The All-American 'Gentle Giant' — Playful, Loyal and Social

Analysis by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

Story at-a-glance -

  • Maine Coons are the largest domestic cat breed; they’re big boned and muscular, with males weighing up to 18 pounds
  • Maine Coons adapted to New England winters; they have long, shaggy multi-layered fur and large paws that help them walk on the snow
  • Maine Coons don’t typically “meow;” they chirp and trill (a mixture of a meow and a purr)

Maine Coons are the largest domestic cat breed; they’re big boned and muscular, with males weighing up to 18 pounds. The breed adapted to New England winters; they have long, shaggy multi-layered fur and large paws that help them walk on the snow. Maine Coons don’t typically “meow;” they chirp and trill (a mixture of a meow and a purr).

10 More Fascinating Facts About Maine Coon Cats

1. Biggest domestic cat — Maine Coons are the largest domestic cat breed. They're big boned and muscular, with males weighing up to 18 pounds. Maine Coons can be up to 40 inches in length and come in 75 different color combinations. They're also called the American Longhair.

2. The only show cat breed originating in the U.S. — The Maine Coon is thought to be the result of breeding between domestic shorthair cats and longhair cats that hitched a ride to America on European settlers' ships. Only the strongest and fittest could survive the harsh New England winters, and to this day Maine Coons are known as hearty working cats with excellent hunting skills.

3. They’re ready for winter — Maine Coons adapted to life on the east coast, by developing long, shaggy multi-layered fur and large paws that help them walk on the snow. They also have furry ears (some with tufts) and bushy tails, which they can actually wrap around their body for extra warmth.

4. “Dogs of the cat world” — Maine Coons tend to be highly social and enjoy human interaction. They're known for being friendly, loyal, and playful, and they typically get along well with children and other pets. They can even play fetch and be walked on a leash!

5. They chirp and trill — Maine Coons don't typically "meow;" they chirp and trill (a mixture of a meow and a purr). Cats may chirp when they spot prey, and a trill is often an expression of happiness.

6. They like water — Most Maine Coons enjoy the water. They have water-resistant fur and can be quite efficient swimmers.

7. Coon’s cats — One theory for how Maine Coons got their name is that they are descendants of seafaring cats belonging to British Captain Charles Coon, who sailed off New England in the 1800s. The cats were said to be called "Coon's cats."

8. Related to Norwegian Forest cats? — Another theory about Maine Coons' origins holds that they came to America with the Vikings, which is why they resemble Norwegian Forest Cats.

9. Not related to raccoons — There's a myth that Maine Coons are related to raccoons, but this is not true.

10. Won the first American cat show — The first American cat show was held in New York City in 1895. The winner was a brown tabby Maine Coon cat named Cosey, who belonged to Mrs. E. N. Barker.

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