If you like a big fur-ball with a playful, naughty, goofy and loving nature, you might want to adopt a Maine Coon cat! These cats are listed amongst the friendliest animals to humans who can thus become great pets for a domestic environment. Maine Coons are known for being gentle with children as well. If you are new to this breed, I can provide you all the information you need to know to adopt one right now.
Maine Coons are medium to large cats with a muscular body weighing about 11 to 25 lbs. The average lifespan of Maine Coon cats is 11 to 13 years. Their sturdy physique was meant for outdoor activity which mainly included keeping the rodents away from barns. Maine Coons more recently have become great domestic pets as well.
They are known for their playful nature. They always enjoy a good play and like dogs, they can play fetch. Although Maine Coons are mostly domesticated now, they keep their hunting skills sharp with frequent practice. With a Maine Coon in the home, you do not have to worry about rats and other miscreants. These cats are known to be patient with children. Although they are not lap cats, they require proximity to their owner and their share of affection.
It is necessary to understand that Maine Coons were originally field cats. Their build was intended to keep them strong and quick to work effectively in farms and barns. They require regular exercise to control their weight. The average weight of a Maine Coon is 10 to 17 pounds. Many owners desire to give their cats a chubby, pillow-like appearance. However, this could prove unhealthy for your Maine Coon and could create health problems like obesity.
Although Maine Coons do not have special dietary needs, certain things if included in the diet can reduce their lifespan in the long run. Grain-based food should be avoided since it can contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Anything with wheat should also be off the charts since it contains gluten which is not healthy for the digestive tract. It is advised that an expert should be consulted to decide a suitable diet for your main Coon.
Main Coons are plagued with some general disorders that might shorten their life expectancy. Most common of them being arthritis. Although it is common in many cats and dog breeds, if left unchecked, it can lead to paralysis. Main Coons are also prone to spinal muscular atrophy genetically. This causes the muscles to weaken. This condition can be diagnosed earliest when the kitten is 3 weeks old. This severely shortens the lifespan of the Maine Coon.
With proper care and attention, Maine Coons are known to live for as long as 15 years. This includes giving attention to your cat’s physical and emotional needs daily to keep them healthy. Some things you need to take care of include;
A Maine Coon is tolerant to most foods so, you do not need to fret much. However, basic care should be taken in order to ensure good health of your pet. A fat-free cat food is preferable in most domestic settings. If you opt for a food with more fat content, make sure that you give them enough exercise to avoid excess weight gain. Also, insist on dry food instead of wet to go easy on their stomach.
Maine Coons do not need much encouragement for playtime. They retain their energetic kitten spirit well into their adulthood. They require a fixed amount of exercise every day to stay healthy. A great way for this is to indulge them in a playful activity like fetch. This exercise is important as it keeps them healthy and helps to create a bond of camaraderie with their owners.
Regular visits to a vet are must for the well being of not just Maine Coons but any pet. It is important to keep your pet vaccinated. Also, regular checkups might be useful to detect underlying diseases or complications early on to decide preventive measures.
Hip Dysplasia– This is a genetic disorder more prone in Maine Coons which causes the hip joint to develop abnormally. As a result, the femur doesn’t fit normally into the socket but instead rams against it during every movement. In the long run, it can lead to degeneration of joints and arthritis. Although the condition is not fatal, it can cause great pain and discomfort to the cat. The vet may prescribe a weight loss regime or regular exercise to alleviate the pain.
Polycystic Kidney Disease – This is a disease which does not show any symptoms at its early stage. Cats suffering from PKD might start showing the symptoms at adulthood when the disease has already taken form. Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, frequent urination, vomiting, increased thirst sensation and weight loss caused due to development of cysts in kidneys. These cysts later start replacing the kidney tissue and increase the size of the kidney. If left unchecked, it may lead to kidney failure. As of now, no treatment is available to remove the cysts. Diet low on protein and phosphorus is advised.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – This is the most dangerous condition a Maine Coon may fall victim to. Male cats are more prone to this condition than females. This causes thickening of walls around the heart which makes it pump blood less efficiently. If left unchecked, it can create a complication of congenital heart failure. This means deposition of fluid around heart and lungs. Symptoms include shallow breathing, severe weight loss, lethargy, coughing, and paralysis. If one or more of these warning signs are present, your cat needs immediate diagnosis and attention. If diagnosed, the treatment includes the prescription of diuretics as well as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers etc.
Maine Coons are known for being the most affectionate breed of cats. Just like a dog, they can develop a deep bond with their owners. They need constant care and attention. They miss their owners when they are away and can’t take it well to be left alone for longer periods. They will wait for you when you are away and jump with excitement when you come back. With a Maine Coon, you can get numerous years of love and companionship.