Known for its large size and full coat, the Maine Coon cat also has a larger-than-life personality that makes this breed a wonderful companion. This is truly a hardy and beautiful breed that enjoys the company of humans of all ages due to its reputation as a gentle giant.
Are you looking to get your paws on fun facts about Maine Coons? The truth about this former barn cat turned darling of the "best in show" world will surprise you.
You'll learn all about the secret lives lived by Maine Coons that have the breed featured everywhere, from ancient Viking ships to the Guinness Book of World Records. Here are seven interesting facts about Maine Coons.
1. It's the Largest Domesticated Breed
An average Maine Coon measures in at 40 inches long from nose to tail! Standing at between 10 and 16 inches in height, male Maine Coons typically weigh between 18 and 25 pounds.
For females, the average size is 10 to 12 pounds with a height between 8 and 14 inches. Sizes within the breed can vary of course, but in general Maine Coons dwarf regular domestic cats in size and weight. In fact, it's not uncommon to see a Maine Coon that weighs about 20 pounds.
2. The Breed is a Regular in the Guinness Book of World Records
In 2005, a Maine Coon cat from Oregon named Stewie was named the longest cat in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. This gorgeous feline from Nevada measured in at an astonishing 48.5 inches! Stewie's tail alone was 16 inches! Stewie brought delight to the world as certified therapy animal until his passing in 2013.
Currently, the record holders for largest cat in the USA and longest cat in the world are both Maine Coons. Samson in New York City, is a red and white tabby Maine Coon that is 28 pounds and about 4 feet in length. Barivel, from Italy, is about 4 feet in length as well and is the current record holder.
3. No, They Weren't Created by Breeding a Cat With a Raccoon
The rumor that Maine Coons are a mix between a domestic short-hair cat and a raccoon is simply a tall tale. However, the breed did earn its name due to having a thick brown coat and ringed tail that cause it to resemble a raccoon.
Over the years, vets and scientists have repeatedly confirmed that it would be genetically impossible for a cat to reproduce with a raccoon. The same goes for false rumors that Maine Coons are the result of domestic cats breeding with lynxes or bobcats.
You might still be wondering about the origins of such a uniquely large breed now that the rumors have been cleared up. While Maine Coons are considered to be native to Maine, no record exists for exactly when or how the breed was introduced to the United States. The general thought is that these cats are descendants of Siberian and Norwegian Forest cats from northern Europe.
4. The Coon Is the Official State Cat of Maine
In 1983, Maine officially bestowed the honor of being the official state cat on this breed! Maine is joined by only Massachusetts and Maryland in having an official state cat. Additionally, California, Colorado and Tennessee all designate all shelter and adopted animals as their official state animals!
5. They Have a Hunter Instinct They Can't Quite Seem to Turn Off
Maine Coons are exquisite mousers. Regardless of how gentle your Maine cat is with humans, there's a good chance that those instincts will come pouncing back as soon as he detects a pest in your house.
The size and intelligence of Maine Coons have made them an avid hunting breed in the past. For people who lived in areas where household pests posed problems, Maine cats were highly practical. This is one of the reasons why this breed was typically referred to as a "barn cat."
In today’s world, however, your typical Maine Coon is more at home on the show cat circuit or featured on Instagram in a fancy collar, rather than catching pests in the wild!
6. They Sailed With Vikings
French geneticists believe that ancestors of modern Maine Coons sailed aboard Viking ships thousands of years ago! What's more, they likely hopped from continent to continent as resident rodent trackers and killers.
That means that Maine Coons played a vital role in protecting seafaring explorers from diseases that were commonly spread by rodents. Yes, it can be fun to picture your own majestic Maine Coon cat resting on the deck of a Viking ship, the winds blowing over choppy English waters, fluffing up that long coat.
7. They Come in a Multitude of Colors and Patterns
While all Maine Coons share the characteristic of having a tri-length shaggy coat with long, full tail, there's nothing “typical” in terms of color, pattern or shading. From solid to tortoiseshell, you'll find a nearly endless variety of colors and patterns when looking at Maine Coons.
That means you'll find cats with coats that come in black, white, silver, brown, red tabby, smoke, blue, patchwork and more! Even siblings from the same litter often won't share the same coats. Because of this, it’s hard to tell if your mixed domestic cat is part Maine Coon.
By the way, if you're a Harry Potter fan, you may have missed the fact that the character of Mrs. Norris was played by a Maine Coon in the film adaptations.
Final Thoughts on the Fun Secrets About Maine Coons
The bottom line is to expect the unexpected with Maine Coons. The only thing to look out for is a bright, affectionate personality backed by extreme intelligence and physical prowess. Maine Coons are excellent if you're looking for a very large and robust cat breed with a friendly temperament.
Gary H. writes for Mainecoonhawaii.com, providing guides and information on this special breed. Daily life, feeding, psychology, and much more.