Friday, January 5, 2018

Everything about your Maine Coon Cat

  The Maine Coon is a large cat that originates from North Eastern America. They are an old breed that over the years has become among one of the most popular cats on the planet and for good reason. They have lovely, semi-long coats which paired to their charming looks and affectionate, loyal natures means they are ideal companions and family pets.

Overview
  Maine Coons are known for their large size, with females averaging up to 16 pounds and males up to 18, with some tipping the scales at 20-plus pounds. With a long, shaggy coat that lays close to the body, a bushy long tail, tufted paw pads and large ears adorned with furry tufts and "lynx tips" on top, their build reflects the Maine Coon's origins in the cold Northeast.
  The Maine Coon is known in the cat fancy as a "gentle giant", much like the Great Dane is known in the dog fancy by that same nickname. This is an extroverted, outgoing, sociable breed, with a loving nature, a kind disposition and a keen intellect. Most Maine Coons are highly trainable and can easily be taught to walk on a harness and leash. They are affectionate, playful animals that typically get along extremely well with children, other cats and even dogs.

Other Quick Facts
  • Maine Coons are friendly and get along with everyone, including children, dogs and other cats.
  • The Maine Coon has a long, beautiful coat, but it usually doesn’t mat and requires only weekly combing.
  • The Maine Coon coat comes in an amazing variety of colors and patterns, including a wide range of solids, tortoiseshell, tabbies, tabby with white, and parti-color (two colors).
Breed standards

Other names: Coon Cat, Maine Cat, Maine Shag, Snowshoe Cat, American Longhair, The Gentle Giants, American Coon Cat, American Forest Cat
TICA: Standard
CFA: Standard
Lap Cat: Yes
Physique: large cat, heavy coat
Average lifespan: 12-15 years
Average size: 12-18 pounds
Coat appearance: Light Undercoat, Silky, and Soft
Coloration: Black, Golden, Gray, Silver, and White
Pattern: Bi-color and Tabby
Hypoallergenic: No
Best Suited For: Families with yards. Loves being indoors and outside
Temperament: Friendly, intelligent, and independent. A gentle giant

History 
Cosey, winner of the first cat show
in the United States, 1895
  Lots of myths surround the origin of the Maine Coon, from the belief that he’s the result of a cross between a cat and a raccoon — biologically impossible — to the fanciful notion that he descends from French cats sent to Maine by Marie Antoinette in anticipation of her intended escape from France. More likely, the cats descend from meet-ups between shorthaired domestic cats already in this country and dashing longhaired foreign cats brought home as souvenirs by New England sailors. Some even say the Vikings might have brought longhaired cats with them when they touched the shores of America a thousand years ago, and indeed there is a resemblance between the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat. Wherever they came from, the cats were viewed as household and farm workers, highly valued for their mousing talent.
  The first mention of a cat called a Maine Coon occurred in 1861, in reference to a black and white specimen named Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines. It wasn’t unusual to see Maine Coons at the then-new and popular events called cat shows held in Boston and New York. In 1895, a brown tabby Maine Coon named Cosie won Best Cat at the Madison Square Garden Show.
  Today, Maine Coons are among the most popular pedigreed cats. They rank third among the breeds registered by the Cat Fanciers Association.

Personality
  While Maine Coons are highly people-oriented cats, they are not overly-dependent. They do not constantly pester you for attention, but prefer to "hang out" with their owners, investigating whatever activity you're involved in and "helping" when they can. Most are not lap cats but Maine Coons will stay close by you, follow you from room to room and wait outside a closed door for you to emerge. 
  A Maine Coon will be your companion, your buddy, your pal, but rarely your baby.Maine Coons are relaxed and easy-going in just about everything they do. They generally get along well with kids and dogs, as well as other cats. They are not as vertically-oriented as some other breeds, preferring to chase objects on the ground. Many Maine Coons will play "fetch" with their owners. 
  Maine Coons develop slowly, and don't achieve their full size until they are three to five years old. Their dispositions remain kittenish throughout their lives; they are big, gentle, good-natured goofs. Maine Coons rarely meow, instead most have a soft chirp or trill in a tiny voice doesn't fit their size!

Health 
  Maine Coons are not particularly prolific breeders. They tend to have small, infrequent litters – sometimes with only one or two kittens at a time. Maine Coons are slow to mature, typically not reaching full maturity until they are 3 or 4 years of age. Apparently, some curly-coated, or “rexed,” kittens have popped up in otherwise purebred Maine Coon litters in the United Kingdom, indicating that somewhere along the line a curly-coated cat was introduced into the Maine Coon pedigree. 
  Responsible breeders are making a concerted effort to eliminate that curly-coated gene from their bloodlines. Maine Coons are predisposed to developing a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is more common in middle-aged to older males. Maine Coons may also have an increased risk of developing hip dsyplasia.

Care
  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 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 his  coat feels greasy or his fur looks stringy, he needs a bath.
  Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.
  Keep the Maine Coon’s litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene, and a clean litter box will help to keep the coat clean as well.
It’s a good idea to keep a Maine Coon as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Maine Coons who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.

Behavioral Traits
  Maine Coons are excellent hunters. They probably accompanied sailors on shipping vessels to keep them free from mice, rats and other rodents, before the days of rodenticides made this largely unnecessary. This may account for their particular habit of curling up in tight places or odd positions that might appear uncomfortable but apparently keep them safe, secure and out from underfoot.
   Maine Coons seem to grab the opportunity to catch a cat nap whenever and wherever they can. Maine Coons are also known to use their front paws to pick up food, sticks or other interesting objects and can sit for hours watching and playing with drips of water coming from the tap. They are exceptional climbers, as well.

Activity Level
  Maine Coons want to be near their people not only for companionship, but also so that they can actively participate in whatever household activities are under way. Maine Coons have been described as dogs in cats clothing. Given the breed’s working origins, they do love to explore and tend to be more adventurous than other longhaired domestic breeds. They probably are best suited to rural environments, as they especially thrive in blended indoor-and-outdoor living situations and do not take well to prolonged periods of confinement.

Grooming
  The Maine Coon has a heavy, shaggy coat that’s silky to the touch. It rarely mats and weekly combing is all that’s needed to care for it. Combing removes the dead hairs that would otherwise be ingested by your cat when he bathes himself, resulting in hairballs. Trim the nails as needed, usually every 10 days to two weeks. Cats can be prone to periodontal disease, so brush the teeth at home with a vet-approved pet toothpaste and schedule regular veterinary dental cleanings.

Children and Other Pets
  The friendly, laidback Maine Coon  is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect, and he doesn’t mind playing dress-up or going for a ride in a baby buggy.
He is happy to live with cat-friendly dogs, too, thanks to his amiable disposition. Introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.

Is the Maine Coon the Right Breed for you?
Moderate Maintenance: Regular grooming is advised to keep its coat in good shape. It stimulates circulation, massages the skin, and removes debris and loose hair. Frequency should be twice a week.
Constant Shedding: Shedding will occur often for this cat breed. It is suggested to brush and comb its coat regularly to reduce the risk of it developing hairballs. Be prepared also to vacuum often.
Health Problems: Unfortunately, it is known to have a myriad count of illnesses and conditions. Owners with these cat breeds should prepare for some long-term medical costs or hedge their risks with pet insurance.
Low Vocalization: It is known to be quiet. Therefore, owners shouldn't be concerned of excessive and undesirable crying or meowing, especially at night.
Moderate Attention: This breed needs a moderate level of attention. It provides the appropriate balance for owners who like involving their cats in activities but are also able to be independent. Time alone spent can be 4 to 8 hours per day.
Somewhat Active: Some regular exercise is always good to prevent sloth and obesity. Spending 10-15 minutes a few times a day will keep this breed satisfied.
Good With Others: It is usually good with everyone and can be very affectionate towards them.

Did You Know?
 You may have heard that he’s called a Maine Coon because he’s the result of a cross between a cat and a raccoon. While it’s fun to imagine such a pairing, it’s not biologically possible.