In this breed guide, Aideen McCanny takes a closer look at the popular Maine Coon. Find out if this beautiful breed could be the right cat for you.
Big in size and personality, there’s no denying that these former hunting cats have lovingly made their way into the hearts and homes of thousands across the country. With raccoon-esque tails and an abundance of fur, the friendly and affectionate breed will easily become a loyal and devoted member of your family. Whether you’re considering getting one, or already own a Maine Coon and are keen to know more, here, we round-up everything you need to know about this one-of-a-kind cat breed.
Lovingly known as ‘the gentle giant’, the Maine Coon cat boasts a muscular body, with strong, robust legs. Large, pointed ears and wide-set eyes make them instantly recognisable, but their attention-grabbing feature is their furry bodies. As a semi-longhaired cat and former hunting breed, their long, flowing coats act as protection from the elements, while their big, bushy tails give them distinction. As they slowly mature, they don’t reach their peak size until around 3 to 5 years old.
As the largest domesticated cat breed, you can expect a male Maine Coon cat to weigh between 12-25 pounds, while a female will reach 10-15 pounds. In terms of height, males stand at around 10-16 inches, while their bodies grow to approximately 40 inches long. Females are slighter shorter at 8-14 inches and can typically reach the same length as males.
When it comes to their personalities, these cats have oodles to offer. It won’t surprise you to learn that given their stature, they possess many dog-like characteristics. These cats like to be the centre of attention and thrive on knowing what is going on in your home. Many like being taken for walks on leads and due to their intelligence, they can even be taught to open doors or retrieve small items. As natural born hunters, they are also great ‘ratters’.
One of the most commented-on features of the Maine Coon is their array of vocalisations. From endearing chirp like noises, which are exhibited over a cat’s usual meow, to “yowling” around meal-times, these are no ordinary cats.
Thriving on human contact, this breed forms strong bonds with their owners. They are best suited to a family where one person is at home most of the time and they are extremely compatible with most other breeds of cats and dogs.
As one of the smartest cat breeds, Maine Coons definitely need to be kept on their paws. They pick up new tricks quickly and enjoy intelligent games so they can show off. As large cats, they’ll need plenty of running around or walks on a lead, particular in areas when they can roam and explore.
When properly cared for and fed an appropriate diet, Maine Coons generally live to between 9 and 15 years. While typically they are healthy, like most cat breeds, they are predisposed to a couple of hereditary health issues, including feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and hip dysplasia. When purchasing a kitten or cat from a breeder, ensure both of these conditions have already been checked out by a vet.
With a semi-longhaired coat, Maine Coons will definitely need regular grooming, at least twice a week. This will ensure their coats are kept tangle-free and healthy and avoid hairballs becoming a problem. Take a look at our guide to grooming your cat for some guidance and these 5 essential tools for grooming your cat at home. Like the majority of cats, they tend to shed more during the spring and summer, so up your grooming regime during the warmer half of the year.
Do you own a Maine Coon cat or are thinking about getting one? Tell us in the comments below.