Maine Coon cats are very popular across the world and first came to the UK in the 1980s. Originating from the US, Maine Coons are the largest of all cat breeds and can be defined by their long hair and bushy racoon-like tails. From their charming looks to their affectionate and friendly nature, there’s little not to like about these beautiful cats – and they make brilliant pets!
Find out all about what it’s like to own a Maine Coon cat in this comprehensive guide:
- Maine Coon appearance and characteristics
- Maine Coon personality and temperament
- Maine Coon intelligence
- The History of Maine Coon cats
- Grooming a Maine Coon cat
- What to expect when keeping a Maine Coon cat
- How big do Maine Coon Cats get?
- What do Maine Coon cats eat?
- How long do Maine Coon cats live?
- Can Maine Coons be kept with other animals?
- How much do Maine Coon cats cost?
Maine Coon cat appearance and characteristics
Maine Coon cats have a stunning appearance. They have large, long, muscular bodies of a rectangular shape, with strong legs. They have semi-long, glossy thick coats with two layers – an undercoat and a waterproof topcoat. The hair on their heads and shoulders is shorter and gets longer on the sides, with shaggy fur on their stomachs and the backs of their legs.
Main Coons are noted for their big bushy brush-like tails, similar to a raccoon’s, which are roughly the same length as their body. Their heads are long with a squared-off muzzle, and their ears are tall, with a wide base and pointy tufted tips. Their paws are large, rounded and tufted. A genetic defect called polydactyly can affect Maine Coons, which means they’re born with extra toes.
Maine Coons come in a variety of around 30 coat colours with brown, tabby, silver and tortoiseshell being some of the most popular. Their eye colour is usually green, copper or gold.
Maine Coon Personality and Temperament
Maine Coon cats are friendly and affectionate animals, often referred to as ‘gentle giants’. They’re also very playful in nature, with lots of energy, keeping their kitten-like tendencies into their adult years. Because of their gentle and playful personalities, they make great family pets.
Maine Coon cats love being near people, and will often follow you around, showing an interest in what you’re doing. Unlike other cats, Maine Coons don’t really meow – instead, they make a range of sounds including chirping and yowling noises (especially at mealtimes). Gender-wise, male Maine Coon cats tend to be more playful, with females slightly more reserved.
Maine Coons are also brilliant hunters, so expect to receive gifts through the cat flap or on your doorstep. You’ll often find them roaming around, or climbing up high – because of this they’re best matched with those in the countryside or who have a big outdoor space that allows them to roam.
While Maine Coon cats are affectionate and love attention, they are still very independent and won’t be too clingy. However, because of their sociable nature, they are best suited to households where there’s always someone – or other pets – around.
Maine Coon Intelligence
Maine Coons are extremely intelligent cats. They are very inquisitive and pick things up very quickly, which means, like dogs, they can be taught tricks. They love playing interactive games, and have been known to learn how to fetch! Some even enjoy being taken for walks on the lead – perhaps Maine Coons are just dogs in disguise?
In true feline fashion, Maine Coons love to take cat-naps throughout the day, and can often be found napping in peculiar places. However, unlike most cats, Maine Coons are known to enjoy water, so expect to find them playing with their water bowl!
The History of Maine Coon cats
Maine Coons are the only long-haired cat native to the US, and continue to be the official state cat of Maine – hence the name! While their origin is somewhat of a mystery, some believe the breed was introduced by seamen who took long-haired cats with them when they sailed to New England.
These cats then mated with native short-haired cats and created a new breed with lots of different fur patterns and colours. Another legend is that Maine Coons found their roots in the US after being used for hunting rats and mice on ships that sailed to America. Because Maine Coons are born hunters, they were first kept as farm cats, but they’ve since become very popular domestic pets. In fact, the Maine Coon was America’s first-ever show cat!
Grooming a Maine Coon Cat
Because Maine Coon cats have fairly long hair, they need to be groomed regularly. Brushing your Maine Coon twice a week will help prevent their fur from matting and minimise shedding around the home. However, you may need to brush them more regularly in Spring and Winter when shedding increases.
If your Maine Coon is an outdoor cat, be sure to check them regularly for fleas and ticks and keep up with regular treatment to prevent infestations. Keep a check of your cat’s ears too as they can get ear mites – it’s also wise to clean them regularly to prevent wax build-up.
What to expect when keeping a Maine Coon cat
As mentioned throughout this guide, Maine Coons cats are loving and playful and make great family pets. They generally keep their energetic kitten-like nature into adulthood which makes them great for families with children. However, as with all animals, each has its own personality, so temperament can vary. Children should also be taught how to act around cats and to give them space when they need it.
Maine Coons are especially affectionate so expect lap cuddles and purring around your legs while you’re standing up. Because of their long coats, Maine Coons have a high tendency to shed, so you’ll need to keep up with grooming and be prepared to find fur across the house!
Because of their larger stature, some compare keeping a Maine Coon to having a small dog, so you’ll need to make space for them! Ensure you have a big enough litter tray for your grown cat to perch in comfortably and make sure scratching posts and cat houses are big and sturdy enough.
They’re very lively creatures so need lots of space to release energy. Because of this, they’re best suited to owners with lots of outdoor space, but, if kept indoors, ensure they have lots of activities to play with. While Maine Coons are sociable, they also appreciate alone time, so make sure they have lots of places to hide and nap.
Maine Coon cat information and facts
Below are some frequently asked Maine Coon cat questions.
How big do Maine Coon cats get?
Maine Coon cats are generally large in stature, but, as with other breeds, male Maine Coons are larger than females. Fully grown male Maine Coon cats weigh around 6-8kg, and females weigh around 3-5kg. They mature slowly and usually reach their fully grown weight after three to five years. As the largest cat breed, they can reach up to 1.2 metres in length.
What do Maine Coon cats eat?
Because of their large build and active nature, Maine Coons require a diet that provides lots of energy. As with all cats, they’ll require different types of food when they’re kittens compared to when they’re fully grown, so be sure to give them food specific to their age, weight and health. Opt for food that is high in proteins like meat and fish to keep your Maine Coon strong and healthy.
Kittens require nutritious food that’ll aid their growth and development, so they grow into healthy cats. Like all kittens, Maine Coons should be fed specially-designed kitten food. Because Maine Coons take longer to mature than other cats, you may need to keep them on kitten food for longer than the average four or five months – speak to your vet for advice on this.
With older cats, it’s common to experience fussiness when it comes to eating, so feeding a few times a day can help. Be sure to keep an eye on your Maine Coon’s weight as feline obesity can lead to various health problems, including painful joints and diabetes.
How long do Maine Coon cats live?
Maine Coons are generally healthy cats, and when cared for well, their life expectancy is around 9-15 years. However, there are a few hereditary health concerns to be aware of if you are looking to purchase a Maine Coon:
- Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
HCM is a form of heart disease that’s common in Maine Coon cats. Approximately 30% of Maine Coons possess the genetic mutation that makes it likely they’ll develop the disease. Cats should be tested for the genetic mutation before being bred, so ask the breeder about this
- Feline hip dysplasia
Feline hip dysplasia is common in heavy-boned animals, and out of all cats, it most commonly affects Maine Coons, with approximately 20% of the breed exhibiting symptoms. Many cats with hip dysplasia will show no discomfort; however, you should ask the breeder about this condition before purchasing a Maine Coon.
- Patellar luxation
Patellar luxation is where the knee cap becomes dislocated from its regular position, causing limping and difficulty walking on hind legs. Maine Coon cats are at higher risk of developing the condition and in some cases may require surgery. Felines with patellar luxation and hip dysplasia are also more at risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Can Maine Coons be kept with other animals?
Maine Coons are pretty laid back and as such get along with other pets. They’ve been known to get along with small pets, but it’s always best to keep an eye on them. They can generally be kept alongside dogs they’ve grown up with, but be cautious when introducing new canines in case they don’t like cats.
How much do Maine Coon cats cost?
Maine Coon kittens are very popular, and well-bred ones can cost anything from £300-£850. This will vary depending on where you purchase the kitten from. When it comes to the cost of keeping a Maine Coon, as with other cats, you have to factor in food, insurance, vet bills and other accessories like cat beds and scratching posts. On average, it’ll cost around £30-£50 a month to look after a Maine Coon cat.
We hope you enjoyed our guide to Maine Coon cats and that we’ve given you all the information you need! What’s your favourite thing about the luscious Maine Coon? Let us know!