One of the most popular cat breeds is the Maine Coon. Their name comes from the fact they originated in Maine, with the second part of the name comes from comparisons of their fluffy, ringed tail to that of a raccoon.
History of the Maine Coon
The exact origins of the breed aren’t known, but it’s believed their fluffy appearance comes from ties to the Angora cat breed. Their shaggy, waterproof coat makes them well-suited to withstand the harsh winter temperatures of Maine.
Maine Coons were some of the first exhibition cats, participating in shows as early as 1860. Their popularity fell a bit when the more exotic Persians and Siamese cats were introduced in the early 1900s. Popularity rose again starting in the 1950s and they were accepted at championship level in 1976. Maine Coons are consistently one of the most popular cat breeds in the U.S.
Maine Coon Characteristics
- Maine Coons are intelligent and well-tempered, making great companions for children
- They’re quite playful, like to retrieve things and are good climbers
- This breed matures slowly, so kitten behavior traits can carry on for years
- The hunting instinct is strong in Maine Coons which makes them very good mousers.
- Although they are quite large by domestic cat standards (males average 13-18 pounds), with broad chests and long muscular body, Maine Coons have small voices and communicate with quiet chirps.
- They have a very dense coat that doesn’t mat, but does require regular brushing, two or three brushings a week is recommended.
The major health concern in the Maine Coon is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that impacts several cat breeds. The other health concern to be aware of spinal muscular atrophy. Although cats can live with this condition, they are not able to run and jump. If you’re talking with a Maine Coon breeder, check to be sure they test to ensure their cats are not carriers for either of these conditions.
If you’re looking for a big, fluffy cat with lots of personality and intelligence, a Maine Coon would fill the bill! For more information on Maine Coons, check out Maine Coon Cat Nation’s website at www.maine-coon-cat-nation.com