All About Maine Coon Cats – History, Personality and Interesting Facts

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The first furry baby Jonathan and I adopted was a scraggly looking black adolescent thing – not quite old enough to be labeled a cat, but definitely grown out of what most would call kittenhood – that had legs and a tail far longer than would seem proportional to its lanky body. It all started when we were strolling through the City Pound “window shopping” a good month prior to kitten season. While I spent equal time with all of the cats, giving them love and then quickly walking away before I could feel the first tugs of attachment, Jonathan stayed glued to a single cage, where a lanky black paw was straining out to bat at him.

“He wants me.” Jonathan kept saying, his eyes locked onto the intelligent, piercing yellow eyes of the little kitten / cat with a meow far too mature for its tiny size. I remember looking across the room at Jonathan crouched down, his face soft, his whole body hunched over to hold on to that tiny reaching paw. He was locked away into a completely different world and I thought, “Hm. I think Jonathan chose his cat.”

Although, we’ve come to learn, it was really the cat that chose us.

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With adoption plans in mind, we left town that weekend to attend the annual Pro-Life Walk for Life event in San Francisco, letting the staff know we’d be back. Then our car got broken into. Hundreds of dollars of possessions were stolen, including the cost to repair the damage done to the vehicle. Adopting a cat was completely out of the question. The adoption just wasn’t going to happen. So we did the exact opposite of what we said we’d do: we promptly drove home and picked up our first furry baby, Wraith. (Named after the Ringwraiths from Lord of the Rings, because of his smoky black color and wispy, straggly undercoat.)

We didn’t learn till weeks later, when he started to grow into his body, that he was a Black Smoke Maine Coon. Until then, I was only familiar with the brown tabby coated Classic Maine Coons. Suddenly the intelligent eyes, the irresistible pull of his intellectual meow – it all began to make sense. For those of you that don’t know, Maine Coons are one of the coolest, smartest, breeds of cat on the planet.

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(Wraith at his 1 year birthday party. Yes. Yes we had an actually birthday party for our cat, with presents and cake and party hats and everything. DON’T JUDGE ME!!)

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Jonathan with his cat. They really are best buds.

What prompted this whole post, is that some good friends of mine have a litter of Maine Coon mix kittens, and my dad got one for my mother for their 30th wedding anniversary this past Friday. The little kitten (that my mother has named Cosi), is a beautiful Classic Brown Tabby Maine Coon with slightly spotted / mackerel markings. She currently has two other Maine Coons – Merida and Thackary – and before them, she had her cat Inara, the one that introduced us all the the amazing Maine Coon breed.

I know there are a trillion odes to Maine Coons out there, because these manipulative, heart stealing little buggers excite a near manic devotion in their human-pets, but I thought what the hey? It’s my blog, I can crazy-cat-lady up the place if I wanna! So without further ado, here’s a rundown on this amazing breed:

HOW TO SPOT A MAINE COON CAT:

Unlike other breeds that are obvious in their rarity (Persians, Scottish Folds, etc.) and therefore blasphemously expensive, Maine Coon cats are less well-known, while still being common in the states and are often mislabeled as American Longhair Tabbies, which makes them easy, effortless and fairly cheap to find and adopt.

MASSIVE BODY – You can spot them by their large, muscular bone structure (they are one of the largest breeds of domestic cat out there), rectangular shape and long, flowing coat in various colors (commonly brown tabby, black and orange tabby). All Maine Coons, with the exception of solid Blacks and Black Smokes, share one distinguishing facet – their forehead has an evident M shape on the brow.

LUXURIOUS TAIL – The tail of the Maine Coon is its pride. Maine Coons have an extremely long, furry, plume-like tail, which can reach a length of 14 inches. When they curl up to sleep, their long, bushy tail is often curled around their face and shoulders, and when they walk (or strut, rather, proud bastards) their tail wafts majestically behind them, conveying emotions with subtle twitches.

THICK FUR – Maine Coons also have a lion-like ruff around their neck (this usually does not fill out till around a year old or later), with the fur often shorter on the head and back, and longer on the stomach and flanks.  They also have very large paws with long wispy tufts of fur sticking out between the toes and heavily furred ears with extra long, almost lynx point tufts growing from the inside and sweeping outward.

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My moms new Classic Maine Coon kitten, Cosi!

THE HISTORY (KINDA, WELL MAYBE) OF THE MAINE COON CAT:

ROYAL KITTIES OF AWESOME? – The ancestral origins of the Maine Coon are a little iffy, although the popular story runs that while Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, was attempting to escape France with the help of Captain Samuel Clough, she loaded the ship with her most prized possessions – including six of her favorite Turkish Angora cats. Although she did not make it to the United States, her pets safely reached the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they bred with other short-haired breeds and evolved into the modern breed of the Maine Coon.

VIKING KITTIES OF AWESOME? – If this story is more fable than fact, the only other explanation circulating is that the cats are descended from the pairings of local short-hairs and long-haired breeds brought overseas by 11th-century Vikings. (The connection to the Vikings is seen in the strong resemblance of the Maine Coon to the Norwegian Forest Cat, cats that commonly traveled with the Vikings.)

AMERICAS COOLEST CAT – One thing that is for certain: Maine Coons have pretty much been awesome in America from day one. On May 8, 1895, the very first North American cat show was hosted at Madison Square Garden in New York City and it was a female Maine Coon Brown Tabby, named Cosey, that won the silver collar and was named Best in Show. They’ve rocked America as the coolest cats ever since.

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THE PERSONALITY OF THE MAINE COON:

REDICULOUSLY INTELLIGENT AND REGAL – Maine Coons have a regal bearing and are known for their above average intelligence and gentle personality. They are known as the “gentle giants” and are one of the most easily trained domestic cats out there. They are often fiercely loyal and attached to their family, with female Maine Coons having a tendency to latch onto female humans, and male Maine Coons having a tendency to latch onto male humans. They are playful throughout their lives, somehow managing to be simultaneously clownish and regal with their antics, and always possessing a very tangible and unbelievable amount of dignity.  Maine Coons are slow to physically mature, so they stay kittenish for a long time – they do not reach their full potential size and maturity till they are three to five years old, while other cats take about only one year to physically and emotionally mature.

ANNOYINGLY AFFECTIONATE AND PUSHY – They are also extremely affectionate to the point of being downright demanding for your attention and love. They want to be part of everything and they have massive stubborn streaks, sometimes refusing to take no for an answer. They are extremely manipulative in their attempts to garner your attention and distract you. They make it very clear that they own you, you don’t own them!

LOUD ALL. THE. TIME. – Maine Coons are also absurdly vocal. They are well known for yowling, chattering, chirping, and “talking” (especially “talking back” to their owners), and making other loud vocalizations, usually in the middle of the night when you are trying to sleep. The craziest thing is, they will make very pointed eye contact while talking in their efforts to communicate with you. These really are not like the average cat. Out of all cat breeds I have come into contact with, I would have to say that Maine Coons are the most “communication savvy” cats. They actually try to consistently convey their thoughts, feelings, and emotions through eye contact and vocalization.

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Well, that’s my gushing post about Maine Coons! I’ll most likely shell one out for Scottish Folds down the road, one of my other favorite breeds. If you have a Maine Coon, or are familiar with the breed, let me know if I left anything out!

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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

17 thoughts on “All About Maine Coon Cats – History, Personality and Interesting Facts

  • 7 July, 2013 at 6:32 pm
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    I am wondering if my Mini was mis-labeled. I have never agreed that she was an American Shorthair because she has LONG hair. She has the ear tufts, super affectionate…heat butts the daylights out of ya until she gets her way, still mostly playful for her 9 years, and has always chosen me as her person above all the others in the house. However, she is dim in the brain department and is quiet. Perhaps those last two things are traits of runts, hence her nickname Mini (real name is Cinnamon).

      • 22 November, 2013 at 3:48 pm
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        I will have to blog about my elderly kitties so you can see.

        • 24 October, 2014 at 2:08 am
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          Did you ever get around to writing that blog?? I wants to seeeee!

    • 7 July, 2013 at 7:58 pm
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      Why, whatever can you mean? *shifty eyes* ^_^

  • 8 July, 2013 at 8:37 am
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    Love this post 🙂 Wraith is so beautiful. My partner’s cat is maine coon, but not a purebred one, he was found with the rest of his litter in a friend’s garden shed having been abandoned by their mum. The cat is a lovely ginger/golden colour. His personality is just how you’ve described. Maine coons are so amazing.

    • 22 November, 2013 at 3:37 pm
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      Awww, thank you! Yes, Maine Coons are pretty much my favorite. Well, and Scottish Folds. But yeah. Best. Cats. EVAR.

  • 10 July, 2013 at 3:54 pm
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    This post describes my boy, Skweaky, perfectly! He’s part Main Coon and his mother was a Calico(also named Sabrina, funny enough). I’ve had him by my side for 17 years now and he’s still loud and demanding as ever! Haha. He’s my best friend 🙂 thanks for this post! I could really go on and on about him but I’ll stop now, haha.

    • 10 July, 2013 at 5:38 pm
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      Haha, I know, I usually can’t stop talking about my furry babies. I’m like the annoying mom who won’t shut up about her kids, only it’s a little more awkward because they’re cats. lol! When I was in the process of adopting my Scottish Fold, I kept talking about the “baby” we were adopting, and when I asked some friends if they wanted to see her picture, they were all startled to see a cat! haha! ^_^

  • 5 May, 2014 at 3:25 am
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    I have never thought that we would be so much love with cats until our furry son “Pumpkin” who adopted us. One hot summer night our air conditioner broke, I was running in and out of the house, suddenly I feel somebody rubbing against me and mewing. I noticed a beautiful maine coon orange tabby was talking to me. I was in love with him at first site. Unfortunately his original owner left him when they moved and refuse to take him. Thank God he found us. We are grateful to him for adopting us as his family. We love him and cannot think our life without him. Please don’t feel bad sharing your furry baby’s story.

    • 24 October, 2014 at 2:10 am
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      Awwww, thank you for sharing in your comment!! I love meeting fellow cat people who “get it”!

  • 24 July, 2015 at 6:20 pm
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    My Maines have all been obbessed with playing in water…..to the point I’ve had to leave faucets dripping 24/7!

  • 29 August, 2015 at 1:14 pm
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    So I was recently adopted by my awesome main coon mix named Luna. I was taking a late stroll in a park by my apartment about 4 months back and felt something brush against my leg. Startled i looked down and saw a fuzzy purring cat on her belly mewing almost nonstop. I looked around and didn’t see anyone else there, (it was 11 o’clock at night to be honest i shouldn’t have been there) and pulled out my phones flashlight to check for a collar. All that I saw was an old flea collar that felt a little tight and a cute cat that was certainly too friendly not to have a home. So I figured Id finish walking around and she’d run off back to her owners house. I was wrong. She shadowed me to the point of me almost tripping over her 🙂 I was charmed to be sure but figured she’d run home as i walked the two blocks back to my complex. Wrong again. She wouldn’t quit. At this point I tried to shoo her off and told her to go home and I swear she made a little meow and kept heeling behind me like a dog haha. I was incredulous . I have never seen a cat be that way and was extremely amused, but worried that she belonged to someone. I decided to cut through the creek by my apartment and figured I’d lose her. She stood by the creek and let out the most mournful sound I’ve ever heard and I felt bad but figured she’d be missed by her owners so I kept going. I got back on the road and figured she’d moved on back home but then there she was mewing loudly as if scorning me for taking that route. At that point I was very close to my apartment and realized I’d been adopted. So I didn’t see the harm in letting her stay the night with me. I swear this cat walked into my house and made herself comfortable like she belonged there. Needless to say she’s been my best friend since. I couldn’t find her owners (which I was glad of to be honest) and have been blessed with the most epic cat ever! The main coon breed , mix or not is my all time favorite breed of cat. They are almost dog like and Luna can charm anyone into loving her to pieces. I loved your story and can totally understand your passion for their awesomeness. :3

  • 19 April, 2016 at 7:24 am
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    Love Wraith..I wish i could see new photos…My first cat many, many decades ago, was a Maine Coon cat. When I was 7 years old.

  • 18 June, 2016 at 6:40 am
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    It is very difficult to tell if our cat is a Maine Coon or not. Many cats with long, shaggy fur are mistaken for Maine Coons, simply because many people do not know that physical attribute of Maine Coons.
    But this does not make our kitten or cat any less special, and no matter what our cat turns out to be, it will still be a furry friend that we can love and adore Also they will love us just the same.

  • 22 August, 2016 at 12:59 am
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    I didn’t want to look for a kitten so soon and am trying to use your blog to judge what a kitten will look like. It’s been more than 25 years since I last saw a Maine Coon kitten. Our Maximus came to us about 3/4 grown, with his wonderful personality already apparent. Renal Failure happened and he left us much too soon–about three weeks after your most recent comment, in fact.

    For us, it’s that personality we want. He could be any size or color, but we want to raise a cat who will be as loyal and wonderful as Max. (He once held one of our babies birds and waited quietly for us to come home. When I took the little one from him, it was completely unharmed. It had gotten out and he was literally baby sitting, to keep it safe.)

    I wanted to tell you, it’s a YMMV thing when it comes to whether a boy cat or a girl cat bonds better to you. I’ve always bonded most closely to the boys and my gentleman agrees that Max and I had “a boy and his dog” thing going on, despite the fact that I’m not and have never been a boy and Max was a cat.

    The heeling thing one of your earlier comments mentions is a breed trait. It has to be. Like the fact that a lot of them will turn face down to come down a tree. The Maine Coons we had when I was little would do it and so did Max.

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