There is so much to say about Maine Coon Cats!
It's no wonder why this amazing cat breed has captured the fascination of animal lovers world wide, and captured the hearts of families everywhere.
They are practically purr-fect in every way!
Here are some of the most interesting facts about Maine Coons:
1: The Cat of Many Colors: You may be familiar with the classic brown tabby Maine Coon, but did you know they can come in about 75 different color combinations?
There are very few colors that a Maine Coon will not be, such as pointed (like the Siamese) or lavender.
There are two tabby patterns – mackerel and classic – as well as solids, black and white, calico, smokes, torties, torbies and more.
With all these Maine Coon colors, there is something for everyone's fancy!
2: Beautiful, Expressive Eyes: There are also very few restrictions when it comes to eye colors.
Blue eyes are allowed only in white cats or those with white. Other than that, look for your Coonie to have green, gold, green-gold or copper colored eyes. See some photos here: 10 Maine Coons With Amazing Eyes.
3: Gentle Giants: Yes, this famous nickname is well deserved. They are large, and they are incredibly gentle, sweet, and loving, without a mean bone in their bodies. What more can we say?
4: They Are Very Friendly Cats: Part of the breed description, which is what reputable breeders strive for, is an “essentially amiable personality.”
Amiable means friendly, social, good-natured and likable. So your Maine Coon kitten is virtually guaranteed to be social and friendly.
5: The Polydactyl Cat: Often the idea of a big Maine Coon brings up a mental image of big polydactyl paws, too. And some of them are! But not all.
Back in the “old days” when the breed was developing here in Maine, many of these cats had extra toes. It helped them to become great mousers, prized by Maine homesteaders for their usefulness and beauty.
Nowadays, there aren't many polydactyl Maine Coons, because this is considered a genetic mutation and not allowed in cat shows.
Many Maine Coon breeders show their cats, which is great! Who doesn't want a champion in their fur-babies' bloodline?
There are breeders who breed polydactyl cats with an eye toward preserving this “double pawed” look, the many toed polydactyl Maine Coon. So take heart - f you really want one, there are purebred polydactyl Maine Coons out there!
7: They Have Mysterious History: It's actually unknown how exactly these cats in Maine came to be.
One theory suggests that during the French Revolution, a ship came over carrying possessions of Queen Marie Antoinette, including her favorite Turkish Angora cats, who were released to mix with the short-haired domestic cats here.
Another theory is that there was a ship captain named Captain Charles Coon who had big long-haired cats on his ship (cats were considered good luck as they controlled the mouse population on board).
When he made port in the northeast, sometimes a cat would also disembark, and Coon-style kittens started cropping up in litters, oft referred to as “Coon's Cats.”
8: A Native Cat Breed: Today, when talking about Maine Coon Cats, it's generally accepted that European sailors brought longhaired cats over to North America, who then bred with local cats.
The harsh New England winters created a rugged cat with a thick coat - similar to the Norwegian Forest cat, which developed in a comparable climate.
9: They Were Thought to be Extinct in the 1950's: A black and white Maine Coon named Captain Jenkins of the Horse Marines was shown in cat shows in New York and Boston in 1861.
And when Cosey the Maine Coon won the title of Best Cat first National Cat Show at Madison Square Garden in 1895, a first major cat show, it sparked great interest the breed.
But soon after, in the early 20th century, other longhaired purebred cats such as the exotic Persian came along and grew in popularity.
The popularity of Maine Coons declined to the point they were thought to be extinct!
Thankfully, breeders and enthusiasts were faithfully keeping the Maine Coon breed going at that time.
10: They are the Official State Cat of Maine: Well, after all this talk about their history, this is probably one of the most unsurprising facts about Maine Coon Cats!
11: Big Maine Coons: Yes, they are indeed big cats! There is a lot to say about these large cats. They are famous for their large size.
A male Maine Coon will be bigger than a female, and although they are not all enormous cats, some are so large that they can easily stand up and reach for something on a kitchen counter!
There is much to say about Maine Coon Cats when it comes to their size, weight, and length, so we have a whole page on the Big Maine Coon for you to visit.
12: They Like Water: Yes, they really like it! These water cats hang out in sinks, not just because its comfortable, but to wait for the faucet to turn on!
Some will dunk their head under running water, some will join their humans in or near the shower, and some will enjoy or at least tolerate a bath.
Many are very messy with their water dishes – like a puppy!
13: Let's Go For a Walk: This one is really neat. Many Coonies like to go for walks around the yard or even on the sidewalk like a dog! Since they are not phased by their harness and leash, it's a great way to safely let them experience the great outdoors.
15: Cuddly: while not all lap cats, many are! And the ones that aren't lap cats are very good buddies, always close by.
Even if they are not curled up right on your lap, they'll still be snuggled up to you during downtime. The softest cuddle buddy you could want.
16: They Travel Well: Many Maine Coons actually like to go for car rides. Others enjoy family camping trips in a camper, and some even like to go for boat rides.
They generally adjust easily to new environments due to being so sociable, confident and well-adjusted.
17: They Show Off Their Bellies: This fun fact about Maine Coon Cats is so endearing and almost universal! They flop onto their backs, totally comfortable and confident having those big furry bellies up.
And it's not a trap! They are so sweet and trusting that it's ok to bury your fingers in that soft fluff.
18: So Smart: Everyone knows their cat is the smartest, just like with human children! But they really are smart.
They know many words, can predict their human's actions based on learning routines, and are extra clever, learning how to open doors and cupboards, turn on water faucets and more.
19: And Cheeky Too: With intelligence comes naughty behavior as well!
Those cupboards, cabinets, doorknobs, knick-knacks, Christmas trees and more are not off limits. You have to get creative to keep a Coonie from getting into trouble!
But, even when they're naughty, one look into those expressive eyes and it's impossible to be mad at them.
20: Silly Kitties: These are goofy, fun-loving felines! They have clown-like personalities and love sinks and boxes, as well as plastic bags and sleeping in crazy positions.
They have outstanding jumping and leaping skills, they enjoy fetching, and are so all-around interactive it's easy to forget they are cats!
21: Dog-like: speaking of fetching, as well as the harness and leash training, and car rides mentioned above, there is so much about this breed that they are known as the dogs of the cat world.
You can plan on your Maine Coon greeting you at the door when you get home just like a dog. Many folks call them “puppy-cats” for good reason!
22: Consistently one of the most popular breeds: In 2021, this was the 2nd most popular breed, behind the Ragdoll.
In my recent memory, I can't think of a time when they weren't high on the list of popular cat breeds. They are very desirable cats!
23: Long-lived: One of the best things about Maine Coon cats is their long life expectancy. They are a rugged, healthy, hearty breed of cat.
Although they sometimes leave us too early, many Coonies on this site have lived 15, 18, or even more than twenty years.
24: Health Concerns: There are a few health issues they can be prone to, such as hip dysplasia, spinal muscular atrophy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which can result in heart failure.
With the help of genetic testing, breeders are able to avoid these conditions as much as possible.
25: Retired Coonies Make Great Pets: When a cat retires from breeding or showing, they still have many healthy years ahead of them, and this is a great way to find a glorious example of the Maine Coon Cat breed for your family.
Often they are more affordable than a new kitten, as well.
26: Indoor Cats: Maine Coon breeders will ask you to sign a contract detailing certain expectations. One of these is to keep your Coonie as an indoor-only cat. It will help keep him safe, and ensure the longest, happiest lift possible.
For fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature, consider a catio or other completely enclosed area, or walks together with a leash and harness.
27: Grooming is Surprisingly Easy: With such a thick coat, you may expect a lot of work.
But one of the more surprising facts about Maine Coon Cats is that they are actually fairly easy to groom!
A weekly brushing, and perhaps the snipping of the occasional mat, and they are all set. The glossy water-resistant fur of top coat requires very little maintenance, and the long hair
They can get the occasional “dingleberries” or “hangers” on their bloomers from time to time after leaving the litter box, but they are very cooperative in letting you remove them.
28: No Declawing Please: Another agreement you'll make with a breeder is not to have your Maine Coon declawed.
As most know, it's painful and unnecessary. For more, see our page about Maine Coon Cat declawing.
29: Expect To Wait: You won't be getting a 6, 8 or 10 week old Maine Coon kitten, sorry! These special babies stay with their mama till 12-14 weeks of age.
This time to grow is valuable. They learn important social skills, litter box skills, and develop a well-adjusted confidence and trust that will be worth the wait!
30: Trainable: If you're like me, the most training your cat will have is to be a couch buddy!
But many Coonies have been trained in many ways. Some of them really love playing fetch, coming when called, doing unique tricks, or more.
My Leo had a favorite move where, if a person bent over and held their hand downward to him in a certain way, he would stand on his hind legs, reaching up with his front legs to give your arm a little hug and nuzzle.
31: Cats of Fame: Sometimes when watching a movie or tv show, you may notice a Maine Coon in the scene.
They are very trainable, after all! You may have heard that the cat in the Harry Potter films, Mrs. Norris, was a Maine Coon. Actually, there were three!
Pebbles, a retired Queen (breeding mama cat) was a little bored and needed re-homing.
She ended up being trained to walk from one specific location to another, so she is the cat you may see walking the halls of Hogwarts.
There were also two male Maine Coons who were trained for more complex scenes.
What is your favorite thing about Maine Coon cats? It's hard to pick just one!