The Maine Coon is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds. They are native to Maine and were made the official state cat of Maine in 1985. They are one of the oldest cat breeds in North America.
Their exact origins are unknown. There is one story that says they could be descendants from Marie Antoinette’s prized Turkish Angora cats. She was the Queen of France who was executed in 1793. Prior to her execution, she had attempted to escape on Captain Samuel Clough’s ship with some of her prized possessions, which included her cats. She did not make it, but her cats made it to Wiscasset, Maine, where it is believed they bred with other cats.
Another story is that their descendants may have come from Vikings or European sailors who brought cats with them to America. Genetic testing shows they are descendants of the Norwegian Forest Cat and an extinct domestic cat breed. The Norwegian Forest Cat was kept by Vikings to help control rodents on their ships, so the most likely story is that the Maine Coon’s ancestors were brought to America by Vikings!
The Maine Coon is nicknamed “the gentle giant.” They are large, social cats that are playful and gentle, and some say they are dog like. They are also very intelligent cats and easy to train.
On average, males weigh 13 to 18 pounds and females weigh 8 to 12 pounds with a height of 10 to 16 inches and a length of up to 48 inches including the tail of 14 inches.
Guinness World Records shows the record for longest cat being a male Maine Coon named Stewie. He was 48.5 inches long from nose to tip of tail.
Their average lifespan is 10 to 13 years with some occasionally living longer.
These cats take a long time to reach full maturity and size. Most cats are fully grown at around 1 year old, but the Maine Coon may not reach full size until 3 to 5 years old.
Maine Coons were made for cold weather. They have dense water-resistant fur to keep them warm and large paws with fur growing between their that help them walk on snow, kind of like snowshoes. Their ears and tail are also very furry to help keep them warm. Their fur can be thicker in the winter and thinner during the summer.
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