The Maine Coon is one of the most impressive cat breeds out there. When a Maine Coon walks into the room, with its dense long coat and large body build, people take notice… If you’re interested in this unique breed of cats, here’s a short and concise breed profile summary.
The Maine Coon Cat – Breed History
The history of this particular breed is riddled with myths and unlikely tales. We do know it’s a relatively old breed, going back to colonial times. Early Maine Coons were part of Maine rural life from the time of the first settlers.
The myths surround the very origins of this magnificent cat, with one of them going as far as claiming that these felines came about as a result of crossbreeding between domestic cats and wild raccoons. A genetic impossibility, that particular myth can be disputed with ease. Other theories, about some initial cross breeding between domestic cats and local bobcats may have a grain of truth in them.
However, there is a more likely explanation for the breed’s thick coat, including those impressive tufts. The first cats, arriving aboard ships where early colonists had them as pest control measures, had to adapt to the rough Maine winter. Within a few generations, only the largest, stockiest cats with the longest and most durable coat survived. Breeding with one another, these cats were the founding individuals for the Maine Coon Breed.
By the end of the 19th century, they had become a distinct cat breed, recognized by the American Cat Fancy and put on display in early cat shows. With the growing popularity of new exotic breeds that were imported into the country in the early 20th century, the Maine Coon’s glory days were past. At least for a while. Some breeders maintained Maine Coon lines, enough to resurrect the breed within the Cat Fancy world in the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies.
Maine Coon Cats – Breed Description
Maine Coons are fairly large cats. Adult males can reach the 14 to 20 pounds range, and females usually weigh between 10 and 14 pounds. These cats are slow to mature, often reaching their full size only at the age of three to four years.
The coat is heavy and silky to the touch, longer on the stomach and britches and shorter around the shoulder area. Maine Coons come in all colors and patterns except for pointed patterns. There are some magnificent Maine Coons with shades, silver and smoky patterns.
The head is well balanced, medium in width and length with a square muzzle. The ears are large and well tufted and the eyes are large, expressive and wide set.
Maine Coons are considered quiet solid cats in character as well. Owners say they are playful and devoted and make excellent pets. Maine Coons are known for being reserved around strangers, but once they warm up to newcomers, their warm loving nature is revealed.
Maine Coon Cats – Special Needs
Having evolved as barn yard cats in stormy Maine, these cats are known for their hardiness and have no special needs or requirements. Their long coat doesn’t matt easily and doesn’t not require extensive grooming.
As with any breed, there is a higher likelihood of certain genetic problems, due to breeding within a relatively limited genetic pool. In the Maine Coon, these include a higher tendency for hip dysplasia and cardiomyopathy. If you plan on buying a Maine Coon kitten, you should ask any breeder whether he is screening for those problems and have they occurred with previous litters.
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