Maine Coons are one of the oldest and most popular natural breeds in North America. These cats are specifically native to the US state of Maine (hence the name), where it has been the official state cat since 1985. It still remains a mystery as to how this specific breed of cat came into being.
In short, while an average cat is 9 to 10 inches in height, a Maine Coon average height is around 10 to 16 inches in height. That’s quite a size difference. Likewise an average cat will have have a healthy weight range of between 3.6 to 4.5 kg whilst a Maine Coon’s average weight will be between 3.6 kg to 5.4kg for a female and 5.9 kg to 8.2 kg for a male. Whatever way you look at it, a Maine Coon has a good chance of being a big hefty cat for your home if you own one from a kitten.
Do their origins account for their size though?
One theory involves Marie Antoinette, the ill-fated Queen of France who was executed in 1793. The story goes that before her death, Antoinette attempted to escape France with the help of Captain Samuel Clough. She loaded Clough’s ship with her most prized possessions, including six of her favorite Turkish Angora cats. Although she didn’t make it to the United States, her beloved cats safely reached the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they bred with other shorthaired breeds and developed into the modern breed of the Maine Coon.
Another theory is that this large, hearty cat is the result of mating between a wild cat and a racoon! But the most plausible theory is that it was born as a result of mating between native, short-haired cats and foreign, long-haired cats that were brought to the continent by the early British settlers.
Whatever the reason, these cats can grow considerably larger than average.
Maine Coon cats are distinctively recognizable thanks to their large size and long, furry hair. Also known as the American Longhair, the Maine Coon has the distinction of being chosen as best cat at the very first cat show in the United States – way back in 1895! The breed fell out of favor in the early 20th century, partly due to the introduction of other longhaired breeds, such as the Persian cat, which originated in the Middle East. But by the 1980s, the breed began to rise in popularity again. It has since become a firm favorite among cat lovers in the US due to its loyal and social nature. Today, the Maine Coon is the third most popular cat breed, according to the number of kittens registered with the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).
Despite its popularity, there’s still some confusion about the Maine Coon – particularly in relation to their size. Are they really the biggest cat breed in the world? Is there a difference between males and females? What’s the best way to look after a Maine Coon cat?
These are just some of the questions we’ll answer in this article, which discusses the various facets you need to know about in relation to Maine Coon cats and their size.
Maine Coon cats can grow for longer than most other cat breeds, which explains why they’re larger in size. Taking the case of an average house cat, these will only take around two years to reach their full maturity. However, Maine Coons can take somewhere between four and five years to be fully grown.
These big-boned, muscular creatures can weigh anything from 12 to 25 pounds and reach a length of 40 inches when fully grown. However, contrary to popular belief, Maine Coon cats are not the biggest cat breed on the planet. On average, a normal sized, fully grown Maine Coon is around the same size as a Norwegian Forest cat or even a Ragdoll.
Maine Coon cats are playful throughout their lives, yet both are equally affectionate. Male Coon cats are more likely to exhibit interest in going outdoors and being active. Normally, a male Coon can take three to five years to be fully grown and can weigh between 15 and 25 pounds. The height of these creatures can range from 10 to 16 inches and their length can vary from 30 to 40 inches.
Female Coon cats are more laidback than their male counterparts. They tend to have a slightly leaner physique than males and typically weigh around 10 to 18 pounds. Although female Coons can match the length of male Coons, they are not as tall, with a maximum growth range between eight and 14 inches.
Do not let the size of these cats fool you when they’re kittens. They can grow to be a really big animal. It’s not just the body of the creatures that grows with age. Several of their features, such as paws and tail, grow to be much larger than those of everyday cats. The fur of these cats is also a unique feature worth talking about.
As they grow, the hair will not grow evenly across the length of the body. However, this does not mean these cats are weird to look at. On the contrary, they are majestic in their appearance and are a trusty member you can add to your family.
There is a scientific explanation for the growth and furry appearance of Maine Coon cats. Ever heard of the square-cube principle? If not, the law states that when an object grows in size, the volume of the object grows at a faster rate than the surface area.
This could possibly explain why these cats are so furry when compared to normal cats. Their long, furry hair helps them to conserve heat during cold climates. As for the size of these cats, the exponential growth observed in them can be partially attributed to in-house breeding.
The Maine Coon is characterised by a prominent ruff along its chest, a robust bone structure, a rectangular body shape, an uneven, two-layered coat (with longer guard hairs and a silky undercoat) and a long, bushy tail. The breed’s colours vary widely, with only lilac and chocolate disallowed for pedigree.
Maine Coon cats also possess above-average intelligence, which means they’re relatively easy to train. They’re known for being loyal to their family and cautious – but certainly never mean – around strangers. They’re independent, not clingy, so they’re generally not known for being a ‘lap cat’, although their gentle nature means they get on well with other cats, dogs and children. It’s also worth noting that many Maine Coons have a fascination with water. Some people believe this personality trait hails from their ancestors, who were aboard ships for most of their lives. Whatever the reason, their love of water means they can be quite good swimmers.
Norwegian Forest cats are similar to Maine Coon cats – not only in terms of their appearance but also with regard to their personalities. Both have thick, fluffy coats, although the Norwegian Forest cat’s hair is an even length. Their tails also differ slightly. The hair on the tail of the Norwegian Forest cat is long and sweeping, whereas the Maine Coon’s tail is more fluffy. Also, the Norwegian Forest Cat has a triangular-shaped head, with a straight nose and a flat forehead, while the Maine Coon’s head is more wedge-like with high cheekbones. Maine Coons also tend to look happier!
Both breeds are outgoing and sociable, which makes them ideal for first-time cat owners (particularly children) and those who describe themselves as ‘dog people’ (the Maine Coon, in particular, is often cited as having ‘dog-like’ characteristics). However, while Maine Coon cats are more vocal about their presence (they are known for their frequent yowling or howling, trilling, chirping and other loud noises), Norwegian Forest cats are silent to an extent. Norwegian Forest cats are also known as “Wedgies” and have their roots in Europe, similar to Maine Coon cats. Wedgies, in their standard size, are a lot less imposing than Maine Coon cats.
Siberian cats are also quite similar to the Maine Coon in their appearance, with a thick, fluffy coat and a larger size. This may well be attributable to the fact that they grow in similar climates but in different parts of the globe. Siberian cats have long hind legs, which help them to be excellent climbers. More often than not, you can expect these cats to be looking over your shoulder from above. In contrast to this, Maine Coon cats are more than happy to stay on the ground. With regard to their size, Siberian females are around the same weight as Maine Coon females, but male Maine Coons tend to grow larger than Siberian males. Both these cat breeds tend to take around three to five years to grow to full maturity.
Watch these two cats involved in play dominance, one of which is a Maine Coon.
The Singapura is the smallest cat breed on the planet, weighing in at around four to five pounds. It’s safe to say that comparing them with a large breed, such as Maine Coons, is a bit of a mismatch in terms of height, weight and physique. However, smaller cat breeds tend to have a longer life expectancy than Maine Coon cats, and are also more active and agile. The Singapura cat, for example, has a life expectancy of 11 to 15 years, while the Main Coon’s average life expectancy is below 12 years.
The American Curl is another popular cat breed in the country and comes at a weight of around eight to 12 pounds. However, these cats – which are instantly recognizable due to their curled up ears – have an average life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years of age.
Because of their large size, many people think Maine Coons need to eat more than other cats, but this is not the case. In fact, obesity is a major problem among Maine Coon cats. If a proper diet is not followed, it can also result in the cat developing other conditions such as arthritis, hip dysplasia (an abnormal formation of the hip socket) or even hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (whereby the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick) at a very early age. While reputable breeders can use modern screening methods to minimize the frequency of these problems, the Maine Coon’s diet is the most important aspect of its health and wellbeing. These cats should be on a healthy diet that contains all the necessary elements, such as:
* Vitamin A
* Amino acids
So, how much should you be feeding your Maine Coon? For growing kittens, their food should have a minimum protein content of 30 to 45%. For adult cats on a maintenance diet, the minimum protein content should be 26 to 40%. Just as with humans, these levels need to be adjusted for different life stages, activity levels and pregnancy.
Generally speaking, cats will eat up to 20 small meals daily in a free-feed setup, with an average calorie content per meal of around 25 to 35 calories. On average, one piece of dry cat kibble contains about three calories. This means your adult cat should consume no more than 10 to 15 pieces of dry cat kibble per meal.
Meats such as chicken and fish also need to be a regular part of their diet, but should be fed to them in moderation. You should also keep in mind that Maine Coon cats take time to reach maturity and hence need to be kept on kitten food for up to nine months into their growth.
Along with the right foods and portion sizes, these cats also need to be allowed to go outside and get much-needed exercise. You can even train them to walk on a leash or harness!
This guide is designed to help you gain a better understanding of Maine Coon cats and their size, and answer some of the questions you may have. Yes, they do grow into big creatures but are gentle and lovable at the same time.
However, remember they are not the biggest cats around, as there are breeds that can grow larger than the Maine Coon. And just like any other cat breed, their size depends on how much activity they do and the kind of diet they’re fed.
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To end with, here’s a little video to give you a visual idea;