I own a 15 pound fluffball of a cat. Or rather, she owns me. As her human, it’s been a very interesting experience. Not many people have this experience, but lots are asking this question online and on social media. That is why I thought I’d share some genuine neat things about this whole journey. But first, a bit of background on the breed.
The Maine Coon Breed
My cat is a Gray Silver Maine Coon. For those who are unaware, a Maine Coon is a unique, long-haired, and large cat breed. They are originally from the state of Maine, which is where their ancestors landed from Europe (most likely). Maine Coons are the largest domestic cat breed in the world, so anyone who has seen one remembers it.
Due to many distinct physical traits, they absolutely stand out compared to normal cats. The Guinness Book of World Record’s current title holders for longest and largest cat in the world are both Maine Coons. Maine Coon can be seen at your local accredited cat shows as competitors, or just about everywhere online. In the Harry Potter movie series, Mrs.Norris, is a tabby Maine Coon.
Before I ever took my cat home, it was an unique experience. I had to pay for the kitten! A purebred Maine Coon’s price is typical above $1000. Not many people will have put down that kind of cash for a cat. Dogs, yes. Cats, not as much.
Next I prepared supplies. You’re probably asking what’s so special about that, everyone gets supplies before a new cat. Well, because of the breed’s large size, they are bigger as kittens and grow for about 5 years before they’re an adult. This is about 2 more years than other cats. That’s why I needed to find products fit for adult cats already – while my cat was a kitten – another new feeling.
Normal cat toys are destroyed by hard-playing Maine Coons, so I browsed for items that were sturdy and quality. But they also required some dynamic elements. This cat breed is intelligent too, which is why they may get bored and never touch a toy again.
I looked for tough and stable medium-height cat trees for Maine Coon cats, and larger than normal litter boxes. The litter box is a place you want your cat to be comfortable – it’s less trouble for the owner too!
Now that my cat is an adult, she gets the best reactions from others. A combination of the dramatic size, slightly wild coat and features, with luxurious long haired fur creates quite an impression.
Since most people have not seen a Maine Coon before, they always say something like “that’s a big cat!” or “is that a miniature tiger?!” As an owner, I am pretty proud. Then there is the comment that “something escaped from the zoo,” or just a basic “that’s a beautiful cat.”
Now a big reason why people have not seen a Maine Coon before in real life is because breeders and catteries recommend they be indoor cats only. Indoor cats are safer, healthier, and live longer. But are the cats happy? Isn’t it against their nature to spend all this time indoors when the outside is so much more enriching?
I can’t answer that, but in recent years, and driven by social media, the trend of “adventure cats” is becoming increasingly popular. Adventure cats are walked on leashes, taken on hiking trips, climbing mountains, even kayaking and biking. And yes, Maine Coons are a common adventure cat breed. Imagine seeing this cat in a cat backpack or walking on leash – now that’s a reaction.
But what’s even better is if the person comes closer to my cat. My cat is very friendly with a winning personality.
Maine Coon’s Personality
The personality of a Maine Coon is unlike most cats. In lots of ways, they are like small dogs! This breed shows loyalty and sociability, just like dogs. My cat follows me around the house. She is not a lap cat, but will go into the room I am in and kind of just settle near me.
If I am exercising, she often watches my movements and then plops down right where the equipment is. She will walk under your planks, sit on your bench, lie on your yoga mat. It’s crazy endearing, but may cause lapses in concentration, so watch where you drop weights!
Maine Coons are also a louder cat breed (but it does vary based on your individual cat, of course) who “talk” to their owners regularly. My cat regularly chirps at me while going about my day – such great running commentary from her. She is especially vocal with a “meow” if I miss an scheduled event, like a daily treat or play session.
Owners call Maine Coon’s the dogs of the cat world, and wholeheartedly agree. They are very outgoing and will walk up to people to greet them. You won’t find these cats hiding when company comes over.
Instead, they are in the middle of the action and getting all the pets and belly rubs they deserve! Keep in mind, they are still cats though. So after loud, social events, don’t be surprised if a Maine Coon sleeps the rest of the day in a quiet corner, perhaps in their cat tree.
Another way Maine Coons are like dogs is that they are capable of two of the most dog-centric activities: playing fetch and walking outside on a leash! That’s right, look around online and you’ll find enthusiastic cats retrieving objects over and over again.
And based on their intelligence, you can train a Maine Coon to walk on a harness and leash, provided they have an affinity for it. Some cats are perfectly happy with their new indoor-only status.
Gary H. writes for Mainecoonhawaii.com, a site dedicated to entertaining, useful guides on Maine Coons and other cat matters.