Showing posts from December, 2022

Why shouldn't you buy a Maine Coon cat?

The question in the title looks a bit strange; very negative and perhaps unhelpful but there is some value in answering it. When you answer the question in respect of Maine Coon cats you have to answer the question in respect of all domestic cats of any kind. That's obvious but it needs to be stated. So, the question could be rephrased: "Why shouldn't you adopt a domestic cat?" Why shouldn't you buy a Maine Coon cat? There are pros and cons. Image: MikeB. You can see the slight difference in the question. You have to buy a Maine Coon cat because they are created by cat breeders and they are hobby breeders making some money on the side normally. They won't give you a Maine Coon for free normally. And that is the first issue to discuss: one reason why you shouldn't buy a Maine Coon cat is because you should adopt a rescue cat. The upfront costs will be much less when you pay an adoption fee at a rescue center than when you purchase a Maine Coon cat for abou

Why do Maine Coons have ear tufts?

I have seen some very misleading articles on this from leading websites including Maine Coon Central. 'Ear tufts' refer to the long, stiff hair strands that sprout from the tip of the ear flap. It is hair outside the ear flap and therefore plays no part in preventing dirt and debris from entering the ear canal as stated by Maine Coon Central.  Fantastic ear tufts on a young ginger tabby and white Maine Coon. Photo: Facebook (believed). Debris is stopped by what the cat fancy call 'ear furnishings' which is the hair inside the ear flap.  Ear tufts are purely decorative for the domestic cat and the Maine Coon. All domestic cats have ear tufts but for nearly all of them they are very slight and hardly visible sometimes. So why do Maine Coons have enlarged ear tufts? It is because the breed standard insists on them. Here is the CFA breed standard: EARS : Shape: large, well-tufted, wide at base, tapering to appear pointed. Set: approximately one ear’s width apart at the base

Ginger Maine Coon with underbite (malocclusion). Cause?

Malocclusion is the imperfect positioning of the teeth when the jaws are closed. There are various versions of it. The lady who cares for this extreme-bred, ginger Maine Coon says her cat has an underbite. It is hard to see in the photo. It means that the lower jaw protrudes further out than the upper jaw. It looks relatively slight in this cat. Ginger Maine Coon with underbite (malocclusion). Cause? Probably inbreeding. Photo: u/jourdanlc  She writes on Reddit: Vet thinks he’s around 4 or 5 years! Yeah, he was dumped out in our neighborhood last Christmas 🥺 we’re in Alabama so tbh it’s not surprising. The animals laws here are practically non-existent. I’ll look that up! He’s definitely been a great kitty! She doesn't have a great regard for animal welfare in Alabama 😉. I am sure that she is right. Imagine dumping a genuine Maine Coon. And one with a great character. Really careless and callous I'd say. And rare too. Very few Maine Coons are abandoned. But what about the un

Can Maine Coon cats be left alone all day?

No, Maine Coon cats can't be left alone all day, particularly if the cat is confined to the home, perhaps an apartment. However, there are no absolutely right answers . But it would be very poor cat ownership to leave a super Maine Coon home alone daily.  The question is as much about buying a Maine Coon cat as anything else. When you buy any purebred cat, you have to decide whether you can afford to maintain your cat (about £1000 annually) and whether your life is in a position which allows you to be a proper, generous caregiver. Maine Coon at home. Image in public domain as assessed. Not everybody, often through no fault of their own, has a lifestyle which allows them to be a cat caregiver of a decent standard. An important aspect of cat caregiving is being there for them. And having a stable life with a decent home. Domestic cats live in the human world. Often times it is the cat and the human who live in the home and nobody else. From a cat's perspective their human caregiv

"Maine cat"

The name "Maine cat" was an early version of today's 'Maine Coon cat'. It was used by Frances Simpson in 1902 in her book, " Cats and All about Them ". It is perhaps the earliest fully fledged book on the domestic cat and the breeds. She also edited "The Book of the Cat" which I believe was published in 1903. In this book she commissioned and collated the writing of breeders, naturalists and veterinarians. The quote below comes from the former I believe. "From my earliest recollection I have had from one to several long-haired cats of that variety often called Maine cats . As to how and when they came, I would say, like Topsy, they just “growed,” for their advent reaches far back beyond the memory of the oldest inhabitant." Personally, I would have to say that the earlier version of the name is much better than the later version particularly now in a woke world where any mention of the word "coon" is uncomfortable. For the l

Infographic on CFA Maine Coon breed standard on muzzle

This is an infographic which examines the CFA breed standard for the Maine Coon in relation to the muzzle. An important part of the cat's anatomy. It is very important for the breeders as the muzzle is one element which distinguishes the Maine Coon from other at breeds. The breeds have to look different for obvious reasons. The cat fancy achieves this with selective breeding. Historically the Maine Coon is a regular, medium-longhaired moggie that was a barn cat. When you see the original Maine Coons from over 100 years ago, they look like rescue cats! They wouldn't pass muster today because of the evolved breed standard. The muzzle and the lynx tipped ears are probably the two most distinguishing features combined with the cats 'solid and rugged' appearance. Those are the words of the CFA. No mention of size. The cat show winner in the infographic must be female and is quite delicate, interestingly. The muzzle is pronounced however.

When a Maine Coon's head is as big as their human's

The infographic on this page is about all there is to know about big Maine Coons. There is a fascination with the enormous. Until I'd seen such large feline heads on equally large domestic cat bodies, I would never have envisaged a domestic cat's head being the same size as that of their owner. It demonstrates the power of selective breeding from foundation stock that includes a massive male Maine Coon. You could argue that it has got out of hand a little as the CFA breed standard does not insist that Maine Coons need to be huge or even large. The standard does not state that.  The cat show winning Maine Coons are not huge. They look quite normal. In fact, the breed standard says that quality should not be sacrificed at the altar of massive size. Point made. What kind of Maine Coon wins cat show competitions ? Instructive. Like almost all others, however, I like big Maine Coons as long as they are healthy. There is an issue here as the bigger Maine Coons are more likely to deve

Christmas is the least wonderful time of the year for companion animals

Cat climbs Christmas tree and bingo. Timber!! Andy Williams sung many beautiful and popular songs one of which is "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". Very often that is not the case for companion animals in Maine Coons (you see I got it in). Here are 10 facts which support the thought. The last one is about the cost of insurance. Christmas is a dangerous time for companion animals because more insurance claims are made for animal accidents and injuries than at any other time of the year. An online vet, Vetster, said that 54% of owners had pets that had been injured during Christmas. Eating baubles accounted for 17% of the festive injuries to pets. Eating food that they shouldn't because it's toxic to animals accounted for 14% of injuries. Climbing Christmas trees and falling over and destroying the tree at the same time accounted for 11% of the injuries. However, a pet insurer, ManyPets, said that accidents are Christmas are only slightly more likely to oc

Percentage prevalence of hip dysplasia in Maine Coons by region and country

The dreaded FHD in MCs. Image: MikeB Here is a chart that may interest some Maine Coon aficionados. It shows the prevalence among Maine Coons of that well know inherited disease: hip dysplasia in various regions and countries. The result? It is pretty much the same everywhere. Finland comes out worst at 28.3 per cent while 'all others' come out the best. What can we take from this? The study scientists came to this conclusion (summarised and reworded): "Feline hip dysplasia (FHD) is a common condition in cats, particularly in certain breeds such as the Maine Coon. This study found that the overall prevalence of FHD in the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) database was 24.9%, with a slightly higher prevalence in males (27.3%) compared to females (23.3%). The percentage of bilateral (affecting both hips) FHD was 56% of the total cases, and the dysplasia was more severe in bilateral cases. These findings should be interpreted with caution, as they may not necessarily ap

Is it a good idea to give my Maine Coon cat a lion cut?

Is it sensible to shave a Maine Coon cat in the summer months when it's hot? Often when cat owners do this, they give their cat a lion cat. Original 'Maine cats' It is not an easy question to answer but this is mine. The Maine Coon cat (MC) is a medium-longhaired cat with a shaggy coat. It is a coat designed for living in cold conditions as did the original "Maine cats" as they were called when they were barn cats in the mid-19th century. Maine Coon with lion cut. Image in the public domain. At that time their coat served a purpose. To keep them warm 😃. I didn't need to state that, did I? But nowadays Maine Coon cats are companions living mainly inside the home. Sometimes they are exclusively confined to the home. I expect that 90% of homes in America are kept at a reasonable temperature both in winter and summer (wrong? Please tell me). The only reason why MCs have medium-longhair is because that is the way they been bred and it is for appearance . RELATED: 

UK Maine Coon kittens available for Christmas 2022

The Maine Coon Cat Club provides us with useful advice about purchasing a Maine Coon kitten. I mention some aspects of this advice below. One of their services is to provide a list of kittens available at certain times. They've updated their list on December 18, 2022. Like other people, my mind turns to a Christmas gift of a Maine Coon kitten which sounds fantastic BUT you know you've got to be self-disciplined. Super Maine Coon kitten. Image: Pinterest (modified by MikeB). The old adage comes to mind which is that a kitten is not for Christmas but for the life of the animal. It's very easy to be a little bit self-indulgent and think that I want a kitten NOW and I am going to have one for Christmas. Or my children would like a Maine Coon kitten for Christmas. The best present ever.  But that does not mean you shouldn't buy for Christmas . It is fine provided you have done your homework. Sorry if I sound as if I am lecturing. Note: I don't think you should buy a £1,2

Maine Coon has the current longest domestic cat tail in the world (Dec 2022)

This is a reminder, to me, and perhaps other people, that Guinness World Records awarded in October 2021 Maine Coon Altair Cygnus Powers  with the accolade of having the current world's longest domestic cat tail. I am not sure how significant that record is but, wow, what a tail! It certainly looks like the world's longest domestic cat tail and it is fluffy and plumed as well just to add a bit more glamour to it.  Maine Coon has the current longest domestic cat tail in the world. This is  Altair Cygnus Powers. Photo by him or his wife. It does not surprise me that a Maine Coon has this record because they are very long cats. We know this because consistently the world's longest domestic cat is a Maine Coon . It's one small step from there to having the longest tail. And of course the Maine Coon is the largest domestic cat breed (as a breed). You will find some individual cats of a different breed being bigger than some individual Maine Coon cats but, overall, the Maine

15 facts about spinal muscular atrophy in Maine Coon cats

Here are 15 facts about spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in Maine Coon cats. SMA in a young non-Maine Coon. Image believed to be in the public domain and from a study: "Failure of lower motor neuron radial outgrowth precedes retrograde degeneration in a feline model of spinal muscular atrophy." SMA is an inherited genetic disease in Maine Coon cats causing a decreased muscle mass. If two carrier cats, that is cats which are heterozygous to the disease which means they carry one copy of the gene mutation, are mated there is a 25% probability of the offspring being affected. This means that 25% of the offspring will be homozygous to the disease which in turn means that they have two copies of the gene mutation. The disease will be present in them. The disease affects the spinal cord nerves that control the skeletal muscles of the body and legs. The spinal cord nerves die off. The disease is evident at about 3 to 4 months of age. Kittens move with a sway in the rear end. By the ag

Is the Maine Coon cat inbred?

How long will this Maine Coon kitten live? More than 11 years? Image: MikeB from images in the public domain. The question whether the Maine Coon cat is inbred is very important. I have just written a couple of articles, one about inbreeding depression and how it's caused and its effect on health, and the other an article about the lifespan of domestic cats comparing purebred cats with non-purebred cats. These are important and both affect the Maine Coon. Please click on the links to read them: Inbreeding depression cause and effect Lifespans of some purebred and random-bred domestic cats UK (some startling stats) When I did that research I came across a study and presentation, the results of which you can see by clicking on the second link above , which came to the conclusion that the average lifespan of the Maine Coon cat is 11-years-of-age. I found that statistic shocking.  The Abyssinian's average age is 10 years while the Bengal cat is 7.3 years according to this study. P

How much space does a Maine Coon cat need?

Outdoor Maine Coon decides where to go. Image: MikeB based on image in public domain. How much space have you got? You haven't got enough space. I'll explain why. Maine Coon cats are like any other domestic cat in terms of their space requirements. Their space requirements are based on their 'home range'. Your average domestic cat, given complete free rein in order to satisfy their natural, wild instincts, would probably need to travel 50 meters to 400 meters in any direction from their home where they live with their caregiver.  On my calculation, the longer distance represents about 50 hectares or 124 acres! The lower figure of 50 meters represents a space of about 2 acres or 84,540 square feet. The average house size in the United States is 2,500 square feet. Most Maine Coons are confined to 2,500 square feet which is about 3 percent of their free travel desires. Movements of domestic cats allowed to go out based on a scientific study.  Seeing as Maine Coon cats real

Should Maine Coons wear collars?

Should Maine Coon cats wear collars? It's a question posed by the owner of the website Maine Coon Central and I think the question is not a great one to be perfectly frank but it does just about need to be addressed which is why I am writing this article. Maine Coon cat wearing a collar. Photo by Warren Photographic (modified by MikeB) and used with his express permission. You could ask the same question about any domestic cat that goes outside. Cat collars normally contain an identification tag. Cats that go outside might get lost. The ID tag can help them be reunited with their owner without recourse to having to scan for a microchip. The thing is though that it is probably exceptional for a Maine Coon cat to be allowed to go outside unsupervised. Quite rarely people take them outside on a harness and lead to allow them to explore the outside and be mentally stimulated. However, under these circumstances you don't need a collar with an ID tag for obvious reasons (unless they

Obesity and 4 other factors may influence development of HCM in Maine Coons

I realise that this is a bit technical which can be boring but I think that it is important that people in the cat fancy which includes cat association administrators and cat breeders get a handle on inherited diseases in Maine Coon cats. Why are they accepted? They spoil an otherwise great cat breed. What about the cat? They are sometimes destined to die young of HCM. It's not nice of humans to bring into the world an animal for sale that will be breathless and dying well before their time. Beautiful young Maine Coon. Image in public domain. Below is a 'translation' from the very technical language of a Maine Coon study into the body size and metabolic differences in Maine Coon cats with and without HCM. It looks at things that it seems to me can be done by the breeder to help lengthen lifespans. HCM is caused by an inherited gene mutation but it can be exacerbated it seems by the factors mentioned. RELATED:  How do I check if my Maine Coon has HCM? Hypertrophic cardiomyo

How much do Maine Coon cats cost UK?

It is possible to provide a very precise answer. Here it is: Quality Maine Coon kittens are priced at between £1,000-£1,200 with the latter price being more common. Stud male cat (huge): £2,000. He is described as being well behaved. I presume the buyer will be a breeder. That is all you need to know on price (but see P.S. below)! And that the prices are time sensitive due to high inflation in the UK at present. It is predicted to go down in the early part of 2023. Pet food prices have risen. That means that the costs to breeders have risen. Some websites provide a range of prices but that is less helpful I feel.  P.S. The Maine Coon Cat Club (MCCC) in the UK makes some good points one of which is to buy from a breeder listed on their site as they have agreed to comply with the principles of the GCCF Code of Ethics and requirements of the MCCC. That's important to avoid scams and having to deal with an unscrupulous breeder. Maine Coon kitten for sale in the UK at £1,200. Pets4Homes

One thing guides the Maine Coon breed standard

There is one distinct aspect of the Maine Coon (MC) which guides the CFA administrators in drafting the breed standard and the same will apply to other cat associations but perhaps to varying extents. It is this: the breed has a very well-known history in Maine and other northeast coast US states. This is essentially a rugged and handsome barn cat . A farm cat at heart. Maine Coon has a barn cat heritage. Image: MikeB. Here is the CFA breed standard's introduction and it guides the whole standard. Although there have been many 'refinements' over the more than hundred years that the MC has been a show cat. The standard hints at the barn cat history throughout. GENERAL: originally a working cat, the Maine Coon is solid, rugged, and can endure a harsh climate. A distinctive characteristic is its smooth, shaggy coat. A well-proportioned and balanced appearance with no part of the cat being exaggerated . Quality should never be sacrificed for size. With an essentially amiable d

Earliest age when HCM in Maine Coons can be detected

Beautiful Maine Coon ginger tabby kitten but are they predisposed to HCM? Image: Photo: Viktoria Vyacheslavovna Terskaya. My research using clinical studies informs me that the disease usually appears around 6 months of age but perhaps as early as 3 months of age according to one American hospital. ---------------- The first study I looked at describes the development and characteristics of a colony of Maine coon cats that had familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHCM), a genetic heart disease. The researchers bred affected and unaffected cats to determine the mode of inheritance of the disease and used echocardiography to identify affected offspring and determine the natural history of the disease.  The results showed that the disease follows an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance with 100% penetrance, meaning that individuals who carry the genetic mutation for the disease will develop it. The disease usually appears in cats around 6 months of age and becomes more severe in yo

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