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12 Surprising Maine Coon Facts: History, Temperament & Coat Patterns

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

gray fluffy maine coon cat sitting on the grass outdoors

Cats are the second most popular pet in the United States. Many households have more than one, and they’ve been our companions for roughly 12,000 years.1 They’ve also succeeded beyond our expectations as mousers. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes 73 breeds.2 The differences exist mainly with colors, temperaments, and size.

Male Maine Coons can get over 20 pounds, while females are smaller at around 15 pounds. They are the quintessential gentle giant and make affectionate animal companions. Maine Coons get along with everybody, including other family pets. It speaks to the selective breeding that brought out these desirable traits. So, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about this unique breed.

The 12 Maine Coon Facts:

1. Maine Coons Are an All-American Cat

The Maine Coon’s name probably gives it away, but this cat is native to North America, although their origins are a bit murky. Some stories point to a hybrid between domestic animals and wild ones, with the raccoon contributing its distinctive tail and name to this feline. It’s more likely a cross between cats in North America with long-haired varieties from Europe.

tortie maine coon cat lying on couch
Image Credit: Akifyeva S, Shutterstock

2. Pet Owners Describe Maine Coons as Dog-like in Their Temperament

This fact probably isn’t a stretch, given the cat’s size. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Maine Coons act more like canines than felines. They are social in ways we associate more with dogs. They are active pets and entertaining to watch. Some may even play games like fetch.

3. Maine Coons Don’t Reach Their Optimal Size and Conformation Until 3 to 4 Years Old

Large dog breeds reach sexual maturity later than small ones. The same applies to Maine Coons. Consequently, the breed standards of the major cat registries recommend waiting until this time to give the animals time to reach their peak conformation. The cats will show their best if you give them time to get their full adult size.

a maine coon cat in a laundry basket
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

4. Maine Coons Are Part of an Elite Group of Three Other Felines Recognized as State Cats

Again, the animal’s name gives away this fact. The state has adopted the feline as their own, making them the state cat in 1985. This honor is shared by some other lucky animals. Maryland recognizes the calico, while Massachusetts has the tabby cat. California, Colorado, and Tennessee gave this prestigious recognition to shelter and rescue animals.

5. Maine Coons Are Well-Adapted to Their Native Land

The adaptations apparent in this cat are living proof of their origin. Their thick, water-resistant coat is an asset in Maine’s frigid winters. It’s also longer and dense on the animal’s underside, where they will need it the most. Even their bushy tail helps the Maine Coon brave the cold. The animal wraps it around their body when sleeping to stay toasty warm, not unlike an Arctic Fox.

Beautiful grey maine coon cat in leash and harness walking in the city park
Image Credit: Goldeneden, Shutterstock

6. Maine Coons Have a Unique Vocalizations

Researchers have documented 21 vocalizations in pet cats. The meow we associate with our feline companions is unique to the cat-human relationship. Maine Coons take it one step further with their trilling and chirping instead of meows to get their owners’ attention. It’s another thing that makes them such delightful pets.

7. Maine Coons Can Swim

Felines aren’t particularly fond of water, except perhaps for the appropriately named Fishing Cat. The Maine Coon is the exception on the domestic front. Their water-resistant coat is undoubtedly a factor. Pet owners report their feline companions not minding the occasional bath. Some even swim. The likely origin of the breed and association with sea travel may explain these traits.

Two maine coon cats playing in homemade pool
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

8. Maine Coons Have Been Cloned

Anyone who has ever lost a pet understands the overwhelming grief of losing a beloved animal companion. It’s not surprising that a Texas cat owner opened her wallet to get her Maine Coon kitty cloned. The unidentified individual lost her pet, Nicky, in 2003. Little Nicky is a clone of the woman’s animal companion. The price tag was $50,000.

9. According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), Maine Coons Are the Second Most Popular Breed

The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) is another major cat registry. The numbers tell the story about the favorite breeds. The Maine Coon captured second place in 2021. It’s an impressive accomplishment since the organization first officially recognized the breed in 1976. It is also the largest of the pedigreed felines, but the Norwegian Forest Cat is comparable in size and temperament.

two maine coon cats smelling each other
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

10. The Maine Coon Comes in a Kaleidoscope of Colors and Patterns

Many cat breeds have a unique set of colors and patterns that identify them. For example, a Siamese is unmistakable. The Maine Coon is another story. The CFA’s breed standard lists several classes, including smoke, tabby, and solid color, with many variations within each one. A prospective pet owner will have a dizzying array of choices, with 75 color combinations available.

11. Maine Coons Are Often Polydactyl Cats With Six Toes

Polydactyl cats are common among Maine Coons. It makes evolutionary sense this mutation would persist in the breed. The extra toe makes their paws more like snowshoes for traipsing through the deep snow of their native Maine. The TICA has a separate listing for the polydactyl felines to account for this trait. The CFA lists extra toes as a disqualification.

a young polydactyl tortie Maine Coon cat on a dark background
Image Credit: Nynke van Holten, Shutterstock

12. Maine Coons Are the One of the Oldest North American Cat Breeds

The Maine Coon is one of the oldest breeds in North America. That partly explains the murky history of this cat. It’s worth mentioning formal selective breeding is relatively new. Enthusiasts started the process with dogs about 160 years ago. The CFA was founded in 1906. Maine Coons have an oral history tied to the state and its people.


The Maine Coon is a gorgeous cat that is as friendly and lovable as they are beautiful. They have many unique qualities for someone looking for an excellent family pet that will get along with all household members. They may not be lap cats, but they more than make up for it with their antics and entertaining behavior.

Featured Image Credit: Utekhina Anna, Shutterstock

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