The Maine Coon cat is one of the largest domesticated breeds of felines. In fact, the title for the “longest cat” in the 2010 Guinness World Records was held by Stewie, who measured 48.5 in from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. Male cats can weigh up to 35 lb.
The origins of the Maine Coon, however, are shrouded in mystery. Although genetically impossible, one myth holds that the cat is the result of breeding between cats and raccoons; another states that Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, tried to flee execution her favorite Turkish Angora cats. While she didn’t make it to the US, the cats supposedly landed on the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they began to breed.
There are several ways you can identify a Maine Coon. One way is by looking at its physical features like its large size, shaggy fur, tapered tail and ears, and large eyes. Since Maine Coons are outgoing and friendly, you can also identify them by observing their behavior and personalities.
Looking at Physical Characteristics
- Check the length of the cat’s fur. Maine Coons have a long, shaggy coat. The fur is not thick, but it is plentiful. Its paws, tails, and ears are covered in fluffy tufts of fur.The fur on the cat’s back should be shorter toward the front of the cat and longer toward its rear. Fur on the cat’s sides, likewise, should gradually get longer from front to back.The brown tabby pattern is the most common color pattern for Maine Coons. However, Maine Coons are available in 75 different color combinations.
- Look for a large cat. Maine Coons are the largest of all cat breeds. They have a sturdy and rugged look about them. Some people have even likened them to small bobcats. If you have a cat that seems unusually large, it might be a Maine Coon.
- Touch the cat. Maine Coons have an oily, fluffy coat that they’ve developed to protect themselves from harsh winter conditions. Maine coons have big, fluffy tails that they use to keep themselves warm when they’re resting.The fur should be fine. Their bodies are firm and muscular.
- Check the cat’s miscellaneous body characteristics. Maine Coons have muscular legs that are medium in length. The legs should be proportional to the body. Maine Coons have tails that are wide at the base, then narrow gradually. The tail should have long, flowing fur. Finally, look for tapered ears. The two ears of the Maine Coon are wide at the base and taper to a point. They will be positioned relatively close together, with no more than one ear’s width between them.The ears will have tufts of fur growing inside them. The cat will wrap its tail around itself to stay warm in cold weather.
- Look for large eyes. The Maine Coon’s eyes are slightly oblique (slanted), not perfectly round. They are typically green or gold, though they might be blue, too.
- Look for a long growing cycle. Most cats reach their full size when they are nine to 12 months old. Maine Coons, however tend to grow for at least two years. Some have been known to grow for four years. If you’ve a cat that just seems to keep growing, it might be a Maine Coon.
- Look for a friendly demeanor. Maine Coons are well-known for their friendly, relaxed personalities. They get on well with children and other pets. If this sounds like your cat, you might have a Maine Coon.
- Check for a love of water. Maine Coons enjoy splashing and spilling water. They’re even known to splash about in toilets. If your cat seems to have a special fascination with water, and it shows other signs of being a Maine Coon, it’s possible that it’s a Maine Coon.
- Look for “dog-like” behaviors. Most people know that dogs are generally extroverted and faithful. Maine Coons, likewise, are renowned for their reliable and outgoing behavior. If your cat greets you in the morning and when you arrive at home, it might be a Maine Coon.