The Maine coon AKA The Gentle Giant is a unique domestic breed of cat.
The Maine coon is known for its enormous size and longhair fur, there is a reason this cat is a family favorite.
Despite being large in size, the Maine coon is a very gentle creature and has a very well-balanced personality. It is the second most popular choice for domestic cats after the Persian.
|Fun Fact||They can grow to the size of a tiger cub|
|Other Names||Gentle Giant, American Longhair|
|Life Span||9-13 Years|
The Maine Coone is known for its gentle nature, big personality, and extravagant hairdo.
Initially domesticated as a mouser cat, a domestic cat used to hunt rodents, it quickly became a family favorite due to its gentle and loving nature.
There are a lot of myths surrounding the species, one popular folklore is that Maine coons are half raccoon half cat! This is only a myth and simply not true.
1. How big are Maine coons? They are absolutely huge
So large in fact that they’re often mistaken for a bobcat (red lynx), which is a larger wild cat. Maine coons will tip the scales, coming in at a huge 13 to 18 pounds (up to 25lbs) for males and 9 to 16 pounds for females. They’re not quite the largest domestic cat species in the world but are certainly up there.
2. Where do Maine coons come from? Well, they have a very interesting origin story
They are the oldest domestic cat breed that is native to the US, and despite the popular folklore, Maine coons are not a mix between a cat and a raccoon. It is also very unlikely that they were descendants of Queen Marie Antoinette’s six pet cats, brought to the US in her foiled attempt to escape her native France.
A much more realistic story is that the Maine coon originated from when the Vikings and other European sailors arrived in the US during the 1700s with their long-haired cats, these cats bred with the native short-haired cats. This is especially likely since genetic testing indicated that the Maine coons are descendants of the Norwegian Forest Cat as well as an unknown domestic breed.
3. Do Maine coons have a good tempermant? Yes they certainly do and therefore make good pets
They aren’t known as the “dogs of the cat world” for nothing! Maine coons are described as intelligent, affectionate, and loving creatures. You can also train them to perform simple tricks like playing fetch.
Maine coons are particularly friendly and get on with adults, children, and even other animals. They often enjoy your company and actually look like they’re taking an interest in what you’re doing. Not particularly needy, yet they will gladly curl up on your lap.
4. Why are Maine coons so fluffy? They are totally made for the winter
These cats were made for winter, they possess certain physical traits that help them to survive harsh winters. They have large tufted paws which act as snowshoes and an incredibly dense, water-repellant coat.
Their coat is longer around their lower bodies to keep their bodies warm when they sit down or walk, and longer on their shoulders allowing them to run around without getting caught by any bushes or tree branches.
5. Can you take Maine coons out for a walk? Yes, you can take them out for a walk on a lead
As I mentioned earlier in the article, these highly intelligent ‘cat-dogs’ can be trained to perform simple tricks like a dog, well they can also be lead-trained. With a bit of patience and perseverance, you can train a Maine coon cat to walk around the neighborhood with you. They certainly enjoy it!
Walking with them will be a different experience from walking a dog and there are right and wrong ways to do it. If you are ever planning to take your Maine coon out for a stroll, please look up some instructions online on how to do it properly.
6. Has a Maine coone ever been cloned? Yes, and it was a successful clone
In 2004, a Maine coon named Little Nicky became the first-ever pet animal to be cloned. His human, a woman identified only as, Julie paid $50,000 to commission a Californian biotech company named Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc to clone her cat after she had passed. She saved some of his body tissue in a gene bank, this was transplanted into an egg cell and put into a surrogate mother.
The clone was apparently almost identical in both appearance and temperament to Julie’s beloved cat.
7. A Maine coon famously in the Harry Potter movies
If you’ve seen the films, you may remember ‘Mrs. Norris’ a shaggy Maine coon who would be seen roaming the Hogwarts halls, on the eye out for any misbehaving students so she can tell her master Argus Filch. The actual cat is named ‘Pebbles‘ and was reported to not be as responsive to more complex training, but was still great at stopping on command.
8. Why do Maine coons have an extra toe? They carry a dominant gene for it
Although having an extra toe may look unusual, many fans of the Maine coon believe it can help the cat with a lot of tasks such as catching mice, pawing through snow, and even climbing around. This particular gene is a dominant gene which means a polydactyl cat (cat with an extra toe) has a 50% chance of passing it down to its offspring.
9. Do Maine coons like water? Yes they absolutely love it
They are breaking stereotypes here, and it may be due to their dense, water-resistant fur, but they just love it. They’re strong swimmers too and are often much more accomodating at bath time than your average domestic cat. You will hear stories of Maine coons jumping into bathtubs full of water and even into pools.
10. Are Maine coons the biggest cats? Yes, the one below holds the ‘worlds longest cat’ record
His name is Barivel and he lives in Italy. He broke the record in 2018 after he measured at 120cm (3ft 11 in.). That’s around the same height as your average 7-year-old child. He’s even a bit of a local celebrity in his hometown of Vigevano, near Milan. To be honest, if I saw a shaggy 120cm cat walking around on a lead, I would never forget it!