Maine Coon cat breed at a glance
Breed number: 64
Average lifespan: into teenage years
Temperament: friendly and affectionate, loyal and devoted, lively and good with children and other animals
Weight: males 6 to 8kg; females 4 to 5kg
Colours: a variety of colours, plus tortoiseshell, tabbies (classic and mackerel patterns) with or without silver, shaded and smoke colours, bi-colour and parti-colour (solid/tabby/tortie/shaded/smoke colour with white)
Grooming: a Maine Coon cat’s coat needs a weekly groom.
About the Maine Coon cat breed
As one of the largest breeds in the cat fancy, anyone who has ever owned a Maine Coons raves about their gorgeous good looks and their big personalities. Jacky Edwards, chairman of the Maine Coon Cat Club, says: “They are very friendly cats and very into people. They’re loving and attentive, but also very easy going and laid-back so they won’t give you any hassle. They are like big gentle giants.”
One of the most common compliments owners and breeders will say of the Maine Coon is their ability to get on with everyone – either two-legged or four-legged – and how adaptable they are:
“They can live in any home and get on well with other cats and dogs, so it doesn’t have to be another Maine Coon – I have a kitten at the moment who thinks that my miniature Schnauzer is her mum!” laughs Jacky.
Breeders of majestic Maine Coons are very proud that they are a ‘natural’ breed and not cross-bred with other breeds to achieve different colour patterns or a different look. Sue Deane, chairman of the Maine Coon Breed Society, agrees: “That’s one of the things I love about them; they are natural and they’re like an ordinary cat – but much more because they are so big!
“They are people cats and love to be with you so will follow you and chirrup at you. They are also very prone to getting themselves into small spaces and like to go up high! They aren’t necessarily lap cats as they’re so big, especially the boys, but they will lie next to you or with their head in your lap. Sometimes I’ll wander around a cat show and wonder which breed I’d have if I didn’t have a Maine Coon but I couldn’t think of one! I wouldn’t be without them!”
Maine Coon cat breed history
Mystery surrounds the origins of the Maine Coon cat; the first longhair breed to emerge naturally from the USA and still the official state cat of Maine. Dedicated enthusiasts in the 19th century helped the cat to evolve from a domestic cat to a specific breed, and Maine Coons arrived in Britain in 1984. It is now in fourth place in the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy’s top ten breed registrations.
Maine Coon cat breed looks
The Maine Coon cat is a large semi-longhaired cat, distinguished by bone structure, rectangular shape and flowing coat. The breed evolved as a working domesticated cat in a rural environment, and this role is reflected in a rugged appearance with a characteristic ‘weather-proof’ coat and the demeanour of an alert, capable hunter.
Maine Coon cat breed characteristics and personality
The Maine Coon cat is a gentle giant and can’t help but make his presence known in your home. Maine Coon cats are affectionate and tactile pets, always up for a cuddle. Maine Coon cats are said to be very intelligent and can be taught to fetch, walk on leads and open doors.
Maine Coon cats don’t cope very well as an only pet and with owners who are out at work all day. They are compatible with most other breeds of cats as well as dogs.
Maine Coon kittens
If your heart is set on a Maine Coon cat, a cat show is a great place for admiring the different colours and coat patterns available. Expect to pay between £400 and £450 for a kitten, although price will vary depending on location. Maine Coon cats are active and playful as kittens; developing into outgoing but adaptable adults. Find a Maine Coon kitten using our online cat breed directory.
Maine Coon cat breed health and lifestyle
Maine Coon cats, along with some other breeds, have been known to suffer from Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) – a hereditary heart defect. Potential Maine Coon kitten owners are advised to check with breeders that both parents have tested negative for the HCM gene. Ask to see a certificate or test result for confirmation. When it comes to keeping the rest of your Maine Coon in tip-top condition, his coat will need a weekly groom and he’ll need plenty of space to roam and exercise.
Remember! All breed profiles are general and every cat is an individual.
Living with a Maine Coon
It was their love of ‘giant’ cats that led Vicky Ross and Huw Thomas to bring home two Maine Coon kittens. Now eight months old, brown tabby and white Archie and Mim, a tortie and white, bring a lot of love and mischief to their Greater Manchester home!
“Our families have always had cats before but these are our first pets as a couple,” says Vicky. “We had done our research before we got them, we looked at Bengals but universally the feedback from people was how fantastic and friendly Maine Coons are, and their size! My other half was excited about getting a giant cat and we loved the look of them.
“They caused mischief straight away when we got them home. We intended to introduce them to the house gradually, by confining them to one room and so on, but when we let them in they ran around looking at everything and wolfed down their food within the first half an hour so we didn’t need to coop them in one room, they settled in straight away!
“They are very intelligent and inquisitive; they investigate anything new that comes into the house and Archie can now jump onto the counter top and he looks at you as if to say ‘what?!’. Mim also likes to climb onto Huw’s shoulders and drapes herself around his neck, and Archie manages to get himself into some crazy positions – once he was found curled up in the sink! They’ve decided that at 4.30am it’s playtime! Originally we kept them out of the bedroom, but Archie has worked out how to push the door open with his head and he’ll jump on the bed and start nibbling my nose to wake me up! It’s like having a small child but you can’t get annoyed with them because they’re so cute!
“Maine Coons like your company so will follow you around and don’t like to spend time alone, so if you work full time have two for company, and make sure you do your research before you get one. They are a large breed so make sure you have enough space for them!”
Watch the Maine Coon cat breed video below:
A full feature about the Maine Coon cat breed was published in the January 2015 issue of Your Cat magazine.