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Showing posts from February, 2021

7 facts about the early development of the Maine Coon

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Maine Coon cats were exhibited in semi-informal shows as early as the 1860s in America. That's quite interesting because it is before the first formal cat show in England which was in 1871 at Crystal Palace, south London. They were very popular and were frequent winners. You may know that the first American cat show (formal) at Madison Square Garden resulted in a Maine Coon winning the show. The cat was a brown tabby owned by Mrs EN Baker. MAINE COON HISTORY TIMELINE As the cat fancy developed and cat shows became more sophisticated, more imported varieties of cats came into America and they had long pedigrees. Their breeding was more sophisticated. They were cats of uniform colour without white markings. This created a vogue and the Maine Coon's popularity declined. They disappeared from shows altogether for a while. Early Maine Coon. Completely different to the modern version. Photo in public domain. Persian breeders frequently outcrossed to Maine Coon cats because they we

Rexed Maine Coon cat (picture and discussion)

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Sarah Hartwell of messybeast.com provides us with a comprehensive history of the curly-haired Maine Coon cat. A breed that could have been but never took off because of 'cat fancy politics'. In other words the cat fancy botched it if you believe that the curly-haired Maine Coon is a breed that should have become established as does Sarah Hartwell and she knows best! Rexed Maine Coon. Photo: messybeast.com website. It is called the 'Rexed Maine Coon'. Sarah says that it could have been a wonderful breed. She fell in love with a Rexed Maine Coon when she held the cat at a cat show. The coat was soft to the touch. The history of this variant to the shaggy medium-longhaired standard Maine Coon (MC) started in the late 1980s. The gene that causes the curly coat is recessive (single recessive gene assumed). The curly haired mutation was first reported in the Maine Coon by British breeder Di Everett. In 1994 she said: The first rexed Maine Coon in Britain was born, as far

Example of extreme Maine Coon breeding (comparison)

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Here is a simple montage of two Maine Coons. The first is what I'd call extreme breeding with a huge muzzle and ears. And the head is massive as is the whole cat. The second shows a British Maine Coon (male) cat show winner: " Best Opposite Sex in Show was Ellie & Lisa Aggett's Male Adult, IGrCh ISADORYOU I-HAVE-A -DREAM (MCO d 22) " - the title is verbatim from the GCCF website. I think the image tells the story that I wish to tell. I am not passing judgement. It is just an observation. The extreme bred Maine Coon is gaining traction i.e. becoming more popular with adopters. Comparison of extreme bred Maine Coon and UK version. Photo below: GCCF. In the old days you would never have seen a single cat like the one you see here which is bred to extreme. These are a new invention in an ever more competitive market place. The tend to come from Russian breeders. Are they exclusively from Russia? Probably. I don't think you'll see them in America. For comple

Do Maine Coons get along with dogs?

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The question is not great in my opinion because it presupposes that some cat breeds get along with dogs and some don't. That is incorrect or at least misleading or inaccurate. Maine Coons are domestic cats and like any other domestic cat, purebred or not, whether they get along with dogs or not depends whether they are socialised to get along with dogs. The question is whether the breeder of the Maine Coon in question socialised her kittens to get along with dogs during their first 7 weeks of their lives. That rule applies to all cats including any breed of cat. Confident and relaxed Maine Coon gets along with dogs. Photo in public domain. Any website which purrs about all Maine Coons being great with dogs is bullshitting. They are feeding information to people that they want to hear. And they want Google to rank their page highly so they get hits. That said the other factor - but much less of a factor - as to whether a cat gets along with dogs is whether they are confident, lai

Do Maine Coons have sensitive stomachs?

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I don't believe that Maine Coons (MCs) have sensitive stomachs despite some websites stating that they do. The point is that the websites stating that Maine Coons have sensitive stomachs either don't tell you where their information comes from or the reasons given are general reasons which apply to any cat, such as eating too fast. This is misleading as the question is asking if Maine Coons are predisposed to stomach upsets and I can't find hard evidence in a book or a proper scietific study which confirms that they do have stomach issues. Female MC. Image by  Joness  from  Pixabay. The best book on genetically inherited diseases is by Clark (a vet) and he tells us that the MC is predisposed to hip dysplasia and patellar luxation, basically joint issues. I have also read that they are predisposed to polycystic kidney disease (POD) but once again I don't see this in reliable books. I think we need to be careful about small websites popping up written by unqualified in

Dwarf Maine Coon cat?

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No, you won't get a dwarf Maine Coon cat. There is no formal cat breed which is a dwarf Maine Coon (MC) although there are about a dozen dwarf cat breeds which is strange because most people haven't heard of them. It would be a travesty of the distinguished Maine Coon cat breed to create a dwarf version. But is there is someone online discussing a Maine Coon x Munchkin mix. Well, I hardly read it because I can't see the point. Fairly normal-sized Maine Coon. Photo: copyright Helmi Flick. Think about it. The MC is known to have a large and distinguished bearing. They are meant to be outstanding in that way. It is their raison d'etre. To cut them down to a short-legged cutey is a bad idea. It is contrary to everything the MC is meant to be. You will, however, find relatively small MCs. These might be females in the 10 pound range, which is standard sized. Not all MCs are large (some are huge). The cat associations don't specify a certain minimum size for MCs in t

The oldest Maine Coon ever?!

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I think this ginger-and-white tabby Maine Coon called Rubble who died aged 31 last summer might well have been the oldest Maine Coon ever. The Sun newspaper claimed that he was the world's oldest domestic cat at the time. That's about 150 in human terms but the translation from feline to human age is not that accurate. Rubble was he the oldest Maine Coon ever at 31 when he died last summer? Photo: WNS:South West News Service Remarkably Michele Heritage adopted Rubble when he was already 20! She said that he was an amazing cat companion and that he grew old quickly at the very end of his life. She treated him as a child. One day she came back from work and her husband told her that Rubble had gone off to die. As is typical of the last moments of a domestic who is dying of natural causes Rubble stopped eating. She knew it was the time he'd die. It is unusual for a domestic cat to die at home. Normally the owner takes their cat to a veterinarian to be euthanised as there wi

Picture of an humungous Maine Coon held by woman with tattoos

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This is a very impressive grey tabby Maine Coon with shaggy fur. The outstanding feature is the cat's size. He is one of those super-sized Maine Coons which are becoming increasingly common on the internet because people love to see humungous Maine Coons. It is the biggest domestic cat made bigger. Size counts in the world of cats. Humungous Maine Coon held by woman with tattoos. Photo: Pinterest. The cat looks as if he has been painted into the photograph. It is almost unreal. We are getting used to very large Maine Coons. But they are unusual. Look at the tufts of hair between the toes. This is very Maine Coonish. They are written up in the breed standard so they are desirable. They hark back to the days when the cat was a working barn cat on farms in Maine, USA.

Do Maine Coons like water?

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It depends what you mean by liking water! Maine Coons are not known for enjoying the odd swim in the sea, river or swimming pool but they are known for messing around with the water in their water bowl. In fact I am told that they hate being bathed. That said, what cat likes being bathed!  Maine Coon playing with water in a bowl and licking it off her paw. Screenshot from video. However, the internet authors say Maine Coons love swimming in water and joining you in the shower. I'd be very cautious about this information. It is unlikely. Gloria Stephens, a former or current cat show judge and author of Legacy of the Cat is the person who says that they hate being bathed. Not the behavior of a cat who loves being in water. Another distinguished former cat show judge and a former president of the Cat Fanciers' Association, Richard H Gebhardt, makes no mention of Maine Coons liking water to the point they like to immerse themselves in it, in his book The Complete Cat Book . Info

CFA versus TICA breed standard for Maine Coon coat

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As you might expect the breed standards of the CFA and TICA for the Maine Coon (MC) coat are similar. There is a difference which perhaps helps to produce a difference in the appearance of these cats depending on which association the individual cat is registered with. The CFA MC coat should be 'silky'.  Jan Horlick's "Just Blue" Maine Coon, photographed against our "Charcoal" background at TICA's Evergreen Cat Fanciers cat show, Ferndale, WA, October 2015. Photo: copyright Helmi Flick. There is no mention of this refinement in TICA breed standard. I think that you'll find that CFA Maine Coons tend to be less shaggy than TICA ones. They are a bit prettier perhaps and less rooted to their origins which is as barn cats in the state of Maine.  I wrote about this years ago and if it interests you please click here  to read a sequence of several pages on the topic. Here is a comparison of the CFA and TICA breed standards for the coat of the Maine Coon

Maine Coon shot with airgun almost died

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NEWS AND OPINION : Kanji is a typically large Maine Coon Living in Suffolk, England, UK. He was allowed outside and was shot when wandering around the neighbourhood. The interesting and troubling aspect of this story is that his owner, Mrs Boucher, couldn't see anything wrong with him. He was just unwell so she took him to the vet. They discovered that an airgun pellet had been shot into his stomach area. It had torn through Kanji's stomach wall and bowel. He needed life-saving emergency surgery and plenty of antibiotics to kill off a subsequent bacterial infection. Kanji a large Maine Coon was shot with an airgun while wandering around outside the home in the UK. Photo: Mrs Boucher. It took a couple of visits to the veterinarian to find out the problem. On the first visit the vet couldn't find the cause of Kanji's poor health. He has fully or almost fully recovered it seems but he spent several days at the surgery because of the infection. He had part of his intesti

Picture of two Maine Coons looking through the window at America

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The Maine Coon is the American cat. It is America's constribution to the world of fancy, purebred cats and what a contribution. Americans are rightly proud of the Maine Coon. Strange name though. But it has stuck so strange names are good. No one quite knows where the 'Coon' part of the name comes from, by the way. A Capt Coon perhaps . Picture of two Maine Coons looking through the window at America. Photo: Reddit. Photo: The Maine Coons are "My girls Mojito (silver) and Amaretto (orange)." What I like about this picture from a Reddit user (I don't know their name) is that it provides citizens of the world who don't live in America a feel for what it's like for an iconic American cat to live in America. To look out the window at a part of America. For me it is quite evocative of the American way of life. They are watching cat television . I expect them to be FT indoor cats. There is a lot of space in the country and this comes across in the photo.

Difference between Maine Coon and RagaMuffin

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The difference between the Maine Coon and the RagaMuffin is very similar to the difference between the Maine Coon and the Ragdoll. This is because there is not much difference between the Ragdoll and the RagaMuffin. And the reason for that is because the initial breeders of the RagaMuffin were a splinter group who were originally breeding the Ragdoll. They split off from Ragdoll breeders sometime, as I understand it, in the 1980s. They did so because they felt overly controlled by Ann Baker who founded the Ragdoll breed. Picture of RagaMuffins RagaMuffin cats . Photos by Helmi Flick. If you click here   you can read about the difference between the Maine Coon and the Ragdoll. I will add information about the difference between the Ragdoll and RagaMuffin in general terms. Both these breeds are quite large cats but the major difference is in what is allowed by the cat associations for their coat colour/pattern. Picture of Maine Coon Maine Coon Creme Soda . Photo: Helmi Flick. Ragdolls a

Reason why people like Maine Coon cats with human faces

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Maine Coon cats with human faces have gone viral. People are fascinated by them. I am sure that the breeder has been inundated with phone calls. It must have taken her 10 or more years to create cats like these. They are masterpieces. It is as if a sculpture has sculpted a work of art out of clay but she did it through selective breeding. But shouldn't we prefer domestic cats which look like domestic cats? Isn't that the whole point of having a cat in the first place? Maine Coon with human face. Photo: Catsvill County cattery. The idea is to live with an animal which brings a bit of nature and the wild into the home while being domesticated and therefore fitting in with family life. What's the point of a domestic cat looking like a human? I struggle to find a reason why the Internet is fascinated with these creatures. I can think of two interconnected reasons. The first is that humankind so self-interested and so egocentric that humans admire another creature which mimic

Difference between Maine Coon and Turkish Angora

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The montage on this page comparing, visually, the Maine Coon and the Turkish Angora tells us that there is not a huge difference in appearance. Although, it must be said, that the appearance of the Maine Coon and the Turkish Angora can vary considerably dependent upon the breeder and where the breeder lives. This makes it more complicated to answer the question in the title. Maine Coon compared to the Turkish Angora. Image: MikeB from images in public domain. This variation in appearance comes about because the guidelines i.e. the breed standards, allow the breeders some discretion as to how they follow the guidelines. And sometimes they breed the cats to extreme.  So for the Maine Coon you will see quite normal looking cats which are not that dissimilar from regular moggies (as you see in the photo above) to extreme-bred Russian Maine Coons with huge muzzles and magnificent ears. There is even one breeder from Russia living in China who breeds Maine Coons to look like people and th

Difference between Maine Coon and Ragdoll cats

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The Maine Coon and Ragdoll cats are both well-established and popular cat breeds. They are also both large domestic cats. The Maine Coon is the largest conventional i.e. non-hybrid, domestic cat while the Ragdoll is close behind and both are described as "substantial" in cat fancy language . Perhaps the biggest difference is the coat and facial appearance. Maine Coons are recognised in all colours and divisions of the traditional category plus some more which have been added over time such as all-white cats and smoke. Most early Maine Coons were brown tabbys. In short, you will find them in a whole range of coat types whereas the breed standard of the Ragdoll limits this cat's appearance in respect of their coat. They are both sem-longhaired. The Ragdoll is recognised in all pointed colours of the pointed category, in the following divisions: solid point, lynx point, tortie point; all pointed colours and white particolor point division (mitted and bicolour patterns). Yo

TICA accepts but CFA rejects polydactyl Maine Coon cats

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I had noticed a headline, a partly misleading headline it seems to me, in which it stated that cat associations accepted polydactyl Maine Coon cats. If you check the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) Maine Coon Cat breed standard you can see right away that they don't accept Maine Coon cats with the incorrect number of toes. The CFA is the leading cat association with TICA and GCCF (in the UK). However, TICA accept polydactyl Maine Coons : Large, well-tufted. Additional toes allowed on either fore or hind paws or both - TICA breed standard for the Maine Coon  Cute Maine Coon with standard feet. Photo: Pinterest. The CFA breed standard is quite clear. Maine Coon cats with the incorrect number of toes will be disqualified in cat shows. This is reinforced by the fact that the breed standard states that the feet of a Maine Coon should have 'five toes in front; four in back'. That couldn't be clearer. I've got to conclude that some cat associations (or is it just th

Singapore Maine Coon cat owner dies. Rush to adopt their 5 cats through pet store

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This is an unusual story from Singapore. Five Maine coon cats are up for adoption through what appears to be a pet shop because their owner passed away. The owner has remained anonymous but he or she was a regular customer of a local pet store SGPetShop. The deceased person entrusted the store with their cats to rehome them. The store appears to be doing a thorough job in rehoming and have advertised the situation on Facebook using their Facebook page. There's been a bit of a rush of applicants in comments. The Maine Coon cats are aged between one to three years. The adoption fee is 450 Singaporean dollars. The pet store is being quite careful in vetting the adopters. Once vetted they will be notified. This post may be historic in that I would expect the vetting process to be carried out quite quickly. The person died in late January as I understand it. 450 Singaporean dollars is the equivalent of US$337. Some people have questioned whether the adoption fee is too high but i

Are Maine Coon cats friendly? Great picture of a friendly Maine Coon

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Asking whether a Maine Coon cat is friendly is like asking whether the dog your father lives is friendly or the cat that your mother lives with is friendly. The answer, yes, 99% of the time otherwise cat and dog domestication wouldn't work. If Maine Coon cats were generally unfriendly there would be none in existence.  Friendly Maine Coon 'Rex' loves to cuddle in the morning. Photo: Reddit. It would be a cat breed that failed at the starting gate. But that would never have happened because you can make Maine Coon cats friendly by treating Maine Coon kittens, until they are seven weeks of age, really nicely and making sure that they get used to people during that very tender and important time of their lives. If cats get used to people they are friendly towards them. Domestic cats become part of the human family and regard themselves as family members. If you do that i.e. socialise cats, all will be well and the Maine Coon cat created by a cat breeder will be friendly. If

Picture and video of magnificent Maine Coon who shakes your hand

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Nothing special really in the act of training a domestic cat to shake your hand. It takes a bit of work through positive reinforcement but that is about it. The special part of the video is the cat! Wow, what a cat! In fact the video shows us how the woman trained him. The cat is a dark gray/black tabby. As soon as her cat responds correctly she feeds him a treat. She has used her hand, palm facing her cat to signal that the cat should pay attention. I think it links the trained element with the reward. This allows the cat to connect doing something - shaking hands - to receiving a reward. I have seen the same hand signal employed when training a dog . If you click on the link before this sentence you'll see a video on training a dog. The same rules apply for cats. Fundamentally training cats is a good thing. A lot of people don't like it. They regard is as making a cat do unnatural things. But it can be useful to, for instance, ask your cat to come on demand, to accompany

Picture of an extraordinary Maine Coon tail

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Wow, describes my emotions when I saw this plumed Maine Coon tail. I mean, the Maine Coon tail is meant to be grand and fabulous but this! Amazing. It is as long and as impressive as the tail of a snow leopard and they are the world's best cat tails (the longest and thickest). CFA breed standard states (the official guideline to breeders on how the tail should look for this breed):  TAIL: long, wide at base, and tapering. Fur long and flowing. They call them 'plumed' which sort of sums up the appearance. It certainly applies to this cat's tail. Why is she or he outside the home? Thieves about! Too glamorous. Too desirable. Especially during lockdown. But this pic was taken years ago before a pandemic was even dreamt about. Picture of an extraordinary Maine Coon tail. Picture in the public domain. My best guess is that this individual is female. You can detect it in the face. A little more femine that the face of a typical male. This is a gray tabby with a beauty of

Picture of a Maine Coon ruff marked out

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Picture of a Maine Coon ruff marked out! As if it needed it! Pic: Image by Mami Miyashima from Pixabay  The CFA breed standard is ambivalent about Maine Coons having a ruff. I had thought that they were obligatory for this cat breed but the standard does not support this viewpoint. Here is the relevant setion: COAT: heavy and shaggy; shorter on the shoulders and longer on the stomach and britches. Frontal ruff desirable.  So the ruff is 'desirable'. Not mandatory. The cat illustrated has the frontal ruff. I have seen ruffs far more pronounced than this. I wonder if a Maine Coon show cat would win if he or she did not have a ruff? Some of the outstanding Maine Coons that you see on the internet have these important features exaggerated such as the hair at the tips of the ears (lynx tipped ears), the massively square muzzle and of course a huge lion-like mane which is the ruff. The cat that you see in the photograph is not in anyway exaggerated. He or she is a standard-looking

Do Maine Coon cats shed and can it be prevented and reduced?

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To the first part of the question the answer is Yes. To the second part of the question the answer is No. To the third part the answer is Yes, by grooming your cat which will thin out the fur and take away some of the fur that would have been shed naturally by the cat. I guess you know that already. Maine Coon cats are just like any other and that they will shed fur.  Maine Coons shed fur like any other so grooming your cat should be a daily ritual that you both enjoy and which will improve the bond. The Maine Coon is a medium-longhaired cat and perhaps it is fair to say that cats with this hair length tend to shed more or the shedding is more apparent because the hair is longer! That sounds a bit daft but I think it's true. Glorious Maine Coon photographed with a ring flash - look at the reflection in the eyes. Picture in the public domain. It shouldn't be a problem to groom your cat because they normally love it provided it is done with gentleness and plenty of love. In fa

Picture of a bicolor solid gray-and-white Maine Coon

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I 've not seen a bicolor, solid gray-and-white Maine Coon before and certainly not an individual with some much distinction. This guy is amazing. I am presuming that he is a male. They always look male to me - the Maine Coons that we see on Pinterest. Is it sexist to say that the big male Maine Coons look the most impressive? It is probably is but it is also true I guess. Here he is again? Why have I published the picture twice? First reason: the image above is embedded into this page from Pinterest and sometimes these fail and the image may disappear. Second reason: I like to embed images from big sites as it helps Google find the page. So just in case the one above disappears here it is again modified slightly: Bicolor gray-and-white Maine Coon. Picture in public domain  Bicolor: two colors - white and a solid color in this case grey or gray (American spelling). Notice the heavy ruff so typical of the well bred Maine Coon. The square and large muzzle and the large ears with

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