The Maine Coon Cat
Strong, tranquil and intelligent, the Maine Coon Cat is a wonderful companion and has become a very popular breed. One of the oldest natural breeds in North America, the Maine Coon is America's native longhair cat.
Maine Coon Cats came from the state of Maine (or there-a-abouts). In fact, the Maine Coon is the official Maine State Cat. Most breeders today believe that the breed adapted naturally from short-haired and long-haired cats that jumped ship at ports in Maine or came with settlers to Maine in the early 1600's and 1700s. These cats developed distinctive characteristics that helped it survive the cold, harsh New England winters and in the isolated area of Maine, these characteristics became recognizable and known as the Maine Coon cat.
Maine Coons developed into sturdy, working cats suited to the harsh winters and varied seasons of the Northeast region. The Maine Coon of today is known for a sturdy, rugged appearance, which includes an uneven, shaggy coat of three distinct lengths and a long, well furnished tail. They carry that tail proudly and use it to surround themselves for warmth and protection. A Maine Coon Cat has large, well tufted paws to allow ability to walk on top of snow despite size and weight. Ears are large and well tufted for protection and warmth. Even more than for beauty, Maine Coons are noted for intelligence and kindly disposition. After all, what they couldn’t obtain themselves, they could always get by charming a nearby human. Though their size can be intimidating, they are known for their friendliness towards just about anything and are especially good with children and other pets. For these reasons, they have been dubbed the “Gentle Giant” of the cat fancy and are commonly sought after as family pets, companions, and therapy cats.
Maine Coon Cats are tall, muscular, and big-boned, one of the largest domestic breeds. Males can weigh 13 to 23 pounds, and females normally weigh about 9 to 16 pounds. A neutered male can easily go up to 18 and even up to 25 pounds.
Maine Coons don't reach their full size until they are three or four years old and their dispositions remain kittenish throughout their lives. They are called the gentle giants, or the Golden Retrievers of the cat world, and the best Maine Coon breeders ensure that disposition by only breeding big, gentle, good-natured cats. Even their voice, a distinctive, chirping trill, is different than other cats. They rarely meow, and when they do, their soft, high-pitched mew doesn't fit their size!
The important features of the Maine Coon are the head and body shape, and the texture and "shag" of the coat. The head is slightly longer than it is wide, presenting a gently concave profile with high cheekbones and large, wide at the base, moderately pointed, and well tufted ears. Ears are set well up on the head, approximately an ear's width apart. Lynx-like tufting on the top of the ears is desirable. The neck should be medium-long, the torso long, and the chest broad. The tail should be at least as long as the torso.
One of their most distinctive features of a Maine Coon Cat is its eyes, which are large, round, expressive, and set at a slightly oblique angle. Overall, the Maine Coon should present the appearance of a well-balanced, strongly-built, rectangular cat.