Three years ago, I had the difficult task of persuading my now-husband to get a cat. He was adamantly a dog person — he liked cats, but he was convinced they were inferior to dogs as house pets.
Now, he loves both our cats with his whole heart, but when I was trying to convince him, I found the best method was to find a cat that met his needs.
He said cats weren’t loyal? I found a breed that was. He said he wanted to walk a dog? I found a cat breed that loves walks. He said dogs are just bigger and therefore easier to snuggle and love? I found the biggest cat breed there is.
My research pointed me to one breed that met all his requirements: the Maine Coon.
I want to point out that all cats are amazing, wonderful, charming, and interesting in their own unique ways! We’ve had moggies (mixed-breed cats) all my life, and I’ve loved them all dearly. However, when we wanted to adopt cats of our own in the UK, we found that shelters required us to provide indoor-outdoor access for cats, and I knew I wanted to keep my cats safely indoors.
Here are the seven things you should know about Maine Coons before you adopt one.
1. Maine Coon cats are extremely loyal
Maine coon cats decide, early on in their kitty lives, that they have a “person.” They are 100% dedicated to their chosen person, following them from room to room, being distraught if they leave the house, and always choosing to spend time with their person above all other people.
It’s so cool to have a cat who is so devoted to being with you. I am my cat Astrid’s “person” and whenever I go anywhere in the house, she’s always a step or two behind me. She sleeps at the foot of my bed every single night and comes running when I call for her.
This kind of obsession is typical in some other cats, but almost all Maine Coons show this devotion to their one person.
2. Maine Coon cats are really cute
Yes, #AllCatsAreCute, but Maine Coon cats have a square jaw, tufted ears, and pointy chin that makes them extra cute, in this author’s humble opinion.
They also are long-haired, which makes them a hassle to clean up after, but also gives them a mane and pantaloons. The pantaloons were evolved to help them stay warm when sitting on snow, but they also just look darling on a cat. And it’s fun to say “pantaloons.”
3. Maine Coon cats love water
Maine Coon cats, due to their thick and water-repellent layers of fur, are actually obsessed with water. My cats always come sprinting when I turn on the faucet for any reason, and will try to stick their paws in the stream of water and even dunk their heads under.
My husband, during one particularly hot British summer, grew very concerned that the cats were too hot. Rather ill-advisedly, he filled the bathtub and placed Chumbo, our male Maine Coon, directly in the tub. Chumbo stood there for a beat or two, totally unbothered because the water still hadn’t penetrated his layers of fur. Then of course he jumped out, but the delayed reaction was hilarious. (We did not repeat the experiment and now use cooling mats to keep our cats cool!)
Ours aren’t so enamored of water by Maine Coon standards, but there are plenty of YouTube videos featuring swimming Maine Coons who love water so much they’ll go for a little paddle in it.
4. Maine Coon cats are very chirpy
Maine Coon cats have a repertoire of totally unique noises they make. My cats chirp, purr, trill, and carry on meowing conversations with me whenever they want something.
A chirp is when they see birds out the window and make this strange chattering noise. They open their little kitty mouths wide and make a staccato chirping noise. Research is inconclusive on why they do this, though some pet owners suggest it’s to attract prey. (How a cat chirp would ever fool a bird into coming closer is beyond me.) Though we may not know why they do it, it’s a very funny noise.
A Maine Coon trill is a combination meow-purr. The result is a cat that sounds extremely happy to see you that they greet you with a purring hello. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone downstairs and been greeted by a “Mrrrrreow!” from my cat Chumbo, who was lounging on the floor nearby.
The takeaway is that Maine Coon cats are noisy. Mine often have “conversations” with me, where they trill at me, I say something back in human, they meow at me again. Sometimes I wonder what they think I’m saying. No matter what their interpretation is, it’s very rewarding to have a cat who is so engaged in “talking” with you.
5. Maine Coon cats are big
I work from home, where my cat Astrid is frequently spotted by my clients or YouTube audience because she never leaves my side. One of the most typical comments I get is, “Wow, that’s a big cat!”
Astrid is a fairly large cat — she’s very long and sort of rectangular, weighing in at 12 pounds, which is at the bigger end of the spectrum for regular house cats.
My boy Chumbo, who does not hang out with me as much during the day, blows that out of the water. He weighs a whopping 23 pounds and is a very, very big cat.
He looks more like a miniature lynx than he does a big house cat because he has the more traditional Maine Coon features of the big square jaw, tufted ears, and Maine Coon mane. And because he’s massive.
6. Maine Coons love going on walks
Though they’re a little ditsy and therefore not ideal candidates for going outside unsupervised, Maine Coon cats love going on walks. They’re also very trainable. It’s possible to harness-train them whatever age they are and take them on strolls around the neighborhood.
My cat Astrid is a bit too much of a nervous nelly to enjoy this as we now live close to busy roads, but Chumbo, who is much more adventurous, really enjoys being walked around the neighborhood, meeting new people and dogs. They are always astounded to see a cat on a leash, or inside a carrier, but he takes it in stride like the cool cat he is.
This was the clincher for my husband when we were looking for cats. He loved the idea of being able to get a bit of fresh air, cat by his side. And our cats did not disappoint.
7. Maine Coon cats are unbelievably friendly
Many visitors who came to our house pre-Covid were always surprised at how friendly and inquisitive my cats were. They’d come right to the door to greet each visitor, sniff their bags and shoes, and want to spend time with them.
While Maine Coon cats are typically loyal to a single person, they have a charming friendliness that they extend to most people. They love meeting new friends, and they’ll be happy to engage or interact with visitors to your house, unlike many cats who hide under the bed or otherwise avoid new people.
Maine Coons are also very friendly towards dogs. My cat Chumbo, for instance, has made good friends with my parents’ Aussie. The two can typically be found hanging out companionably, birdwatching, or exploring the backyard.
Maine Coon cats are amazing animals who will be a lifelong companion to you. They are patient, kind, loving, loyal, playful and extremely cute.
My two Maine Coons are absolute joys in my life. Though they can be challenging at times — they love to play and get bored easily if you don’t pay them enough attention, for example — they are two of the best things that ever happened to me.
If you’re thinking about adopting a Maine Coon cat, this list of their unique features should give you an idea of what to expect.