Ever considered owning a house lion? Well meet the dog of the cat world, an animal with wildcat looks, a body stretch up to 40 inches in length, a cat fiercely loyal to its human owners, kid-friendly, one of the top 10 of the most popular cat breeds in the US, one of the largest domestic cat breeds, people oriented, laid-back, the most trainable of cats, even accepting a leash, it’s the “tail with the cat on the end”: the Maine Coon. You must know the breed, think Harry Potter and the cat of the caretaker called Mrs Norris in the film.
Whether they are descendants of the Angora cats Queen Marie Antoinette sent to America in advance of her planned escape from France during the French Revolution or from Norwegian “Skogkatts”, or forest cats, brought over by the Vikings, whatever historical romance tries to sell you, their body tells us they’re adapted to survive harsh Northeastern American winter climates.
With their heavy water- resistant coats, their long, bushy tails, their natural snowshoes, furred ears and large eyes, you’ll be the proud owner of a stunning cat of a unique breed, curious, intelligent, playful, a cat with a personality, a marvel to behold, that even can open doors. Ever heard of a cat that will fetch naturally without training? They’re cats with a fairly long life expectancy up to fifteen years and believe me, no rodents will be safe in a home where a Maine Coon resides!
Our first Main Coon was an old cat, not wanted by her previous owner anymore and brought to the vet to be euthanized, just when we were searching for a big cat. Bruce was a thoroughbred Main Coon imported from America and our vet was surely not going to kill him. He managed to escape twice and walked the whole way back to the neighbouring town (6kms), to be with his first owner, we learned our lesson and kept him indoors for a long time, till he knew this was his forever home. Bruce hid for several weeks, sneaked through the house and observed and then became the most loving cat in the world till his dying day.
were posted online out of a “sick” litter and were given away for free, we lost Deetop after a few weeks, probably taken by somebody for his striking markings, but Darwin stayed.
He once went on a trip for several weeks and was found back kms away, about 3 villages further in the next valley. Luckily he was chipped and the lady who first thought she had a wild cat in her garden, alerted our vet and we were reunited. Darwin didn’t survive that long, he became ill and we had to say our goodbyes.
Great was our surprise this week, when the vet asked us if we still had our cats and we do: Virgule, cat from the SPA Carcassonne, with no ears, amputated because of cancer and hence nobody wanted that weird cat. And she is so sweet!
Point, kitten from the neighbours.
Because of our dogs and more specific our galgos, who see them as prey, they became our indoor cats, we have a large bedroom with two outdoor enclosed areas. Pitou, my daughter’s cat, lives out on the fields, amongst our donkeys and goats and uses the old garage as home as she is very weary of the dogs.
The discussion of in or outdoor cats is quickly finished: people do steal Main Coons as we sadly experienced. Life expectancy for outdoor cats is roughly four to five years, for indoor cats twelve to fifteen… even twenty.
The story turned out to be whether we wanted a 7 year old thoroughbred Main Coone, not wanted anymore in his actual adoption family. We first hesitated, how on earth were we going to break that news to our indoor cats… but, me and Main Coones, I just adore them and everybody knows I can’t say no to a rescue action. The vet wanted a forever home and people that knew the breed and loved it and she knew just who to tell…knowing very well that Main Coons have purred their way into my heart, we’re BFF (best friends forever). Knowing Maine Coons are very social, more pack oriented than most cats, it’ll be good for him to have other cats to pal around with.
A male, can weigh up to 20 pounds and tends to be more a clown than the females, male cats in particular can have problems where their urine starts to crystallize and blocks their urethra. And suddenly something else dawned on me: they’re cats with water fetish! With their thick water-repellent coats, using their oversize paws, they can scoop up anything and they love playing in water. Add ice cubes in the water, give them a flowing fountain (running water helps attract their interest in drinking) and you’ll see them dunking their food into it. When start drinking, they beat their paws in the water, it is believed to be their instinctive action of years ago when they broke through the ice before drinking water.
Memories came back to me, cats waiting by the door to greet visitors, exactly why they nickname them “feline greeters of the world”.Shy at first, wary of strangers initially, once comfortable around people, meet friendly, almost dog like cats in their interest towards humans. Giving love and devotion, being playful, they’ll understand and obey you (teach them “no” or “get the ball” in no time).
We’re talking about an energetic cat (all throughout their lives), tolerant of children, dogs and other pets, superior climbers (don’t let people tell you otherwise), who love hanging out with you and will investigate and help with whatever’s going on, staying close to you. With this breed you have a buddy, choosing one person to give its attention to, not a lap cat (although some might be). With their kitten-like energy, playing with their cat toys, you are in for some tug-of-war games, even expect them to but their heads with you too. With their distinctive voices they’ll tell you exactly what they do or not want. All they require is regular grooming sessions.
Persians and Angoras became more popular in the 1900’s and by1950 the breed had all but vanished! Luckily they didn’t, as all my Maine Coon cats left a permanent mark on my heart for the breed.
Going for a “cat nap” (did you know that cats can sleep a whopping 16 hours)
(to be continued, will know in the weekend whether I’ll get this rescue Main Coone)
PS: Got a question from a reader to put a link to her article about Main Coones, why not:
10 Fascinating Facts About Maine Coon Cats