The Maine Coon is a large, handsome and affectionate feline variety native to North America. This natural breed appeared in this region over a century ago and was utilised there as a popular ratter, farm and domestic cat. Thanks to its peaceable nature it can become a wonderful companion for energetic families with pre-existing dogs and other animals.
Photo: © cattery Life Symphony (lifesymphony.ru)
There are several interesting legends about the origin of the Maine Coon. One of them states that it is an offspring of the union between a cat and a racoon, which is certainly biologically impossible. It’s also said that the breed originated from French cats, which Marie Antoinette shipped to North America in expectation of her presumable flight from France.
The most probable theory suggests that this cat came to existence as the result of crossing local shorthaired domestic cats with spirited longhaired felines, which were imported to this area as souvenirs by seamen. Some also believe that the first breed members came to New England on the ships of the Vikings as they put ashore there a thousand years ago. Actually the latter hypothesis has some reasons to be truthful because the modern Maine Coon bears strong resemblance to the Norwegian Forest Cat.
However, the Maine Coon was brought to New England it was highly appreciated by local residents for its outstanding skills in catching mice. This hardy and loyal cat could be frequently seen in barns and houses where it effectively controlled the population of various household rodents.
The breed entered the written records in 1861 and since then it was often exhibited at cat shows. It was granted recognition of the Cat Fanciers Association in the early XX century and was among the first cat breeds, which were registered in this organisation.
Unfortunately the Maine Coon fell from the list of the most popular breeds for the next 50 years when charming Persian and exotic Siamese were in the spotlight of cat’s fanciers. In the 60s of XX the situation for the breed began to change in a positive way so presently this large gorgeous cat deserved admiration and love of numerous fanciers from all over the world.
The kind-hearted and friendly Maine Coon is excellently adjustable to any living condition and lifestyle. It wants nothing more than to stay close to its master but it’s not overly clingy. Of course, it likes to be in the centre of your attention but if you are busy it will be also content with observing your actions. This cat isn’t very talkative but it will occasionally voice its opinion in a mild chirp or trill. Children usually love its risky and playful nature and will readily include this cat in their games. It’s worth to remember though that it won’t appreciate too rough games or too much teasing. The breed is also quite alright with other household pets and can make friends with a kind dog.
The Maine Coon is an inborn hunter and will chase and kill any fly or mice it will find in your house. In the absence of rodents it will practice its hunting prowess by battling its toys. This smart cat can be taught to retrieve small balls or a crumpled piece of paper. Actually it will be glad to pass through some training course, which will satisfy its essential need for mental exercise. It isn’t a climber and prefers to supervise its domain on a ground level.
Most of Maine Coons retain its kittenish carefree attitude well into maturity. On the whole this tendency is more evident in males than in females. The breed is especially recommended for large families where it will be always surrounded with enough love and care.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· hip dysplasia
· hypertrophic cardiomyopathy;
· polycystic kidney disease;
· spinal muscular atrophy.
The Maine Coon requires moderate amount of maintenance. If you pay enough attention to the brushing of its silky long coat it won’t be prone to matting or tangling. It should be carefully groomed twice a week in order to get rid of any loose hair and to distribute natural skin oils. Make sure to acquire a stainless comb for fighting tangles and a so-called grooming rake to remove shedding undercoat.
Bathe your Maine Coon if its coat feels greasy or smells badly but preferably as rarely as possible. It’s important to regularly trim the cat’s nail as well as check and clean its ears on a weekly basis. It’s better to perform dental hygiene daily, although weekly brushing is also acceptable.