Maine Coons are large, sociable cats that have been dubbed the gentle giants of the cat world. Here are 28 interesting facts about these fabulous felines.
Maine Coons are big and beautiful. They have a knack of stealing the show and winning people over because of their appearance alone. They definitely know how to work the catwalk and turn heads. People who aren’t particularly into cats can’t help but admire their breath-taking appearance.
I know lots of cats have beautiful eyes but a Maine Coon’s eyes are something else. When a Maine Coon makes eye contact with you it is hard to tear your gaze away. They are bewitching and mesmerizing. And sometimes a Maine Coon can appear as it’s in a trance, sitting with its eyes wide open in its own dream world, leaving you wondering what it is pondering. Their eyes can be shades of gold, green and blue.
By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why your Maine Coon will stare at you – check out my article all about this here (opens in a new window).
3. Some have odd colored eyes
White Maine Coons and those with some white fur are sometimes odd-eyed which means they have eyes of different colors. Our white Maine Coon has orange eyes so I can’t use him as an example, but here’s an odd-eyed kitten.
4. They have shaggy fur coats
A Maine Coon’s coat is luxurious and shaggy. Some have finer fur, others have courser fur. It forms a mane-like rough around at the neck which gives a lion-like appearance. Sometimes you can feel like you’re living with a mini lion. Maine Coons come in about 85 different color combinations including solid colors, smoke colors, tabbies and bi-colors. All are stunning.
5. They have large tufty ears
Maine Coons have large, pointed tufty ears. These are one of their most distinguishing features. The height of each ear is much longer than the width. Their hearing is acute and even when seemingly asleep you will see them flicker and turn towards the slightest noise.
6. They have long fluffy tails
A Maine Coon’s tail is at least the same length as its body and is often longer. You can use its tail as a barometer of its mood. A vertical tail, pointing up to the ceiling is a sign of a happy Maine Coon. A horizontal tail means something’s afoot – it may be hunting or being a bit nosey about something. If a Maine Coons tail is flopping towards the floor it is unhappy or feeling peaky. Look out for the wildly wagging tail as this is a sign of anger – clear the area!
7. They have large tufty paws
Maine Coons have large tufty paws. They are perfect for snowy weather. It’s tempting to stroke the tufty bits but they don’t really like it and often pull their paws back away from you if you dare to touch. Don’t persist, it’s a bit like someone insisting on tickling your feet when you hate it.
8. They have long sharp claws
These are particularly sharp on a Maine Coon but it’s rare that they will use them against you. They do like to sharpen their claws a lot and, alas, the objects of their attention will sustain damage. If you can get a Maine Coon to only claw a scratching post or tree, congratulations, but otherwise accept that some of your household items are bound to get scratched. Remember this isn’t wanton destruction, your cat is just sharpening its claws and flexing its muscles.
9. They are sociable
Whereas many cats exist in a household, occasionally spend time with you but do their own thing most of the time, Maine Coons are more like part of the family. They love to be where you are and will settle in the room you’re in either on your lap or very close by. If you accidentally shut them out of the room they will meow or scratch to get in with you.
Maine Coons really do deserve their nick-name of ‘gentle giants’. They are patient around children and though they have the tools (teeth and claws) to cause a lot of harm, never deliberately use them against people unless severely provoked.
We had our two Maine Coons for 2 years before our son Joe was born. We were apprehensive about mixing a baby and two large cats but there was never any problem. They sensed our son was delicate and behaved carefully around him. They were very patient with him even when he began to toddle around after them, attempting to touch and stroke them. As a precaution, we never left him alone with them and taught him to be gentle towards them right from the start.
I have read on other sites that a Maine Coon’s fur is low maintenance – a statement that left me bemused. In my experience, if you don’t groom a Maine Coon regularly its fur forms knots which in turn become large mats. It is usually impossible to brush out large mats and you’ll end up having to visit the vet to have them removed with clippers.
So I recommend you groom your Maine Coon from the day you get it, even if there are no knots. Just make sure it gets used to the feel of a brush. If you groom your Maine Coon regularly you will prevent it from getting too many fur balls and will minimize shedding all over your house. It’s important to invest in a good brush to keep their long fur knot-free, such as this one.
When you own a Maine Coon you will get used to leaving the house coated in cat fur. Maine Coons shed fur and, because of its length, it’s really noticeable. I suggest any Maine Coon owner invests in a good supply of lint rollers and keeps one in the car too. I find my cordless vacuum cleaner invaluable because it’s so easy to whip from the charger and clean up a chair before you take a seat.
Here Charlie is demonstrating how well his fur stands out against blue velvet …
I don’t moan about all the fur though because it’s part of what makes a Maine Coon so gorgeous. But it is the whole package from the tips of its tufty ears to the tip of its long fluffy tail, and everything in between, that give the Maine Coon the stunning appearance that just takes your breath away.
15. They are dressed for winter
When it snows, a Maine Coon is ready to go. Many people don’t allow their Maine Coons outside. We do because we live in the middle of nowhere where it is safe to do so. Their large tufty paws are ideal for walking on snow and ice, their coats keep them cozy and warm and their ear tufts protect their ears.
16. They love snow
The first time it really snowed, our two Maine Coons sat with their noses pinned to the window seemingly in awe. When we opened the door and the snow was up to the threshold we thought they wouldn’t venture out. But they did and were up to their bellies instantly. They were off like kids – we watched them from the window for ages. And when they came in, the snow had not penetrated their fur coat but just sat on top ready to be brushed off.
17. They are fascinated by water
Some people have Maine Coons that love to swim or take baths. My two don’t like to do either. One likes to balance around the edge of the bathtub and dunk his paw in it but that’s as far as it goes. Some say you should bathe Maine Coons regularly but this is not necessary. They keep themselves as clean as they need to be. OK, our two would never win any rosettes at a cat show but that doesn’t bother us. They are part of our family and we love them just as they are.
18. They drink from taps
Occasionally my Maine coons drink from their water bowl. We used to have a cat drinking fountain and they loved it. It was the type with a bowl of water that also had water pouring from a spout. But they really prefer to drink water straight from a tap. When we moved to a new house the kitchen sink had a leaky tap and they were always on the draining board drinking from it. They stopped using the fountain. Now the new tap doesn’t leak so they meow at us to turn it on for them. And of course we do – they have us well trained. Here’s one of my favorite fountains.
19. They sleep in basins
Both our Maine Coons love to sleep in wash basins (I wonder if this is because they are hoping someone will turn the tap on). It’s a very strange habit and a bit of a pain when you need to wash your hands. You feel almost wicked moving them. Don’t bank on getting a Maine Coon to sleep in the expensive bed you bought specially for it because it had rave reviews from thousands of satisfied owners because it probably never will.
A Maine Coon likes to be in the thick of things. If you open a cupboard to look for something your Maine Coon will in there to see what you are doing. When a parcel arrives you’ll barely have the top undone and one will be in the box. Open a drawer to get your clothes out and before you know it a Maine Coon arrives to see what else is inside.
This inquisitiveness can get them into trouble though. They are prone to becoming trapped in other people’s sheds and garages after wandering in undetected for a nose about. Harry can’t resist a garbage bag either …
… or any bag in fact.
Of course, if a Maine Coon gets trapped anywhere in your house you’ll know about it because it will call you to let it out. Maine Coons use most of their vocal skills to communicate with people, not other cats. It is unlikely you will ever hear two cats meowing in conversation with each other. We have learned to translate the various meows our two make. There’s one that means feed me, one that means open this door, one that means look at me and pay me some attention and another that means I’ve arrived!
We are lucky because our Maine Coons like to sit on our laps for cuddles. Not all Maine Coons do this, preferring to be close by instead. If a laptop happens to be in their way, it doesn’t matter. Our Maine Coons will lay on it and you will not be able to continue what you were doing.
Maine Coons love to play which is one of the things that make them great cats for families. As your Maine Coon grows older keep you should still make time to play with it every day. It is really good for their well-being and prevents them from becoming bored and depressed. It also keeps them fit and healthy, especially if they are indoor cats.
We still buy our two new toys regularly and they will be 14 in a couple of weeks. So don’t let yourself think that it’s only children who play with cats and don’t believe that it’s only kittens that need to play. get down on the floor with your Maine Coon and have some fun. If you’re feeling lazy and want to play with your cat from the comfort of your armchair, buy a laser pointer and watch your cat chase the dot or try a fishing rod style toy. Here’s a great value cat dancer toy.
Maine Coons seem to have a naughty streak. I’ve watched mine deliberately knock things from tables, window ledges and shelves. They use a definite shove action with a paw and it’s not that they are playing with whatever falls they literally just shove it off. Sometimes they just look naughty for no reason at all …
25. They have lots of energy
Even at almost 14 years of age we still see our two Maine Coons sprint across the lawn for no apparent reason. They really do get the wind up their tails sometimes. On a windy day, one of our Maine Coon runs up tree trunks. He gets about 6 feet up and then bounces down and tears off to the next tree. This behavior is so funny to watch. When they come in from the wind both tear around the house, up and down the stairs with dilated pupils. We refer to this as, “They’ve got big eyes.”
26. They love to sleep
If nothing is going on, Maine Coons like nothing better than to sleep. The older they get, the more they sleep. On average a Maine Coon sleeps 16 hours a day. If you notice yours is sleeping more than this it could be because it is bored. Make sure you entertain it, especially if you are out at work all day. Encourage it to play a little and make a big fuss of it.
27. They are accomplished hunters
Maine Coons love to hunt. As a rule, they don’t eat what they catch. Quite often they have caught whatever it is it just for you. Wherever you are they will bring their catch to you, usually attempting to meow whilst it is in their mouth. Whatever you are doing, they will seek you out to proudly present you with their freshly caught gift.
They don’t care if it’s the middle of the night and you are asleep – this cannot wait until the morning. Sometimes they haven’t actually killed the little creature and will release it to scuttle away so they can chase it around the house. It’s funny how unamusing this can be at 3 am, especially when the mouse manages to get into a clothes drawer beside your bed… Don’t forget to say thank you enthusiastically.
Here’s Harry looking for birds …
28. They are intelligent
Maine Coons are clever cats. They note the way you react to everything they do and soon learn how to make you respond to their various needs. They have internal clocks, I’m sure, as they are always looking out of the window or waiting by the drive when I come home from work. They know the sight of a suitcase means we will be off on holiday soon and they start to sulk. They also recognize the sound of the cat carrier being unclasped and immediately retreat underneath the widest bed in the house where it is difficult to reach them.
Maine Coons are not just a larger than average domestic cat. I’ve owned all sorts of cats throughout my life and have loved each and every one of them. But the two Maine Coons that have lived with me for the last 13 years are extra special beings. It’s not just because of their beauty, size or gentle nature. It’s not only about the way they hold themselves, present themselves and integrate themselves into your life. It is about everything they are. Everything about them is so interesting and beguiling. They are cats to fall in love with and admire. They are entertaining and comical. And they act as if they know it too.
I created the article above based mostly on my experience with our two Maine Coon boys. Of course, each and every Maine Coon will have its own endearing, quirky ways. Living with Maine Coons is a source of great delight and we love ours dearly. It’s no wonder they are the most popular domestic cat in the world.