B reed I nformation
The first part of the name, "Maine", comes from the north eastern American state, named Maine, where this breed originates from. "Coon" comes from an old legend. The original cats were probably brown tabbies, with a very dark back and a long striped tail, just like a raccoon. People in that time thought their domestic cat must have been crossed with raccoons. This is genetically impossible, but the name stayed the same.
Another well known theory is that they came from longhaired cats owned by Marie- Antoinette, and were transported from France at the time of the French revolution.
It is far more likely that the Maine Coon actually evolved from matings between domestic shorthairs introduced by early settlers and angora (longhair) types later taken across the Atlantic by seafarers.
Only because of the survival of the fittest animals, this breed developed into a hardy animal, capable of living in the cold, harsh climate of the mountains in Maine.
The Maine Coon was origionally a "wild" cat, living mainly in forests and on farms, where it was highly appreciated for its ability to catch mice, rats and other vermin.
Being used to a cold climate, Maine Coons have a long, silky, shaggy coat, short over the head and on their paws, growing longer over their back, tummy and ruff with a bushy plume of a tail. To survive the cold winters Maine Coons have a long tail, which they can put over their nose and ears when they curl up, to keep them warm and protected from the snow and cold.
Their ears are feathered (hairs growing in front of the ears) to keep the snow out, and they have "lynx-tip" like tufts on top of them.
Their over coat is water resistant to keep them dry, and is a lot easier to maintain than thet of other long haired breeds, even when they are allowed outside.
Maine Coons develop slowly, and often don't reach their full weight, size and coat until they are 3-5 years old. Although they do most of their growing in length and height within the fist 1,5 years, the next few years the energy goes more towards developing their muscles, strengthening their bone structure and developing the full length and colour of their coat.
Affectionate, highly intelligent, playful, curious and gentle are some of the words discribing a Maine Coon.
They are people orientated cats, but not overly dependant on us. They love to cuddle, but after a while they prefer lying next to you, hang out with you, investigating whatever you're involved in and wanting to "help" wherever they can!
Because Maine Coons stay playful throughout their lives due to their hunting instinct, they really do sometimes see every moving thing as a toy, and play for a long time with it, even at old ages! Marbles, ols shoe laces, scrunched up pieces of paper, even trying to figure out where the cursor of the computer mouse lives and trying to catch it........ No fancy toy can beat these......!
The relaxed and easy going character of the Maine Coon helps them to quickly adapt into their new home. Children and other animals are generally no problem for Maine Coons, they happily adjust themselves to the present picking order of the household. They do not like to fight unless they are cornered, and often accept other cats and animals within their territory without a fuss.
Maine Coons can happily live indoors if this is prefered, provided they have enough room to play and develop themselves (one room appartments are too small for them if they can not go outside) and are being played with regularly. They definately do like to go outside and explore though, so if at all possible by designating a part of the garden for them where they can not get out (if you live on a busy road for example), would really be much appreciated by your Maine Coon!