A very large cat breed, the Maine Coon is found in North America in the state of Maine. According to Bache Reine, the author of Raising Cats, "Strange to say, there are comparatively few people south or west of New England who know what a coon-cat is. If you ask that question 'down in Maine,' however, the citizens will seem surprised at your ignorance, and will explain to you, in a condescending way, that the creature in question is half raccoon - the descendant of 'a cross between a' coon and a common cat." Although this story seems physically impossible, it is an evidence of the Mainers' sense of humor and leg-pulling towards the tourists' gullible attitude.
This cat weighs up to 12 kilos (24 pounds) and generally has an average weight of 13-20 pounds for male adults, and a bit less, 7-11 pounds for female adult cats. However, male coons can raise up to one meter in length. For instance, in 2006, the longest coon measured was 122 cm. It generally takes four or five years to reach its full size, both in length and in weight.
The most frequent color or pattern for this breed is brown tabby. Nevertheless, it can have mostly any color including the tortoiseshell, except for the Siamese pattern, lavender, chocolate, or ticked-tabby patterns. The color of the eyes can also differ from individual to individual. Patterns may have green, golden-green, blue eyes, or even eyes of different colors each.
This cat is sometimes ironically called 'Mane Coon' because its fur resembles the mane of a lion. The fur has, like in the case of other cat breeds, two layers. A sort of undercoat, and an extra layer of longer hair which provides the breed with its typical physical appearance. Generally it has a very soft fur. The fur is longer on the back of its legs (also called britches or pantaloons) and also between the toes, which ensures warmth during the cold season. The tail is bushy and squirrel-like, and the head has an angular shape, whereas the ears have 'Lynx-tips', which means some pieces of fur. Due to the very thick tail, it is sometimes defined as 'the tail with a cat attached to it'.
Most cats of this breed do not need any grooming on the part of their owners as they can take extremely good care of themselves and their physique. This breed has large ears which are tipped at the end with hair, giving it a resemblance to the Lynx. Some individual cats may have tufts of fur growing from behind their ears on the sides of their heads. The appearance of these tufts can change over time, sometimes appearing quite large and sometimes not being all that noticeable.
Another interesting fact related to this cat is the occurrence of the polydactyl element. Polydactyl refers to the physical aspect of having one or more extra toes on the paws. This feature is increasingly popular among cat breeders as the cat can show more dexterity in its movements, as well as more intelligence than those with normal feet. Such cats often bear the nickname of 'snowshoe' because they can walk through snow more easily. In most cases, they are simply called 'polys'.
Although this is an original Native breed with its origins going back in ancient times, nowadays, it has certainly been touched by the human science of improving animal breeds. Despite this, typical, original Native representatives of this very peculiar cat-type are still to be found in Maine. Such cats are absolutely essential for the healthy development and survival of this special breed.
As far as its behavior is concerned, this cat possesses a lot of natural intelligence. It is generally very peaceful and obedient towards its owners, thus being quite similar to dogs. It likes to follow its human companions wherever they go. Although it is not very likely to sit on your lap, it can be very playful and imaginative. It loves to fetch things. It produces a very peculiar sound, a sort of mixture between meowing and purring.