Maine coon cat
AT A GLANCE: The Maine coon cat
- Relaxed, friendly, and athletic
- Often nearly double the size of most cats
- Broad, muscular build
- Heavy, silky, double coat
- Many colors and patterns
Physical characteristics of the Maine coon cat
The Maine coon cat has a large, well-proportioned, and rugged build. The head is average in size with a square, blunt muzzle and the eyes are expressive and wide-set at a slightly oblique angle. The Maine coon cat’s large and tufted ears are a hallmark of this breed. The chest is broad and the limbs are of medium build and length. The paws are large, round, and tufted, and the long, wide-based tail is silky and feathery.
The coat is long and shaggy—meant to endure bitter Maine winters, which is where the Maine coon cat is thought to have originated. It is typically shorter at the shoulders and longer on the stomach and tail, which causes a rough-hewn appearance. The possible coat color combinations are seemingly endless and include multiple types of tabby and tortoiseshell, single colors, and bi-colors, with the classic tabby pattern being the most common.
Personality and temperament of the Maine coon cat
Perhaps one of their most endearing qualities, Maine coon cats have a relaxed and carefree nature. Despite their hardy looks, these cats are gentle giants. They enjoy simple pleasures such as following their owners around the house, playing with water, or just lounging around. They are often likened to dogs in the sense that they are easily amused. While they are curious and do appreciate affection, Maine coon cats will not constantly demand your attention.
Given their easy-going temperament, these cats will flourish in virtually any type of home. Singles and large families alike will find the Maine coon cat to seamlessly adapt to many different environments. They get along well with other cats and dogs, and their large, muscular build and athleticism makes them good playmates for children.
Common health concerns for the Maine coon catMaine coons live an average of 9 to 15 years. If purchasing a Maine coon from a breeder, get a statement of good health from a veterinarian prior to purchase. If adopting, knowing your cat’s health history is beneficial. Here are some common health conditions that can affect Maine coon cats:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
While the cause of the most common type of heart disease in cats—HCM—is unknown, it is diagnosed more frequently in certain breeds, particularly the Maine coon. This suggests a possible genetic component to the disease. HCM is characterized by thickening of the heart musculature—particularly the left ventricle. This thickening can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased oxygen usage, and clot formation. Many cats will go undiagnosed until clinical signs of heart failure appear, such as labored breathing, coughing, or collapse. Sudden death is always a possibility.
Entropion refers to the rolling inward of the eyelid and results in the eyelid touching the cornea. This painful condition can occur secondary to inflammation or infection in the eye, but it is also commonly seen in the Maine coon due to their facial conformation. This breed’s large jowls can cause the periorbital skin to encroach on the eye, causing entropion.
Other health concerns may include:
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Hip dysplasia
- Chronic kidney disease
Caring for the Maine coon cat
The long, feathery coat of the Maine coon cat is prone to matting, so daily brushing is ideal. You can consider clipping the fur during the warmer months, but never shave your cat. It is recommended to brush your cat’s teeth daily and visit the veterinarian for a complete exam yearly. If you have a kitten, begin grooming and tooth brushing early so she becomes accustomed to it. However, it is never too late to begin these regimens.
Enrich your Maine coon cat’s environment to prevent weight gain, boredom, and behavioral problems from developing. Provide your cat with elevated perches, climbing towers, interactive toys, and “indoor hunting” feeders to keep her mentally and physically stimulated.
The Maine coon is the perfect cat for you if:
- You have the time to commit to regular grooming
- You are single or have a large family
- You have other pets at home
- You are looking for a relaxed, low maintenance feline friend
- You prefer larger cats