- Breed name: Maine Coon
- Country of Origin: USA
- Time of origin of the breed: XIX century
- Height (height at the withers): 25-41 cm
- Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Maine coons are giants of the cat world. The weight of an adult male can reach from 7 to 12 kg, a cat – from 4 to 7.5 kg.
- Maine Coon owners like to call their pets simply coons.
- Despite the presence of a rich "fur coat", representatives of this breed do not need professional grooming and are able to do with home combing.
- Coons are not phlegmatic and will gladly support any game if it is started in the morning or in the evening. But in the daytime, animals prefer to take a peaceful nap.
- Maine Coons are rightfully considered one of the best family breeds. They are equally easy to take root in houses and apartments and do not declare war on other representatives of the fauna who are forced to share a common territory with them.
- With age, representatives of this breed "grow" an incredible sense of self-esteem, selflessly indulging in regal reclining on all free (and sometimes occupied) horizontal surfaces in unexpected poses.
Maine Coons - plus size cats, wise, good-natured, with soft fluffy fur and funny "tassels" on the auricles. Born hunters and strategists, they are happy to engage in active games, but at the same time carefully dose motor activity, interspersing periods of violent activity with passive rest. These charming giants have developed intelligence, but they are absolutely not vindictive. They masterfully "read" the emotional mood of a person by his voice and facial expression, so they are always aware of when and from which side to approach the owner for their portion of affection.
History of the Maine Coon breed
The world learned about the existence of Maine coons from American breeders. The name of the breed translates as "Manx raccoon". And if everything is clear with the first term in this phrase ("Maine" is from the name of the American state of Maine), then the second requires clarification. The unusual striped color and fluffy tails of Maine coons gave rise to a legend among breeders that the breed was obtained by crossing a representative of the feline family with a raccoon. The bike remained a bike, but the word "kun" (short for racoon – raccoon) still stuck to the breed.
The most beautiful version of the appearance of gigantic cats in North America can be considered the legend of the failed escape of Queen Marie Antoinette. Expecting reprisals from the French revolutionaries, the wife of Louis XIV was going to flee to the American continent and for safety sent a ship ahead of her with things dear to her heart, including her beloved long-haired cats. The whiskered-tailed cargo sailed to the shores of New England in one piece and, freely crossing with local shorthair cats, gave rise to a new breed that soon settled throughout the state.
Modern experts tend to believe that the history of the origin of the "race" of Maine Coons is much more prosaic. Cats were brought to America quite a long time ago, but they were mostly short-haired individuals. Long-haired cats arrived on the continent much later, along with the first settlers from the Old World. As a result, having found themselves in conditions favorable for free crossing, the indigenous inhabitants and "newcomers" representatives of the tailed-whiskered brethren became the ancestors of a new variety of large long-haired cats.
A real pioneer in the formation of the Maine Coon breed was a cat named Captain-Jenks-from-the-sea-Cavalry. This fluffy giant caused indescribable delight of the audience in 1861, having been noted at cat shows in Boston and New York and eclipsing the popular ones then angorov . But by the XX century, the Manx giants had lost their positions and were ousted for almost half a century Persians and siamese . After the end of the Second World War, the Coons reasserted themselves, however, at that time only within the American continent. In 1953, the breed acquired its own official club, and in 1968 the first association of fans and breeders of "Manx raccoons" was founded Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association/MCBFA. As for Europe, the coons reached it only in the 70s of the last century.
Video: Maine Coon
Appearance of Maine Coons
The appearance of the glorious Maine Coon family was significantly influenced by the climate of Maine: it is very difficult to survive in a cold and snowy continental winter without a thick undercoat. A wide paw protected by additional tufts of wool is also a useful device that helps to slide on the ice crust without falling into the snow. Well, impressive size in the conditions of hunting for small animals is an invaluable advantage at all. As for the modern representatives of the breed, their appearance could not but be affected by the passion of European breeders for extremalization. Today's Maine Coons have significantly increased in size, their muzzles have become even more elongated, and their ears have grown significantly.
Massive, noticeably elongated in length, with a raised profile, high cheekbones and a medium-length nose. Since the ancestors of modern Maine Coons hunted rodents, they often had to "dive" into burrows for prey, which became the main prerequisite for the formation of a somewhat elongated skull shape.
Round-shaped eyes, set wide and slightly obliquely. The shade of the iris varies from green to rich yellow and is in harmony with the color of the animal.
Large size, with a wide base and a slight forward tilt. A distinctive feature is "lynx brushes" and "brushes" peeking out of the ear flap. It was the outstanding size of the auricle that helped the Maine Coons become excellent mousers, for which the breed is especially loved by American farmers. The skin on the ears is thick, protected by thick hair, the cartilage structure is dense. To maximize the preservation of heat and protect the hearing organs, the coons use an ancient technique: the animal presses its ears tightly to the head, as if folding them, which prevents the penetration of icy air into the funnel.
The neck of Maine Coons is strong, muscular, of medium length, decorated with lush and long hair. Among breeders, individuals with a neck "collar" reaching to the ear flaps are especially appreciated.
Elongated, close to a rectangle in shape, with well-developed muscle mass. The chest is wide enough, the shape of the back is horizontal.
Tall, muscular and very strong. Set wide.
Massive, rounded shape, protected by a dense "fringe".
The tail of the Maine Coon is long (equal in size to the length of the trunk), with a wide base, without breaks. It is covered with thick fur, under which a dense water-repellent undercoat hides. In extreme weather conditions, the tail performs the function of a natural heater: the animal wraps it around the body, thereby protecting itself from the cold.
The coat of Maine Coons is long (from 10 to 15 cm), but heterogeneous, gradually increasing the volume in the direction from the shoulders to the abdomen. The most magnificent wool in the area of the so-called "pants". In the area of the back, the cover is more rigid with a predominance of guard hairs. The belly and sides are protected by a soft down undercoat, the main purpose of which is warming and water–repellent functions.
Individuals bred in nurseries in different countries can vary quite a lot both in color and size. Recently, cats of any color are allowed to participate in exhibitions, with exceptions – point, purple and chocolate. At the same time, agouti, tiger black, marble black and white are considered to be the classic "identifying shades" of coons (the latter option has become widespread in Russia).
Non-compliance of the Maine Coon's appearance with generally accepted standards automatically excludes him from the ranks of representatives of the show class. In other words, the way to exhibitions is closed to such individuals. The reason for the "weaning" of a cat from participating in various competitions may be insufficiently fluffy fur in the abdomen, too short tail, small animal size, spots and specks on the fur, the relief shape of the nose (the presence of a noticeable depression in its middle), wide-set ears, uniform length of the coat throughout the body. Such a genetic anomaly as polydactyly (the presence of an excessive number of fingers on the paws of a cat) is also considered a weighty reason for banning the participation of an animal in public events. At one time, this mutation was widespread among Maine Coons, which is why it received the status of the main breed defect.
Photo of an adult Maine coon
Maine Coon character
Maine Coons are often called companion cats. They are friendly, moderately calm, but at the same time quite serious and unlikely to appreciate familiarity. To the knees of the owner, these giants will prefer a warm place at his side or at his feet, which is why representatives of this breed are often compared to dogs. Maine Coon cats easily take root in the family, but at the same time they will definitely single out one person who will be followed by a tail. Another remarkable feature of the breed in every sense is a thin and completely incongruous voice with such a formidable appearance, thanks to which the coons often become the heroes of funny videos on the Internet. Cats rarely meow, but they often make unusual sounds similar to purring.
As for typical cat pranks, because of the gigantic size of the cats, they can take on the scale of a natural disaster. Elephant stomp, overturned flower pots and broken cups – every breeder is not immune from such surprises. The only thing that prevents the "Manx raccoons" from turning your apartment into a post–apocalyptic landscape is a calm temperament and a passionate love of daytime sleep. Many individuals have a strong craving for "water attractions", so if you want to keep the bathroom in relative order, it is better not to let the coons into it.
Maine Coons are unobtrusive cats and very appreciative of their own independence. The latter trait is especially pronounced in female individuals. Animals treat tactile contact favorably, but it will not work to crumple and squeeze them. The period of maximum motor activity of representatives of this breed falls on the first five years of life. Upon reaching this "respectable" age, cats begin to be slightly lazy, preferring passive rest to noisy games.
Representatives of this breed quickly learn the habits of the owner, adapt to them, are happy to help and participate in his classes. With a programmer, they will sit near a computer monitor, a ballerina will bring pointe shoes in her teeth, a football player – a ball or cleats.
Males are very caring parents, from the first days of the babies' birth they take care of them and are engaged in education.
Maine Coons deliberately do not notice strangers in the house – guests, relatives, friends. Having got used to them, they communicate quite amicably, if they do not try to squeeze them and forcibly take them in their arms.
Education and training
Despite the fact that modern coons no longer chase mice through the pine glades of Maine, the genes of wild ancestors of the breed representatives are no-no, and they will remind you of themselves. Accordingly, taking on the upbringing of a Maine Coon, you get an additional bonus opportunity to practice self-discipline.
In general, "Manx raccoons" are easy to train: they have a phenomenal memory that allows cats to easily and quickly memorize commands. Difficulties with the proper operation of the tray and the use of sofa upholstery instead of a scratching post are definitely not about Maine Coons, fluffy giants easily master these wisdom even at a very young age. From time to time, cats need to give vent to emotions and hunting instincts, so it is very desirable to take part in pet games. Buy your Maine Coon a special ball, a toy mouse, or tease him with a laser pointer, thereby provoking the animal's hunting excitement.
Care and maintenance
The ideal habitat for a Maine Coon is a country house where the animal can walk freely and satisfy its passion for hunting. However, breeders claim that with due diligence on the part of the owner, cats of this breed are quite capable of adapting to a city apartment. Well, excursions through meadows and forests are easy to replace with ordinary promenades on a harness. If there is no opportunity to take the animal out often, you should think about purchasing a high-quality gaming complex that can brighten up your pet's everyday life.
The soft fluffy fur of Maine Coon cats does not require daily care: a standard combing a couple of times a week with a comb with rounded teeth is enough. Close attention is paid to the areas of the sides and abdomen, where the undercoat is thicker, and therefore there is a risk of tangles. But since these areas of the Maine Coon's body are the most sensitive, the combing procedure should be carried out with the utmost care so as not to displease the pet. Once every three weeks, the fluffy giant is supposed to arrange a bath day. There are usually no difficulties with this, since adult Maine Coons like to swim.
The cat's ears inside should be pink. Periodically, they should be wiped with a soft cloth, you can gently sprinkle with antiseptic.
Since the claws of Maine coons grow very quickly, you need to give your pet a "manicure" once a week.
Maine Coons are very precise in everything that concerns personal hygiene. However, a standard tray is unlikely to suit a representative of this breed: a large-sized animal will simply be uncomfortable in it. It is better to immediately purchase a product "for growth" with sufficient area and depth.
The ideal food for Maine Coons is food with a high protein content (remember about the size of the animal). At the same time, this breed does not need a special diet, which means that you can treat your pet with both dry food and canned food. Preference should be given to premium feeds, in which the main ingredient is meat, not soy and wheat. It is not forbidden sometimes to treat kotofeev with boiled chicken and beef, fish (boiled, low-fat and preferably sea), eggs and fermented milk products. Under a strict ban: pork, chicken and any other bones, sweet and salty dishes, potatoes.
In the case of a food bowl, the same rule applies as with a tray: choose a deeper and larger diameter option. The optimal cookware material for Maine Coon is hypoallergenic glass, ceramics and stainless steel. It is better not to abuse plastic, since close contact with it can cause allergic rashes on the cat's chin. Water in the bowl of the animal should be present constantly, ideally, the liquid should be changed twice a day.
Maine Coon Health and Diseases
Among the feline fraternity, Maine coons are considered healthy. Indeed, "Manx raccoons" have excellent immunity and get sick infrequently. The average life expectancy of a Maine coon is 12 years, while it is not uncommon for cats to overcome the age limit of 16 years.
The most common ailments characteristic of Maine coons, as well as representatives of other breeds, are:
- hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (manifested mainly in elderly individuals);
- hip dysplasia;
- polycystic kidney disease;
- spinal muscular atrophy.
Of the specific diseases to which coons are susceptible, breeders secrete abscesses, bald spots, receding hairline and over-dried skin. The causes of these ailments may be excessive abuse of water procedures, incorrectly selected shampoo, as well as untimely cleaning of the animal's fur.
How to choose a kitten
Ideally, the future owner of a Maine coon should be a regular at exhibitions and kennels (especially relevant for those who are planning to buy a show-class animal). A good help can be provided by studying the breed standards recorded by the felinological systems TICA, WCF, CFA.
Before buying, you should decide on the gender, class and type of animal. Cats of the Maine Coon breed are real intellectuals and neat, but with a firm character. Cats have more spontaneity, playfulness and benevolence. To date, a particular breed has two branches: classic American and European. It is worth choosing a representative of the first variety if you are looking for a charming, big-boned creature with round eyes and a lush tabby fur coat. Europeans are distinguished by an elongated body, a slanted eye section and, in general, a rather robber appearance. Their fur is not as rich as that of their American counterparts, but the tail is noticeably longer, and the tassels on the ears are more pronounced.
Maine Coon kittens are recommended to be taken into the family at the age of 12-15 weeks. By this time, the little creature knows how to use the toilet and has already received the necessary vaccinations. It is best to choose an active kitten who is curious and willing to make contact. Lethargy and apathy are signs of a tired, unhealthy animal.
If you want to find out what type of temperament the little creature inherited, ask the nursery staff to introduce you to his mother. If an adult individual seems too excited and aggressive, it is better not to take risks and choose a kitten from other, more benevolent parents. Pay close attention to the animal's fur: it should be smooth, clean and silky. Do not forget to check with the breeder the brand of food that your ward was treated to, as well as the type of toilet filler used in the cattery trays. Knowing these points will greatly facilitate the process of adaptation of the little Maine Coon.
Photos of Maine Coon kittens
How much does a maine coon cost
The main rule that applies to kittens of the "Manx raccoon" says: a cheap maine coon is not a maine coon. To date, the cost of a Maine Coon kitten varies in the area of $300 - $500, and this is not the limit. The established price range is not a whim of the owners of nurseries, but a severe necessity, since the institution spends up to $200 for the maintenance of one animal from the moment of its birth and upon reaching the age of three months.
The highest price tags are put up for breed-class individuals (future successors of the Maine Coon family), as well as cats of fashionable and rare coloring. Of the representatives of the pet category (sterilized animals), male animals are more expensive.
It is worth buying Maine Coon kittens only in proven places. Despite the fact that there are quite a lot of establishments positioning themselves as serious nurseries, not every one of them keeps animals in the right conditions and receives the necessary veterinary care. The most unsuitable places to buy a kitten are bird markets and virtual bulletin boards, where animals with a very distant relationship with representatives of this breed are sold under the guise of Maine coons.