Maine Coons get their name from the state of Maine in the US, as they are considered to be the official State cat of that region.

What do these cats look like?

These are the biggest breed of domestic cat, and are a very hardy creature. A male cat of this breed can weigh as much as 9 kilos. Maine Coons have a water-resistant, shaggy, medium-length coat, which can feel silky to touch, and which can come in a variety of solid or mixed colours, or with markings such as tortoiseshell or tabby. They also have big ears, well-covered paws and a bushy tail. Maine Coons’ features make them well able to withstand harsh winters.

Where did they come from?

The origin of this breed is uncertain and so many theories abound as to how it came to be in North America. One story claims that Marie Antoinette sent their ancestors to America during the French Revolution. Another is that cats on board Captain Cook’s ship escaped and mated with those on the mainland. The most feasible theory is that they came about as a result of short-haired domestics mating with overseas Angora-types, possibly brought in by Vikings. Their similarity to Norwegian Forest cats lends some credibility to this theory.

Maine Coons -what is their nature?

One of the main features of this cat is its intelligence. They are sometimes described as being ‘dog-like’ in their behaviour, and may attach themselves to a favourite person and follow them around. They can learn to walk on a leash and like to be involved in family activities.

They are generally considered quite gentle, loyal, easy-going, adaptable and friendly and get on well with children and other animals such as dogs. They are quite vocal but their voice sounds more like a trill or chirp than a meow and can be quite expressive.

What health problems do they have?

Although they are strong and hardy, they are susceptible to hip dysplasia, heart problems and kidney failure.

What grooming do they require?

Although the breed has a long coat, they tend to take care of it themselves and do not require daily grooming. An occasional comb might be all that is required from their owner. This cat likes water so it may be easy to give them a wash or bath.

How active are they?

Maine Coons live to climb up to high places, and unusually for a cat, enjoy playing in water. They may also love to lounge around and relax if the mood takes them. They cope quite well living in an apartment or flat, or in a family home with a garden indeed they adapt well to any environment in which they find themselves.