Known for the distinctive ‘chirruping’ noise that they make (a sound made by the mother to communicate to the kitten which is learnt and then repeated back.) It is also famed for its size, growing to weights up to 11kg as adults. The name Maine comes from the northeastern American state where this breed originated.
The earliest cats, the Maine Coon Cat Club explains, were dark brown tabbies. It’s possible that their flowing tails had tabby stripes, so you can understand why those who first named the breed might have thought there was a link between the cat and a raccoon — hence the ‘coon’ part of the name.
The breed developed from short and longhair cats introduced by settlers, and naturally evolved to suit the cool climate of the region and a rugged farmyard lifestyle, becoming a hardy animal equipped with a thick coat. The breed’s appearance has remained pretty much unchanged and so it has retained all the aspects of a typical hunter: large eyes and ears for detecting prey, and a muscular body for catching them.
The undercoat is covered by a longer top coat. Fur shorter on the head, neck and shoulders, increasing in length down the back, flanks and tail. Breeches and belly fur full and shaggy. The ruff, which begins at the base of the ears, is heavier in males than female, regular weekly brushing is necessary. The Maine Coon is recognized in a variety of solid colours, plus tortoiseshell, tabbies (classic and mackerel patterns) with or without silver, shaded and smoke colours, bi-colour and parti-colour (solid/tabby/tortie/shaded/ smoke colour with white).
The Maine Coon is a large semi-longhaired cat which is distinguished by its bone structure, rectangular shape and flowing coat. The breed evolved as a working domesticated cat in a rural environment; this role is reflected in a muscular cat of rugged ‘outdoor’ appearance with a characteristic 'weatherproof' coat and the demeanour of an alert, capable hunter. The tail should be long, wide at the base and tapering towards the tip, with long and flowing fur. Also… It may be wise to visit a show so that you can see the different colours and coat patterns that are available.