BREED: Maine Coon
TEMPERAMENT: Active and playful
COST: From $650 plus
LIFESPAN: 12-14 years plus
RECOMMENDED FOR: Families and enthusiasts
The Maine Coon cat is recognised as one of the oldest natural breeds of cats in the USA but the actual origin of the breed is uncertain. The name is taken from the area in which the breed was found, the state of Maine. The apparent similarity of the dark tabby type to the raccoon may have been responsible for the “Coon” being added. They are the second most popular breed in the United States but they are still rare in Australia.
Maine Coon Cats are among the largest cat breeds. Males weigh between 5-10kg (12-20lb) when they are fully grown. Their shaggy semi longhair coat is soft and silky. It reached between 5-10cm (2-4″) in length. They were bred to resemble a lion with an obvious ruff around the neck and a plumed tail. Their coats come in a variety of colours and patterns including bicolours, tortoiseshells, tabbies and shaded coats. The classic Maine Coon is the tabby pattern.
Maine Coon cats are active and playful. They are kitten-like in their behaviour, even when fully grown. Maine Coon Cats are gentle and affectionate with people, and are intelligent despite their mischievous nature.
Health & lifespan
Maine Coon Cats have three hereditary diseases:
ð Night blindness. This affects the cat’s vision but has not been found in the Australian Maine Coon Cats.
ð Hip dysplasia. An unusual disease so breeders recommend when buying a kitten to check the hip x-rays of the parents for a sign of this disease.
ð Cardiomyopathy syndrome. A thickening of the heart wall, enlarging the heart and leading to death. This disease cannot be found in a kitten because it occurs after 12 months of age and breeders are attempting to eliminate the disease.
Healthy Maine Coon Cats should live for 12-14 years.
The large size of Maine Coon Cats increases their appetite. Breeders recommend a good quality cat biscuit or dry food and say they eat more than a normal cat.
Breeding & costs
Maine Coon Cats produce litters of one to five kittens. The kittens mature slowly and do not reach full growth until three to five years old. Our research showed only two registered breeders in Australia so there is a waiting list of about six months to two years for kittens, depending on the colour. Cats range in price upwards from $650.
Housepet potential & space
Breeders recommend keeping Maine Coon Cats indoors. Because of their large size they can easily catch a range of wildlife if left unsupervised. Despite their size they are good inside the house, good mousers and will happily stay inside if they have a companion cat or an owner who is around to play with them.
Maine Coon Cats are friendly and suit a family. They are good with children and love to have companionship.
The semi-longhaired coat of the Maine Coon Cat is low maintenance, and needs a weekly, five or ten minute brush with a wide tooth metal comb. They shed through the year, but have a larger moult in spring.
To contact a breeder go to the Feline Association in your state.
The New South Wales Cat Fancier’s Association Inc
PO Box 379
St Marys, NSW 1790
Ph 02 9834 6577
PO Box 279
Croydon Park 2133
Phone: (02) 9716 8394
Mobile: 019 185 180
PHone (02) 6541 2818
PO Box 558
Joondallip DC 6919
Phone: (08) 9401 4316
Alternatively contact the Feline control council in your state.
Queensland Feline Administration
89 Evenwood Street
Coopers Plains, 4108
Phone: (07) 3344 2267
Feline Association of SA
21 Poole Street
Phone: (08) 8248 2106
Cat Association of Tasmania
PO Box 116
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Feline Control Council of Victoria
Ascot Vale, 3032
Phone: (03) 9281 7444
Feline Control Council of WA
PO Box 915
Phone: (08) 9350 5251