He his tall, has a beautiful neck ruff, dainty britches, tufted feet that resemble snowshoes and a big, bushy tail that he can wrap around himself when he naps. You guessed it, we’re talking about the oldest cat breed native to America, the Maine coon.
A brief history of the Maine coonThe Maine coon, as its name suggests, is thought to have originated in New England. Although genetically impossible, one myth holds that the cat is the result of breeding between cats and raccoons! Another more likely theory would be that the Maine coon is the result of breeding between domestic shorthair cats that came to America with European settlers, and longhaired cats on sailors' ships that docked along the Eastern seaboard. Survival of the fittest determined which litters could live through the harsh New England winters, with the strongest starting the Maine Coon lineage. Known as a working cat, Maine Coons were acclaimed for their mousing skills on farms.
Among the largest domestic cat breed, Maine coons are big-boned, muscular and barrel-chested. Most of them weight around 9 to 18 pounds (males being usually heavier then females). Maine coons can measure up to 40 inches from the tip of the nose to the end of their long, flowing tails. However, they are slow to develop and won't reach their full size until they are three to five years old. They look rectangular, and despite their length have only medium-sized legs. This species come in about 75 different color combinations. Some Maine Coons have distinctive ear tufts, but not all of them. Also called the "American Longhair," the Maine Coon is considered a naturally occurring breed.
Maine coon cats are a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs as they are very friendly, loyal, playful and laidback. They adapt very well with many different lifestyles and personalities because they like to be around people. They have the habit of following their humans everywhere, but at the same time, they are not needy. They are happy to receive some attention, but they are just fine with observing (and judging) you as you are doing your things. Maine Coons often use sounds that are like a mix of a meow and a purr, that often expresses happiness instead of regular meow.
Other interesting facts
- The World's Longest Cat, according to the 2012 Guinness World Records, is a Maine coon named Stewie. He measured a full 48.5 inches, or just a bit more than 4 feet long;
- The Maine Coon adapted to the harsh winters of Northeastern U.S. with a multi-layered long fur and big, tufted paws to walk on snow;
- You can leash-train this breed and even teach them to play fetch;
- Unlike most felines, Maine coons like to go into water. Their water-resistant fur not only helps them survive harsh weather, but it also allows them to be efficient swimmers.