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Maine Coon
Characteristics, History, and Health

Maine Coon

Western Breeds

Maine Coons are gentle giants with a loving, friendly, and sociable nature. They enjoy being in the middle of the action in your home and do well in families with children, dogs, and other cats. The Maine Coon is a water-loving cat and is the third most popular breed in the United States.

Main Info
Coat Pattern
Variety of patterns, but not colorpoint
Coat Length
Health Issues
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Main Characteristics of the Maine Coon Cat

Tipping the scales at up to 20 pounds, the Maine Coon is one of the largest breeds. Despite their muscular and heavy-boned bodies, they are known to be quite agile. Maine Coons sport a thick double-layered coat and have bushy tails. They also have the longest whiskers of any other cat breed. The fur is more dense on the stomach and rear regions. They have signature long tufts on their ears and toes, and a bushy, racoon-like tail. These features serve them well in very cold environments.

Maine Coon Cat Origin

The exact origin of the Maine Coon remains unknown, though many theories exist. One suggests that these elegant longhaired cats accompanied the Vikings from Europe as they journeyed to America. Another is that the Maine Coon was created in the state of Maine and that it is the first, and therefore the oldest, breed native to the United States. It may come as no surprise that the Maine Coon is Maine's official state cat.

Maine Coon Cat Personality Traits

A water-loving cat, this gentle giant is adored for its playful nature and dog-like loyalty. The Maine Coon can be rather vocal, expressing a wide range of complex sounds. These cats are generally obedient and possess above average intelligence, which makes them easy to train. It is not uncommon to see a Maine Coon walking on a leash.

Maine Coon Cat Common Health Issues

This breed is known to be at a higher risk for developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common feline heart condition that is associated with several genetic mutations. In the Maine Coon, an autosomal dominant mutation in the myosin-binding protein C gene has been identified in 33 percent of the breed. HCM is a progressive disease and can result in heart failure, paralysis of the hind legs, and even sudden death. Another genetic mutation frequently found in Maine Coon cats is the "Hemingway" mutation, which can result in the development of an extra toe (sometimes two). This harmless mutation is commonly referred to as polydactylism.

Maine Coon Cat Fun Facts

  • They are the third most popular breed in the U.S. Maine’s official state cat is beloved beyond its borders. According to VetStreet's analysis, the Maine Coon is the third most popular breed in the U.S., after the Siamese and Persian.

  • A Maine Coon starred in the famous Harry Potter movies. As many of the 90s kids will remember, Argus Filch, the cranky old man who seems to delight in the misery of the Hogwarts students, was a major cat-lover. He is rarely ever seen without his faithful cat, Mrs. Norris, played by three different kitties, including a female Maine Coon named Pebbles.

  • The world's longest cat was a Maine Coon. The world's longest cat, measured at 48.5 inches when fully stretched out, was Stewie, a Maine Coon who belonged to Robin Hendrickson from Nevada.

  • Maine Coons won America's first popular cat exhibit. One of the first well-known cat shows in the U.S. was held in 1985 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. The winner of the event's "Best Cat" award was a brown tabby Maine Coon named Cosey. Maine Coons remained one of the most desired breeds in the U.S. for a long time until the Persian rose to an even higher status.

Maine Coon Characteristics

12-15 years
Good with
Children, Dogs, Cats, Families
Shedding amount
Affection level
Activity level
Tendency to vocalize
Exercise needs


The International Cat Association (TICA) Maine Coon Breed Introduction

Cat Fanciers' Association "About the Maine Coon"

FETCH by WebMD "What to Know About a Maine Coon Cat"