The Maine Coon Cat
The Maine Coon is a large domesticated cat breed. It has a distinctive physical appearance and valuable hunting skills. It is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, specifically native to the US state of Maine, where it is the official state cat.
No records of the Maine Coons exact origins and date of introduction to the United States exist, so several competing hypotheses have been suggested, the most credible suggestion being that it is closely related to the Norwegian Forest cat and the Siberian.
The Maine Coon is a large and sociable cat, hence its nickname, "the gentle giant". It is characterised by a prominent ruff along its chest, robust bone structure, rectangular body shape, an uneven two-layered coat with longer guard hairs over a silky satin undercoat, and a long, bushy tail. The breed's colors vary widely, with only lilac and chocolate disallowed for pedigree. Reputed for its intelligence and playful, gentle personality, the Maine Coon is often cited as having "dog-like" characteristics.
The Maine Coon is a long- or medium-haired cat. The coat is soft and silky, although texture may vary with coat colour. The length is shorter on the head and shoulders and longer on the stomach and flanks, with some cats having a lion-like ruff around their neck. Minimal grooming is required for the breed compared to other long-haired breeds, as their coat is mostly self-maintaining owing to a light-density undercoat. The coat is subject to seasonal variation, with the fur being thicker in the winter and thinner during the summer.
The Maine Coon was considered the largest breed of domestic cat, until the introduction of the Savannah Cat in the mid 1980s. On average, males weigh from 13 to 18 lb (5.9 to 8.2 kg), with females weighing from 8 to 12 lb (3.6 to 5.4 kg). The height of adults can vary between 10 and 16 in (25 and 41 cm) and they can reach a length of up to 38 in (97 cm), including the tail, which can reach a length of 14 in (36 cm) and is long, tapering, and heavily furred, almost resembling a raccoon's tail.