My husband and I have been dreaming about getting a Maine Coon cat for 10 years but we only dared to get one when we got our own apartment and already had kids. That’s how a 3-month old Maine Coon, who we call Moose, started to live with us. Since that time I have heard a lot of warnings that he would eat us up, as well as plenty of questions about why he is so small — other Maine Coons can grow to the size of a lynx.
Now Moose is 10 months old and we have completely gotten used to living with each other. Within this time, I have checked into all of the myths about Maine Coons and feel eager to tell readers all the truths and lies about this breed.
They are actually not that big.
Perhaps each of us has seen photos from cat exhibitions where the proud owners of Maine Coons stretch them to the full length, which makes these animals look huge. There are legends saying these cats can weigh anywhere from 35-60 pounds. In reality, they are not as big as breeders try to make us think. They have their standard, which is: 11-18 pounds for males (neutered ones can reach up to 27 pounds), and 6.5-11 pounds for females (spayed ones can reach up to 17 pounds).
If we compare them with the tabby cat of my parents — she weights a little bit more than 11 pounds, just like a pretty big Maine Coon female cat. Then why do the cats of this breed look so huge in their photos? First of all, the right angle, where the head of the animal is located closer to the camera than the owner’s head and where its body looks long, makes the cat look like a giant.
Second of all, Maine Coons are really bigger than other domestic cats. They have well-developed muscles and very strong paws. As a rule, these parameters can be noticed even when they are kittens.
Maine Coons have their own diseases.
These cats are adapted for life in harsh climates, so they often have good health and a long life expectancy. According to data on life insurance for domestic cats in Sweden for 2003-2006, the average life expectancy of Maine Coons was about 12 and a half years, while more than 50% of these animals lived longer.
However, the breed has specific diseases. One of them is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This disease usually manifests itself in middle and old age. It can lead to pulmonary edema, sudden hind limb paralysis, and death. Due to problems with their hearts, they are required to have an ECG and an ultrasound of their heart done before their castration or sterilization.
Another specific problem of the breed is spinal muscular atrophy. It can be noticed even when they are kittens — the back part of their body sways when the animal walks, in addition, they can’t jump on the furniture.
Maine Coons are also more likely to suffer from hip dysplasia than other breeds. This disease manifests itself in old age and the animal begins to limp.