For the last few decades the Maine Coon has been one of the most well-known and cherished cat breeds in North America, which is of absolutely no surprise given their incredible personalities and appearance.
According to the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA), the Maine Coon was the third most popular cat breed in 2015, measured by number of registrations. With a large number reputable breeders in the United States and a huge fan following, the Maine Coon is going nowhere soon.
- Nickname: Gentle Giant
- Coat Length: Long
- Shedding: High
- Hypoallergenic: No
- Average Female Weight: 8-12 lbs
- Average Male Weight: 13-18 lbs
- Time to Maturity: 3-4 years
- Life Expectancy: 10-13 years
- Origins: Maine
- Social: High
- Intelligence: High
- Kid/Pet Friendly: High
Maine Coon Characteristics
The Maine Coon is one of the most easily recognizable cat breeds from their appearance alone. They’re one of the largest cat breeds in the world, averaging between 8 to 18 pounds, which females tending towards the lighter side (8-12 pounds) and males tending towards the heavier side (13 to 18 pounds).
Maine Coons are muscular felines, which strong, compact bodies perfect for hunting, fishing and withstanding harsh environments. They look even larger with their long coat of hair, which kept them warm in the harsh, cold winters of Maine.
You’ll notice tufts of hair around their paws, perfect for walking in the snow. Their tails are gigantic poofs of fluff as well and they have very distinct lynx ears with long hairs coming out the top.
Maine Coons come in a wide variety (84, to be exact) of colors and patterns, from bright orange tabby to solid midnight black. Only very few patterns are not accepted by cat associations, including ticked tabby pattern.
The face of the Maine Coon is extremely unique, resembling that of a lion with their long faces and large muzzle. Indeed, they look fierce, but their personalities couldn’t be any more different!
Maine Coon Personality
Maine Coons have fabulous personalities that make them perfect companions for a lot of people. Many owners describe them as “dog-like” because of their incredible loyalty and outgoing nature. Don’t be surprised if your Maine Coon greets you at the door when you get home from work!
Don’t expect to have an aloof cat with the Maine Coon because they’ll want to be the center of attention. They have a very social personality and love meeting new people and being around their family. If left alone for long periods of time the Maine Coon can get quite lonely, so make sure you make enough time in the day to interact with them or get them a pet companion.
Maine Coons generally get along well with children and other pets, and they’re nicknamed “gentle giants” for their laid-back, patient approach towards them.
Not only that, but Maine Coons are very intelligent. They’ll pick up your habits, preferences and tendencies, which makes them more likely to form a strong bond with you. Maine Coons can be trained to walk on a leash, travel well, do tricks and more.
Another strange trait of the Maine Coon is their love of water; many of them are willing to play in the sink, join you in the shower and even go for a swim! The natural hunter in them will also be apparent, and they make excellent mousers. Maine Coons were originally used as ship cats to rid ships of mice and rats, and farmers used them for similar reasons in the early 20th century. Be prepared to provide a lot of toys and playtime for your Maine Coon as they’ll have a lot of energy.
Origins of the Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is originally from the state of Maine, but no one knows for sure how they got there in the first place. Some believe that they arrived from the Nordic countries as ship cats, keeping ships free of rats and mice. Some think that they may have even been ship cats on the vessels of vikings.
There is also a rumor that Marie Antoinette played a large role in the original creation of the Maine Coon when she was attempting to escape to North America to avoid execution by the king in 1793. She shipped over many of her possessions in preparation for the move, including six Turkish Angora cats that are believed to have bred with the domestic shorthairs in Maine, producing the first of the Maine Coon breed.
Even more ridiculous is the theory that Maine Coons are the result of cross-breeding between a bobcat and a raccoon. Although this might explain their large, muscular stature and furry, water-loving nature, it’s not actually possible for bobcats and raccoons to mate.
As an old breed dating back to the late 1800s in Maine, the Maine Coon has had a long time to gain traction in the United States. It was the Maine Coon that won “best in show” in the very first cat show in North America in Madison Square Garden in 1895.
They weren’t always the most popular cat, though, as they almost completely went extinct in the mid-1900s. Many residents of Maine fought hard to keep the Maine Coon breed alive, and their efforts paid off when the breed gained official breed recognition in the 1970s and sharply rose in popularity shortly thereafter.