The Maine Coon is one of the largest domestic cats, they make good housecats as they are neat and easily house-trained.
Maine Coon Cat – Pet Road Test
Breed: Maine Coon
Cost: from $800
Lifespan: 13 years +
Recommended for: Families, enthusiasts
The Maine Coon is one of the oldest breeds in North America, and one of the newest cat breeds on show in Australia. Its ancestry is obscure, but it is thought to have originated in the state of Maine. In fact, in October 1985 it was declared the official Maine State Cat.
Local legend has it that the breed developed from matings between domestic cats and raccoons, hence the ‘Coon’ part of the name. However such matings are biologically impossible. Some people believe that these cats are descendants of six cats sent to Wiscasset, Maine, by Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. Most breeders today think that the Maine Coon is the result of crossings between domestic shorthairs and longhairs (perhaps Angoras) introduced to America in the late 1700s by New England seamen or Vikings.
The Maine Coon is one of the largest domestic breeds. Males commonly weigh 6-8kg (13-18lb) and females 4-6kg (9-13lb). They have square muzzles, high cheekbones, round eyes, large tufted ears and strong muscular legs. The long, flowing coat is heavy and shaggy, with an obvious ruff around the neck and a plumed, bushy tail. The classic Maine Coon colour is the tabby pattern, but any colour or pattern is acceptable except for the pointed Siamese pattern. This has resulted in the breeding of a wide range of colours and patterns including selfs, bicolours, tortis, tabbies, tabby-tortis (also called torbis), and shadeds.
As the breed is new to Australia, we are still learning about Maine Coons. However, in America they are renowned as very tough cats possessing a good dose of hybrid vigour. Inherited problems such as cardiomyopathy and hip dysplasia are seen in some lines. Maine Coons live for 13 years plus.
Maine Coon cats cost about $7 a week to feed. Maine Coon breeder Fiona Cooper recommends feeding good quality dried cat food to keep the cats in optimum condition. She also gives them a little raw meat and grated cheese. Fresh water must be provided at all times.
The coat, while long and flowing, is different to that of the Persian which quickly matts if neglected. Their coat is soft-textured and glossy. It is easy to maintain, and only requires brushing and combing for 5-10 minutes once a week to keep it in top condition.
Around four kittens per litter would be the norm. Anyone wanting a kitten may have to wait a year or two, as there are currently only several Maine Coon breeders in Australia.
Kittens cost around $800, but show quality cats are more expensive.
Not a distant or aggressive cat, although it is an accomplished hunter. They are good with kids and are able to take some rough handling.
They make good house-cats as they are neat and easily house-trained. They are people-orientated and fit in well with other pets and family life. However, the long, shaggy coat does shed hair profusely coming into summer and queens (breeding females) will drop some coat as they come into season and lactate. A home with a good yard or garden to exercise in is ideal.
They are a very popular breed in the US as a companion animal and retains a reputation as a good mouser in the country areas.
Interesting fact is that they are also known as the “American Barn Cat”
WHERE CAN I BUY A MAINE COON CAT IN AUSTRALIA?
There are several breeders in Australia at present – below are a few:
Cool Coons Cattery
Glossodia, NSW (where our segment was filmed)
Phone: (02) 4576 5404
Croydon Park, NSW
Phone: (02) 9744 3242
Phone (02) 6541 2818
Heather and Steven Rome
Gerda Stapel and Cheryl Marshall