Maine Coon Cats: Fall in Love With the Gentle Giant of Cat Breeds
Maine Coon cats are the largest cat breed in the world and have been dubbed the gentle giants of felines. It’s no wonder these big kitties are one of the most popular cat breeds in the UK and beloved all around the globe. Do you think a Maine Coon cat would make the purrfect furry companion for you? Below, Cat in a Flat tells you everything you need to know about the gentle giants of the cat world.
Where do Maine Coon cats come from?
As you probably guessed from the name, the Maine Coon cat breed originates from the state of Maine in the USA. However, these large furry felines have more complicated origins. Some say Main Coons are relatives of the great Norwegian forest cats, or Viking skogatts. Others claim this breed of kitty inherited their tufted ears and large size through interbreeding with bobcats.
The most likely theory is that Puritans brough the Main Coon cat’s long-haired ancestors over from Europe in the 1600s and 1700s. Over the years, natural selection ensured that only the biggest felines with the thickest coats could survive Maine’s harsh climate. In the 19th century, people began to selectively breed Main Coon cats to make them larger as well—hence we ended up with the gentle giants we know and love today!
Things to know before getting a Maine Coon cat
Choosing a furry companion is a big decision and one you shouldn’t take lightly. You want to make sure any kitty you choose to bring into your home will make both a good lifestyle and personality fit. Are you wondering if the Maine Coon cat is the right breed for you? Here are all the pros and cons you should know about owning a Maine Coon cat.
Pros of a Maine Coon cat:
One of the negative side effects of intentional cat breeding is that many breeds (like Munchkin or Ragdoll cats) are prone to bad health problems. Luckily, this isn’t the case for the Maine Coon cat! These felines developed naturally with very little human influence (and evolved to adapt to harsh weather), so they tend to be a very hearty and healthy cat breed.
Maine Coon cats fit in very well with just about any family. They will bond closely with a single owner, but these felines have hearts to match their massive size. Their laid-back nature means they get along well with kids, can be introduced to dogs, and will make friends with other cats in the family too.
We don’t call Maine Coon cats gentle giants for nothing! This feline breed is known for its affectionate and loving nature. Your Maine Coon will follow you from room to room (yes, even the bathroom!) and will love spending time cuddling and sleeping with you.
One of the best features of the Maine Coon cat is its intelligence. Maine Coons possess high emotional intelligence and are able to read their owner’s moods. You can teach a Maine Coon to do tricks and, as ‘the dogs of the cat world’, they will even play fetch and learn to walk on a leash and harness.
The Maine Coon cat’s long, thick coat may seem intimidating, but these furry friends actually don’t shed nearly as much as other long-haired cats. When they do shed, a Maine Coon’s fur will come away in clumps, which makes it easy to clean up.
Cons of a Maine Coon cat:
Buying a Maine Coon cat can cost you upwards of £1,000. If you’re okay with the cost, make sure to do thorough research before buying. Many sellers will try to pass off mixed-breed Maine Coons as purebred, or you could end up buying from an unethical kitten mill. Make sure to find a registered breeder who is ethical and honest.
Because of their large size, you’ll continue to invest quite a lot of money in your Maine Coon throughout their life. You’ll have to buy large…well, everything. Maine Coons eat more than other cat breeds, and require a special diet of high-protein foods. They also play hard and can be destructive when bored. You’ll need to find cat-safe toys that can withstand Mr Whiskers’ rough and tumble personality. Maine Coon cats also need extra large cat towers to climb and jump, larger cat beds, and bigger food bowls and water fountains.
While Maine Coons are one of the healthiest cat breeds in the world, there are a few health problems potential owners should know about. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy are the most common health problems in Maine Coon cats. Therefore, if your Maine Coon cat shows any signs of being sick, take them to the vet immediately. It’s always best to be proactive about your fur friend’s health.
As the biggest cat breed in the world, the Maine Coon cat needs plenty of space to feel happy and healthy! This feline breed is suitable for apartment living only if you live in a large flat. Maine Coons are also very active, which means they need lots of space to run and jump around! Hence, you should play with your cat at least thirty minutes every day. This ensures Mr Whiskers gets enough exercise and isn’t at risk for obesity.
Although Maine Coon cats do shed less than other breeds, they still require some extra grooming care! It’s important to brush your Maine Coon cat twice a week (and more during heavier shedding seasons like spring and fall). This will prevent their long fur from tangling and matting. Another part of Maine Coon essential cat care is that you’ll need to frequently trim the long fur around their paws—usually once or twice a month.
A Maine Coon cat’s sociable nature means they’ll get lonely if left home alone for too long. This breed is best suited for owners who work from home. If you need to spend time away, hire a cat sitter to come in for twice daily visits to spend time with your Maine Coon. You can also get a kitty or dog to keep your Maine Coon company!
Maine Coon cats are undoubtably a ‘big’ commitment. If you’re still not sure the Maine Coon breed is the right kind of feline for your lifestyle, you might enjoy learning about the beloved tabby cat or the dignified British shorthair!