Maine Coon coat is the single most important part of the cat's appearance

The CFA breed standard guides breeders on the appearance of the breeds registered with that association. It is the same with the other breeds and associations.

They award points for each aspect of the appearance with the overall total being 100. This allows judges to give an overall figure which is a percentage.

The MC has a double coat of downy undercoat and a top coat but the coat is made up of three types of hair strand: down hairs (wool hairs), bristle or awn hairs and guard hairs. Technically there is a fourth type of hair: the whiskers.

Maine Coon coat is the single most important part of the cat's appearance
Maine Coon coat is the single most important part of the cat's appearance. Image: MikeB

The aspect of the Maine Coon appearance (anatomy) to which is attached the most points in the coat. A show cat can be awarded a maximum of 20 points (20% of the total) for their coat in comparison to 15 for the head shape and 15 for the body shape. This 20% figure does NOT include body colour and pattern.

The coat is therefore the most important single aspect of the cat's appearance. The show cat can potentially pick up more points for an excellent coat than they can for an excellent head shape.

The overriding quality of the coat is that it should be shaggy and heavy. The coat is described by some cat fanciers as semi-long. It looks long to me but some cat breeds have longer fur e.g., the Persian and they are described as longhaired cats. The MC coat is actually long by normal standards.

The Maine Coon is the only cat breed I know of which will be praised at a CFA cat show if their coat is shaggy. 'Shaggy' means 'long, thick and unkempt'.

The unkempt aspect of the coat is intriguing. Unkempt has connotations of not being cared for, of being messy and badly looked after by their owner/breeder. But it does not mean that.

It means that the coat is meant to look natural as if the cat is still living in a barn in the state of Maine in the 19th century or earlier.

Normally the task of breeders is to produce a very tidy looking cat. Not so with the Maine Coon.

The last point worth making is that although we all think of the Maine Coon as having an obligatory ruff - the long fur covering their chest - this aspect of the cat is not actually strictly mandated in the breed standard.

A ruff is 'desirable' but not essential. I guess a Maine Coon show cat without a ruff would be marked down in the 20-point section on the quality of the coat.


Popular posts from this blog

The extreme Maine Coon face

Eerie picture of a Maine Coon sitting like a human on a chest of drawers

Black smoke Maine Coon Richie with a black face and diamond eyes