Kim Campbell Thornton has
been writing about cats and
dogs for 31 years. She is the
award-winning author of more
than two dozen books and hundreds of
articles on pet care, health, and behav-
ior. Her muses are two Cavaliers and a
regular grooming isn’t on your to-do
list. While their coat is easier to
care for than some other longhaired
breeds, Maine Coons are individuals
and can mat, tangle, and hack up
hairballs with the best of them.
Health problems to which
the Maine Coon can be predisposed
are hip dysplasia and hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy, the most common
form of feline heart disease.
We don’t actually know how
Don’t get a MaineCoonifregulargrooming
sn’t on yourto-dolist.
the Maine Coon came to be.
One of the more romantic stories is that he descends from six
Turkish Angora belonging to Marie
Antoinette, who had hoped to
escape to the New World with
her pets. They made it; she didn’t.
Another story claims that the cats
belonged to a seafarer named
Captain Charles Coon. Whenever
he made port in Maine, his cats
would make nice with the local
lovelies and then head back to sea.
What is true is that the Maine
Coon was the first longhaired cat
native to the United States. The
cats were found primarily in New
England before gaining national recognition after a female brown tabby
named Cosey was chosen “Best Cat”
at the country’s first big cat show
at New York City’s Madison Square
Garden in 1895.
After the big win, Maine
Coons were the cat’s pajamas, but
with the introduction of other
longhaired breeds, they eventually
sank into obscurity. Fortunately, ded-
icated breeders brought them back
from the brink, and they achieved
recognition from the Cat Fanciers’
Association in 1976.
While the most popular pattern
is brown tabby, Maine Coons come
in a large palette of solid colors and
tabby and tortoiseshell patterns.
What you won’t find are pointed or
ticked patterns or colors like lavender or chocolate.
A Maine Coon’s large,
expressive eyes can be green, gold,
greenish-gold, or copper. White
cats or cats with white may have
blue or odd eyes.
Maine Coons resemble
Norwegian Forest Cats — large size,
big paws, thick coat, tufted ears
and toes — because both faced
similar selection pressure from
a harsh, cold climate, but Maine
Coons tend to have a shaggier coat
and a larger body.