5 Things to Know About Maine Coons

This is an affectionate cat who gets along well with kids and other animals.

Maine Coons are known for being really friendly. By: Joyce Vincent

1. Key Characteristics

  • Weight: Males, 13–18 pounds; females, 9–12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–15 years

Maine Coons are tall, muscular cats with long, fluffy tails resembling a plume.

Their heavy, glossy coats and big, round paws are great for enduring a harsh winter climate.

Their eyes and ears are large, and the ears have tips on them, resembling a lynx.

They come in a multitude of colors and have rings of color throughout their fur. The markings resemble those of a raccoon, but don’t worry — they were never bred with them!

2. Where They Came From

The origin of the Maine Coon is shrouded in mystery. Several theories remain about how this unique and beautiful cat came to exist in North America.

One posits that the cats were brought over with the belongings of Marie Antoinette, who did not — ahem — make the follow-up trip; the cats were freed and proved to be avid hunters.

Another theory involves an English sea captain, Captain Coon, who commanded a trading ship. The ship’s cats may have mated with local cats in many areas along the New England coastline.

Regardless of these and other theories, the origin of this breed remains debatable.

The Maine Coon has the distinction of being chosen as Best Cat at the first cat show in the United States.

The origin of the Maine Coon breed is shrouded in mystery. By: jorbasa

3. How Friendly Are They?

Maine Coons are extremely friendly cats who get along with adults, children, other cats and even dogs.

They are intelligent pets with funny personalities and curious natures that do best when kept indoors.

They also prefer companionship, and it’s not unusual for a Maine Coon to need to know where you are at all times.

4. Is This the Right Cat for You?

Exercise Needs


LOW: Maine Coons don’t have any special exercise needs. They can be trained to walk on a harness when taken outdoors, though.

Their physical activity should be similar to most cats (sleeping long hours, jumping, running and playing). Contact your veterinarian if you notice a decrease in activity or mobility; this could mean there’s a health issue lurking.

Grooming Needs


MEDIUM: The Maine Coon’s glossy, heavy coat has 2 layers and can easily mat if neglected. Brush them regularly, and trim the cat’s nails.

Don’t forget to brush your cat’s teeth. Maine Coons may even tolerate baths.

If mats become too difficult to remove, groomers can give your cat a popular lion cut. It involves shaving the body but leaving fur at the head, tail and paws.

Health Problems


MEDIUM: Maine Coons are fairly healthy cats but are susceptible to issues that affect other cats and can be passed down in breeding.

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) thickens the heart walls and restricts blood flow. Symptoms are rare but may include weight changes, difficulty breathing or an irregular heartbeat.
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) appears in kittens as rear-end lameness and is genetically inherited. This condition may limit cats’ activity, but they can still lead normal, healthy lives. Breeders can test their cats and avoid breeding those with this genetic marker.
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) occurs when cysts appear on the kidneys. The rate of growth of the cysts varies, usually resulting in kidney failure. But the good news is that treatment is available; consult your vet if you notice increased fluid intake, excessive urination, decreased activity, weight changes or vomiting.
  • Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint is out of whack, leading to pain and arthritis, and can increase as the cat grows and gains weight. Look for limping or decreased activity as a symptom. Testing can determine if the parents are experiencing this condition or are carriers who will pass it to their offspring.

Learn more about Maine Coons from this video:

5. Where to Adopt One

If you’re considering a Maine Coon for your next pet, please check adoption resources — even purebred animals end up in shelters.

Try our adoption page (select the “Cats” tab).

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, has been researching dog and cat breeds for nearly a decade and has observed the animals up close at dog shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She is the author of the book One Unforgettable Journey, which was nominated for a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. In addition, she was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. Kristine has researched and written about pet behaviors and care for many years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, another bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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