Maine Coon cats are one of the most popular breeds in the entire feline kingdom — and a personal favorite of my own. Their giant size, loving personalities, playful attitudes, and awesome athleticism make them one of the most well-rounded breeds of cat in the world.
If the Maine Coon had to be described in one phrase it would be coined ‘the gentle giant’. These fluffy felines are the largest breeds of domesticated cats, weighing in at average 10-15lbs, with the largest males surpassing 20lbs. In addition to their heavy weight, Maine Coons boast elongated bodies often exceeding 45 inches in length.
In addition to being the largest breed of domesticated cat, the Maine Coon is also the oldest natural cat breed in America, with its ancestry dating back to the early 1790s, when long-haired breeds introduced to America bred with short haired cats and created the newfound feline. The development of the breed originated in Maine, owing to its namesake.
One of the most unique characteristics of Maine Coon cats is how long it takes for them to reach their adult size. While most cats typically reach maturity around one year of age, Maine Coons are not fully grown until between three and five years of age.
Maine Coon cats are extremely attractive breeds, boasting long, silky coats in all different colors displaying a typical tabby patterning. Their tails are long and fluffy and their undersides are often white. Giant paws are equipped with splayed tufts of hair that resemble moccasins. Their ears are usually pointed and tufted with hair similar to their paws. Many members of the species display polydactylism, which means they have extra toes on their feet.
Because of their fluffy outer coats and thick undercoats, Maine Coons are most aptly adapted to cold, snowy climates, which correlates with their origination in the cold eastern state of Maine.
The most famous Maine Coon is named Stewie — listed in the 2010 Guinness World Records as the longest cat ever, spanning 48.5 in from head to tail.
Their personalities make them suitable for just about any kind of person, family, or living situation. They are gentle-natured and prone to following people around, but are not found to be needy and will get along perfectly fine on their own. Maine Coons are highly intelligent cats compared to other breeds, making them trainable to some degree and less prone to emotional distress from changing environments.
One of the most desirable traits of Maine Coon cats is their adaptability to being either indoors or outdoors. They are content to be playful, indoor family members but equally as excited to live as curious outdoor roamers. They are excellent hunters and will practice this skill indoors on insects and rodents or outdoors on larger prey.
These cats are active and require a lot of stimulation but are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves if given the proper tools. Maine Coons enjoy chasing toy mice on sticks wielded by their human companions or chasing after balls down a hallway by themselves. They are prone to jumping, leaping across large distances, climbing trees and other objects, and enjoy figuring out how to open doors and get into otherwise closed spaces.
They are usually healthy cats, requiring a high-protein diet due to their activity level and slow growth. Maine Coons are not predisposed to many genetic diseases, but due to their large, long size can acquire hip dysplasia and spinal issues. On average they live between 10 and 15 years.
Their agreeable nature makes them the perfect addition to a family with children, other cats, and even dogs. Maine Coons love attention and can handle the accidentally heavy hands of younger children.
These low-maintenance cats are very prim and proper, performing rigorous self-grooming throughout the course of their lives. The only care they occasionally require (and often enjoy) is brushing through the long tufts of their silky coats.