Maine Coon: A Visually Stunning Breed of Cat
The Maine Coon is one of the most popular cat breeds with a distinctive physical appearance. It has always been visually stunning because of its wonderful long bushy raccoon-like tail and huge paws. Oftentimes, some people mistakenly see this kind of breed as a cross between a raccoon and a domestic shorthair. Aside from its striking physical appearance, Maine coons have friendly, inquisitive and lively personalities which make them adored by many. Moreover, this cat breed has been renowned as “the king of the domestic cats”. It has been considered as one of the oldest natural cat breeds in North America, particularly native to the state of Maine, where it is the official State Cat.
History of Maine Coons
There’s no precise place and date as to where and when this cat breed originated. However, there are numerous theories and folk tales that tackle the ancestral origins of this cat breed. One such folk tale involves Marie Antoinette, the queen of France, who was executed in 1793. The story was believed to be that before her death she attempted to escape from France with the help of Captain Samuel Clough. She loaded Clough’s ship with her most cherished belongings, including six of her favorite Turkish Angora cats. Though she didn’t make to it to the United States, her felines securely reached the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they bred with other short-haired cat breeds and evolved into the modern breed of the Maine Coon.
There’s another folk tale which involves Captain Charles Coon, an English seafarer who kept long-haired cats aboard his ships. It was believed that whenever Charles Coon’s ship would anchor in New England ports, the cats would leave the ship and mate with the local feral cat population. When long-haired felines began appearing in the litters of the local cat population, they were referred to as one of Coon’s cats.
There’s also a biologically-based theory, though it’s considered to be genetically impossible. The idea entails that the Maine Coon descended from ancestors of semi-feral domestic cats and raccoons. This theory could probably expound the characteristic trait of the Maine Coons—the most common color of the breed is brown tabby and its tail is bushy. Another concept is that the Maine Coon originated between the breeding of domestic cats and wild bobcats, which could probably explain the tufts of hairs which are usually seen on the tips of the ears.
A theory that has been generally accepted among cat breeders is that this breed of cat descended from the pairings of local short-haired domestic cats and long-haired breeds brought overseas by English seafarers—probably by Captain Charles Coon—or the 11th century Vikings. Maine coon is associated with the Vikings because of its strong resemblance to that of the Norwegian Forest Cat, another breed which is believed to be a descendant of cats that traveled with the Vikings.
Maine Coon Cat Characteristics
With regards to Maine Coon’s characteristics, the size is always mentioned. The males usually weigh anywhere between 15 to 25 pounds while females weigh commonly between 10 to 15 pounds. The adults’ height can reach up to 10 to 16 inches and are capable of reaching up to 40 inches in length including the tail which can extend up to 14 inches long. It’s no doubt they are considered “Gentle Giants”.
The body of the Maine coon is medium to large, muscular, and broad-chested with a well-balanced rectangular appearance. This cat breed has been depicted as long-haired or medium-haired. Its coat is shaggy, heavy, soft and silky and its length is shorter on the head and shoulders and longer on the stomach and flanks with some cats having a lion-like ruff around their neck. Its head is slightly longer than it is wide. Its muzzles have a square shape and the nose and chin are perpendicular to one another. The eyes are large, round and expressive and are set on a slightly oblique angle. Their eye color can be gold, green, or copper except for white cats which may have an eye color of blue, gold, or even odd-eyed. Maine Coon cats may come in diverse colors and patterns. Patterns can be tabby, solid, tortie or torbie—a tortoiseshell with stripes of colors instead of patches. Their ears are relatively large, wide based, and moderately pointed. The legs are medium in length with large, well tufted paws. The tail is long, tapering, and heavy furred, almost resembling a raccoon’s tail.
Aside from being visually amazing, the Maine Coon has an awesome personality. They are intelligent, playful, loyal, friendly and affectionate. They are also active, energetic, sweet and family oriented. Oftentimes, people that are unfamiliar with Maine Coons might think that they are huge ferocious cats when first meeting one. However, these felines are very gentle and can be a marvelous pet and family member as well.
Maine Coon’s Life span
The Maine Coon tends to have an average life span of twelve to fifteen years. Actually, there are several factors that can affect a cat that is in this age range. Cats can live beyond this range if proper care is given to them. That is why cat owners should be responsible in taking good care of their felines. Appropriate nutrition and proper grooming is a must in keeping your cats safe and sound. Also, keeping them indoors tends to extend their life expectancy essentially.