9 Fun Facts About Maine Coons, the Gentle Giants of the Cat World

Maine Coon Lying Down

Photo: Stock Photos from nikkytok/Shutterstock

Anyone who has ever had a Maine Coon in their life knows that these gentle giants are something special. Their incredible size, long coats, bushy tails, and loving personalities have made them one of the most popular cat breeds in the world.

As one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, Maine Coons are majestic cats that have a delightfully playful side. These adept mousers love hunting down prey, and therefore, enjoy playing with their owners in order to keep up this skill.

Maine Coons are so beloved that they even have their own society: the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association. Founded in 1968, this global organization helps promote the breed, which fell so far out of popularity that at one point in the 1950s, it was thought to be extinct!

If you want to learn even more about Maine Coons, read on for some fun facts about this beautiful cat breed with wonderful personalities.

 

Learn about Maine Coons cats, the gentle giants of the feline world.

 

They're world record holders as the longest domestic cat

Woman Holding a Large Maine Coon

Photo: Stock Photos from Sergey Ginak/Shutterstock

Maine Coons are well known for their stature, with the average cat weighing between 9 and 18 pounds. Males can get even larger, with some tipping the scales at 25 pounds. This makes them the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.

But it's not just their weight that makes them impressive. These felines actually hold quite a few records. A Maine Coon named Barivel, who lives in Italy, has been named the World's Longest Living Domestic Cat by the Guinness Book of World Records. He measures three feet and 11.2 inches and is the latest in a long line of Maine Coons to dominate the category over the past 10 years. In fact, a previous record holder named Stewie, who passed away in 2013, was even longer, measuring just over four feet.

 

They come in a variety of colors

Calico Maine Coon

Photo: Stock Photos from Linn Currie/Shutterstock

Most Maine Coon lovers are used to seeing this cat's coat in a classic brown tabby. But the truth is that Maine Coons can come in a whole variety of colors. While they aren't bred to be lavender or chocolate, it's possible to find everything from solid to tortoiseshell to calico. Want to see another one of their lovely physical traits? Just look into their eyes. Maine Coons will also typically have green, gold, or copper-colored eyes.

 

They don't just meow, they chirp

All cats meow, but Maine Coon cats are known for their chirps. While the social creature does meow like other kitties, they also make chirping noises when chatting with you. You might also hear them trill, which is a combination of meowing and purring. It's just another characteristic that makes the Maine Coon a great furry friend.

 

They're the official state cat of Maine

Portrait of a Maine Coon

Photo: Stock Photos from Seregraff/Shutterstock

As the name suggests, these felines are native to the northeastern state of Maine. They are ready for the harsh New England winters thanks to their shaggy, uneven double-layered coat, which is also water repellant. They also have tufts of fur on their paws that act like built-in snowshoes.

But just where did the Maine Coon originally come from? There are a few legends about the breed's origins. (Contrary to popular belief, they are not related to the raccoon.) One story starts in France. It states that during the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette made a plan to escape and shipped six of her pet cats to America. While she never made it, they landed in Maine and helped start the breed. Another, more plausible, story credits the breed's origins to Vikings who landed in New England in the 1700s. It's thought that short-haired domestic cats bred with their long-haired cats to kick off the breed.

 

They have a great temperament

Close Up of a Maine Coon Looking Into the Distance

Photo: Stock Photos from DenisNata/Shutterstock

Known as the “dogs of the cat world,” Maine Coons are generally good-natured and love people. These gentle giants can also be trained to play fetch and even love water! Extremely loyal, they love to be around their owners, though they can keep themselves occupied when needed.

Maine Coons also make great pets for families with children. Their playful nature makes them good fun for little ones and their size means that they aren't intimidated or afraid to be handled by children.

 

A Maine Coon was successfully cloned

Nicky was so nice that his human wanted him twice. In 2004, a Maine Coon kitten named Little Nicky made history as being the first known sale of a cloned pet. A Texas woman paid a California-based biotech company $50,000 to clone her original Nicky, and she was very happy with the result.

“When Little Nicky yawned, I even saw two spots inside his mouth—just like Nicky had,” she said. “Little Nicky loves water, like Nicky did, and he's already jumped into the bathtub like Nicky used to do.”

 

They're referred to by several nicknames

Maine Coon Cat

Photo: Thirdman

We've already referred to Maine Coon cats as “gentle giants,” but they've earned other popular nicknames. They are also called “mini lions” for the mane-like fur around their necks as well as “dog of the cat world” because their temperament is similar to a good-natured pooch.

 

You can walk a Maine Coon

Maine Coon Cat

Photo: DenisNata/Depositphotos

Yes, you can walk a cat. Wearing a special harness (or walking jacket) built just for cats, these intelligent cats are able to be leash trained. As long as you're willing to spend the time and attention training them, Maine Coons will enjoy exploring the outdoors in a safe and controlled way.

 

They're Instagram superstars

 

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While Maine Coons were very popular in the 19th century—a Maine Coon even won the first cat show at Madison Square Garden in 1895—their popularity declined in the early 20th century when other long-haired cats like Persians were introduced. However, since the 1970s their popularity has steadily been on the rise and now the Maine Coon is the third most popular breed according to Cat Fancier's Association.

Their popularity is evident on social media platforms like Instagram, where over 6.5 million images have the Maine Coon hashtag. In fact, there are quite a few “Instagram famous” Maine Coons, who delight their fans with their good looks and playful antics. This includes Lotus, a big blond feline based in Sweden who has over 350,000 followers.

 

This article has been edited and updated.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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