The Cat Source

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.

3 thoughts on “Maine Coon: A Visually Stunning Breed of Cat”

  1. David Schwausch says:

    I have a half-breed Maine Coon, white with gray black and beige tabby patches. He has personality characteristics of the Coon, follows me like a dog, has the baby-kitten-sounding mew (except when he’s warning off a dog or something) has short ear tufts, the “M” on his forehead, big paws, and this July he will be fifteen years old. My mother lived with us in her old age, and he was her cat for his first two years, though he loved play and I enjoyed it with him. After she passed he cried in her room for days, then decided one day I was her replacement, and he’s been my buddy ever since, follows me around, almost gets sick when I’m gone for an extended time (3 to 4 weeks.) He’s not showing his age so much – sleeps longer during the day than he used to, but I’ve kept his weight down and take him to the vet regularly even though he’s housebound. He’s happiest in the mornings, almost kitten-like, still does high jumps to reach one or another of his “perches.” My mother named him “Patches,” but I call him “Steets,” a world my low-german immigrant grandfather used to describe one of his favorite things. I only hope that he’s one that can make it to the 20 years or beyond that some full Coons can attain – I can’t imagine life without him anymore.

  2. I have a blonde, and white, male Maine-Coon cat! He is now ten years old,(i couldn’t believe he was that old, until i sat down, and figured out his age), he doesn’t act like a ten year old cat! Now that I started to read the information, on-line, I am sad, because it says he is considered an older cat. Because of this being brought to my attention, I can tell he is ‘slowing-down’ a bit. The thought of losing,(Scallywag), in a few years, is devastating for me! He is in good health, and he is happy. I had another cat,(Harold), when my little girls, and I rescued him,(we adopted him from a ‘Cat Rescue House), they became great friends the day we introduced them! Even though Harold was an older cat,who had long blond fur,and was really smaller than Scallywag. Not to mention, every other cat we introduced Harold too, got mauled, by him! He was extremely unfriendly to other cats!
    Well, unfortunately Harold was eaten by a fox, a few years ago, and Scallywag has never stopped missing him. I usually would have got him a kitten, a few weeks after we lost Harold.
    I can’t afford another cat. I got divorced, and was disabled, by a ‘Drunk-Driver”. I can take care of pets, but I can’t work anymore, and because I was a ‘stay at home mother’, for ten years, I get very little money from S.S. Plus, after a long, terrible, and extremely expensive Custody-Battle,(that i lost due to dishonest attor

  3. Donna worden says:

    Hi all…my cat, Charlie will be 21 this October! Yes you read correctly. He follows me everywhere, sleeps more now, but has grown up with my family. He still plays with me every morning batting at my hand.

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