As the name indicates, this breed of cat originates in the United State of America, in the Northeastern state of Maine. Given the enormous size of this cat, people may think they see the hand of humans in breeding the large size into this giant. In point of fact, this breed evolved naturally and humans played no role whatsoever in its development.
The Maine Coon is a slow grower, and often takes up to four years to reach its full size and weight. Fully-grown males can weigh in at a mighty 18 lbs (8 kilos) although a more usual weight would be around 12 lbs (5.5 kilos). Female Maine Coons are more often in the 10 lb (4.5 kilo) weight range. But these are generalizations, and some of this breed can reach a staggering 20 lbs (9 kilos).
The Maine Coon lived mainly in rural situations in the USA, and often on farms where farmers employed their exceptional hunting skills for tackling farmyard vermin. This makes perfect sense when looking at a Maine Coon, since they have the huge eyes and ears for picking out their target victim by sight and sound, and a sturdy heavy body for actually catching the prey.
Maine Coons are used to surviving in cold conditions. They have a long silky coat, which is slightly ‘shaggy’, and whilst close to the head and fairly short, when it stretches down over the stomach, back and legs it is longer and sleek. Although the coat is absolutely gorgeous, particularly the unusual ‘ruff’ around the neck, there is a practical reason for this lush coat. It keeps the animal warm. The soft fine hairs of the undercoat keep the heat in the body, whilst the topcoat, which is slightly coarser fur, gives protection again the rain and snow, essentially waterproofing the animal’s body. The outer layer is not fluffy but sleek, and acts more as a trap for tiny air pockets thus ensuring good insulation against extreme cold.
Another important feature of the Maine Coon is his luxuriant long tail, which is usually even longer than the cat itself. This breed wraps the tail around its body snugly, to add another layer of warmth.
These gorgeous gentle giants of the feline world come in many colours. There are solid all-over colours as well as tabby coated (in Mackerel and also in Classic). But don’t forget the smokey colours, all of which are possible with or without the addition of white. If you are looking for a large cuddly family pet, then this type of kitten or cat could be absolutely perfect for you.