How to Care for Your Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cats are one of the most popular cat breeds in the United States. Here I will tell you about some of their distinctive characteristics and needs.

Fluffy Tail, muscular body, large tufted feet, sleek coat to protect from wind and rain-- these are some distinctive features of Maine Coon Cats. Maine Coons are one of the most popular cat breeds due to their astounding beauty and friendly personality.

Maine Coons are also considered strong and sturdy cats but all cat breeds have some breed-specific needs and Maine Coon cats are no exception.

I'll tell you about this breed's traits and special needs right now.

Maine Coon Cat traits

Maine Coons tend to be large (but are not aIways large), have long flowing fur, and a muscular body. I saw my first Maine Coon cat at a Cat Fanciers Association cat show and was blown away by the breed's majestic appearance. Most of my cats are rescues and none are purebred but I enjoy looking at breeds when given the chance.

I asked one Maine Coon breeder there about his cats and how much one particularly large Maine Coon, a cat that was perched upon a stand, weighed. "About 25 pounds" I was told. He then added that he doesn't think of them in terms of weight because that is not what the breed is about.

He meant that breed characteristics such as the shape of the face, the ear tufts, the large feet and all the other aspects (often called "points") are the main aspects used to judge the Maine Coon breed in cat shows rather than how heavy the cat is.

That Maine Coon cats tend to be large cats, however, is as much a part of their characteristic beauty as anything else. In fact, some Maine Coons seem more like a small version of a wild cat than a domestic cat.

Physical diseases/conditions to which Maine Coon cats are predisposed

As with all breeds, Maine Coons have a genetic predisposition to certain physical problems. Careful breeding can lower the occurrence of many of these problems, but the inclination towards hip dysplasia and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are things potential Maine Coon owners need to be aware of. Since hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has a genetic base, good breeders will not knowingly breed cats with this condition.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart chamber. I've included a helpful link in the resources section of this article for readers who'd like to learn more about this condition.

Hip Dysplasia

Animals with hip dysplasia have structural abnormalities in the hip joints which can worsen over time. As expected, hip dysplasia causes lameness in some animals. This is not always the case, however, and dysplasia frequently goes unrecognized. Through x-rays, a veterinarian can often determine the presence of hip dysplasia.

Special food for Maine Coon cats

Royal Canin offers cat food formulas specifically designed for the Maine coon breed. However, I suggest checking with breeders and your veterinarian first to find out which food may be right for your cat. Good foods would typically contain quality protein and essential fatty acids for proper growth of the cat and health of their beautiful coat.

The Maine Coon temperament

According to the CFA, Maine Coon cats love people but "...are not overly dependent." They are playful, social, cats but they don't tend to cling to people the way lap cats sometimes do. All cats need attention in order to thrive physically and emotionally. There simply is no such thing as a cat one can just feed and ignore. Maine Coons are not known to be emotionally clingy--but all cat owners know that personality can vary from cat to cat.

Maine Coons need playtime and interaction, just as any cat.

Grooming the Maine Coon cat

Although the Maine Coon's fur is long, the texture makes it less prone to matting than other long-haired breeds. Groomers recommend simply using a metal comb for grooming, except during the shedding seasons. Regular (two or 3 times a week) grooming will help prevent ingestion of excess fur (which causes hairballs) and keep the coat healthy and attractive.

Choosing a Maine Coon Cat

I always recommend adopting from rescue groups first and so I've added Maine Coon rescue links at the end of this article. Maine Coons are a very popular cat breed and that means some unethical people breed them for profit alone. Cats bred for profit only are often mistreated and kept in inhumane confinement.

You can avoid inadvertently putting money in the pockets of abusers by either adopting from a Maine Coon rescue organization or investigating a breeder thoroughly before adopting a cat.