- Average Height: 10 to 16 inches
- Average Weight: 8 to 18 pounds
- Coloring: Black, white, ginger, glue (gray), and cream
- Coat Type: Long, soft and silky hair with a mane around the neck
- Average Lifespan: 9-15 years
- Key Personality Traits: Affectionate, friendly, and goofy
Maine Coons are among the largest domestic cats, with a luxurious mane and silky soft fur that you simply can’t resist petting. These giant felines are popular throughout the world, and rightfully so, because of their friendly “dog-like” disposition, playfulness, intelligence and adaptability. A household with a Maine Coon is sure to enjoy plenty of entertainment and affection from an attention-loving companion.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about this fantastic cat breed.
History and Origin
The Maine Coon is endemic to the United States, originating from Maine, where it was named the official cat of the state. It’s estimated that around 1850, long-haired cats from Asia and Europe, brought onboard ships to control mice, mated with local short-haired cats to create our modern-day Maine Coon.
This majestic cat boasts thick fur on her chest, belly, and back, a strong build, and a brush-like tail. The animal’s bushy ringtail resembles that of a raccoon’s, adding the word “Coon” to its name.
There were several myths associated with the origins of Maine Coon, one which involved the polarizing figure of Marie Antoinette. Legend has it that her six Turkish Angora cats made it onto a ship during a rescue mission. While the queen didn’t make the ship, her pets continued on and reached Maine where they interbred with local cats and created the big Maine Coon.
Some believe that these foreign cats interbred with bobcats, resulting in large cats with tufted ears. Another myth revolves around the impossible—mating with racoons. Regardless of how these cats came to be, there is no denying that the end result is a stunning and loving cat that has stolen our hearts.
The CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association) accepted the breed under provisional status in 1975, and approved it for championship status a year later. In 1980, Maine Coons were imported to the United Kingdom and were fully accepted into the Federation Internationale Feline in 1982 and the Governing Council of Cat Fancy (GCCF) in 1993.
Maine Coon Physical Characteristics
Maine Coons are among the largest cat breeds, third after the Ragdoll and the Norweighian Forest Cat. They show a close resemblance to the Norwegian Skogkatt (Forest Cat). The Maine Coon is easily identified by her massive size, lion-like mane, long hair, and bushy tail.
According to the The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, this cat breed has a rectangular, muscular body and a broad chest. An adult male can weigh up to 18 pounds and be 16 inches tall, and a female up to 12 pounds and up to 14 inches tall. The Maine Coon size doesn’t reach its full potential until 3 to 5 years old.
Maine Coons come in a variety of colors, from black, ginger, white, blue (gray), and cream and feature solid, bi-color, smoke, or tabby patterns.
Their thick, water-resistant coat and dense tail keeps them insulated during harsh winters. Their eyes come in colors of green, copper, and blue and have no relation to the color of the coat. Their ears, with their tufts of pointed hair, resemble those of a lynx.
What Is the Temperament of a Maine Coon?
Loyal, docile, and affectionate are words that describe a Maine Coon’s personality. You are lucky to call this friendly and fuzzy feline a family member. “Most of the Maine Coon cats that I see in my clinic are very sweet cats,” says Dr. Sara Ochoa of Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Texas. “They are affectionate and loving. These cats can be very smart and loyal to their owners.”
If you are looking for a cat that loves to be around family and does well with kids and pets, a Maine Coon is your best bet. “This breed is great with kids and adapts well to a house with other pets. They love to play with other cats or dogs,” says Ochoa. Maine Coons, while great with exercise and mental enrichment, can also be lazy and sleep all day, she adds.
“Like all breeds of cats, they can be stubborn and want to be independent,” says Christine Kolenz of Only Maine Coons Rescue. “They are typically smart cats who are big goof balls.”
Maine Coon Care Guide
Taking care of a Maine Coon involves some commitment, especially to maintain their long, luscious hair. Plenty of exercise and playtime can help these cats lead enriching lives. Annual and semi-annual veterinary visits help to identify and prevent any genetic health issues.
Diet and Nutrition
Pet parents tend to overfeed Maine Coons in an attempt to get them fluffier. Given that these felines take years to reach their full size, it’s important to give them food in moderation as they have a propensity to obesity. Consult with the veterinarian to discuss the right diet for your Maine Coon.
“Talk to your veterinarian about a well-balanced diet that supports growth of healthy bone structures, and builds a healthy gut for a good immune system later on,” says Dr. Lily Chen of Point Vicente Animal Hospital in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Ochoa recommends the Royal Canin diet made for Maine Coons. The diet contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that support the bones and joints of this large animal. The food also has nutrients that help maintain a healthy heart and skin and shiny fur.
Exercise and Activity
These New England cats have adapted to thrive in the natural environment and hence enjoy spending time outdoors. A house with a fenced backyard or an enclosed catio where they can play is ideal. If the cat mainly stays indoors, exercise and enrichment in the form of scratching posts, climbing trees, and interactive toys are needed. Kittens, Kolenz says, “need more time, attention and playtime.” Recommended playtime ranges from 20 to 40 minutes a day.
Both Maine Coon kittens and adults love getting attention from their humans. For their daily needs, make sure to provide them with a large enough litter box that can fit their big bodies.
Maine Coons don’t shed more than other cats, but due to their long hair, it’s more noticeable. Frequent brushing and grooming can help reduce shedding and prevent hair from matting. “These cats have long hair that needs brushing daily to keep them from matting,” says Ochoa.
Bathing is sometimes necessary to prevent hair from getting matted. “Most cats do not like baths, so unless you are prepared for a battle, use a waterless shampoo,” recommends Kolenz. “I use a flea comb to get close to the skin to brush the mats out. I also have a furminator.”
Maine Coon Health Issues
Maine Coons are genetically predisposed to certain health issues. Here are the ones you should be aware of
Heart Disease: “The most significant and prevalent heart disease we see with the Maine Coon is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM),” says Chen. “It is believed to be due to genetic mutations, and tests are available to test for possible mutation.”
According to Ochoa, HCM happens when the chambers of the cat’s heart are smaller than they should be, which decreases the blood flow around the body. While the disease can start early in life, it’s most often diagnosed when Maine Coons are around 7 to 10 years, adds Ochoa.
To prevent this genetic mutation, Chen states that “responsible Maine coon breeders should have the parents tested and screened for this issue prior to breeding.”
Hip Dysplasia: Another issue veterinarians typically see in Maine Coons is hip dysplasia (malformed hip joints) and predisposition to arthritis later in life.
Spinal Problems: Additionally, Chen says that Maine Coons suffer from spinal muscular atrophy. “This is a disease similar in people where progressive loss of muscular function is seen.”
Interesting Maine Coon Facts
Maine Coons are very vocal. These friendly fluffballs love to follow their humans around and communicate by meowing, trilling, and chirping. Trilling is a combination of meowing and purring.
They are also fond of water: Unlike most cats, Maine Coons love the water, and revel in playing with water in the sink or shower tub. They are also capable of swimming.
They break world records: In 2010, Stewie made the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s longest domestic cat. He was 48.5 inches long when stretched out. Currently, Ludo, another Maine Coon, held the title of the longest domestic cat in the world in 2015. The 26-year-old Corduroy, a Maine Coon-mix, became the record holder for the oldest living domestic cat in 2015. Sadly, he escaped his home a year later and was never found.
They are famous: Maine Coons garnered tons of popularity for appearing in the Harry Potter franchize as Mrs. Norris, the beloved cat of Mr. Filch, who patrols the corridors of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The breed is first to be cloned: The first commercially cloned pet was a Maine Coon. In 2004, a cat named Little Nicky, was cloned by Genetic Savings & Clone for a fee of $50,000 for a woman in Texas.
Maine Coon Adoption Tips
There are two ways of getting a purebred Maine Coon—purchasing one from a reputable breeder or going through a breed-specific rescue. If a Maine Coon ends up in a shelter, it may or may not be a purebred, given that in most circumstances the animal is abandoned or surrendered without any paperwork registering them as a purebred cat. When purchasing from a reputable breeder, the price for a Maine Coon can be anywhere from $800 to $2,000.
Maine Coon rescue groups like Only Maine Coons Rescue work with Maine coon mixes taken from shelters and pure breeds that are surrendered from owners, with the latter requiring registration papers. Cats adopted with papers cost more. Only Maine Coons Rescue adopts out their kittens at $200 and adult cats from $175. Purebred cats of any age with papers go from $225 to $350.
“If buying from a breeder, make sure to research a lot as there are a lot of scammers,” recommends Kolenz. She also recommends searching for Maine Coons online and on Social Media like Facebook.
See below for some breed-specific Maine Coon rescues in the U.S.
- Only Maine Coons Rescue, located in New Jersey, is a volunteer-run group that rescues Maine Coon purebred and mixed cats and kittens from shelters and unwanted situations and places them in foster homes until they find their forever homes.
- Maine Coon Rescue, located in Lerona, West Virginia is a nationwide rescue run by a network of volunteers. They rescue abandoned, abused, homeless and surrendered Maine Coons, regardless of their registration.
- East Coast Maine Coon Rescue, spread across several Northeastern states, is also a volunteer run rescue with a mission to protect Maine Coons from kill shelters and horrible conditions.
Maine Coon FAQs
These affectionate fluffballs make great family pets and wonderful companions. But before bringing a Maine Coon into your home, find out everything you need to know with these frequently asked questions.
How Big Do Maine Coon Cats Get?
An adult male can weigh anywhere from 13 to 18 pounds and an adult female from 8 to 12 pounds. They stand between 10-16 inches tall.
Do Maine Coon Cats Shed?
Maine Coon cats have longer hair, but they don’t shed anymore than your average cat. They are just more noticeable.
Are Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic?
They are not hypoallergenic, as they do produce allergens.
Are Maine Coon Cats Aggressive?
Maine Coons are not aggressive, but proper socialization at an early age is needed to avoid accidental aggressive behavior.
Are Maine Coon Cats Good Family Pets?
These loyal and loving cats make wonderful family pets, so long as they are given the proper attention and care. They are traditionally good with children and other household dogs and cats.
Pictures of Maine Coon Cats
Due to their sweet natures and playful antics, we can flip through pictures of Maine Coon cats all day long. If you feel the same way, browse this gallery showing off the traits, colorings, and characteristics of these fluffy felines.