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Brown Classic Tabby Maine Coon Adult Female 4 yrs  ©

 

Introduction

The Maine Coon Cat is a solid, rugged cat and North America's oldest natural longhaired breedMaine Coon cats are prized for their striking beauty, large size, sweet personality and silky all-weather coat. Considering the breed’s intelligence and clown-like antics, it’s no wonder they have become a favourite among cat lovers.  Their temperament is incredible and they have been nick-named "THE CAT FOR DOG LOVERS" as it is not unusual for people to teach them to play fetch and to respond to commands such as sit or lay down. They are intelligent and very social. They will most often follow you from room to room and many like to "talk" to you.

History, Origin, Myths


Maine coons have been on this continent since colonial days. They probably came over from Europe with the first settlers of the New World, since cats were often kept on sailing ships to control rodent populations. While there exists no actual evidence of where and when they arrived, some entertaining myths surround the breed’s origin and arrival. One such tale claims that Maine coons are descendants of six longhaired pet cats owned by Marie Antoinette sent to Wiscasset, Maine when she was planning to escape from France during the French Revolution. According to the story, Captain Clough smuggled the queen’s cats and other belongings to America in preparation of the Queen’s rescue from her rendezvous with the guillotine. Unfortunately, he was only successful in rescuing her cats. Another myth comes from a legend that a domestic cat released in the wilds of Maine interbred with a raccoon, resulting in offspring with the Maine Coon's characteristics. Though this is biologically impossible, this myth, bolstered by the bushy tail and the most common coloring (a raccoon-like brown tabby) probably led to the adoption of the name 'Maine Coon'.

Most breeders today believe that the breed originated in matings between pre-existing shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs (perhaps Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or longhairs brought to America by the Vikings). Maine Coons' long coats resemble their European counterparts, the Norwegian Forest Cats.

However they arrived, Maine coons carved their place in the New England countryside alongside the early colonists. Given Maine’s severe winters, those initial years were hard on both felines and humans. Only the strongest and most adaptable cats survived. Through natural selection, the Maine coon developed into a large, rugged cat with his water-resistant coat and hardy constitution.

The Maine coon was an early favourite in the emerging American cat fancy in the late 1800s. In the early 1900s, however, cat fanciers of the era abandoned Maine coons for Persians, Angoras and other exotic imports. By 1950, the breed had all but vanished. Fortunately, a small group of breeders kept the breed alive. It has since regained its popularity.

Appearance

Although the Yankee myth of 30-pound cats is just that, a myth (unless the cat is grossly overweight!), these are indeed tall, muscular, big-boned cats.  They are one of the largest domestic breeds, sometimes weighing 25 pounds. On the average, male Maine coons weigh in at 13 to 18 pounds.  The females range from 9 to 12 pounds and often weighing up to 18 pounds which is the size  of an average sized male. Add to that two or three inches of winter coat, and people will swear that they're looking at one big cat. Slow to develop, the Maine Coon takes 3 to 5 years to reach full size and weight. The heavy, shaggy, water-resistant coat, shorter on the shoulders and longer on the stomach, flanks, and tail, makes the cat appear even larger. Some Maine Coon cats have an impressive ruff on their chests.

Everything about the Maine Coon points to its adaptation to a harsh climate. Since the Maine coon is the result of “survival of the fittest” adaptation, the breed is muscular and broad chested with substantial, muscular legs. Its glossy, shaggy coat, heavy and water-resistant, is like that of no other breed, and must be felt to be appreciated. It is longer on the ruff, stomach and britches to protect against wet and snow, and shorter on the back and neck to guard against tangling in the underbrush.  The long, bushy tail which the cat wraps around himself when he curls up to sleep can protect him from cold winters. His ears are more heavily furred (both inside and on the tips) than many breeds for protection from the cold, and have a large range of movement. Big, round, tufted feet serve as 'snow shoes.' Their large eyes and ears are also survival traits, serving as they do increase sight and hearing. The relatively long, square muzzle facilitates grasping prey and lapping water from streams and puddles.

While the Maine Coon may be polydactyl, having one or more extra toes on their paws, this trait is generally bred out, as it has been rejected by the standard.

Maine Coon cats come in many colours and patterns, although they are best known for the brown tabby variety. In fact, all colors and patterns are accepted except chocolate, lavender, the Siamese pointed pattern and any of these combinations with white.

Here are some of the most common patterns:

Solid colours: Include black, white, orange, blue or cream.

Bi-colour: Predominantly white with patches of one other colour.

Tortoiseshell or Calico: A patchy pattern made up of three or more distinct colours (usually black, orange, and cream/white).

Tabby: A darker stripy pattern on a lighter background colour; most often brown, orange, blue, or cream. Nose and paw pad colours usually correspond to predominant coat colour, varying from pink to black.

Grooming

Maine Coon cats are relatively easy to keep. Since the Maine coon’s coat has a silky, all-weather texture and is water resistant, the fur doesn’t mat as easily as a Persian’s would. Their coat falls smoothly and is almost maintenance-free requiring only a combing once a week with a good quality steel comb to keep it in top condition.  During the fall, when they shed their summer coats, and spring, when they shed their heavier winter coats, additional grooming is usually needed.

Characteristics and Temperament

Maine Coon cats are noted for their gentleness and friendliness. Their dispositions remain kittenish throughout their lives; they are big, gentle, good-natured goofs.  They are especially good with children and other pets. With their large, powerful, muscular bodies and powerful jaws, it’s a good thing Maine coons are gentle giants. They are, in fact, jumbo-sized packages of love and devotion. Sweet and good-natured, Maine coons are completely loyal to their beloved humans. They generally bond with one person or family and are forever devoted to those favoured few.

While Maine Coons are highly people-oriented cats, they are not overly-dependent. They do not constantly pester you for attention, but prefer to "hang out" with their owners, investigating whatever activity you're involved in and "helping" when they can. They are not, as a general rule, known as "lap cats" but as with any personality trait there are a few Maine Coons that prefer laps. Most Maine Coons will stay close by, probably occupying the chair next to yours instead. Maine Coons will follow you from room to room and wait outside a closed door for you to emerge. A Maine Coon will be your companion, your buddy, your pal, but hardly ever your baby.

Maine Coons are relaxed and easy-going in just about everything they do. The males tend to be the clowns while the females retain more dignity, but both remain playful throughout their lives.  They are not as vertically-oriented as some other breeds, preferring to chase objects on the ground and grasping them in their large paws -- no doubt instincts developed as professional mousers.

The only thing small about Maine coons are their distinctive voices. They rarely meow and when they do, that soft, tiny voice doesn't fit their size! It’s hilarious to hear tiny high-pitched squeaks coming out of Paul Bunyan-sized bodies.  Maine Coons are noted for their ability to trill their meows, which sounds like a combination of a purr and a meow, and they tend to make this sound when happy, courting or startled. Like most cats, Maine coons spend much of their time snoozing, but when in action they are agile and lightning fast. Since their ancestors made their living as mousers, they are zealous hunters and enjoy playing with catnip mice and other prey. They particularly enjoy interactive toys in which their humans take part.

Due to their above-average intelligence, Maine Coons are known to be one of the easiest cat breeds to train. Maine Coons can be very dog-like in their behaviour. Playing fetch is a favourite game. As with dogs, they will bring their ball, drop it at the feet of their intended playmate and wait for the ball to be thrown.

As befits former seafarers, Maine coons are fascinated by water. They enjoy dabbling their feet in their water bowls, drinking from running faucets and walking around the still-wet shower or bathtub. This fascination doesn’t extend to bath time, however.

They are a sturdy and healthy breed and are known for their easy-going adaptable personality. Maine Coon cats make excellent companions for large, active families that also enjoy having dogs and other animals around. (Source: Cat Fanciers)

For More information on Maine Coons and our Cattery please see FAQ page of the web site.

.. And because of the cat's loyalty, and the dog's jealous vindictiveness, the Chief of the tribe uttered these words: "From this day on cat, you shall sleep inside upon my finest mats, while you, dog, shall continue to sleep out of doors upon the dust of the earth. And when the time comes that we feast, O cat, thou shall eat of the same food as we, being a worthy and noble being. But you, dog, shall learn to be content and satisfied with what scraps we choose to toss you." 
~
Paraphrased from an Ashanti legend.

 

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