Maine Coon Cat - Temperament And Characteristics

Posted by Rosalie Galvez on December 21st, 2020

It is a gigantic cat breed that traced its origin in Maine. In the nineteenth century, it was imported in the United States through Viking ships. According to some unverified sources, this breed has come from the line of Marie Antoinette’s cats, of which many had characteristically long-haired. Before she could escape the wrath of workers in France, she sent her cats to the states in advance. In the end, she was executed brutally before reaching the new world.


It is believed that deckhands and captains bred the longhaired cats to the shorthaired cats in the US. Interestingly, this breed takes some features of a raccoon, especially the tail. Although there are no generic similarities, the cat gets its name for the tail.

The first clear records of a black and white Maine Coon cat that belonged to Captain Jenkins, in 1861. Similarly, in 1895 in Madison Square Gardens, a female Maine Coon cat was displayed in a cat show. In the succeeding years, the Maine Coon cat attended many cat beauty pageants and shows in the vicinities of Boston and New York.

The Cat Fancier’s Association came into existence in 1908. Around that time, the 5th Maine Coon cat was registered in the United States, named Molly Bond. The Maine Coon lost popularity in the later years due to the rise of Persian and Siamese cats. This resulted in their near extinction. However, by 1960, Cat Fancier’s Association and Maine Coon Breeder’s came together. The collaboration made the cat extremely popular as it is now.

A ship cat in its true nature, Maine Coon is a companion and a mouser. It is considered to be one of the most loved cat breeds among the owners, not to mention the biggest!

Physical Traits

In terms of size and shape, this cat is the largest domesticated breed in cats and wins by a long margin from others. It has plush silky hair, with hair ranging from medium to long. You will notice long flowing locks around the stomach and flanks, and shorter around head and shoulders, with some cats sporting ruff around the neck. In the Maine Coon cats, there is no uniform color and coats, you will find plenty of them.

The coat is surprisingly waterproof and gets thicker in the lateral side and flanks for protection from a strong force like a fall. Brown tabby is one of the most color found in Maine Coon cats. There are a number of eye colors that can be found in these cats. Their unique tail prevents sinking in the snow and help them keep afloat. It also acts as a natural thermostat to keep the cat warm in winters. Due to the big paws, they can walk easily on the snow without getting sucked in it. Even between their toes, there are long tufts of hair to keep them warm, while walking in the snow, also termed as “snowshoes”.

There were Polydactyl Main Coon cats with an extra toe, which was completely removed from the lineage through controlled breeding. These cats have extra fur on ears for warmth.

It has a gentle and intelligent temperament and shows a perfectly calm demeanor if it is provided with toys and instruments to keep it occupied. They are extremely attached to their family members and are wary of strangers. This Maine Coon cat loves to talk, yowl, howl, and chirp.


The Maine Coon cats are very intelligent and are very loyal to their families. They are hyperactive, both mentally and physically, and need stimulation to keep healthy through interactive toys that are specifically designed for cats. They are considered to be an independent cat creed, yet easy to housetrain. This may be the reason why this cat needs family and indoors to live its life to the fullest. They do not sit idle in the laps and get along really well with the dogs, other cats, and most of the domesticated animals.

Pro Tip: They love to play with children, especially the games like feather chase. They also love water and could play with or see water coming out of faucets, and could drink cold water from them.

In this breed, males are almost unpredictable in their demeanor and show eccentric traits. Whereas, the females are more somber in their outset and require more time alone. They are one of the best breed cats to have as a companion.

Special Concerns

This notorious breed is a mouser, which implies that it loves to play, although it hates to be picked or held in arms. They are called gentle giants who are most suited to families, but they still require their personal space to grow. Despite their large size, they do best while living indoors. That aside, this cat loves to play with its cat toys and acknowledges affection from its companions.

For the most part of the time, this cat is docile and is perfectly suited for apartment or home living. Due to the heavy fur and coatings around its body, it needs to be indoors during the harsh summer season. It gets along well with every age category person but does need heavy mental stimulation to keep it busy. Daily grooming is a strong must with this breed. They are prone to gain weight in the absence of physical activity, which results in medical conditions such as liver problems and so on. Eye tearing is also one of the common problems found in these cats.

Pro Tip: They should not be left alone for a longer duration of time because they get bored and resort to destructive living patterns.

It is commonly found that exercising cats is more difficult than with the dogs. However, cat parents have come up with interesting ways to promote physical exertion in cats by purchasing cat toys and engaging cats with them. These cats are known to be extremely clean and are easy to train for the litter box, but learning should start from childhood. The litter boxes of Maine Coon cats need to be clean all the time or they won’t use it. They are healthy most of the time but require a constant regimen for parasite control and routine health conditioning for the entirety of their lives. They should be vaccinated at proper intervals and should be incorporated as an integral part of their lives.

By consulting with your veterinarian, you can spay or neuter your cat. And do not forget the insurance for your cat. You need to be extra watchful for the health of this awesome cat breed, because they could fall for many minor and major medical complications, such as hip dysplasia.

Probable Health Issues

The Maine Coon cats are extremely healthy cats and require physical activity throughout their lives to ward off illnesses. It is moderately active but needs to be pushed to play around. Otherwise, they will put on weight and grow complications including liver condition.

Some of the problems that this cat is susceptible to are as follows:

• Hip Dysplasia

This disease is rampant in purebred cats and rare in domesticated cats. This happens when a loose hip joint leads to degenerative joint disease – also termed as osteoarthritis. The most common symptom is lameness which could be mild to severe. Cats do not usually require surgery to wear off effects of dysplasia, but weight reduction can help in lowering discomfort levels.

• Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

In this heart complication, the muscles of the left ventricle thicken and cardiac walls become stiffer. This results in more pressure on the arteries in the cats. Considered to be a primary heart disease in cats, if found, it can be noticed around 3 months to 17 years in their lives. In many cases, a cat is around middle age when this disease starts growing. It is an inherited genetic defect that affects more males than females. In the earlier stages, the symptoms are sporadic and random which are hard to discern. In severe cases, you will notice heavy breathing, weakness, or paralysis in the hindquarters. There are also reports of fluid accumulation in the lungs and in the lungs and chest cavity.

To improve health, medical practitioners mostly aim at improving cardiac function and reduction in blood clots. For any problem, you should never hesitate to reach out to the veterinarian for advice. There is nothing much to worry about if you are steadfast in your duties and there are only mild symptoms in your cat.

• Polycystic Kidney Disease

In simple terms, this refers to the enlargement of the kidneys. This usually occurs when the polycystic kidney grows a number of cysts inside the functional part of the kidney. If there is constant vomiting, with elevated thirst, and reduction in appetite, consult your vet immediately, so the cat is given due treatment as soon as possible.

• Spinal Muscular Atrophy

This is one of the genetic disorders that Maine Coon cats are vulnerable to. In this neurodegenerative syndrome, the neurons in the spinal cord die. The observable symptoms are atrophy and muscle weakness that comes around 3 to 4 months in age. This results in the strange walk of these cats. This is a pain-free condition where body mass is reduced. It is the best course to consult your vet as soon as possible. The cat can live a perfectly normal life indoors.

Read more about Cat Breeds

Rosalie Galvez

About the Author

Rosalie Galvez
Joined: October 6th, 2020
Articles Posted: 54

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