One of the oldest breeds to come out of America, the Maine Coon is still relatively rare in Australia.
While there is some debate about how the breed started, it’s believed the first of these cats appeared in the 1850s. Because they came from the US state of Maine and because these cats had tails that looked like the tails of a raccoon, the name Maine Coon stuck. By the 1950s the breed was becoming popular in the US and by the 1980s it was being imported into other countries.
The Maine Coon is a big, muscular cat with strong legs and a thick coat well suited to freezing Maine winters. While most cats weigh between five and eight kilos, males can weigh up to 10 kilos. Their tails are long and their semi-long shaggy coat is very soft and silky. The coat is also waterproof and doesn’t need a much grooming. They come in many colours and patterns including tabby and bicolour in smoky greys and browns, tortoiseshell and silver.
Because they are a robust cat, Maine Coons are quite healthy, so they don’t suffer from any particular health problems. Though they should, however, be taken to the vet for regular check-ups. Because of their size they will eat more than other cats, though they can become obese if overfed. Maine Coons live until their early teens.
They have a friendly, sweet and playful nature and like human company, so it’s likely their popularity will grow in this country. But anyone thinking of buying a Maine Coon should plan to keep this cat indoors – their size makes them dangerous to wildlife if unsupervised. As long as they have a companion pet or family to play with they are more than happy indoors.