July 15, 2013 PetGuide
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Maine Coon

  • Height: 10-16 inches
  • Weight: 10-25 lb
  • Lifespan: 9-15 years
  • Physique: large cat, heavy coat
  • Best Suited For: Families with yards. Loves being indoors and outside
  • Temperament: Friendly, intelligent, and independent. A gentle giant
  • Comparable Breeds: Pixie Bob, Siberian, British Shorthair

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The Maine Coon is a truly native American cat. They were mentioned by the earliest colonists, but the exact origin of the breed is unclear. Stories and myths abound, including the biologically impossible notion that the Maine Coon is the descendent of a domestic cat and a raccoon. These cats have long, thick hair that evolved naturally to help them survive the harsh winters of the northeast coast. Once regarded as basic barn cats, the breed was thought to have disappeared completely in the 1950s. Enthusiasts worked to rescue the Maine Coon from extinction, however, forming the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association in 1968. The breed was accepted for championship status by the CFA in 1976, and is currently the second most popular breed in the U.S.

Maine Coons are attentive enough to be almost intrusive at times.

maine-coon-1Maine Coons are attentive enough to be almost intrusive at times. They like to a part of anything that’s going on, and don’t take kindly to being on the wrong side of a closed door. They enjoy playing in water, and will even wash their food before they eat. They are trainable in a charming “dog like” way, and are highly intelligent, retaining a kind of kittenish energy throughout their lives. They like interaction, but tend to prefer to be close to their humans rather than “on” them. They rarely use their voices, and when they do, the sound is a distinct chirp or trill, often with an inquisitive or independent tone.

Maine Coons are big cats, with some males weighing as much as 25 lbs. They have muscular, rectangular bodies with broad chests. Slow to mature, individuals do not reach their full size for three to five years. Their thick coats are water resistant, with thicker growth on their ruff, stomach, and britches where they most need protection from cold and wet conditions. Their bushy tails wrap easily around their bodies to provide an additional source of warmth. These cats have large rounded feet with tufts that serve as natural snowshoes. Their eyes are big and round and can be copper, green, or gold in tone.

maine-coon-2The traditional coloration for this breed is a brown tabby, but the coat can actually be any shade except pointed colors or patterns.

The silky coat of the Maine Coon has a tendency to be somewhat oily, but although dense, little grooming is required. These cats are good at self-maintenance, but like the attention of being brushed or combed. Once a week is sufficient to keep the coat in good shape, but you may find that the cat enjoys the interaction enough to make more frequent and shorter grooming periods practical and pleasurable for both parties. As with any long-haired breed, a combination of a bristled brush and a wire comb is good.

Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock

Comparable Breeds

Go to Pixie Bob

Pixie Bob

  • Height: 10-12 inches
  • Weight: 11-22 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Physique: Stocky body, polydactyl
  • Best Suited For: Families with children and pets, or singles with pets
  • Temperament: Demanding but patient, vocal, playful, inquisitive and affectionate
  • Comparable Breeds: Ragamuffin, Birman
Go to Siberian


  • Height: 9-11 inches
  • Weight: 10-20 lb
  • Lifespan: 11-15 years
  • Physique: Stocky build
  • Best Suited For: Families with children and other pets as well as singles
  • Temperament: Considered a “gentle giant”. Very loyal and affectionate
  • Comparable Breeds: British Longhair, Ragamuffin
Go to British Shorthair

British Shorthair

  • Height: 12-14 inches
  • Weight: 7-17 lb
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years
  • Physique: Sturdy, big bodied cats
  • Best Suited For: Families and singles with or without children and pets
  • Temperament: Calm, easy going, adaptable, affectionate
  • Comparable Breeds: British Longhair, Ragamuffin