The Maine Coon is a breed of domestic cat with a distinctive physical appearance. It is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, specifically native to the state of Maine, where it is the official State Cat.
The breed was popular in cat shows in the late 1800s, but its existence became threatened when long-haired breeds from overseas were introduced in the early 20th century. The Maine Coon made a comeback and is now the second most popular cat breed in North America, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
The Maine Coon is noted for its large bone structure, its rectangular body shape, and a long, flowing coat. The breed can be seen in a variety of colors and are known for their intelligence and gentle personalities. Health problems, such as feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and hip dysplasia, are seen in the breed, but screening methods can help to reduce the frequency of these problems, including ultrasounds and genetic testing for heart problems and x-raying to look for hip abnormalities.
Maine Coons are known as the "gentle giants" and possess above-average intelligence, making them relatively easy to train. They are known for being loyal to their family and cautious—but not mean—around strangers, but are independent and not clingy. The Maine Coon is generally not known for being a "lap cat" but their gentle disposition makes the breed relaxed around dogs, other cats, and children. They are playful throughout their lives, with males tending to be more clownish and females generally possessing more dignity, yet both are equally affectionate. Many Maine Coons have a fascination with water and some theorize that this personality trait comes from their ancestors, who were aboard ships for much of their lives
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