It seems like in recent times, cats have had a spike in popularity. Thanks to everyone working from home and being online, they no doubt are exposed to more cats. This is because the Internet, apps, and social media all love cats! All those things have basically given cats a large boost of good PR. Even those who do not fancy cats have to admit the influence of cats these days.
Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok showcase a wide variety of cat content and breeds. Fantastic purebreds people have never seen before are now more visible than ever: Persians, Scottish Folks, Bengals, Russian Blue, Siberians, and much more. In this article, we dive a bit more into one of the most popular breeds, both online and in real life: the Maine Coon.
Maine Coons are a distinctive breed, to say the least. After learning about one, you basically cannot miss it in the future. The most noticeable aspect of this breed is their size. Maine Coons are the largest natural domestic cat breed in the world. Only the Savannah cat is larger, however that breed is a cross between a serval and a house cat.
Maine Coons tip the scales at 18 to 25 pounds for males, and between 10 to 16 pounds for females. From tail to nose, they are 30 to 40 inches in length. These are some big cats, and a housecat by comparison, is tiny. Overall, Maine Coons are 1.5 to 2 times the size of normal cats! Their size is not the only thing that’s large – a Maine Coon’s price is large too, starting at approximately $1000 and up.
Next up is their beautiful long-haired coat. As if their majestic size isn’t unique enough, Maine Coons are blessed with fur that’s strategically longer in a few places. Fur near their neck and chest are puffy like a lion’s mane. Fur falls further down from their belly and flanks, and also on the back of their legs.
Tufts of fur sprout from their ears and between their toes. These extra features were created by Mother Nature to help the cats survive the harsh winters of their homeland, protecting sensitive areas from the cold and wet.
And that tail. That long, thick, fluffy tail is a defining trait of this breed. The tail was what birthed the urban legend of Maine Coons being a mixed cat-raccoon hybrid. This is impossible, of course, but it does speak to how special the tail is.
Descended from Vikings, Raised in America
Ancestors to the modern Maine Coon most likely came from Northern Europe or Scandinavia. Viking, pilgrims, or exploratory sailors on lengthy trips to the new world brought local long-haired cats onboard to serve as ship cats. Ship cats caught vermin and ate rats onboard, in exchange for room and board from humans, basically.
The Scandinavian theory is intriguing because there is a similar cat breed called the Norwegian Forest Cat. They share the large size, long tail, and amazing long haired coat. The facial features and head shape are different, but it’s not a stretch to say they are descendants to Maine Coons. Just look at them!
After making landfall in the Maine / New England area, the ship cats snuck off board and promptly got busy with local long haired cats in this area. Add time, multiply by crazy winters, and you have the hardy Maine Coon.
As natural mixed Maine Coon cats proliterated, breeders started working towards purebred Maine Coons and producing the finest examples of the breed. They then marketed the breed (and its gorgeous looks) to upper class families. Once in people’s homes, they became highly doted on pets.
So it’s only natural that people would place Maine Coons in cat shows. In fact, since before the 1900’s, Maine Coons were already working the show circuit. These award winning cats today continue to charm humans, and show off the work of their catteries at accredited CFA and TICA cat shows.
Living with a Maine Coon is akin to living with a small dog, and not a cat. This breed is friendly, sociable, and goofy. Their human is really important to them, and you can find your Maine Coon greeting you as you come home, or waiting outside your bedroom door (if you’ve closed it.) They follow people around the house and are forever curious, trying to get into everything.
This is also not an anxious scaredy-cat. Forget normal cats that eat and hide and sleep – Maine Coons often run up to new people and introduce themselves. My Maine Coon loves to go outside and visit the neighbors by going into their house.
And like small dogs, Maine Coons can be taught to play fetch, go on walks outside, and even simple tricks.