Breed review: Maine Coon or American Longhair
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.
It is one of the most popular breeds in the world.
Maine Coon kittens are slow growers and do not reach their full size until five years, where most other cats take just one.
A full-size adult will be between 25cms and 41cms high and 120cm long. Males weight 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.
Maine Coons come in all colours, with the most common being brown tabby and their fur is dense and water resistant, due to the cold winter temperatures in their native region.
They have long and bushy tails.
Maine Coons are nicknamed “gentle giants” because of their sociable nature. They have above-average intelligence and are easy to train. The cats are cautious around strangers but loyal to their family.
The Maine Coon is independent but usually comfortable around children and other pets, including dogs.
The cats are playful and rather noisy – they’re known for frequent meowing and some owners insist they talk back to them!
Health and maintenance
The long, flowing coat will need grooming at least once a week to keep it looking in good condition
Maine Coons also like a lot of space to roam and exercise.
They are generally a hardy breed and most live well over 10 years. The most common medical complaint is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which 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. 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.