Each and every cat is special in his or her own way, offering a lifetime of love that far exceeds their furry frames. But kitties of one variety in particular aren’t just big-hearted — they’re just plain big. Fully grown, Maine coons usually tip the scales from between 12 to 18 pounds for females and males, respectively, and invariably make humans holding them look disproportionately tiny by comparison.
The record-holder for longest cat was once a Maine coon, named Stewie, who measured in at more than four feet from his nose to the tip of his tail. As if their impressive body size alone wasn’t enough to make them seem so massive, Maine coons are notoriously shaggy too — well adapted for cold winter climates.
These largest of cats are said to be one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, thought to have originated from working farm cats in New England. Their significance to the New England region is reflected in their name — and the state of Maine has even named the breed as the ” state cat.” One interesting theory surrounding their origins is that Maine coons derived from feral cats breeding with raccoons, endowing them with their famous fluffy tails. That’s a genetic impossibility though.
They are described as being very affectionate, nursing and having clown-like personalities — which might help explain why they seem so willing to pose in photos with their relatively little humans.
Sadly, because Maine coons are considered sought-after pets, they’ve been exploited by disreputable breeding on so-called kitten mills, where operators are more concerned about reaping a profit than making sure the cats are cared for. For folks considering welcoming a cat into their lives, adoption is always better than buying. Though Maine coon rescue groups do exist, there are countless other kitties in animal shelters across the country who are just as eager to love and be loved.
For pictures of these incredible cats, go to: