Imagine a cat. In your head, do you see a small animal that’s thin and short-haired? Maybe they run and hide in new situations and with strangers around. But for owners of Maine Coon cats, when they imagine a cat, they envision a regal, long haired giant, complete with angels singing! Almost a tiger, but with even longer fur. I am exaggerating here, though it is true Maine Coons are the subject of a lot of mystique and glamour. Let’s dive in and go over some amazing facts on this cat breed.
Largest Domestic Cat Breed
Feast your eyes on an average purebred Maine Coon and you see this is not your typical domestic shorthair cat. Maine Coons are large cats, often dramatically large, especially when compared to a normal cat. In terms of weight, adult male Maine Coons average 18-25 pounds, and females average 10-18 pounds. With height, Maine Coons are approximately 1.5 times taller than normal cats too. Numbers like this are more reminiscent of small dogs, rather than cats!
A Maine Coon’s jumbo size also means they are record-holders for related things. The current Guinness Book of World Record holders for both longest and largest cats are Maine Coons.
And on an everyday level, know that the whiskers and paws of Maine Coons are among the longest and beefiest amongst all cats. Because of this, wise owners must invest in properly sized cat trees, litter boxes for large cats, and sturdy scratching posts.
We are not referring to superheroes (but it’s close). No one knows for certain how the Maine Coon’s ancestor arrived in America. A few theories exist. The first is that Maine Coons are the descendants of cats that the Vikings brought when they landed in America. This is interesting to think about because in Northern Europe and Norway, there exists a cat similar to the Maine Coon - the Norsk skogkatt, or the Norwegian Forest Cat. Another theory says that it was actually later European settlers that brought Maine Coon’s ancestors on their ships.
Yet another theory says Maine Coons are actually descended from royalty. Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France from 1774 to 1792, planned to escape France during the revolution and loaded up her things, including 6 Angora cats, onto a ship. While she did not make it out of the country, the ship with her things did and sailed to Maine. Legend says the Angora cats interbred with the local cats, and we got the Maine Coon breed!
The Winning Personality
If you do not realize by now, Maine Coons are not like most cats. This extends past their supermodel looks and possible royal lineage, and refers to their personality, too. Maine Coons can be described as easy-going, laidback, and confident. They are playful, social cats and into new situations and meeting new friendly people. They are never mean-spirited or use their size to dominate other cats. In fact, the Maine Coon is among the most friendly cats out there - it’s with good reason this cat is referred to as a “gentle giant.”
To many people, this personality is dog-like than a traditional cat. And the dog comparison goes further. Owners not only walk their Maine Coons outside like mentioned above, but have also trained them to play fetch. And the essential dog trait, loyalty is also on full display with a Maine Coon. They adore their humans, and follow them from room to room in the house. Leave the house for a while and when you come back, they are there to greet you at the door with a friendly chirp. When you sleep for the night and close the door, Maine Coons often lay right outside the door and wait for your return. It’s very endearing and honestly the best part of owning a Maine Coon!
Cats with Star Power
Maine Coons have even more star power, as if the legend they are descended from royalty is not enough. You can commonly find Maine Coons in your local city at official cat shows held by the CFA and TICA. You’ll find the best examples of the breed at shows, and these pampered creatures will surely convince you of their royal connection, At shows, breeders show off their work, and these supermodel cats have to be seen to be believed.
Maine Coons as show cats are not a new development, either. In 1895, at a renowned cat show in New York City, a Maine Coon named Cosey won as a “Best Long Haired Cat In Show.” Even back then, people valued this cat breed and recognized their beauty!
One last point about star power: a Maine Coon is even in the Harry Potter movies, as Mrs. Norris!
You Can Walk Maine Coons
Intelligent and adaptable, Maine Coons can be trained to accept a harness and leash, and be taken on walks outside to live their best lives. Right now, a huge number of former indoor-only Maine Coons regularly go on walks, and even embark on hiking adventures with their owners. Of course, training is required to get to this point. But, provided your cat has the personality to venture outside and explore, it’s entirely possible.
If you plan on walking your Maine Coon, do it smartly. While these cats are perfect for the cold, harsh winters of New England, they don’t fare as well in a modern city. Beware of cars, dogs, worms and bugs, and even poisonous plants your cat could come into contact with. And be sure to check, then double check that their harness is escape proof, because there’s always a risk of an escape artist cat Houdini’ing it out of the harness!