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Cat Breeds: The Maine Coon Cat

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As the second most popular cat breed in North America, Maine coon cats are sweet-tempered, gentle, and larger than life. From its origins in the New England region, this cat has become one of America's sweethearts. They compete in cat shows, set world records, and bring a lot of happiness to cat parents everywhere.

Let's take a closer look at the Maine coon cat.

The Origin of Maine Coons

The story of Maine coons goes about two hundred years to New England. Several theories exist to explain its origin, including a theory of bobcats cross-breeding with domestic cats and even a theory about Marie Antoinette's longhaired cats escaping France and sailing to America. "Most breeders today believe that the breed originated in matings between preexisting shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs (perhaps Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or longhairs brought to America by the Vikings)," say Mike and Trish Simpson of the Maine Coon Breeders & Fanciers Association. Today, Maine coons are the official state cat of Maine.

Physical Characteristics

This breed is one of the largest cat breeds, and adults can weigh from 9-18 lbs. Maine coons have a long-haired, water-resistant coat with coarse hair that requires less grooming. They can grow up to 40" in length and also have extremely long tails. Maine coons have held Guinness world records for tallest cat, longest domestic cat (living), and longest tail on a domestic cat. This cat breed also takes longer to reach maturity, with many cats reaching adult size at 3-5 years old.

Because of their unique genetic makeup, Maine coon cats are more susceptible to dental disease and heart disease. As a long-haired breed, they are also more prone to develop hairballs

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Personality

Known for their friendly and easygoing personality, these cats are an excellent choice for first-time pet owners or families. They are playful, intelligent, and friendly. Because of their size, you may want to house them in a cat house. "Many people consider Maine Coons the perfect domestic pets, with their clown-like personalities, very affectionate natures, amusing habits and tricks, willingness to "help" with any activity, and easily groomed coats," write Mike and Trish Simpson. With such high praise, it's little wonder that Maine coons have found a place in the hearts of so many cat parents.

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