A Cat is A Cat but What is a Maine Coon
A Cat by Any Other Name
Let me set the record straight. I do not have a pet of my own. I am writing about two special pets that belong to my son and his wife. These animals, that so quickly made themselves at home in their new family, are majestically unusual pets that have fascinated me since I first saw them.
Why you may ask do I not get straight to the point and just call a cat a cat? I hesitate because if you have ever seen these cats in their full glory, you may wonder exactly what kind of pet you are looking at. They are called Maine Coons, and they are among the most glorious cats I have ever seen and the most unique in every way.
Corwin and Tazendra with their Brothers and Sisters
These Maine Coon cats are named Tazendra and Corwin. They are brother and sister purchased from Woodstock cattery, a Maine Coon breeder. Their litter included five kittens.
Naturally, as kittens they are cute as buttons and other than their pointed ears and long tails, they are just as cuddly as any other kittens. The difference comes later, but not too much later, in their size and their beautiful fur. The image in this lens is the litter showing Tazendra and Corwin on the far right. Tazendra is cuddling up to Corwin, which is why they were brought home together and how you can often find them.
Does Size Really Matter
If Your Pet is a Maine Coon, Absolutely
Maine Coons are one of the largest domestic cat breeds. How large? These cats can reach a height of between ten and sixteen inches and a length that could top out at forty inches, but that won't happen until they are about three to five years old. Their size, of course, includes a tail that can get as long as fourteen inches. You could easily get caught in that tail or maybe even tripped if you are not careful.
Size is not the only things unique about these cats. What do you think of when you picture a Viking besides big and tall - solid, muscular, sexy? Well two out of three isn't bad for a Maine Coon, which is also solid and muscular, with a long, tapering body full of beautiful fur. They also have larger claws than most cats, so best you keep them trimmed if you like your skin scratch free.
Take a look at Corwin stretched out in all his full glory and remember that he is still young and will grow longer and furrier.
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Corwin is Beautiful in a Very Special Way
Corwin posed for the photographer taking this picture because Julie, my daughter-in-law, threw a ball at the photographer to get the cat's attention, otherwise he showed no interest in posing for pictures. Corwin,as well as all Maine Coon cats, have a long history that is filled with fable, folklore and some truth.
It is said that Vikings, I had a reason for my previous comparison, may have brought two domestic cats, one long and one short haired, together which resulted in the first Maine Coons. The reasoning behind this assumption is that Maine Coons resemble the Norwegian Forest Cat that may or may not have descended from cats owned by Vikings. There are numerous other theories of where Maine Coons came from, but none have been proven to be correct. Folklore is so interesting but not always very reliable.
We really have no concrete knowledge of when the first Maine Coon made its appearance in the cat world. Some say it was in the late eighteenth century in France. What we do know is these cats were definitely in Maine by the nineteenth century, and by 1903 a book was written on cats that included the Maine Coon.
Do Maine Coons Like Water
Maine Coon cats are known to like water and to be drawn to every drip in the house. You can find them in the kitchen sink, in the bathtub, with their paw in the pool and chasing after the sprinkler if you let them.
Tazendra has been known to relax in the bathroom sink hoping that someone will turn on the water so she can use the soap to clean up a bit. Too bad she can't do it herself, but give her time. I find it odd that when most cats avoid water, Maine Coons seem to find water the perfect medium for playing and exploring.
Do Maine Coons Play Nice
And They are Smart Too
Yes they play nice. In fact they are more playful than your usual domestic cat, but never clingy. These are independent cats who develop a great loyalty to their family owners and play well with other pets. They really do love their owners, but are wary of strangers, though they do not bite or snarl at someone they do not know. These cats are more likely just to high tail it out (no pun intended) of wherever the stranger might be.
The males could star in slapstick comedies, but the females would be more comfortable in the company of socialites. In other words, males are clowns, females are sophisticated and a little uppity. But they are both equally lovable, gentle cats that easily tolerate other cats, dogs and children. Some say they even talk, well at least they cat talk in a loud, noisy way. They will tell you off if they do not like what you are doing in no uncertain terms. No translation required.
Corwin and Tazendra play together often and love their cat tree. I have never seen them snarl or try to bite anyone and they are protective of a new cat in their family who arrived a short while ago to join an older cat and dog to make the number of pets in my son's family come to a total of five.
Not only are these cats fun, they are also intelligent, which is a plus when you train them. They are too smart to sit on your lap and purr while you pet them for hours. Not much patience for that, but still they are warm, friendly and loving. Can you ask your anything more of your pet?
Let Me Introduce you to the Rest of the Cats in the Family
Meet Morrolan and Kira
If you think it is tough when you find you have a baby sister or brother after being king or queen of the family for many years, well Kira, who is about twelve years old had to get through some tough times when the Maine Coons came into the house and now he has to put up with a new black cat named Morrolan who is just about eight weeks old and Tazendra taking up space in his bed.
Give a guy a break. All he wants is some peace and quiet, which is getting pretty hard to find in this household of young cats.
We Must Not Forget the Dog in the Family
Jake is his Name
Jake, the one dog in a family with four cats, has his good days and bad. He is getting up in years like Kira and sometimes he likes to play sometimes he would rather be left alone.
The difference between Kira and Jake is that Jake is a little protective of the younger cats especially Morrolan whom he thinks needs to be protected more than the Maine Coons. Jake is a pure bred Schnauzer who despite his advancing years can be pretty spry. He can also eat things he shouldn't and has spent time having his stomach pumped after a very enjoyable meal of a tray of brownies. Ah! but it was worth it.
Since Writing This Story
Kira Passed Away
Sadly my son's family is mourning the loss of their oldest cat Kira who died of pancreatitis in January 2013.
This story is really sad and the death of their beloved cat a preventable event. All the cats are housebound cats. They do not roam the streets, so fleas are rarely a problem.
One day my sound found several fleas in the carpet and on their dog, so he checked the cats. Unfortunately the cats had some fleas on them also.
So, my son went to the pet store and asked what type of flea treatment would work for his cats and was given their recommended treatment.
When Kira got sick and was taken to the vet, she told my son that that particular treatment was the probable cause of Kira's pancreatitis. For some cats, flea treatments can be very dangerous and should not be undertaken without consulting a vet.
Fortunately, none of the other cats were adversely affected. But I am telling you this so you will be aware of the possibility of adverse reactions from flea treatments. Consult your veterinarian before treating your pets with any medication. Don't assume the pet store is knowledgeable.
My son learned the hard and sad way and the family misses Kira very much.
Photo: Kira taken by her family.
Books to Raise your Maine Coon Cat By - How to keep your Maine Coon Happy
These gentle giant cats are fairly easy to care for if you just give them love, some attention and plenty of playtime. But there are things you should know about them to keep them happy along with your family and other pets. So read before you buy a Maine Coon and you will be better off for it. Good luck with your new cat. You are so going to love your Maine Coon.