They make them prominent in Maine. Cats to understand. The Maine Coon, the state cat of Maine – is not only one of the most giant domesticated cat breed. It’s also one of the most beloved breeds in the United States. It ranks 5th out of 45 breeds recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association.
These laid-back cats love to play in the water, can walk nicely on a leash, are familiar with retrieving, show good mouse skills, and are usually happy to stay on the ground with the four of them instead of seeking the heights that attract other cats. No one really knows how the breed originated, but there are several fanciful stories about its origins. One is that the first Maine coon resulted from an encounter between a cat and a raccoon – or in some stories, a domestic cat and a bobcat. It’s easy to see why these tales reared their heads, given the Maine coon’s long, bushy tail (which is to resemble that of a raccoon) and pointed ear tufts (known as lynx tips), like those of a bobcat.
It has also been implied that they came to North America about 1,000 years ago, along with Vikings who came, saw, and went home again – perhaps leaving some of their cats behind to colonize the new land. It is authentic that the Maine coon and the Norwegian forest cat share a resemblance, but breed experts may point to differences in head shape and body type. Another theory is that Maine Coons descended from Marie Antoinette’s six Angora cats sent to New England ahead of the French queen. She was not as lucky as her cats and could not escape before she was taken into custody.
The most likely story is that New England sea captains and sailors brought long-haired cats from exotic ports. These cats mixed with the local domestic cats to create the semi-long-haired to long-haired allures we know today. Called “gentle giant,” or sometimes “coonasaurus,” a Maine coon cat can scale as much as 25 pounds. It can be a astound when they open their mouths and a slight trill, chirp, or coo sounds, in addition to the usual meows and purrs, all with a quiet tone in their voice.
In addition to the large size and beautiful ears, other distinguishing features include a ruffle around the neck; tufted paws; soft fluffy fur, known as fur rug, on the inside of the ears (which protect the sensitive interiors from snow, ice, and cold temperatures); and a coat that comes in a wide array of stain and patterns. Brown tabby is the classic Maine coon look, but the cats also come in solid, calico, tortoise, parti-color (one color plus white), and more. The only colors or patterns you won’t see are chocolate, lavender, and Himalayan (pointed).
Not surprisingly, given their shaggy coats, these cats can shed. If you bring one home, coat care will become an essential part of your life. It is often said that Maine coons do not shed excessively, but that is only true if you comb or brush them at least weekly. More often is better.
One health problem to watch out for is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common form of heart disease in cats. Using a genetic test, breeders can screen adult cats for the mutation that causes HCM before breeding with them. Walk away from kittens whose parents have not been tested. The large size of Maine Coons also makes them susceptible to hip dysplasia, something you might have thought was only found in dogs.
For mouse patrol and companionship, you can’t go wrong with a Maine Coon cat. Provided they are correctly cared for and fed, these furry giants can live 12 to 15 years or even longer.