maine coon cat portrait

Maine Coon – a colossal cat with a heart to match 

Last updated:
At one glance
4 – 10 kg (8 – 20 pounds) 
25 – 40 cm (10 – 16 inches) 
50 – 75 cm | with tail 74 – 115 cm (20 – 30 inches | with tail 30 – 45 inches)
long – very soft, silky
varies with fur color, green, gold, green-gold, copper, blue, odd-eyed
10 to 13 years
Maine, USA

Maine Coon look & fur – majestic mane 

The Maine Coon is a strong-boned, muscular cat breed with a large head and high pointed fluffy ears, oval eyes and a long bushy tail.  It is considered the largest domestic cat breed, although the Savannah is slightly larger. However, this one was conceived in crossbreeding with a wild cat and is not considered a domestic cat breed ─ despite being kept as a pet. Maine Coons come in almost all coat colors, solid white, cream, red, blue and black. Their coat patterns are tabby, bi-color, parti-color, tortoiseshell, shaded, and calico. 

The breed evolved to be quite large and robust with a thick, shaggy but silky coat. This was essential for the outdoor and barn cat breed to endure the harsh winters of the region. Their lush coat makes them appear even larger than they already are. However, despite its length, it is relatively easy to clean and pull out excess undercoat with a comb. Their silky coat texture helps against matting relatively well. If a tangle does form, gently work it out with a comb, especially on the belly and tail, so that it doesn’t pull. Maine Coons are patient, but they do not like to have their hair pulled. 

They also have a semi-water repellent coat, which keeps them dry even when bathing and swimming. Most cats of this breed actually like bathing and are fascinated by water. Cats usually do not need a bath and manage to clean themselves very well. However, the dense coat is exhausting for a Maine Coon to maintain and a bath also helps to remove the excess fluffs more easily, especially during the coat change. If the coat feels greasy or looks stringy, they are overburdened with their hair. This often occurs in old age, and in such cases bathing your cat will contribute significantly to the reduction of stress. 

Maine Coon cat on the terrace

Old males can be very stubborn and if they do not know or are not used to water, they show little interest in learning it later. Generally, Maine Coon cats are totally fascinated by water in any form and like to spend time playing with water.  

Maine Coon health – risks of your fluffy companion 

Maine Coons are large, heavy cats in which joint problems such as hip dysplasia, which in severe cases can lead to lameness, can unfortunately be more common.  

A typical Maine Coon condition is also spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic condition affecting the skeletal muscles of the torso and limbs. However, responsible breeders filter out carriers of this disease through genetic testing. The same applies to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a form of heart disease that occurs in all pedigreed cats. The Maine Coon is not exempt from it either. Although the animals are usually tested for it, a residual risk remains in both cases. 

The last disease most commonly inherited in Maine Coons is polycystic kidney disease (PKD). A slowly progressive hereditary kidney disease that can lead to kidney failure.  

Maine Coon diet – large cats need lots of protein 

The Maine Coon is not an average cat and with its size, special attention must be paid to a good supply. Ordinary food quickly leads to undernourishment. As an active hunter, it needs a lot of meat and likes chunky food. Vegetable proteins, grains, or fillers should be avoided. A food very similar to natural prey like Dynasty Emperor Ragout is very well suited for such large and active cats. It replicates the composition of a prey animal, including the stomach contents, and contains all the nutrients a cat would find in nature. The ragout consists of whole pieces of meat instead of pureed meat as usual and even offers whole chicken hearts in some of its varieties. A dream for all large hunters like the Maine Coon. 

High-quality food directly increases your cat’s activity level. It usually becomes much more active and agile after switching foods. For a Maine Coon with high energy requirements, premium food is exactly the right choice.

Maine Coon character – a gentle giant with a heart of gold 

The Maine Coon is good-natured, gentle, friendly and has no problems with other pets or family members. Similar to the Ragdoll, it is considered affectionate with a dog-like character, although this is not quite as pronounced. It was originally an outdoor cat that enjoyed great popularity for a long time as a working breed. Its curiosity and intelligence made it popular with farmers that wanted to rid their barns and properties of rodents.  

The good-natured and sociable Maine Coon adapts to many lifestyles and personalities. She likes to be with people and follows them from room to room, likes attention but is not pushy. 

However, this breed retained its hunting instinct. No rodents are safe in a Maine Coon household. If there is nothing to chase or your cat does not get outdoor access, then toys are mandatory, and preferably in all variations. Because of their high intelligence, you should also challenge them regularly with different puzzle toys. Maine Coons also retrieve balls. Their playfulness continues well into adulthood. So here you have a lot and long occupation and should also plan for that. 

Maine Coons can climb like any cat but usually prefer to stay at ground level. They can be kept as indoor-only cats as long as you provide enough activity for them. They are happy to be out in nature. However, since pedigreed cats are always at risk of theft, unsupervised exercise is not an option. You should secure your balcony. Every cat overestimates itself sometimes and its strongly pronounced hunting instinct can lead to danger. It feels most comfortable in a secured garden.  

Maine Coons tend to trample which makes them quite loud when running. They are also very talkative cats but express themselves through a variety of soft and melodic sounds. 

Maine Coon history – from the wilderness of Maine to your home

The Maine Coon is considered the oldest long-haired cat native to the United States and was originally introduced by sailors on their way to New England (including the state of Maine). The cats onboard were there to help eliminate rats. However, when going ashore, some of them left the ship and mixed with existing native cats, which eventually led to the creation of this breed. The first published mention of the breed was in 1861 and was about a black and white cat named Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. The tabby Maine Coon Leo was displayed in New York in 1895 at the cat show in Madison Square Garden and was awarded the best cat award. Leo won at all cat shows between New York and Boston until 1900 when he was defeated by his own son.

Once a barn cat, now a treasured companion!

However, in the early 1900’s the popularity and popularity of Oriental cats such as Persians and Siamese increased, and the Maine Coon slipped almost into extinction. Only through use on farms, where they were valued as working cats, did the breed survive. However, the hierarchy has turned again in recent years and the Maine Coon is considered the “America cat”. 

One would think the name “Coon” would not come by chance, because they love water, often play in it, and like to bathe. Now and then Maine Coons also decide that their food needs a bath and soak it in the water bowl or swim and play with it. In fact, this peculiarity is not the reason for the name. The Maine Coon is also not the result of a mating between a cat and a racoon, even if its typical brown tabby coat and bushy tail might suggest it. But it is precisely this visual resemblance to which it owes the “racoon” part of its name. Maine Coons that did not have a brown tabby coat were therefore also called Maine Shags. The word part “Maine” comes from the US state of Maine, because not only was the cat kept there by settlers but the Maine Coon was also named the official cat of the state.

Suitable for cat beginners with large apartment or house and full-time work

  • Experience level: Beginner
  • Housing: Large apartment/house
  • Activity level: Medium
  • Energy level: Medium
  • Trainability: Medium
  • Attachment: Medium
  • Friendliness: High
  • Playfulness: Medium
  • Talkativeness: Medium
  • Intelligence: High


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