Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Country of origin|
|Breed standards (external links)|
|CFA, ACFA, TICA, CCA,|
ACF, GCCF, FIFe
The Maine Coon is one of the largest breeds of domestic cat. The breed is a naturally occurring one from New England. Cold New England winters have made this cat very well adapted to cold weather. The name comes from a legend that a domestic cat released in the wilds of Maine interbred with a raccoon, resulting in offspring with the Maine Coon characteristics. Maine Coons resemble their European counterparts, the Norwegian Forest Cats.
Maine Coons are very large, but energetic cats, often weighing over 10 kilograms (22 pounds). The most common color in the breed is tabby markings, but all coat colors exist. They have medium-long, dense fur, with longer hair, or ruff, on their chests and a pronounced mane, similar to a lion. Their fur consists of two layers, with an additional layer of guard hairs. The fur is generally very soft. They have long hair on the backs of their legs, and between their toes, to assist keeping warm while in the snow. Their tails are bushy. Their heads are broad, the males' heads being larger than females', with wide-set ears that have tufts of fur in them.
Maine Coons are intelligent, dextrous, and playful. They have a tendency to use their front paws extensively (often curling the paw round to pick things up) and as a consequence will easily learn to open cabinet doors or pick small objects up. In addition to this, Maine Coons have a tendency to use their paws to knock on a surface to gain entry, much like a human would. They'll do this with a motion similar to vertical wiping strokes (top-down) with enough force at contact to produce a sound. If left outside or in another room, for example, they may employ this method to gain their owner's attention. Some Maine Coons will eat with their paws, rather than eating from the bowl itself. They can also be trained to play fetch. They are very curious, and will explore anywhere and everywhere possible. They are happy to stay indoors, as long as they have an adequate amount of playtime and exercise. While being a lap cat depends on the individual cat's own personality, most do enjoy being near their people, other cats and even dogs. Maine Coons are generally very quiet, not tending to meow much, unless they are hungry. Maine Coons do make a very distinct sound, called trilling, that is soft and high-pitched, usually used when happy or startled. Some Maine Coons enjoy playing with, but not usually in, water. They may dip toys in their water bowls before playing with them, or just tip the water bowl over. They may also "fish" in their water bowl. A few have been known to hop in the shower with their owner. The males tend to be quite goofy, and a bit clumsy, but in a good-natured way. Maine Coons can occasionally be a bit mischievous when bored, such as deliberately pushing things off tables and the tops of fridges with their paws, to see what happens.
Maine Coons have a tendency to be very independent - that is, they do not beg for attention as much as other breeds. As a result of this, they may encounter problems with another Maine Coon if it is not introduced into the household at the same time. Maine Coons can be described as the "king" of the house, having a tendency to keep other pets (cats and other species alike) in check at any given time. These cats will generally stand up to a dog many times their size, and "argue" with it.
Grooming and cleaning
Maine Coons need to be combed out once a week, to avoid mats in their fur, especially on their belly, in their armpits, and on the backs of their legs.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details