Choosing a Maine Coon Breeder You want your Maine Coon to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality and looks of the Maine Coon, as well as breeder recommendations, visit the websites of the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association, Maine Coon Cat Breed Council, The International Cat Association, American Cat Fanciers Association and the Fanciers Breeder Referral List. A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics, such as the one developed by the MCBFA, which prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers. A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in the home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life. Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders. Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens. Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to be available. Many breeders won’t release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Maine Coon might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach a somewhat more sedate adulthood. And with an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home. Adopting a Cat from Maine Coon Rescue or a Shelter A breeder is not your only option for acquiring a Maine Coon. Although Maine Coon kittens are almost never found in shelters and rescue, adult Maine Coons, both pedigreed and mixed, are not so fortunate. You may find the perfect Maine Coon for your family through Maine Coon Cat Breed Rescues or by checking your local shelters or the listings on Petfinder or Adopt-a-Pet.com . Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “pet lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses. Kitten or adult, take your Maine Coon to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues. ‹ Previous: Grooming
The Maine Coon is a native New Englander, hailing from Maine, where he was a popular mouser, farm cat and, most likely, ship’s cat, at least as far back as the early 19th century. He is a natural breed and little is known of his origins. Some say the Vikings brought him to North America, centuries before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, others that he is the descendant of longhaired cats belonging to Marie Antoinette, sent to America in advance of the doomed queen, who had hoped to escape there. Sea captains may have brought back longhaired cats that then mated with local shorthaired cats. One thing is for sure: the Maine Coon is not the result of a mating between a cat and a raccoon, even if his brown tabby coat and furry ringed tail suggest that biological impossibility. The resemblance is, however, how the cats got their name; in fact, Maine Coons that didn’t have the brown tabby coat were called Maine Shags.The first published reference to a Maine Coon was in 1861, about a black and white cat named Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines. A female Maine Coon was named Best Cat in 1895 at a cat show held in Madison Square Garden. In Boston and New York, the home-grown felines were popular exhibits at cat shows, and when the Cat Fanciers Association was formed in 1908, the fifth cat registered was a Maine Coon named Molly Bond. But the invasion of glamourous Persian and exotic Siamese cats from England around the turn of the century spelled the end of the Maine Coon’s popularity for half a century. Things took a turn for the better in the 1960s, and the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association was formed in 1968. Today the big, beautiful cats are among the world’s most popular. But what really counts, of course, is that they are the official state cat of Maine.
1. Biggest Domestic Cat Maine Coons are the largest domestic cat breed. They’re big boned and muscular, with males weighing up to 18 pounds. Maine Coons can be up to 40 inches in length and come in 75 different color combinations. They’re also called the American Longhair. 2. The Only Show Cat Breed Originating in the US As mentioned, the Maine Coon is thought to be the result of breeding between domestic shorthair cats and longhair cats that hitched a ride to America on European settlers’ ships. Only the strongest and fittest could survive the harsh New England winters, and to this day Maine Coons are known as hearty working cats with excellent hunting skills. 3. They’re Ready for Winter As Maine Coons adapted to life on the east coast, they have long, shaggy multi-layered fur and large paws that help them walk on the snow. They also have furry ears (some with tufts) and bushy tails, which they can actually wrap around their body for extra warmth. 4. “Dogs of the Cat World” Maine Coons tend to be highly social and like human interaction. They’re known for being friendly, loyal, and playful, and they typically get along well with children and other pets. They can even play fetch and be walked on a leash! 5. They Chirp and Trill Maine Coons don’t typically “meow;” they chirp and trill (a mixture of a meow and a purr). Cats may chirp when they spot prey and a trill is often an expression of happiness. 6. They Like Water Most Maine Coons enjoy the water. They have water-resistant fur and can be quite efficient swimmers. 7. Coon’s Cats Another theory for how Maine Coons got their name is that they are descendants of seafaring cats belonging to British Captain Charles Coon, who sailed off of New England in the 1800s. The cats were said to be called “Coon’s cats.” 8. Related to Norwegian Forest Cats? Yet another theory about Maine Coons’ origins states that they came to America with the Vikings, which is why they resemble Norwegian Forest Cats. 9. They’re Not Related to Raccoons As mentioned, there’s a myth that Maine Coons are related to raccoons, but this is not true. 10. Winner of the First American Cat Show The first American cat show was held in New York City in 1895. The winner was a brown tabby Maine Coon cat named Cosey, who belonged to Mrs. E. N. Barker.
What They Are Like to Live With They tend to be a hardy breed, but are at risk for hip dysplasia, polycystic kidney disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Things You Should Know Bestowed many nicknames, including “Gentle Giant,” “Feline Greeters of the World” and “Shags.” This longhaired breed requires minimal grooming because they keep their coats in top condition. Look like small bobcats. They are slow growers, reaching full maturity by age 4 or 5. Maine Coon History According to legend, British Captain Charles Coon sailed up and down the New England coasts in the 1800s and took some of his seafaring cats with him when he came into port. These ship cats mated with those on land with people referring to them as “Coon’s cats.” Another legend mentions that these cats originally belonged to Marie Antoinette and were smuggled aboard boats bound for America as she was beheaded. A true all-American cat, the Maine Coon was first shown at professional cat shows in 1878 and now ranks second in popularity only to the Persian in the 2007 Cat Fanciers Association’s breed registry. It is also recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA). The Look of a Maine Coon The Maine Coon’s shaggy, weatherproof coat, full plume tail and ear tufts provide protection from harsh winters. The coat comes in three types – down, fawn and guard. The thick ruff around the neck and bushy tail shield serve to insulate the body and keep it warm. The square-shaped head is broad, the ears are large and the eyes are big, expressive, and wide set. The breed’s muscular body features a broad chest and big boned frame. The female Maine Coon weighs between eight and 12 pounds while the males can weigh up to 20 pounds. Their bodies can stretch up to 40 inches in length.