Hi There. You must have turned left on Maine Coon Cat Road at the fork, instead of turning right and going to the photo gallery. Thats just as well. There are some very interesting items of Maine Coon information to be found here! (Black smoke-white in photo)
Allow me to start at the beginning. This is a native American Cat, originating in the State of Maine along the Canadian border. Its not a generated species by cross breeding with feral breeds in hopes of producing something new and exotic. That takes care of the Maine part of the name. There is a myth about cats breeding with Raccoons. I would imagine originally most Maine Coon Cats were brown in color. A cat with long hair about the same size as a Raccoon and displaying many mannerisms similar to Raccoons such as their love of playing in water. Thus the Coon part of the name. However, it is genetically impossibly for the two species to interbreed!
Thats only one theory of many. Personally, I think these cats came to America many Centuries ago with the Vikings that explored the world. This breed is most similar in appearance to a Norwegian Forest Cat. Yet there are many differences. The Norwegian Forest Cat has a heavier (thicker) undercoat, smaller ears, straight nose, and lighter boning to name a few. Most likely, in the harsh Maine winters, the survival of the Maine Coon Cat resulted in the large, heavy boned, heavy coated, extremely strong, and highly intelligent cat you see today.
Through selective breeding over the years, Maine Coon Cats now are available in all colors with the exception of color point like the Siamese Breed. Black silver classic with white is by far the most popular color requested, and brown classic with white a close second color choice.
Its easy to tell the Maine Coon originated in a cold climate. They have tufts of fur that grow between their toes for assisting in walking in snow. Tufts of fur that grow accross their ears to assist in keeping the ears warm. The heavy coat and extremely long bushy tail helps keep the cat warm in winter. Their strength, quickness, and great leaping ability certainly made them great hunters in the wild. But probably the neatest little known fact, is that they have a slight oil base to their coat that acts as water proofing in the rain. (Blue Silver Classic in photo)
As with all long haired breeds, this breed does require some grooming. About 5 minutes per day a couple times a week is usually enough, except in the spring of the year when they literally molt out of their winter coats. At this time they must be brushed daily for a few weeks. The shedding is triggered by the length of day light hours. The temperature has nothing to do with it. I have tryed almost every type of grooming device on the market. The best one I have found may be purchased at Walmart in the dog portion of the pet section. (see Photo on right)
It is really hard to get an adult Maine Coon wet. In order to show one. You have to first bathe them in something like (Dawn dishwashing detergent) in order to remove the oil base from the coat and then bath them in regular hair shampoo and conditioner. There are many more steps to prepare for showing , but I will not go into all that. If you are interested, you can find that info at the Tica.org web site.
One thing that is positive about the oil base on the coat is that it reduces the amount of dandruff produced, thus people with mild cat allergies are not usually allergic to this breed. By the way, cat dandruff is basically "cat spit" that is dried on the fur from the cat grooming itself. Sounds a little gross, but thats what it is.
This breed is not only a big majestic pet, but also a great companion. They are natured much like a dog and if they could bark you would swear they are a dog. Once they pass through "kittenhood" when they have the attention span of a two year old child, they are easily trained. As kittens, they are like "wind up toys". They play as hard as they can go until they get tired and then fall asleep where ever they run out of energy. Once they mature to about 6 months of age, they will meet you at the door when you come home and follow you around the house much like a dog would. Once you sit down, they are going to be up beside you or in your lap.
These cats are very interactive with people. If you do not want a cat that will be all over you, then you do not want a Maine Coon. You can teach this breed to do most anything you can teach a dog. They are extremely intelligent and most will fetch naturally, without training.
Until you own one of these cats, its really difficult to explain just how different they are from other cat breeds. They have a very small meow and it varies from cat to cat as far as how vocal they are. But you can hear them purr from accross the room. They also have this little "chirp" sound they make while playing thats unique to a Maine Coon. Its hard to describe the sound until you actually here them do it.
These cats are so very different from other feline breeds, its very important to find a Vet that is familar with the breed. Maine Coons have an extremely strong immune system and if they do develop a problem. It takes a much larger dose of antibiotics to clear up the problem. I have found that vets across the State of North Carolina, that are not familar with this breed tend to way under prescribe the right dosage of medication needed to resolve minor problems such as a cold. Which left improperly treated can mutate into something more serious. So its critical to have a competent Vet. that is familar with Maine Coon Cats!
Also, critcal for your Vet to know: the Maine Coon Breed cuts baby kitten teeth, then sheds them just like children do as their adult teeth come in to replace the baby teeth. This occurs throughout the first year of age. Therefore these cats will have red gums the first year. That is perfectly normal until all teething is completed. I have had Vets diagnose older kittens as having severe gingivitis and recommend pulling all their teeth, which is ridiculous. If the cat has gum issues at age 3, yes, it may have a problem.
Another Maine Coon trait is that these cats grow extremely fast, but mature extremely slowly. Its nothing for a male kitten to double in size (not weight) every month from 1 month to 8 months of age. Most cat breeds are grown at 1 year of age. Maine Coons are just big kittens at that age. (real big kittens)
This breed does not even get their adult coat until they are two years old. That is when they will have the big ruff around their neck. The bushy tail usually appears at about 5 months of age. Maine Coons routinely grow until they are 4-5 years of age. If your Vet does not know that, you have a problem.
My breeding routinely produces neutered males that are 20+ pounds and if you get a heavy boned male, he can easily be in the mid-twenties by age 4-5.
That is not a fat cat, that is just their normal carrying weight. Maine Coon Cats are like the larger wild breeds in that they develop a stomach pouch that hangs down from the body. This is perfectly normal for this breed and is more pronouced with the large males but some large females will have it as well.
That is one reason the Males are so popular. SIZE!
Most people that come out to the cattery want the very biggest one they can get, especially guys.
I would not walk accross the street for the difference in temperament between a neutered male and a spayed female. They are mostly the same. The males when grown may be a little more laid back and the females a little more hyper. But vary very little male versus female.
Each cat is unique in personality, just like people. But there is little difference in temperament between sexes of Maine Coons. This is not true with some other breeds. The big difference is size. Females from my breeding are going to average 12-17 pounds with a heavy boned female 18-21 pounds.
You must provide a scratching post or cat tree for this breed from day one in your home. This photo was provided by Tina Wilson. She purchased this cat tree from Amazon.com . It is a good example of what the cats need.
The main thing you must concern yourself with is that the cat tree have a sturdy base and it will last longer if it has siscle rope on it as scratching areas. Cat scratching posts also available. (see example photo located on the right)
If you do not provide them with something to scratch on, they will pick out something to use. Maine Coons have scent glands in their feet. Thats why, once they pick something to scratch on, they return to that same location each time. All Megacoon kittens are litter box and scratching post trained prior to being placed in new homes. This breed absolutely love large cat trees.
All kittens sold at Megacoon Cattery are used to having their nails trimmed. Once you get your kitten home, routinely massage and rub their feet when you are petting the kitten. This gets them used to having their feet handled on a regular basis and makes trimming their claws much easier. You are just clipping a very small amount off of each claw. Cats are usually really funny about having their feet handled and do not like it, unless you start out doing this on a routine basis while they are very young.
It is best to keep this breed inside and all my kittens are sold as inside pets. If you never start taking them outside, they have little desire to go outside as their world is inside the house. Letting them outside exposes them to pests (fleas, ticks, lice, ear mites, etc.). It also exposes them to unvaccinated cats and dogs which could transmit unwanted diseases to your pet. Not to mention the danger of being hit by a car.
Plus people will steal this breed as fast as they hit your front yard. You will never have a problem with your neutered male spraying in the house, unless you let him outside. If the neighbors intact cat marks an area, your male may be inclined to also mark the same area. If they start spraying outside, there is a really good chance they will spray inside as well.
If you keep your cat totally indoors, they are happy and content, and you will not have any of the conditions or problems mentioned above to occur. Plus they should live a much longer healthier life.
SHOW KITTENS VERSUS PET KITTENS:
There is very little difference in a pet and show quality kitten. Unless you see them sitting side by side and have the show qualities pointed out to you, the average person cannot tell the difference. The differences can be very small: width of the ear set on top of the head, height of the ears, length of lynx points, size and shape of the eyes, size and shape of nose-muzzle area, boning size, clarity of the tabby pattern, etc. Its almost endless the variety of things that make a kitten a pet or show. A large majority of my kittens are good enough to show.
However, good enough to show and having a world class show quality kitten are two separate issues. Each breeder only gets a few "killer" quality "world class show kittens" a year and the majority of these will be kept in the breeder program at the cattery or be placed in another catteries breeder program.
I sell show alter kittens (spay/neutered), but I sell almost no breeder kittens. I do occassionally trade breeder kittens with other top Maine Coon Cat Breeders in order to obtain out-crosses in my breeder program. I do no in-line breeding! I do all out-cross breeding to maintain the health and quality of the Maine Coon Cat Breed!
You can be assured the kitten you purchase, pet/show alter, will be a healthy, large, good temperament addition to your family. No one is required to place a deposit and not receive a kitten they are 100% happy with!
References gladly furnished upon request. Or you can review the Megacoon Face Book Page. It pretty much speaks for itself as far as satisfied customers are concerned.