are happy to seek people out 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.

Best Climate for Maine Coons

a beautiful Maine Coon cat laying in the grass

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 make sure that they have lots of water. Water will help them 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.

They should be brushed regularly, but especially in the summer months if your home doesn’t have air conditioning. Try to get as much fur off them as possible so they aren’t so hot.

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 or your feet. They sometimes almost demand affection from people.

Maine Coons love being lap cats and want to cuddle and receive affection from their 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. Playtime will help make them feel loved and also take care of their physical needs.

Health Issues

Most health conditions found in these cats are hereditary, but others like periodontal disease can be prevented by taking care of their teeth better. Something as simple as brushing their teeth once a week can do a lot to prevent most oral health problems Maine Coons could have.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

a Maine Coon kitten being checked out for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a cardiac disease that occurs in 10-15 percent of Maine Coons. It happens when the muscular walls of the heart thicken, impacting the efficiency of the heart. Eventually it can lead to blood clots that typically develop in their rear legs.

Lethargy, loss of appetite, difficulty in breathing, and inability to exercise are visible symptoms of the disease. Cats with this disease can have a life span between a few months to a few years if not treated. There is a genetic test that can be done, but not all cats with the genetic markers will develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is another hereditary problem that can make walking, getting up or laying down difficult and painful. With hip dysplasia the hip socket fails to fully cover the ball portion of their thigh bone. The looseness between the hip and leg bone 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. Over time the condition may become severe enough that your vet may recommend surgery to correct it.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

an image of motor neurons that break down during spinal muscular atrophy

Spinal Muscular Atrophy is an autosomal nerve disease that affects the motor neurons of cats and dogs. These motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord are responsible for the movement of just about every part of the body including breathing, speaking, and swallowing.

This genetic disease causes the motor neurons in your pet’s spinal cord to die. Because the muscles stop receiving signals, over time the muscle slowly begins to degenerate. The loss of signals and the muscle loss will cause your pet to have a weak and abnormal walk.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disease, found in some Maine Coons. Polycystic Kidney Disease is a genetic disease passed from parent to offspring, affecting between 10 and 15% of Maine Coons. This is a problem that typically doesn’t happen until the cat is at least 7 years old. The disease progresses when cysts on the kidneys grow and suppress normal kidney functions. Their kidneys will enlarge and its efficiency will continue to decrease. With proper treatment cats can live longer with a higher quality of life, but the disease is terminal.

The only way to be sure that your kitten will not develop Polycystic Kidney Disease is to see a report showing both of the parent cats lack the gene responsible for the disease. If neither parent has it, your kitten will not have it.

Periodontal Disease

Like many domesticated cats and dogs, Maine Coons can get periodontal disease if their oral health is not taken care of. Periodontal disease is a tooth and gum condition that can become serious in a few ways. One of the biggest problems is that this disease can destroy the gums and teeth of your pet if left untreated.

Another major problem is when the bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream. Plaque buildup in the mouth can damage the gums and let bacteria into the bloodstream. If this happens it can cause kidney and liver diseases and even narrow their blood vessels which can lead to heart problems.

One of the easiest ways to prevent periodontal disease is to regularly brush your pets mouth. They generally don’t like it, but regular brushing is the best way you can prevent plaque buildup in your pets mouth.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

a main coon cat outside hunting for something

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.

Every week it is important to check their nose, paws, and other areas of your cat while brushing them for signs of redness or other infections. If you see any signs of infection, call your vet immediately.

Feeding A Maine Coon

a large pile of cat food

We recommend that you feed your adult Maine Coon between ⅓ to ⅔ cup of high-quality cat food that is split between two meals. The exact meal size will depend upon the activities that your cat does during the day. A high energy cat who spends a lot of time playing will need more food than a low energy cat who prefers to relax.

Maine Coons have a tendency to gain weight. Monitor their activity level and how much you feed them and don’t feed them table scraps or people food.

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 feed them 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 then growth picks up 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 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. Most cats just have five toes on the front paws and four on the back.

Main Coons who are polydactyl usually have wider feet which can actually help them with balancing and climbing. The polydactyl condition 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.