Showing posts from May, 2023

Why do breeders create Maine Coons with big, square muzzles? What's the purpose?

What's the purpose? Why do Maine Coon breeders go out of their way to create cats with abnormally large and "square" muzzles. They are unnatural. They are more like dog muzzles. Why do breeders create Maine Coons with big, square muzzles? What's the purpose? Image: MikeB. Not common The first point to make is that Maine Coon cats with these kinds of extreme and heavy muzzles are relatively rare. They are quite common on the internet (social media) but on the ground in the "real world" - among the Maine Coon pets - they are much less common. One can be misled by the internet. And the Maine Coon show cats are not like this. They will have heavier than usual muzzles but not the type that we see on social media. The show Maine Coon have slightly heavier and squarer muzzles than normal because they should look natural (see below). Standard guides and encourages But the reason why breeders focus on the muzzle as a defining appearance aspect is because the breed st

What is the purpose of lynx tips on a Maine Coon's ears?

Firstly, the tufts of hair sticking out of the top of a Maine Coon's ear flaps are named after the lynx wild cat as they have them in abundance. The tufts of hair on the lynx wild cat are believed to have a function but we don't know as yet what it is! Perhaps a communication tool via body language. They are likely to be functional to improve survival as almost everything that evolves is designed to improve survival. Maine Coon lynx tips on the ears are purely decorative. Image: MikeB But for the Maine Coon cat these impressive tufts of hair are decorative . They enhance the ear. They decorate the ear as if decorating a sofa with cushions 😎💓. Same thing. There is a rules-based reason: the breed standards insist on them. I've quoted the CFA breed standard in the infographic on this page. The standard allows for breeder discretion which is why you see large variations in the length and density of lynx tips depending on the breeder. The breeders create them over generations

Carbon footprint (CO2e) of a large Maine Coon cat

Firstly, I would like to mention two points. I have referred to 'large' Maine Coon cats because these are typically seen on the internet and they are not untypical but not all Maine Coon cats are the large animals that we see on the internet. They are the largest domestic cat breed but not always exceptionally larger than the standard cat. But the large Maine Coons are going to be about twice the size of your standard domestic cat. By MikeB. And secondly, carbon footprint is referred to as 'CO2e' which means carbon dioxide equivalent. This means looking at all the gases emitted which contribute to global warming including CO2 (carbon dioxide) in producing all the products needed to support a Maine Coon cat or dog. It is an easy way to refer to the impact that creating and supporting a particular product or animal has on climate change. Infographic The infographic on this page was created by me based upon information on the Zero Smart website which I refer to within the

How many hair strands on a Maine Coon cat?

A lot is the answer!! When you try and work out the answer to the question in the title there has to be some estimates and a little bit of judicious guesswork but I think I can be reasonably accurate. If you disagree, please tell me. I'd welcome some input on this and would consider amending the page if necessary. Around 14 million! A large Maine Coon is about 2x the size of a random bred cat looking at the many pictures of videos on the internet. That should mean twice the surface area (very approximately). On an earlier calculation that I made for a standard moggie I said that there are 2,500 hair strands per square centimetre. The surface area of the standard cat is around 2,730 square centimetres. This makes 6.825 million hair strands. You might round that up to 7 million hair strands. As the Maine has about twice the surface area of a standard moggie the total number of hairs on a Maine Coon cat would be approximately 14 million. Note: In a previous earlier calculation I said

Height comparison big Maine Coon versus average American man

When idling away the time, I created this infographic. One of the most interesting things about the Maine Coon is its size. This led me to think about size comparison. I have compared the size of a Maine Coon with a standard domestic cat and a standard-sized dog . Now it is the turn of the human in a stark infographic. FYI - the tallest domestic cat to the shoulder has always been an F1 Savannah cat at about 2 inches taller than the typical big Maine Coons. Although some of the Maine Coons I have seen would probably beat the Savannah cat record. Why aren't they applying for the record!? This highlights the unreliability of Guinness World Records. They depend on voluntary reporting. A lot of people live with a record-breaking cat but are disinterested in records. Size comparison big Maine Coon versus American man. Infographic by MikeB

Lion and Tiger Maine Coons

Here are two Maine Coons who resemble the lion (on the left) and the tiger. There is a distinct resemblance don't you think? Lion and Tiger Maine Coons. Image by MikeB. So, what is it about these two magnificent domestic cats that lead me to seeing this resemblance? Lion The Maine Coon ruff here is huge and although not in the same position as the lion's mane (!) it hints at it. And the reposed, relaxed state and confident facial expression also hint at the lion. Always the heavy muzzle of the Maine Coon allows the breed to be likened to these two big cats. The big cats have large muzzles too. The big error is that the ears of both the lion and tiger are - proportionate to their head size - considerably smaller than those of the Maine Coon. This is partly because the Maine Coon is meant to have big ears. They are unnaturally large and tall as per the breed standard. Here is a lion in repose: Picture is in the public domain to the best of my knowledge. Tiger Well, the heavy face

Can Maine Coons be 'guard cats'?

This might sound a little frivolous, perhaps even stupid please hear me out. We know about guard dogs. In developing countries, a lot of people keep dogs as guard dogs. It may be the main reason why they have a dog.  Guard dogs are also popular in developed countries. Dogs are favoured over cats in this role because they (1) are servants of their master, the pack leader and alpha dog, the human caregiver and (2) they are generally larger and stronger than domestic cats. The dog has an instinct to bark at the door when a stranger arrives as they presume it to be a hostile invader of their pack.  Subject to a few extra conditions, I can see both points 1 and 2 being overturned by the Maine Coon!  Warning: Guard Cat. Image: MikeB We all know that the domestic cat, including the Maine Coon is not a pack animal. They won't defend the group of which they are a member. However, regarding the Maine Coon character I can defer to my favorite reference, Gloria Stephens (Legacy of the Cat). Sh

Are Maine Coons quiet 'gentle giants?'

The Maine Coon is often described as a 'gentle giant'. And sometimes you see the breed described as 'quiet'. For example, the Daily Paws website says that "These big cats are surprisingly quiet—they do love to communicate and vocalize to their humans, but their soft voice may take you by surprise." This Maine Coon illustrates the CFA page on the breed: He/she looks pretty normal, doesn't he? Not gigantic. No extreme muzzle or super-sized ears with massive lynx tips sprouting from them. This is the norm for Maine Coons. Quiet? But one Maine Coon owner on Twitter says that her cat is noisy. She says: As a Maine Coon owner I disagree with this post. I mostly put focus on the breed of my cat to warn others though. They are - noisy! And big and fluffy, which is how he survives my wrath, which I obtain by him being noisy! Who are we to believe? Neither provides us with the right or complete information as there will be variations between individual cats. They pr

Maine Coon Coefficient of Inbreeding not mentioned on CFA and TICA websites but is mentioned by GCCF

This information might interest Maine Coon aficionados i.e. those people who are really into the Maine Coon cat. It's about inbreeding which is measured by the inbreeding coefficient (COI). Sarah Hartwell very usefully provides a diagrammatic chart of the coefficient of inbreeding. It is a scale of 0 to 1 but is often presented as a percentage. So, for example, when siblings are bred to each other the coefficient of inbreeding is 25% and when first cousins are bred to each other the coefficient of inbreeding is 6.25%. COI chart as presented by Sarah Hartwell on her website . Inbreeding depression When breeders inbreed their cats too much it can cause what the cat fancy describes as inbreeding depression which is a compromised immune system and even anatomical defects such as you see in the white tiger. The white tiger by the way is heavily inbred. Inbreeding depression means ill health basically and a shorter lifespan and weak kittens et cetera. It's what you wou

Don't take your Maine Coon cat for a walk like this!

Maine Coon Lotus - one of the internet's outstanding Maine Coons - outside on a proper leash. Image: Instagram. I am one of those people who think that Maine Coon cats should be leash trained as a default aspect of cat caregiving. It should be started when they are kittens after adoption. It is a bit tough to say that because leash training isn't easy but Maine Coons are indoor cats. Going for a short walk with a Maine Coon is great for them. It is a gift that their caregiver can give to them.  The person in the video below - it seems that she is an Asian woman - has a good heart because she wants to get her cat outside under supervision. That's nice. But the MO is not good. Visit Ben the Vet's TikTok page . This method is not recommended for Maine Coon owners. It is not only uncomfortable and unnatural, if a cat panicked when in this sort of harness, she'd probably be able to escape which would be a nightmare for the owner and a genuine potential health problem for

Ben the Vet would not purchase a Maine Coon cat

You might have bumped into Ben the Vet on the internet . He is on TikTok giving his opinion as a British veterinarian about dogs and cats. The advice he gives is, of course, based on the knowledge he has gained as a veterinarian. He sees cats and dogs from a health perspective first and foremost. He also has his own non-medical preferences. My attitude on cats and dogs mirrors Ben's attitude. It is as if he is speaking for me. Of course, I am pleased about that. He stresses that they are his personal views. However, they are worth listening to because he is a very sensible person firstly and secondly the health of a dog or cat breed or random-bred cat is the most important criteria for choosing a pet. The next most important thing is behavior (character) and thirdly appearance. This is the exact reverse order of what actually happens for real. Never mind. The video explains the reason why he'd adopt a moggie - a random-bred or mixed-breed - cat. This means by implication he wo

Maine Coons more likely to exhibit redirected aggression?

I have just written a short article about domestic cat redirected aggression which Dr Fogle also calls 'pain-induced' aggression. I hadn't connected the two before but there is a connection. It is also called 'transferred aggression'. Cat redirected aggression or pain-induced aggression Pain-induced aggression in cats will typically be seen if a cat suffers from chronic pain to varying extents because of an underlying illness. When this cat is picked up for instance it may trigger a burst of pain. The owner puts their cat down as the cat cries out. Maine Coons more likely to exhibit redirected aggression? Image: MikeB The cat does not attack their owner perhaps because they feel unable to. They attack another cat in the home instead, shortly afterwards, to release their instinctive desire to strike back at the animal that caused the pain. We know with regret that the Maine Coon cat suffers from a range of inherited diseases which can cause discomfort to hard pain. T

Is spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in Maine Coon cats painful?

Answer to the title question:  While SMA can cause discomfort and weakness, it is not typically considered a painful condition in cats  (source: ChatGPT) .  That does not say it does not cause pain. It does say that it causes discomfort which is a mild form of pain isn't it?! This is one of several inherited diseases linked to this cat breed, all of which cause discomfort to varying degrees. Hip dysplasia simply causes pain, bad pain I'd suggest as it causes arthritis - bone on bone. There is a question mark over whether it is cruel to breed this cat under the current circumstances as managed by the cat associations .  They accept these problems. They should not. It is unethical to continue breeding cats like this. Note: UC Davis in the US have a DNA test for this disease. Affected by SMA. Image in public domain believed. RELATED: the above picture accompanies a page on 15 facts about this disease -  LINK . Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disorder that affects the mo

Is breeding the Maine Coon cat cruel as they have several serious inherited diseases?

The answer to the question in the title comes from Google's AI computer Bard. Here it is. It is flawed. There are errors which I mention below the answer. For those of you who I have never heard of Bard, it is Google's version of an artificial intelligence chat box. You can ask it questions and it provides a good answer, written in good English at the moment.  Fictional depiction of Google's Bard. Image: DALLE E. It is in a developmental stage but it can be used as you can see on this page. It is going to change the way Google presents its search results. It is an attempt by Google in fact to take more control of the Internet in my view and I have questioned whether this development is fair and right in another article which you can read by clicking on this link . Bard's response to the title question Whether or not breeding Maine Coon cats is cruel is a complex question with no easy answer. On the one hand, Maine Coons are a relatively healthy breed with a lifespan of

Maine Coons appear to be at a higher risk of peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia (PPDH)

A study which has been published online and which you can see by clicking on the following link: , concluded that longhaired cats of varying breeds particularly Maine Coon cats appear to be at a higher risk of PPDH.  Maine Coons appear to be at a higher risk of peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia (PPDH). Image: Clinician's Brief. "Peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia" describes the most common congenital defect involving the pericardium in dogs and cats. In this defect, the abdominal contents are herniated (to protrude through an abnormal body opening, rupture) into the pericardial sac (a fibrous sac that encloses the heart and great vessels). For a cat, the symptoms might include: vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, weight loss and difficulty breathing according to the pet MD website. I think this information may interest some Maine Coon owners who want to do their best for the health of their cat. It is always useful to have a bit

Hip dysplasia in Maine Coons is common and it can make them aggressive and harm their character

The presentation of hip dysplasia in Maine Coons is gradual with subtle behavioural changes such as inactivity or aggression, lack of response to human attention, reluctance to go up or down stairs, and resistance to handling. Here is a video I made to change the way I discuss these issues. They are very important issues. It surprises me that people discuss them more or hardly at all. Health is more important than appearance at the end of the day. That's what I think but it seems that I am out of step with almost everyone else!  The video that I have made, boring though it is, is the first I've seen on how hip dysplasia has a negative impact on the cat's character. In the video, I mention that people don't talk about this disease affecting character. What I mean is that the owners on TikTok proudly show off their cats which is understandable but they don't mention this important health issue. They wouldn't because it is a negative but it is important. @mikej

Demographics of hip dysplasia in the Maine Coon cat

In the world of purebred cats, the Maine completely dominates in suffering from hip dysplasia. No other breed or non-breed comes near in terms of prevalence. The right hip is more likely to be diseased compared to the left. The disease can make Maine Coons aggressive and lose interest in human attention (presumed due to the persistent discomfort) which is sad as this cat is calm and friendly when healthy and well cared for. The disease was first mentioned in 1974. This article sets out information about a large number of Maine Coon cats which suffer from hip dysplasia. I will present the information in bullet form below: There were 2732 individual cat participating in this study of which 99.9% were Maine Coons (2708). The youngest Maine Coon cat with feline hip dysplasia (FHD) was four months of age. The oldest was 60 months of age. Of the 2708 Maine Coon cats with hip dysplasia, 2548 had non-borderline symptoms which meant it was full-blown hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia was more common

Video short (very short!) on "Are Maine Coon cats hypoallergenic?" Meaning are they good for people who are allergic to cats?

Here is the video. It's me. Sorry as I am a little bit passed by sell by date but still kicking. I thought I'd do this a different way for a change to avoid boredom! It is very short as the answer to the question in the title can be short. There is no need for interminable waffle which is what we see on some sites. The truth is that no domestic cat is truly hypoallergenic, even the Siberian despite breeders claiming that they are. And even the hairless cats are not allergen-free because it is in their saliva and they lick themselves like any other domestic cat.

Diggs shows off his huge and outstanding poly feet

I guess you know that by 'poly feet' I mean polydactyl paws. Polydactylism comes in a variety of styles. Sometimes the extra toes are not very obvious. They look almost like standard feet. No so for Diggs who shows of his outstanding set. His paws look completely mishappen compared to standard paws but they are great.  I love to see polydactyl paws on Maine Coons because this 'abnormality in the anatomy of the paws' is part and parcel of the breed's history and it is benign. The genetic mutation that causes it does no harm to the cat which is not the case with some mutations such as the folded ears of the Scottish Fold. That breed should not have been created in the first place. Maine Coon Diggs shows of his outstanding poly feet. Image: Polydactylism (polydactyly) and Maine Coons go together like apple pie and custard. It is a shame that America's most high-profile cat association, the Cat Fanciers' Association, does not like them. They don't

Maine Coons are 'skinny' under their shaggy coats or should be

Kusa weighs less than you might think at 16.5 pounds. Image: TikTok. All Maine Coons are skinny under their shaggy coats. Perhaps the word 'skinny' is a bit strong but they are slender and athletic if they are in good condition. In technical language this is about their 'body conformation'. Maine Coon 'Kusa' looks enormous but weighs 16.5 pounds because he is skinny under his impressive coat. Or they should be.  "It's crazy he is only 16 pounds!" They give the impression that they are larger in terms of fat coverage than they are because their coat is very full. I am sure if all the huge Maine Coons were shaved of their fur, we'd be quite shocked at their slender frames. The breed standard describes the Maine Coon as 'rugged'. That comes from their barn cat background. They are a large cat but not stocky or cobby (the cat fancy's word for stocky) as is the case with some other breeds (the British SH for instance). There is a practi

Which is bigger Maine Coon or Ragdoll?

The Maine Coon is bigger . Many years ago, I did a lot of work on this and you can see the page if you wish by clicking on this link . The conclusion was that the Maine Coon is the largest domestic cat breed. The second largest breed is the Ragdoll.  Comparing Ragdoll and Maine Coon. Image: MikeB But the complication is that the above information concerns the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) which recognises both these breeds. However, TICA (The International Cat Association) recognises the Savannah cat and the Chausie. These are wildcat hybrids and the F1 Savannah is on average bigger than the Maine Coon. I stress 'on average'. Under TICA registered cats, the second largest breed is the Chausie and Maine Coon. Under GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy - based in the UK) and FiFe (Fédération Internationale Féline - based in Europe) the Maine Coon is the largest cat breed with the Ragdoll coming second with the cats registered with these associations. So, these organisa

How to keep a Maine Coon cat clean - poop on butt problems

Social media users are asking the question how to keep their Maine Coon clean? And what they are referring to is not keeping the whole cat clean because they can do that for themselves by and large. What they are referring to is poop stuck to their cat's backside. This appears to be a problem with Maine Coon cats. It is certainly not uncommon . There are several things that can be tried to alleviate if not eliminate the problem. Please read on. There are some useful links to information about litter trays/boxes and substrate which may help. This Maine Coon has difficulty in keeping his butt clean. Image: The owner asks how he/she can keep him/her clean. Interesting aspect of the question Normally domestic cats are fastidious about keeping themselves clean including their bottoms. If they can't it can only be because the problem overwhelms them and they need intervention. Initial question It seems to me that you have to ask yourself an initial question. It is my Main

Big ears (MC) and No ears (Fold)

By 'no ears' I mean no visible ears. This is a nice photo showing the very sharp difference in the head profile of the Maine Coon and the Scottish Fold. In terms of the anatomy of the ear flap they are at extremes of the spectrum. The Maine Coon (MC) has big and often tall triangular ear flaps topped off by stiff hairs (lynx tips) which make the ears look even bigger. MC ears are one of their hallmark or defining anatomical characteristics . Maine Coon and Scottish Fold. Image: Twitter. The only anatomical characteristic which defines the Scottish Fold (Folds) is the flattened ear flaps. You can adopt Folds which have normal ears because that is how breeding has to take place. But without the flattened ear flaps straight Scottish Folds looks like any other non-purebred cat In order to avoid dire genetically created and debilitating cartilage problems breeders can't breed Fold to Fold which means half the litter are non-Folds. Which also means that you'll see "Scott

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