by Barbara George
Tellington Ttouch Behaviourist
One of the oldest natural breeds, the Maine Coon is generally regarded as a native of the state of Maine in the United States of America. As a working cat in the cold rugged conditions of the New England forests it developed a thick coat, pantaloons, ear and paw tufts to keep warm in winter and cool in summer.
The thick medium-length coat has a strong waterproof layer, a thick undercoat in winter along with a wonderful neck ruff and enormous fluffy tail. While the thick coat, tail and tufts are for protection against the weather the ruff is presumed to be impressive to lady cats and intimidating to competing suitors. The ruff also acts as protection for the neck during fighting. This thick coat benefits from regular grooming, especially in spring when the winter undercoat is shed.
The natural colour of these forest cats is brown tabby, which blends into the shade of the trees to make them invisible. Today almost all colours are seen.
The Maine Coon is slow to mature, needing around 3 to 4 years to show his true size and coat. They are social cats and will easily make friends with other species
Although they have a soft meow they have a wide range of vocalisations consisting mainly of chirrups and trills, combinations of sounds that make up a surprising vocabulary which they use often.
As large cats they tend to prefer to be at ground level and not jump or climb, although they can if the need arises. With their powerful legs they have the ability to reach great heights in one bound. They are great hunters with their big eyes and ears and enjoy the chase and catch, even if the prey is only a toy mouse.
Many of these cats enjoy water and will play with the sprinkler or dip into the fish pond! This makes bathing them easier, although that is not essential as they keep themselves clean and tidy.
These are gentle, affectionate cats which get along with most other animals and people. They like to be involved in family activities and can be trained to a leash for accompanying the family on walks. Being intelligent, they are quick to learn and eager to show off their skills. Their large mouths and history of hunting makes them naturals for a game of Fetch.
The Maine Coon is a cat to make you smile; he is happy to be with you, enjoys the company and activities without becoming overpowering.