Due to their hefty bodies and good, cuddly nature, Maine coon cats are often referred to as the gentle giants of the cat world—and for good reason. Male Maine coon cats can weigh as much as 18 pounds, while females can weigh up to 16 pounds. Maine coons, on average, measure 39 to 40 inches long.
These sweet and shaggy creatures are also one of the oldest breeds of domestic cats in the United States, so they have a lot of history. Whether you are already a Maine coon parent or are considering adopting one, you will love these fun facts and cute pictures of these king-sized kitties.
Interesting Origin Stories
Maine coons are not just fans of the Pine Tree State—they actually originated in Maine and are believed to be the only breed of cat from the United States. Some origin theories about the breed include:
- Theory 1: This one is a debunked myth, but worth mentioning since many people believe it. Due to their shaggy, brown fur and larger size, some believe Maine coons are the result of semi-domesticated cats breeding with raccoons. This theory, however, is biologically impossible.
- Theory 2: Today’s Maine coon cats are actually descendants of royal kitties. The story is that when Marie Antoinette was attempting to flee France during the French Revolution, she shipped her pet cats to Wiscasset, Maine. The cats made it to America, but Marie, as history will tell you, did not.
- Theory 3: Long-haired cats, brought to New England during the 1700s by European sailors, were bred with domestic shorthair cats. The result was Maine coons. This theory is plausible. Because Maine coons resemble Norwegian forest cats, this is the most widely accepted origin theory.
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Their Coats Can Vary Greatly
Although we often think of thick, brown, raccoon-like coats when we think of Maine coons, the colors and patterns in their coats are actually extremely varied. In fact, Maine coons can come in about 75 different color combinations and patterns.
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Harsh Winter Weather Cat
Because they originated in a cold climate with harsh winters, Maine coons are always dressed for severe winter weather. They have super dense, water-resistant coats (that actually make them excellent swimmers), and massive, tufted paws that basically serve as miniature, built-in snow boots. To top that, their extra long, bushy tails can be wrapped around their bodies for additional warmth.
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While most cats and kittens let out a meow to communicate with their people (and occasionally, other cats), Maine coons do not truly meow. Instead, they chirp and trill (which is a combination of a meow and a purr).
It is believed that cats chirp when they see prey and express happiness with a trill—which would make sense for Maine coons—as they were often used as mousers, hunters, and farm cats.
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Cat That Likes Water
Unlike many cats, Maine coon cats actually like water and are super strong swimmers. Their extra dense, moisture-resistant coats keep them relatively dry when they are exposed to water.
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First Prize Cat
At the first American cat show held in New York City's Madison Square Garden in 1895, a brown tabby Maine coon named Cosey took first place.
After the New York City cat show, their popularity skyrocketed. When the Cat Fanciers’ Association formed in 1906, a Maine coon named Molly Bond was the fifth cat ever registered. Then in 1968, the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association was formed.
Today, Maine coons are the third most popular breed in the United States and are highly prized in Europe and Japan, too.
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Official State Cat of Maine
In 1985, Maine coons were officially recognized as the state cat of Maine. Their unique origin story, built-in winter wear, and large size make them the perfect representative for America's Pine Tree State.
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Guinness World Records Cats
It is no secret that Maine coons are massive felines. But one Maine coon named Stewie cinched the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest domestic cat. From nose to tail, Stewie measured a whopping 48.5 inches in length. For reference, the average Maine coon measures 39 to 40 inches in length.
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Ground-Breaking Science Cat
The first pet to be commercially cloned was a Maine coon named Little Nicky. In 2004, his owner paid $50,000 to the now-closed Genetic Savings and Clone, Inc. to clone some of Little Nicky’s tissue she had saved in a gene bank. Reportedly, the cloned kitty looked and acted just like Little Nicky.