This is a collection of misc. questions and answers. Some don't have a specific category, so they have a place here.
Here are our archived miscellaneous questions and answers from our community.
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(Medford, Oregon, USA)
Happy Halloween Carrie
Bubba was thinking out loud and he ask me if we could donate to the site. Bubba and his 2 sisters wondered if you take donations to help with the site? We would love to help out in some way.
Meow, meow, meow
Bubba, Biscotti, & Precious
& our mom, Joann
Happy Halloween to you all as well! Wow, Bubba, Biscotti, & Precious are so thoughtful. This brought a smile to my face.
This is a growing site. I absolutely love it. I love creating articles, answering questions, seeing pictures and hearing stories about the many beautiful Maine Coons out there, and connecting with others on our Facebook page.
Most of all, I love the way this is becoming a place for all of us to come together, a Maine Coon community.
A donate feature is something many websites have. The best way our readers can "support this site" would be to get our Ebook :)
Thanks so much for the inquiry. I really appreciate it!
Leo & Alice, too!
by: Brianna Fink
(Maple Shade, NJ, USA)
I have to do a research paper on the Maine Coon. It is like a Instruction Manual, if you want to call it that on behavioral characteristics, handling considerations, basic anatomy, diet, and shelter/environmental requirements.
I go to school at BCIT (Burlington County Institute of Technology) and I am majoring in Veterinary Assistant and I need some information.
Please and Thank You.
Great choice on becoming a Veterinary Assistant. I'm sure you'll love it.
Lets see, it sounds like you need to know what sets Maine Coon cats apart. How they need to be cared for and the differences between them and other cats. I'll try to set you up.
Here are some places to start:
For diet, they don't actually need a different, or specially made-for-them food. All cats should have the highest possible quality food.
That said, they can become overweight in middle age which isn't good for their hips or bone structure, so owners may introduce measured-feeding or "diet" when necessary.
Regarding their health or genetic conditions, this is a rather deep subject. Here is our article, which has been referenced by other websites:
As for going outside, it remains a personal choice, but breeders recommend against it. Maine Coons are fine in a house or apartment. They don't need to go outdoors.
Here are a few of my favorite pages explaining what makes Maine Coons different. (The following pages are found in our Maine Coons section, just follow the link on the upper left):
As you can see, there is enough "different" about them to fill a whole website! Here are a couple of day-to-day caring tidbits:
Since they are so big, owners will want to look for a heavy-duty cat tree, one that won't topple under their weight or rough play. Same with cat scratching posts. It's hard to find one tall enough for a big Maine Coon to stretch out on.
Maine Coons like water. They may visit their owner in the shower, and they'll need a sturdy water dish to withstand their water-play. They will love a running fountain, for owners who can provide one.
They get along fine with dogs, and very well with children. They have one of the most mild temperaments you'll ever see.
They are not independent. Owners will need to be able to spend time with them, give them plenty of affection, lest they become depressed.
Hope this helps! Feel free to use the comment feature below to ask a follow-up question or let us know how your research turns out. (and we'd appreciate if you can use the site as a reference! :-)
I'm working on a project featuring the Maine Coon for my veterinary technician university course and I'm looking for any information you might have regarding the level of activity this breed of cat requires to keep in shape and what to expect.
I hope that you can provide me with some information. Thank you in advance for your help.
That's a good question. The level of activity of Maine Coons is not typically mentioned as a unique trait, because it isn't one of their unique traits, setting them apart.
Some breeds are known for being particularly active, or great jumpers. The special, unique Maine Coon characteristics cover a lot of areas, but not level of physical activity.
As far as I know, this area is in line with most other cats. Frisky kittens, sometimes lazy in later life.
Since they are large, Maine Coon owners will try not to let them get too lazy and thus overweight in middle age. This is to help avoid arthritis and hip dysplasia.
Feel free to browse all our pages for Maine Coon info. I dare say we've got the most comprehensive Maine Coon site around! Good luck on your project!
Maine Coon Cat Activity
by: K.C. Harloff
My all black 17 lb male Maine Coon Cat liked to bat things around the floor. Anything that fell on the floor was game. I even made him a tin foil ball which he enjoyed for many years.
I hope you and your family keep safe thru hurricane Irene's desctructive efforts. With Irene seemingly heading toward you, I thought of you. How do you and yours prepare?
1. Do you shut your cats int the basement?
2. Do you keep them with you?
3. Do you give them Feliway to calm them?
I know Maine is on the coast and there's talk of a storm surge. Hope you guys are living on high ground? :)
Incidentally, I'll have more time in 3 weeks, so will have more time to tackle uploading etc.
Buddy is such a wonderful, amusing and mischievous companion. His walks round the garden now follow a routine, mainly of his making.
I groom him outside and watch his hair float high on the breeze, soaring to about 20+ feet across our neighbour's garden.
I also collect his combings and strategically put clumps along our borders to discourage the 3 other visiting cats.
Buddy scent marks too. He even 'flames'. I thought only male lions do that.
Lots of luck Carrie, you're doing a bang-up job.
Thanks so much for your concern! Thankfully, we are just fine. Up here in Maine, we are not used to hurricanes!
Irene has been blowing all day, but we have not been impacted as much as those in more Southern regions. My thoughts are with them.
We prepared the yard and house yesterday. Alice and Leo have no idea anything is out of the ordinary.
Leo is watching the weather channel on my husband's lap, and Alice is purring up a storm right here next to me :) No need for Feliway, thank goodness!
We live about 20 miles from the coast, in a wooded area. The trees are pretty far from the house, though. They have really been swaying today! I can't believe we still have power. Although there is still time to lose it!
If we were concerned about trees or branches hitting the house, I would confine them to the basement, and if we ever had to evacuate I would take all my pets with me if at all possible (even our guinea pig :)
It's great to hear about Buddy. I can just see him now! It sounds like he is doing great. Looking forward to some new pictures and an update when you can :)
It's good to hear from you and Buddy ;)
Judy - UK
The photos we see on the web site are really great. Particularly your girl. I notice the lighting is often behind her AND the photographer is sometimes on the same level as her.
Would you care to give us some tips? I know I could do with some help.
Incidentally, have you had lots of snow lately? Here in England they've forecast flooding and tornadoes!!
You're right, photographing a cat is tricky business! Thanks for your compliments. Now, your boy is still a kitten, active and frisky. I actually only have a select few good photos of Alice and Leo as youngsters.
And, I'll let you in on a secret: My father is a photographer! So that is why I have some professional quality kitten shots.
As for the adult ones, most are taken by me. There are some tricks I use.
The best pictures are taken with my fathers camera, but some are with my little digital, and others with just an iPod, believe it or not! (It's handy for capturing a moment, when I know I can't run to the other room for the camera)
As for the lighting with Alice, that is true. Most of the pictures I have of her are in a windowsill, or near one.
And then it's only certain times of day, or an overcast day. Getting a good picture of a cat with the light behind them is harder, but there is a reason behind my madness.
It's because she's black! If she's sitting on the back of the couch looking lovely and I try to photograph her, she just looks like a black blob with bright eyes.
So I wait till there is some sun shining on her. It's so hard to photograph a black cat.
Leo, on the other hand comes with his own set of difficulties. Any time you aim a camera at him, he notices it, purrs at it, comes to sniff it. Forget that posed picture! He's so interactive. But, his pictures do usually come out very nice.
The only real advice I can give is to be ready (have the camera on an end table & charged) and be very nonchalant about it. I don't look through the lens, I use the screen on it.
And as you noticed I like to get at their eye level, looking them right in the face if possible.
And I just snap a bunch at a time. You can always delete most. Also, it's ok to get more of the body and surrounding area, then crop the photo after (if you just want a face shot)
Ultimately it comes down to practice! Have fun photographing your beautiful boy!
PS- Tornadoes and flooding, oh my! Hope you are all safe and sound (and cozy) indoors. We have lots of snow here in Maine.
Schools are letting the kids out at noon for another storm! I should take some photos of the cats tiptoeing through the snow on the back deck; as indoor cats, they are so spoiled and funny when they get their feet wet :)
How to Photograph your Cat
First: Be prepared to take many pictures. Cats don't stay still and taking several photos in rapid succession increases the odds of you getting a good photograph.
Second: While taking the photographs, make some kind of sound that will keep your cat looking at you. Also, try holding your hand above the lens and snapping your fingers to keep your cat looking in the direction you want.
Third: Try dangling a piece of roast beef or ham in front of your cat. Not only will this keep your cat's attention, but it will also make your cat display different facial expressions.
Finally: Always keep your camera nearby, you never can know when that one special moment to photograph your cat will arrive; and that moment may never come again.
Be Patient ... Patient ...Patient!
by: Daisy Fennell
I have a female Maine Coon which I would like to breed with a male Maine Coon in the near future. Do you or do you know of anyone who can provide a stud?
No, I do not know of any. And, this brings up a whole subject that really could take up pages.
What you want is to become a Maine Coon Cat breeder. So, you need to know a lot about the breed.
Have you been showing your girl? Is she screened for HCM and any other genetic conditions?
She (and any male you mate her with) should be a prime example of the breed, as far as temperament and conformity.
Kittens are wonderful, and the experience of breeding is great, but when it comes to a breed, whether it's a cat breed or a dog breed, there is a great responsibility to "breed to a standard" and "better the breed" with each generation.
Many breeders began their journey by purchasing a "show quality" kitten from a breeder.
Then they get immersed in the world of showing and breeding, maybe even having a mentor for the process.
If your girl has the makings of a queen (breeding female) her breeder would have identified her as such.
But if this is a strong interest for you, it is something you can get into. It's just not as simple as getting together any two purebred cats.
Perhaps you would like to visit a local cat show to meet some breeders.
Or, call the breeder where your girl came from and discuss the idea that you would like to breed her.
Maybe she is the Maine Coon who first turned you on to the breed, but not necessarily the one you will first start showing and breeding.
I would also recommend visiting a few breeders websites, and reading their stories of how they got started. This will give you a good idea of what's involved.
Based on your question, I'm assuming this is your first time, and this about where you are coming from.
If you are more experienced with breeding already, you probably know all this!
If this page is visited by any Maine Coon Cat breeders, I invite you to share your opinion and experience! How did you get started?
Carrie Has Put It Well
I was approached about using my handsome Samoyed, Ilya, as a stud and I said "Nothing doing" although he was a show-quality pup. I have at least a reasonable idea of what's involved and I knew I didn't want to go that route.
Most serious breeders will not breed an outside female. They have worked for a long time to perfect the breed and get a "look" they love.
They have spent lots of money to show their lines, get championships and prove that their choice cats meet or surpass the breed standard.
They don't want to take a chance of introducing disease into their cattery from the outside.
It takes money to keep a nice cattery going. Vet expenses alone can be astronomical.
Breeders can tell you that there is no money to be made in breeding cats, in fact it is a money pit. The love of the breed keeps them going.
Go to some cat shows, check out what it takes to have a winning Coon Cat. Talk to breeders. Listen to their stories and advice.
Another thing to think about is that any time you breed a queen there is a potential for things to go wrong and your queen could die.
Personally, I don't want to take that chance with my beloved Coon Cat. Let someone else take those chances, I'll just buy kittens and benefit from the fruits of their labor.
by: Vasili's Maine Coon Cats
I can tell you that breeding quality cats is very expensive not to mention very time consuming.
First and foremost to all the posters. If you have a Maine Coon cat, male or female and you do not have breeding rights then you are not supposed to be breeding your cat, period!
If your bought your cat from a reputable breeder then you signed a contract saying you would have your kitten spayed/neutered.
To breed without breeding rights makes you unethical and dishonest.
When a kittens papers are filed with the cat associations (CFA and TICA) they will come back as "Not for breeding" on the certificate.
If someone here does have breeding rights on their kitten I would be most happy to talk with you. Please feel free to visit my website or give me a call.
Can you post a photo of Stewie for the rest of us MC fans who don't live in the US? Wow! Wonder when a MC's tail stops growing? Buddy's tail at 14 mo is 15 1/2".
It would be great to see a very large Maine coon. It's fitting he's a US bred cat? Do you know of his breeder? I'd love to go on line and see the gallery :D
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Got 4 speakers at the ready now, for when you adorn your site with sound.
Yes, Stewie is magnificent! It's awesome the way he has brought attention to the breed :)
For others reading this, I'll mention that we are referring to our latest issue of our newsletter.
In that issue I included a couple of blurbs about Stewie, with links to news articles.
As for posting pictures, I wanted to, but I don't own the rights to the photos in those news articles.
Due to internet copyright laws, I would recommend that you visit the links I provided and see his pictures there. I believe his breeder is mentioned in one of the articles, as well.
As for sound on the site, we have a Maine Coon Cat Videos page with sound. I love when visitors contact me with a link to their video, too! I'm happy to add it.
I probably won't be creating a background sound that comes up whenever someone lands on the site.
I think you are looking forward to audio clips of Maine Coons purring, chirping, trilling and meowing. That would be very, very fun! It's on the "To-Do" list!
All The Best,
My 14-Year old Maine Coon Cat passed away yesterday.
I also have 3 Ferrets and I am very aware of the Rainbow Bridge for ferrets and how there are bridge greeters for them.
My question is are there bridge greeters for my cat Starr too & if so where can I email them to get her final story?
Lorisa, I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved Starr. This must be a very hard day for you.
Rainbow Bridge does help. That sweet poem brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.
I admit, I wasn't aware of Bridge Greeters until I read this. After some research, I found Sandee Ferret, and I think this is who you are thinking of. It seems she greets all animals and shares their story. I would think she would greet Starr, too. I can't find a specific cat greeter.
If anyone else knows of one, let us know please...
Again, my condolences during this time...
Another little creature has left the Animal Kingdom. And another little creatue in the Animal Kingdom is awaiting for your care.
Thank you so much for your comments. I am looking up the bridge greeter and will post more info as I come across it.
As each new day comes it does get easier but for as long as my Starr was with me it will be that much harder to let go. Only time will help heal.
I know she is in a better place and resting with her other sister cats too :)
I have two ferrets. They have fleas because my daughter let them play outside.
I have been fighting them for months. I put Advantage on them and bathe them in Dawn, but the fleas are now in my carpets.
We vacuum constantly, I feel like they are just jumping back and forth, when the ferrets are clean they're just jumping onto the carpets and when the carpets clean they just jump back onto the ferrets and they multiply soooo quickly.
My question is do you know if the vinegar would hurt ferrets. I feel like if I could keep them off the ferrets that I could kill them all.
Any info you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
I hear you. It's the worst thing to deal with during what should be the nicest time of the year.
I do not have ferrets. I have a guinea pig, but never have had to treat him. Just remember - do not bathe them within 48 hours of applying the Advantage, before or after. It diminishes it's effectiveness.
As for the carpets, you may want to visit our Pet Flea Products page. There is a flea trap that is quite popular among our visitors, and a powder that is designed to treat areas of the home.
Maybe some of our other readers will chime in with experience regarding fleas and ferrets...
All The Best,
Ferrets With Fleas!
Well first you have to remove all pets from the house and bomb the house for fleas.
You're just going in circles treating one without treating the whole problem.
Flea medicine works very well on ferrets, but you have to clean the whole area which is why bombs are effective. Why on earth was your daughter playing with them outside!
Also throw the vaccum bag away after each cleaning. It contains flea nymps and eggs. If it is a canister type wash the plastic cup.
I had ferrets for years
Hi, I had ferrets for 16 years with as many as 15 at one time. I also worked with a ferret shelter and have been on national TV with my ferrets.
Once you treat your ferret with Advantage "do not" bath them. Advantage works by moving through the oils of an animals fur coat.
When you bath the ferret you are striping the coat of those needed oils. Advantage works for 30 days.
I never bathed my ferrets and just washed their bedding weekly. Also, never use Dawn on ferrets it is much too harsh and can dry and damage their skin.
If you have other animals you also need to treat them with a flea topical.
When I had all of my ferrets I also had 3 cats that went outside, I treated all my animals once a month and never had a flea problem.
If your house is infested with fleas you are probably going to have to bomb you home.
Again, stick with the Advantage, do not wash the ferret and treat monthly. Good luck and I hope things work out for you.
Here is a collection of short Maine Coon Cat questions we have received lately. These questions are not long enough individually for their own web page, so we've put them together here:
By: Mary in New York
I have a 2-bedroom condo, approx 1,200 square feet. Would that be large enough for a Maine Coon cat, or possibly 2 of them?
1,200 square feet is enough! And if you do get two young cats or kittens, they will chase each other around for play and exercise, an added bonus!
You will want to make sure that as time goes by, they have things of interest, like a cat tree, and you could rotate some toys to keep them active.
New Disturbing Behavior
We have recently moved was using her 'new' box for several weeks but now she's been pooping in the living room. What's going on with her?
Reply: There is just not enough info for me to guess what might be her problem. It is likely related to the move.
Whenever a Maine Coon behaves like this, they are trying to tell you something, that is for sure.
I would recommend a visit to the vet, as well as some contemplating on your cats attitude, behavior, and any other factors you can think of.
What Kind Of Behavior To Expect From A Maine Coon While Growing Up
My cat is 2 years old, he had eye repair 3 1/2 times. He likes to swipe at people & he is getting loud & clawing at furniture or doors.
I have to keep him on a leash so he does not chase birds & hurt his eye. I excise him outdoors every day & change his eating habits.
What will happen when he reaches 3 or 5 & up at age?
Reply: I wonder if his behavior is related to his eyes? Perhaps he is insecure, if he has poor vision.
You don't mention if he is a Maine Coon Cat (a purebred Maine Coon should be nothing but happy and friendly), and I'm not sure if this behavior is aggressive or just a result of his confusion.
I know if my cats had impaired hearing or vision they would feel comforted by staying indoors, where they know "the lay of the land" and just be pampered. Cats do no have to go outdoors to be properly exercised.
As for what to expect as he ages, if nothing changes I would assume more of the same.
Question About Maine Coon Teeth
By: Robin B in Pollock Pines, CA
Are there any known traits regarding their teeth? We have a cat that has adopted us.
She has classic signs and traits, tufted ears, paws etc. But she has double teeth (fang teeth).. I don't know how to present this question. Is the double teeth in the fang tooth area.
No, I have not heard of a double row of teeth being a Maine Coon trait, at all.
Actually, a Maine Coon will have been bred by a breeder. She will have a pedigree, and her parents might be show cats.
Purebred Maine Coons are prime specimens, physically. It sounds like you could have a Maine Coon look-a-like, or a mix.
I would recommend getting her teeth checked by your vet, though!
Why Does My Cat Meow When I Do Dishes
By: Lise in Timmins, Ontario Canada
Every time I wash or dry my silverware my cat meow until I am done. She can be fast asleep and still wake up and do it; is there something wrong?
There is something about the sound that makes your cat meow. She might be annoyed by it, or maybe she has sensitive hearing and it actually hurts her ears. You can ask your vet at her next check-up, just to be safe.
Hi, not a cat question - but worth a try. Who is playing the steel guitar on the blues music playing on Leo and Alice's bath fun ? I love it :) Juliet, Mom of Mariella, Tilly, Alan and Callie x
I love that song, too! It's called "Wired But Disconnected" and it's by an artist called Duckett. (I don't have it stored on my computer, so I would recommend a Google search for it.) Enjoy!
The M On The Forehead
By: Amy in Warwick, RI
My Maverick is said to be some Maine Coon if not all. He has a perfect M in black on both eyes in to top o bridge of nose -is that a characteristic of Maine Coons?
Reply: The M is a lovely Tabby pattern that a Tabby Maine Coon will have, as will many other Tabby cats.
We already have a page you might like to check out that covers the M here: M is For Maine.
Behavior With Dogs
By: Sydney Rodriguez in Houston, Texas
Are Maine Coons able to get along with dogs?
Reply: Yes, of all the cat breeds, Maine Coons get along very well with dogs. It also depends on the temeperement of the cat and of the dog. The less "interested" the dog is, the better.
Biting Maine Coon Kitten.
About a month ago I bought a female kitten from the pet store. I researched a while and it seems to be a Maine Coon.
It will be nice and lick you, next thing you know shes biting really hard!
I was wondering if it was normal for coons to behave this way.
Reply: It's normal kitten behavior. It sounds like she just wants to play, or keep your hand around for playtime.
Also, if she is a Maine Coon, she will have been bred by a breeder who would never sell her to a pet shop.
Unscrupulous people still sell kittens to pet stores, and if she were a purebred they would have advertised it so they could get more money for her. If she shares many traits, perhaps she's a mix.
Congrats on your kitten!
My Maine Coon is a biter too. She will bite when she gets excited, and we've assumeed it was a sort of"prey" response. As time passed (3 years), she does it less & less & we can see warning signs when she's about to start.
Our cat Rio bites too. He likes to be vindictive if reprimanded for bad behavior. Sometimes he will wait up to 10 minutes to come and bite you on your foot. Our cat does not go outside and our breeder feels that they use their humans as prey.
The M On A Maine Coone's Head:
Does the m pattern on a Maine Coone's head ever change?
Reply: The M is just part of the Tabby pattern, and a Tabby cat will always be a Tabby cat. Some cat's coats will seem to change over time.
For example a black cat will brown in the sun and many cats get white hairs when they get older. Smokes may become more prominent as they age.
But the Tabby stripes should stay the same. (Of course, there is a one-in-a-thousand exception to every rule :)
What Do Maine Coon Cats Feed On?
What does the Maine Coon cat feed on? Is it true that they are good snake hunters?
Reply: Maine Coon Cats like to eat high quality cat food! To learn more, visit our page on choosing the best cat food.
Just as any cat, they would like to go outside and chase the wildlife, but nowadays it is recommended that we keep our kitties indoors, for their own safety. An option is to use an outdoor cat enclosure.
And no, I haven't heard that they are particularly good at catching snakes, compared to other cat breeds.
What Is A Maine Coon's Predators?
What is a Maine coons predators. I need it for a science project
Reply: A Maine Coon Cat is a housecat, and I hope it doesn't have any predators! This answer is the same for all domestic housecats, from the Persian, to the Siamese, to the Domestic Shorthair.
How Long Does The Average Male Maine Coon Cat Live?
How long does the average male main coon cat live? Thank you,
Reply: These are healthy, strong and robust cats. One of our more popular cat question pages answers this very question.
You can read more here: What Is The Average Life Span Of A Maine Coon? The answer would be the same for a male or a female.
Why Does My Cat Lay In The Kitchen?
She bites me and my 8 year old girl when we get to close to her food bowl.
Reply: Your cat might lay on the kitchen floor because it is nice and cool, or she might just like to be around her family.
The biting is a bad habit. Try saying "ouch!" in a high pitched voice. We have more aggression and biting related pages you might like to visit for ideas on our Cat Questions page.
Why do Maine Coons do not cover up their litter?
Reply: Your cat may be too large for his or her box, and having trouble turning around.
Or perhaps he doesn't care for the litter of choice and how it feels in his paws. Or it's just a behavioral thing, which is not related to his breed.
Purebred Maine Coons in general have very good litter box habits. They are not a breed know to not cover their litter.
My Maine Coon, always urinates in her litter box but refuses to poop in it. She is almost 3, and a 10kg cat poop on the bathroom floor is not a good look. Any ideas?? Thanks in anticipation
The dominant cat in a household will not cover his poop. It his way of saying "I'm the king of my realm."
Covering poo - it's a boy thing!
We find that our 9mth old boy just leaves his uncovered - much to the disgust of his two sisters! We previously had a male moggie who did exactly the same thing - so I reckon it's a boy thing!!
Do Maine Coon cross kittens grow as big as a full Maine Coon?
By: Carrie in Hastings UK
I would love a real one! But can't afford it. x
Reply: Hi Carrie,
The short answer is probably not. Just like in people, a kitten can "take after" it's mum or it's dad. So it can be small, very large, or more likely somewhere in between.
Most of the Maine Coon mixes come upon their label because they have many similarities to Maines, not because they have one verified purebred parent.
Technically they are "suspected" Mixes. So we don't really have a verified sampling of Mixes to test this out on!
I would say, go ahead and search out a cat or kitten needing adoption and try to find one that "fits the bill" - I'm sure you'll be happy with him or her!
I'm thinking about getting a Maine Coon cat. What kind of food should I buy, is there a specific dry food for Maine Coons?
By: Debra in Georgia
Reply: Hi Debra,
I usually refrain from recommending specific brands. There are many great foods on the market, and some are only available regionally.
I would recommend that you visit our SiteMap page on the Navigation Menu, and use the search bar at the top.
Type in "cat food" to see many pages started by visitors just like you. Feel free to chime in, ask questions and comment on them!
Dry food for Maine Coon
There is one intended specifically for Maine Coons. Carrie discussed it somewhere. Apparently it's just bigger pieces so as to force them to slow down.
I've noticed that some Maines have the tufts on the ears, and many do not. Is this common?
Purebred Maine Coons usually have them, to answer your question about whether it's common.
The ear tufts are considered desirable. They are definitely a unique trait of the breed. But there are some gorgeous cats without them, too.
Ear Tufts: Jasper and Thai Foon
I've been meaning to post on this topic but was waiting for my daughter, who has computer smarts, to post photographs of our kitties.
The standard for Maine Coons states that ear tufts are desirable. I.e., not necessary.
My daughter and I have two 6-month-old kittens, both of which have the ear tufts.
One is a mackerel marmalade-&-white longhair, who has grown very long, with a long bushy tail.
In fact, he doesn't even look like a kitten any more. Jasper also has extravagant ear furnishings, longer than those of my "miniature Maine Coon."
The other is a Siamese or other Asian cross with--get this!--short hair. First case I've seen of a shorthair with ear tufts.
The vet suggested that the Asian part could be Birman. I sorta doubt that. No white paws, for one thing.
Thai Foon (pronounced like typhoon) does not have particularly long ear furnishings. He weighs more than Jasper but is cobbier/chunkier.
He also has a round head, more like old-style Siamese or Birmans than modern Siamese.
So what's your understanding, folks? That ear tufts belong with long hair?