(Original Title: Maine Coon Cat Breed Facts)
|A Maine Coon cat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Maine Coon History
Their origins are unknown though several popular stories have been passed along the years. One story involves Capt. Charles Coon, an English captain who frequently traveled to New England with long-haired cats aboard his ship. Upon docking, the cats mated with local feral cats and produced lots of offspring. Townspeople referred to the strays as "Coon's cats".
Another folktale involves Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, who attempted an escape with Capt. Samuel Clough in 1793. Her prized possessions, including six beloved cats, were stashed on Clough's ship. Though she didn't escape her beheading, her cats arrived safely in Massachusetts. The cats were described with similar characteristics to the cooncat. Breeders consider the cats' ancestry to go back to the 11th century with the Vikings. History shows the breed existed in the 1800s as a hunting and domestic cats.
In 1967, the breed was officially recognized as a unique breed of domestic cat.
Maine Coon Weight and Size
Maine Coon cats can weigh between 9 to 18 pounds. Males typically weight between 13 to 18 pounds, while females average 9 to 12 pounds. Their large, body shape, rectangle-build, and long hair make them look even larger. They are not full-grown until they reach 3 to 5 years of age. Adults can reach 10 to 16 inches in height.
Their length can be up to 40 inches, including their tails which can be 14 inches long.
Maine Coon Personality
They have several distinctive features, including their long, bushy tail; tufted ears; large, expressive eyes; and ruff around their neck (like a lion). Their eyes are green, gold, green-gold, or copper colors. Their coat is soft and comes in every color and pattern, except pointed patterns, like the Siamese. Their thick fur is shorter on their front legs and shoulders and longer on their back, perches, stomach, and tail. Their tail is often as long as their body.
They have a squared muzzle. They are nicknamed "Gentle Giants" for their affectionate, loving behavior. They are not lapping cats, though they enjoy following family members to offer help with any projects. Their playful nature continues in adulthood. Their distinctive meow -- a chirping sound -- lets owners know when they want their attention, to play, or to mate. They are great pets for families. Generally, they are indoor cats, and they enjoy interacting with people.