The Maine Coon Cat is the first cat breed to originate completely in the United States. It was first recognized as a breed in the 19th Century.
There are several theories about how this breed started, some linking it to Marie Antoinette, but it is probable that the cat was already here at the time of the French Revolution, having been brought over on English ships or perhaps they were even left here after Viking visits seven centuries earlier. Regardless, it is known that the Maine Coon Cat is not a cross between a cat and a raccoon, this is simply impossible, and crossing it with bobcats will result in sterile hybrids.
This cat, however, is a large, burly cat with the toms weighing up to 25 pounds. They are somewhat slow to reach maturity, and can often take 3 years or more to do so. These cats are well adapted, with their long, thick fur, to life in a cold climate. As winter approaches, the coat becomes even thicker to provide the cat with additional protection. The coat can come in basically any color: black and white, tabby, solid, tortoiseshell, or calico. The eyes are usually gold or green.
• The somewhat rugged size and appearance of the Maine Coon Cat will tell you that this is a cat that enjoys adventuring outside. This pet has a high energy level, and may be unhappy if confined to an apartment.
• The heavy fur on the underside of the cat helps to protect it when it is outside during the winter, heavily furred feet enable this cat to navigate more easily in snow, and plenty of fur both inside and outside the ears keeps them safe from frostbite.
• The Maine Coon Cat is a friendly and playful cat suitable for the entire family, but will tend to choose one ‘favorite’ person to whom it is especially devoted.
• While this breed will enjoy being near the family, they are not as ‘clingy’ as some breeds and maintain more independence. Most of these cats will not be lap cats.
• Maine Coon Cats will greet you at the door when you return home, as will a dog, and will often play fetch. These pets can be trained to walk on a leash.
• Since these are playful and loving cats, they will adapt well to living with other pets, including dogs and other cat breeds.
• As the coat is long, it should be brushed out at least once a week. If the cat has been outside, be sure to check for burs or parasites. Ticks can be a problem during the spring and summer, and warmer weather will often bring out fleas.
• Although this cat is a healthy cat breed, it is subject to several health problems. In part because of its size, this cat can suffer from hip dysplasia. Some of these cats will develop heart or kidney disease.
• They are avid hunters and will often eat what they catch. Because of this, they should be tested regularly for worms. Also, as your cat will spend considerable time outside in most cases, make sure that it is properly vaccinated at all times.
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