2 reasons why female Maine Coons are better than males

In human terms it is sexist to select one sex over another and I feel slightly uncomfortable doing it but this article should interest people who are thinking of adopting a Maine Coon cat (MC).

2 reasons why female Maine Coons are better than males
2 reasons why female Maine Coons are better than males. Image: MikeB

HCM

If you are thinking of adopting you probably know by now that the MC is predisposed to several inherited diseases, one of which is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). It is a serious heart disease and ultimately a killer. It can start at a very young age. A breeder says that a cat predisposed to HCM should be tested for the disease yearly. How do you check?

This disease is present in the general domestic cat population and in other breeds at a higher prevalence e.g., the Bengal cat at around 15% of all Bengal cats. It is also present in humans at 0.2% prevalence (1 in 500). However, 30% of Maine coon cats have a genetic mutation that makes it likely that they will develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Cats in general are more seriously affected. Why? We should know. The breeds are more seriously affected because of selective breeding.

So, it is a serious issue for MC adopters or should be because no cat caregiver wants their cat to be seriously ill and die before their time.

One genetic mutation which has been isolated as a cause of the disease is called MYBPC3-A31P. There are other mutated genes responsible.

The scientists on the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory website say this:
"Additional information from these publications suggests that male cats may be twice as likely to be affected as females, and that heavier cats are more prone to develop HCM than lighter cats. However, this latter relationship may itself be attributable to a larger size for males than females. "
They say that male MCs are twice as likely to be affected by this mutated gene as females.  And that the weight of the cat is linked to the likelihood of developing the disease.

The simple conclusion is that female MCs are likely to be healthier than males on the 'predisposition to HCM scale'.

Hip dysplasia

Click for the overall prevalence of this disease. The second reason is that as males are heavier than females, they are more susceptible to developing hip dysplasia which as you might know is a loose hip joint due to another inherited genetic mutation. It causes lameness and arthritis.

The big MCs that we see and those that have hip dysplasia in both hips are more likely to have a more serious version of this joint disease.

This is another reason to state with a fair amount of confidence that female MCs are healthier than males at least with reference to this couple of diseases.

Adoption choice

This may affect adoption choices. It also points to the potential advantages of not choosing a huge and impressive MC (which we are all fond of looking at) but one that is more in line with the breed standard and a cat of a more normal size for this breed which is already very large.

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