The Maine Coon cat is a great example of a working cat and is one of the longest established cat breeds.
It gets its first part of its name from the region that it comes from, Maine in America and the second from its rather bushy tail, reminiscent of a Racoons tail.
Maine is one of America's most northeasterly states and is known for its mountains and forests and for rather severe winters.
The cat is therefore built to withstand these conditions and has a heavy coat and is powerfully built. It is a particularly skilled hunter and is rather good at climbing trees, another similarity it has with the racoon.
The Maine Coon breed is one of the largest breeds and is often referred to as the "gentle giant". Despite its size it is a very graceful cat and is Americas second favourite breed, only pipped at the post by the Persian.
The cat's features are:
The colour variations of this cat breed are known as:
Coat: The Cat has a thick, dense coat, which is waterproof and has an under coat. It is designed to keep the cat very warm during harsh winters but cool in the summer. It has a very long bushy tail that ends in a taper and is held high.
Eyes: The cat has full round eyes with a slight oblique aperture. They come in all colours including odd colours in the white cats.
Grooming: The Maine Coon does require regular brushing to remove loose hair and to reduce the likelihood of hairballs. However the coat is not prone to matting like some other long furred cats and is fairly easy to manage.
This cat breed is very intelligent and has a very calm nature. As mentioned before a very gentle cat that loves human company and cat be very affectionate. They are however very active cats and should not be confined indoors.
See this book for more information about this breed.