The Maine Coon is the largest species of housecat. They average over three feet long, like a medium-sized dog. Their nickname is “gentle giant,” as they are very large yet immensely sweet.
Maine Coons have similar personalities and behavior to dogs. They are sociable and get along well with other people and animals.
Besides their size, Maine coons are also best known for the mane around their necks (resembling a lion) and for the tuft of fur sticking out around their large ears. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, including tabby, calico, white, etc.
The true origin of Maine Coons is unknown. The most common theory involves Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France from the 18th century. It is theorized that she attempted to escape her execution by fleeing to the USA with her several Turkish Angora cats. Although she never made it, apparently her cats arrived safely to Maine, where they interbred with other species of cats thus creating the Maine Coon.
There is another folk tale that argues the origin of Maine Coons came from an English sailor named Captain Charles Coon. He kept long-haired cats on his ship and when he got to New England, the cats would leave his ship and mate with the locals. The townspeople called these kittens “Coon’s cats.”
Some even say that the origin of Maine Coon is connected to raccoons. This is solely due to a few common physical characteristics.
Heart problems are common in Maine Coons. They also may experience hip problems later in age. However, the right breeders work to prevent common genetic mutations.
Generally, Maine coons are a healthy breed. Most live to be at least twelve years. Their diet is similar to any other cat, with an emphasis on high protein.