Maine Coon cat staring at the camera
Maine Coon cat staring at the camera

Maine Coon Cat

A North American original, back from near extinction

By: Rob Spooner

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Get to know this very large, super-friendly, dog-like cat that is all but guaranteed to win your heart! Is a Maine Coon Cat right for you? Read on to find out!

The Maine Coon’s behaviour, personality, and loyalty are particularly doglike for a cat. A relatively modern cat breed, the Maine Coon goes back just over 200 years. It is one of the largest breeds of domestic house cats. Males grow up to 18 pounds at maturity, and it is the only cat that can be claimed to be truly North American in origin.

Maine Coon Size (This is a BIG cat)

Woman holding large orange maine coon cat

Sergey Ginak/Shutterstock

But there’s more to this remarkable feline than just its size and demeanor. In this article, we’ll explore the world of Maine Coon information and what sets them apart. Whether you’re a cat parent or a curious newcomer, keep reading to uncover the details that define these magnificent cats.

Personality and Look of the Maine Coon Cat

A beautiful Maine Coon cat

Originating in the American Northeast, the Maine Coon’s lovely, outgoing personality made it a popular house pet. On top of that, its hunting skills let it earn its keep as a mouser.

Compared to other types of cats, Maine Coon’s are famous for their friendly personality and low maintenance. These gentle giants are sociable and love the company of their human families. They are typically gentle and good-natured, which makes them excellent choices for households with children and other pets.

As for their look, this is a long-haired breed, having evolved to survive cold eastern winters. Their thick coat is coarser than other longhaired breeds, so it doesn’t tangle as readily, and thus requires less frequent grooming. The dense, bushy tail, roughly the length of the body, is used for both balance and agility while hunting and as insulation to stay warm while at rest.

These distinctive traits make the Maine Coon pet a truly exceptional addition to any household.

The Maine Coon Origin

Despite its current popularity, the origin of Maine Coon cats remains uncertain, although many myths have arisen to account for their appearance.

The Genetic Impossibility theory suggests it arose from crossing local domestic cats with bobcats (or, as the name suggests, raccoons, presumably explaining the breed’s large size, pointed ear tips, and bushy tail.)

The Romantic theory would posit a French connection, suggesting Marie Antoinette attempted to escape France during the Revolution, packing her belongings, including several longhaired cats, on a New England-bound ship. This theory has the ship arriving without her (decapitation having caused her to rethink her travel plans), but carrying her cats, which presumably proceeded to breed with the local short-haired cat population.

Maine Coon kittens playing on a cat tree.

Photo: Bielkina

A more likely explanation is that the Maine Coon is a result of evolution and natural selection at work: the survival of the fittest. Cats have been popular and useful pets for centuries, both onboard ships and on farms as mousers.

The arrival in New England of people from all across Europe blended larger, short-haired cats from mainland Europe with stockier, longhaired varieties from Scandinavia and the north. Generations of evolution produced a cat well-equipped to survive harsh winters.

The Maine Coon cat’s popularity skyrocketed in the late 1800s, when it won many Best in Show categories at major cat shows in New York, Boston, and Chicago.

But its popularity dwindled at the turn of the century with the introduction of exotic long-haired cat breeds like the Persian and Himalayan, to a point where it was labelled extinct in the 1950s.

Yet cat fanciers managed to resurrect the breed and restore it to its previous levels of popularity, making it now the second most popular breed in North America. No wonder it’s said cats have nine lives!

The Charm of Maine Coon Cats

To sum it up, exploring Maine Coon cat information provides an intriguing peek into the world of these remarkable felines. With their friendly, dog-like demeanour, distinctive origins, and impressive physical traits, Maine Coons truly capture the hearts of cat lovers worldwide.

Maine Coon Cat Facts (and one weird myth busted!)

  • This all-American breed has been the official state cat of Maine since 1985.
  • A Maine Coon cat was the winner of the first cat show in North America, held at Madison Square Garden in 1895.
  • The Maine Coon is NOT a cross between a cat and a raccoon.

Interested in exploring other cat breeds? Check out these cat breed profiles.


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