Breed review: maine coon cats
The Maine Coon is one of the biggest breeds of domestic cat. Also known as American Longhair, Maine Shag or Snowshoe Cat, it is one of the oldest natural breeds of cat in North America and is native to the state of Maine, hence the name.
Where do Maine Coon cats come from?
The known origin of the Maine Coon is the native state of Maine, however, there are many theories behind the history of the breed. It is said they were working cat’s onboard ships and the long-haired ancestors of the breed were brought to Maine by European mariners in the 1850’s. They then mated with shorthair cats producing an off spring that looked similar to a racoon – hence the name Maine Coon.
What does a Maine Coon cat look like?
A Maine Coon tends to have a sleek and slender body shape, and a full-size adult will be between 25cms and 41cms high and 120cm long. Males weigh up to 16kg, with females weighing up to 13kg. The longest cat in the book of Guinness World Records was a Maine Coon measuring 123cms. These kittens are slow growers and do not reach their full size until around five years, whereas most other cats take just one.
The breed comes in all colours with the most common being brown tabby. Their fur is also dense and water resistant due to the cold winter temperatures in their native region, and they have long and bushy tails.
Maine Coon temperament
Maine Coons are nicknamed “gentle giants” because of their sociable nature. The cats are independent but usually comfortable around children and other pets, including dogs. They tend to be cautious around strangers but very loyal to their family.
The Maine Coon personality is playful and rather noisy – they’re known for frequent meowing and some owners insist they talk back to them! They have above-average intelligence and are easy to train.
Maine Coon grooming & health care
When it comes to grooming, the breed’s long, flowing coat will need grooming at least once a week to remove any loose hair and keep it healthy, clean and in good condition.
In terms of their health, the most common medical complaint is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a type of heart disease that commonly affects cats. Other Maine Coon health problems can include spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which affect the muscles of the cat’s trunk and the symptoms are normally visible in young cats aged up to four months. This is an inherited problem and cats can be tested to test if they are likely to be affected by SMA.
What do Main Coon cats eat?
They can eat a combination of foods including dry and wet cat food, as well as chicken and fish. As an energetic breed, they need plenty of protein intake within their diet to fuel their play. There are a few foods they shouldn’t eat as well such as any sugary foods, chocolate, raw meat or grapes. They also shouldn’t have milk as they’re lactose intolerant.
How long do Maine Coon cats live?
Maine Coons have a relatively long life span, with the average life expectancy of around 13-14 years and they are generally a hardy breed. But in some cases, they can live for even longer with the right care, as they are considered a healthy breed of cats in comparison to other breeds.
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