Your cat is special! She senses your moods, is curious about your day, and has purred her way into your heart. Chances are that you chose her because you like Maine Coons (sometimes called “Coon Cats”) and you expected her to have certain traits that would fit your lifestyle.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that Maine Coons are big–really big! In fact, the record for the world’s longest house cat belongs to a Maine Coon who grew to be over four feet long.
But these kitties have more going for them than size. They’re affectionate without being needy, they’re adaptable, and they’ve kept their hunting instincts, just in case you need a good mouser. If you can handle a whole lot of cat, this kitty might be a perfect addition to your family.
Here we have compiled a list of the most adorable Maine coon kittens because there can never be too much of cute baby kittens, right? Especially as sweet, as fluffy, and as beautiful as the Maine coons are.
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 a cat of this breed. His name is Stewie, who measured 48.5 in (123 cm) from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. Male Maine Coon cats can weigh up to 35 lb (15.9 kg). The origins of the Maine Coon, however, are shrouded in mystery.
Although genetically impossible, one myth holds that this is the result of breeding between cats and raccoons. Another states that Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, tried to flee execution with 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. This might also explain why this breed is called Maine.
No breed has a monopoly on love and affection, but there’s got to be some good reason that Maine Coons have clawed their way up from near extinction to the prized place of America’s second most popular breed (according to the CFA’s registration totals). Maine Coon fans say that the popularity is due to the breed’s large size, intelligence, luxuriant coat, hardy disposition, and devotion to their human family.
Maine Coons are kittens in big cat suits, gentle giants who are playful well into old age, as well as jumbo-sized packages of loving devotion. Maine Coons can also be reserved around people with whom they’re not familiar, probably due to their jumbo-sized brains. Given time, however, even the most cautious adapt. This initial adjustment period is actually a decision-making process; Maine Coons are deciding if these new humans have proven themselves worthy of trust. As soon as they make up their minds, however, they form close bonds with the entire household and become loving and devoted.
Most want to be near you but not on your lap. They are true family members and participate in all family routines, whether watching you channel surf from the comfort of the couch, or following you from room to room. As befits a former seafarer, Maine Coons are fascinated by water, perhaps because their thick coats are water-repellent and won’t become annoyingly soaked as easily as a thinner coat would. Some will join their humans in the shower briefly, or at least walk around on the wet floor after you get out. They prefer to stand on the edge of the tub, however, and touch the water with a curious paw.
Maine Coons, like American Shorthairs, are considered native to America because they’ve been on this continent since the colonial days, and perhaps longer. How they got here in the first place and where their progenitors came from, however, is anyone’s guess, since none of the local colonists happened by with their camera phones to record the event.
Many imaginative stories exist about the origin of the breed (some more believable than others), but hard proof is as elusive as a cat at bath time. One story alleges that the breed is a raccoon/domestic cat hybrid, thus the name Maine Coon. Even though both raccoons and Maine Coons have lush, long tails and the tendency to dunk their food into their drinking water, such a union is biologically impossible. Another anecdote, unlikely but at least possible, holds that the Maine Coon was produced by bobcat/domestic cat trysts, which would explain the ear and toe tufts and the impressive size of the breed. A more imaginative story claims that Maine Coons are descendants of longhaired cats belonging to Marie Antoinette. The Queen’s cats and other belongings were smuggled to America by a captain named Clough, who was preparing to rescue the Queen from her rendezvous with the guillotine. Unfortunately, the Queen lost her head, and the cats ended up staying with Clough in Maine. Last, but not least, is the tale of a sea captain named Coon who, in the 1700s, brought longhaired cats with him on his excursions to America’s northeastern coast. Allegedly, these longhaired buccaneers mixed with the local population while on shore leave.
This last story has at least a ring of truth. Seafarers who used cats to control rodent populations on their sailing ships probably brought some longhaired cats with them to the New World. Some of the cats went ashore when they reached the northeastern coast and established themselves on the farms and in the barns of the early settlers. Given Maine’s severe climate, those initial years must have been tough on cat and human alike. Only the breed’s strongest and most adaptable survived. Through natural selection, the Maine Coon developed into a large, rugged cat with a dense, water-resistant coat and a hardy constitution.
Regardless of where the breed came from, the Maine Coon was one of the first breeds to be recognized by the late nineteenth-century cat fancy and became an early favorite. However, in the early 1900s, as new and more exotic breeds were brought into the country, Maine Coons were abandoned for Persians, Angoras, and others. By 1950, the breed had all but vanished and in fact, was declared extinct in the 1950s.
Fortunately, the announcement of the Maine Coon’s demise was greatly exaggerated, and today these cats have regained their former glory, second only to the Persian in popularity.
Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Problems that may affect the Maine Coon include the following:
- Hip dysplasia, which in severe cases can cause lameness.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is inherited in Maine Coons. A DNA-based test is available to identify cats that carry one of the mutations that causes the disease.
- Polycystic kidney disease, a slowly progressive heritable kidney disease that can result in renal failure.
- Spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disorder that affects the skeletal muscles of the trunk and limbs. A test is available to identify carriers and affected kittens.
Despite the length of the Maine Coon’s coat, it has a silky texture that doesn’t mat easily—if you groom it regularly. It is easily cared for with twice-weekly combing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. Useful grooming tools include a stainless steel comb for removing tangles and what’s called a “grooming rake” to pull out the dead undercoat, which is what causes tangles when it’s not removed. Use it gently, especially in the stomach area and on the tail. Maine Coons are patient, but they don’t like having their hair pulled any more than you do. Check the tail for bits of poop stuck to the fur and clean it off with a baby wipe. Bathe a Maine Coon as needed, which can range from every few weeks to every few months. If their coat feels greasy or their fur looks stringy, they need a bath.