You’ve probably seen pictures on the internet of a long-haired house cat that seems way too big to be real. Chances are, this was a picture of a Maine coon, a breed of house cat originating in North America. Maine coons are known to be an exceptionally large breed of cat.
In this article, we’ll explore why Maine coons get so large and some interesting facts about the origin and current state of the breed.
- So, What Makes Maine Coons So Big?
- 1. Possibly Descended From Norwegian or Siberian Forest Cats
- 2. Urban Myth Says They Are Part Raccoon
- 3. Slow Growth Rate Contributes to Size
- 4. Male Maine Coons Can Reach 25 Lbs When Full Grown
- 5. How Big Was the Largest Maine Coon on Record?
- 6. Do All Maine Coon Cats Get Large?
- 7. Are Maine Coon Cats the Largest Cat?
- 8. How Does a Maine Coon Compare to an Average Cat?
- 9. What Is the Maine Coon’s Temperament?
- 10. What Are the Color Variations of Maine Coons?
- 11. What Do Maine Coon Cats Have To Do With Marie Antoinette?
So, What Makes Maine Coons So Big?
The genetic makeup is responsible for the size of this breed. This genetic makeup includes the type of cats that Maine coons descend from and their growth rate.
Read on to learn how this breed got so large and 11 interesting facts surrounding these giant felines.
1. Possibly Descended From Norwegian or Siberian Forest Cats
While this domesticated breed has roots in the State of Maine, the origins can be traced back to early settlers that are believed to have brought large cats with them. While it’s unclear which settlers introduced the cats to the region, some speculate it was Viking explorers. The cats adapted quite well to the harsh Maine winters and flourished as wild cats.
However, this does not answer precisely why Maine coons are so large. Norwegian and Siberian forest cats are larger than your average cat, but Maine coons are larger. It’s thought that natural selection favored more giant cats with thicker fur, and bigger cats may have been more formidable predators as well.
2. Urban Myth Says They Are Part Raccoon
It’s an urban myth that Maine coon cats are the product of wild cats mixing with raccoons. While this is a fun myth, the legend is not founded on science. Even though some Maine coons have markings similar to raccoons and share some behaviors, it is not generally accepted that Maine coons and raccoons share DNA.
3. Slow Growth Rate Contributes to Size
Did you know that Maine coons grow at a slower rate than other domestic breeds? It’s true, unlike most breeds, the Maine coon is not done growing at one year of age. Instead, the Maine coon continues to grow steadily, albeit slowly, until they are about 3 or 4 years of age.
4. Male Maine Coons Can Reach 25 Lbs When Full Grown
You may say, “I get it; Maine coons are big. But how big?” Well, a full-grown male Maine coon typically falls in the 15-25 lb range. Their height is usually between 10-16 inches tall, and females are slightly smaller and average between 8-12 lbs. Females typically reach a height of 10-14 inches.
5. How Big Was the Largest Maine Coon on Record?
The title of the largest Maine coon cat in history belongs to Stewie, who measured a whopping 48.5 inches in length. Keep in mind that the average male is only 19-30 inches long! Stewie passed away at the age of 8 and lived in Reno, Nevada. Stewie fit into the “gentle giant” category and was a certified therapy animal that spent his time in local senior citizen centers.
6. Do All Maine Coon Cats Get Large?
While Maine coons typically have larger-than-average genetics, not all cats will grow to a monstrously large size. If you are a Maine coon owner and are worried about your cat’s size, make an appointment with your vet to rule out diet deficiencies. However, the likely cause of a smaller Maine coon is simply genetics.
7. Are Maine Coon Cats the Largest Cat?
Yes! Several Maine coon cats have broken records to be the largest domesticated cats in the world. They are not only consistently the largest, but they also outlive many breeds. Other large breeds include ragdolls, Savannah cats, and Ragamuffins.
8. How Does a Maine Coon Compare to an Average Cat?
The average domestic cat is typically 18 inches long and 9-10 inches tall. However, the Maine coon generally is 19-40 inches long and 10-16 inches tall. As you can see, it’s possible for a Maine coon to be nearly double the size of your average domestic cat.
Because a Maine coon may be double the size of an average cat, it’s not uncommon for these cats to be mistaken for larger, wild predators such as bobcats or lynxes.
9. What Is the Maine Coon’s Temperament?
Despite the Maine coon’s monstrous size, they are widely known as gentle giants. They generally have a sweet and easygoing disposition. Don’t let their big size and intense eyes fool you! Maine coon’s can be very affectionate and lovable companions. Their patience and good-naturedness generally make them compatible with dogs and young children in the household.
10. What Are the Color Variations of Maine Coons?
Maine coons are well known for their size, but did you know they come in various colors? Maine coons have beautiful patterns and coats. Typical colors include cream, black, blue, tabby, and white. Rare coat colors are silver and gold.
Most Maine coons fall into the tabby category, so there are three categories of tabbies. These include the classic tabby pattern, mackerel tabby pattern, and ticked tabby pattern.
11. What Do Maine Coon Cats Have To Do With Marie Antoinette?
If you’ve researched Maine coon cats, you might have come across the name of the historical French monarch Marie Antoinette. What, you may wonder, does Marie Antoinette have to do with a domesticated cat from Maine?
One legend suggests that Maine coons are descendants of Marie Antoinette’s royal Turkish angora cats. In a desperate attempt to escape the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette boarded a ship headed for America.
Although the ship was eventually caught and Antoinette was apprehended, it’s thought the cats stayed aboard and made safe passage to America. There they became wild cats and are the ancestors of the Maine coons. Is this true? No one knows for sure.
We have learned there is much mystery surrounding the origins of this delightfully large feline. Now that we’ve separated fact from urban legend, hopefully, you’ve picked up a few previously unknown facts about the Maine coon.