The Maine Coon has become one of the most popular cat breeds in the world and enjoys increasing popularity in the United Kingdom. This is probably due to its wild appearance, robust nature and great character.
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Where does the Maine Coon originate from?
The Maine Coon is similar to the Norwegian Forest Cat in appearance, but comes from the US state of Maine, as the name suggests. There are many legends about its originals, including claims that it is a mix between a cat and a raccoon – which would, of course, be biologically impossible! More likely is the claim that these cats were used on immigrant ships to fight rats and mice, which is how it came to America. This breed was then completely forgotten, before becoming popular again in the 1950s and making regular appearances at breed shows.
Did you know that the Maine Coon is known as America’s first show cat? The inhabitants of Maine are extremely proud of their unusual cats. They were convinced that these were the smartest, fastest, strongest and, therefore, the best of all cat breeds. As far back as the 18thcentury they began comparing their Maine Coon cats with other breeds at rural folk festivals.
What kind of temperament does the Maine Coon have?
Maine Coons are very gracious and sociable animals. They like to play and are extremely intelligent – you can even teach these cats small tricks! It has even been reported that soon “Coonies” have been taught to fetch. Unlike most cat breeds, Maine Coons are also known to like water. If you are keeping a single Maine Coon on its own, you will need to provide it with plenty of attention, and will be rewarded with its cooing and meowing that will accompany you throughout the day. These cats are very sociable and compatible with other animals and with children, meaning they can easily be kept as domestic cats and are even suited to working professionals. However, they are very active and should, therefore, have plenty opportunities to let off steam, even if they are living as housecats.
What kind of build does the Maine Coon have?
An average weight for a Maine Coon cat is 6-8kg, with 5kg being a minimum weight. The body is muscular, with a broad chest, and the body is elongated and edgy. Maine Coons can reach up to 1.2m in length, with big, pointed ears that are tufted at the end. Their coat is water repellent, with a dense undercoat, firm coat hair and bushy tail, which should be as long as the body itself. This coat can vary in colour and is found in every variant aside from golden. The Maine Coon’s legs are strong and muscular, of medium length and well-proportioned. Paws are big, round and tufted, with hair tufts on the paw pads that can protrude more than 2cm between the toes. This all essentially means that there is no single clear breed standard for the Maine Coon, as it depends to which club a particular breeder belongs as to the exact standards. Polydactyly can also occur in Maine Coons; this is a genetic defect in which the cat is born with six or seven toes.
What is the Maine Coon like to own?
Previously put to good use, Maine Coon cats are gifted hunters. These intelligent cats like to retrieve things and are great lovers of water. Do not be surprised if your Maine Coon jumps straight into every puddle, or likes to play with its water bowl! Scratching posts and sleeping dens need to be adapted to meet the sheer size of this breed, being tall and stable. Find out more about choosing the right scratching post in our handy magazine article! Although Maine Coons are considered affectionate, these furry friends should still be given the opportunity to hideaway by themselves, with options such as cat houses. You also need to be careful to choose the right size litter box – the bigger, the better and the more comfortable for this cat! Maine Coons can generally be socialised with other cats with minimal problems, although you should check beforehand that they are of a sociable nature. As Coonies are very active and energetic, you need to ensure there is plenty of opportunities for them to let off steam, especially if your Maine Coon is an indoor cat. Setting up a cat-safe balcony or terrace can be a great option for these felines. It is also possible to walk your Maine Coon on a lead, but you should get your cat used to this indoors before heading outside. Cat toys and intelligence games should always be available to keep your clever cat entertained.
How do I care for my Maine Coon?
Looking at the Maine Coon’s coat, you would expect this breed to be fairly high maintenance. However, contrary to this expectation, it requires very little care and attention. This is because the breed has very little undercoat and only half-length top coat, so knots and matting do not form so easily. Therefore, combing your Maine Coon once per week should suffice. When your cat’s coat is changing you should try to groom it more frequently, and you should check your outdoor cat’s coat regularly for parasites.
What kind of diet does the Maine Coon require?
Maine Coons are large cats that like to be moving and keep active, so they will naturally require a great deal of energy from their food. Different lifestyles will also play a role, with older cats having different nutritional needs from a kitten. With kittens it is especially important to ensure there is enough energy being provided, to ensure proper growth and development. General health and weight can also play a key role in determining diet. When choosing your cat’s food, be sure to look out for quality ingredients. Meat should be the main component of the food, with sugars, preservatives, grains and animal by-products being present only in small quantities. Treats and snacks will always be gratefully received, but be sure to keep these to a minimum. Pay close attention to your Maine Coon cat’s weight, as being overweight can lead to painful joint problems.
You should also offer your Maine Coon cat grass, as grooming can result in hairs being digested and forming hairballs in the stomach. Cat grass can help support your cat in vomiting these swallowed hairs, as it helps with the nauseous feeling.
Raw feeding and homemade meals are also options when choosing how to feed your Maine Coon. Before deciding on any of these methods, however, you should be sure that you are thoroughly informed on the different nutrients your cat needs, so that you can avoid causing any deficiencies. Remember, never feed your cat raw pork as it can transmit the Aujeszky virus. Cook all meat well before feeding.
You should be sure that your Maine Coon always has plenty of fresh water available. Cats are naturally lactose intolerant, so avoid feeding your cat milk. However, special cat milk with a reduced lactose content can be a great option and is generally well-tolerated, although it should be offered as a snack rather than as a water substitute.
Are you still looking for the best nutrition for your Maine Coon cat? Choose from our many dry and wet food options, and discover our range of specialist Maine Coon cat breed food!
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