Maine Coon Cats Have Cattitude!

Does your Maine Coon cat have "cattitude"? Learn what else you can expect from your quirky cat.

By Diane Morgan

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Maine Coon Personality

Quirks and Qualities
The Maine Coon's sociability extends even to its eating habits. Many appear to dislike solitary dining and dig in only when other cats or their humans are also sitting down to eat. Remember, this cat is bigger than most cats, it eats more, too.

If you have a very small dog, be prepared to accept the fact that your Maine Coon may grow to be three or four times the size and weight of the dog. This always makes for interesting conversation for your somewhat unnerved guests. Although your Maine Coon will probably boss your tiny dog around, he's unlikely to bully or harass him. The nickname of “gentle giant” is well deserved — Maine Coons seldom exhibit behavior problems of any sort. They are much too sensible.

In terms of mindset, the Maine Coon has been compared to a 3-year-old human child: inquisitive, willful, charming and utterly without conscience. Although usually well behaved, a Maine Coon can make a shambles of your home if the mood strikes. Any cat can shred something expensive, but the sheer size of the Maine Coon allows it to shred more efficiently. This isn't to say that Maine Coon Cats are destructive. As a rule, they aren't any more than other cats. It's just that when they do decide to redecorate, they can do about twice as much damage as more modestly sized specimens. This doesn't mean that declawing is a good option for responsible cat owners. It's safer, more humane and much cheaper to purchase or install a scratching post and keep your cat's nails properly trimmed. You can even buy corner-saver scratching posts that connect to the corner of the couch, a spot to which many cats seem attracted. On the plus side, Maine Coons are considered one of the smartest and most trainable of all felines. In fact, many can easily be taught to walk on a leash! If you decide to try this, use a harness rather than a collar.

Maine Coons are strong, too, favoring macho tug-of-war games. Toys are an absolute must for this breed — their intelligence demands active stimulation. Maine Coons are especially fond of the fishing-pole type cat toys, but be forewarned. A Maine Coon can easily snap the cord of flimsier models — select a heavy duty variety. And always remember to put the kitty teaser away after playtime — curious cats, especially kittens, can inadvertently swallow strings and precipitate a serious and very expensive medical crisis.

Another weird play habit of the Maine Coon is their penchant for butting heads with their owners, and I mean that in a literal sense. Large Maine Coons are capable of delivering quite a powerful hit, and I speak from personal experience. It appears to be a form of harmless play, which they prefer to engage in with their favorite person. If that person isn't available, the cat will then proceed down the perceived line of authority in the household. At any rate, all these macho play habits go far to endearing the Maine Coon to the male of the human species. This is indeed a man's cat. Even men who say they don't care for cats are invariably charmed by this immense and playful animal.

Boys Vs. Girls
Most people agree that of the two sexes, male Maine Coons are more playful and clownish. The females seem more dignified, as befits the gentler sex (an arrangement similar to that in the human realm, perhaps). On the other hand, females appear more bonded to the whole family, and males tend to choose a favorite and shrug off the rest of the household, unless they feel they're getting insufficient attention. (It's not always good to be the favorite — you get sat on a lot more.)

Maine Coons enjoy participating in family activities, especially those that involve water, such as gardening, bathing, shaving and washing up the dishes. They don't actually help with any of these chores, of course. They just like to watch.

They aren't noisy like Siamese, nor are they totally silent. They seldom utter a conventional “meow,” but have a unique vocabulary of their own, consisting of sweet cheeps, harsh purrs and weird trills. Unique among cats, perhaps—but I have to say that the vocalizations of the Maine Coon do bear a striking similarity to the chirps, purrs, coos and trills of the raccoon. Probably just a coincidence.

There's a Mouse in the House
The Maine Coon is also justly famous for its superior mousing abilities, which historically earned it a place by hearthside, even in the dourest Maine house during the direst of winters.

The highly touted mouse-catching prowess is due not only to the Maine Coon's quickness (surprising in a cat of this size), but also its immense catcher's mitt paws. Today, of course, we prize our Maine Coons for more than their hunting ability.  Their intelligence, affection, charm, independence, beauty and size make these magnificent felines truly one of a kind. And then there is that wild animal factor…

Diane Morgan is a freelance writer who lives in Williamsport, Maryland. She writes books on dogs, cats, horses, gardening and world religions.

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