Copyright 2019 - Content by Mighty Pawz

About Maine Coons

 

Origins

The Maine Coon originates from the state of Maine in the USA. In the 1850’s seafarers brought longhaired cats back from foreign parts and these cats mated with the local shorthair cats. The offspring were big, strongly built cats with semi long coats and brush like tails that resembled the tail of the racoon, hence the name Maine Coon. The random matings produced many colours and coat patterns. The cats developed thick dense coats to withstand the extreme Maine winters. Special shows were held for Maine Coons as early as the 1860’s, which was years before the official cat shows began. The Maine Coon became very popular as pets but most were neutered and this did little to increase the numbers. In 1953 the Maine Coon’s popularity increased and the Central Maine Coon Cat Club was formed. The Maine Coon is now known throughout America and was imported into the UK in the 1980’s and now has Championship status at British shows.

 

Maine Coon Characteristics

The Maine Coon is the largest breed of domestic cat. On average, males weigh from 5.9 to 8.2 kg with females weighing from 3.6 to 5.4 kg, although they can get much larger up to 16kg. The height of adults can vary between 25 and 41 cm and they can reach a length of up to 120 cm, including the tail, which can reach a length of 36 cm and is long, tapering, and heavily furred, almost resembling a raccoon's tail. The body is solid and muscular, which is necessary for supporting their own weight, and the chest is broad. Maine Coons possess a rectangular body shape and are slow to physically mature; their full potential size is normally not reached until they are three to five years old, while other cats take about one year. One of the most defining Maine Coon characteristics would be the ears. They are large and wide, with long tufts coming out of them, and lynx-like tufts on the tips. The ears of a young Maine Coon kitten who hasn't quite grown into them are nothing less than adorable! The face of these cats has an intelligent expression. When you look right into their large and round green, gold or copper eyes, it seems they really connect with you. A white cat might have blue or odd-coloured eyes. The nose is noted for being straight, not at all flat such as other long-haired breeds.

 

Polydactyl Maine Coons                                                                            

Polydactyl cats, also known as "Hemingway cats" are born with additional toes, usually on the front feet. The word "polydactyl" comes from the Greek words (polys) meaning "many" and (daktylos) meaning "finger or digit".  Polydactylism is a dominant trait with no known adverse health effects or impacts. Because of the strong link between Maine Coons and polydactylism, these cats have nicknames such as "double-paws" and '"snowshoe" cats. Polydactyl Maine Coons are fascinating to interact with, as they tend to use their extra 'thumbs' to grasp items when playing, just as we would use our thumbs. These cats are highly sought after in Australia due to their strong link to the original Maine Coons from Maine USA.

Here at Mightypawz we pride ourselves on the quality of our polydactyl cats and kittens. For more information on the polydactyl Maine Coon, please visit the below webpage.

 

http://mcpolydactyl.com/the-maine-coon-polydactyl-cat/

 

Health

In general, Maine Coons are hardy and robust cats, however like all cats, they do have the potential to develop genetic health problems. The two main health issues to affect the Maine Coon are hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and hip dysplasia (HD).

 

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

HCM is the most common heart disease in all cats. It is not specific to Maine Coons and is seen in other cat breeds as well. It has been confirmed that the Maine Coon and the American Shorthair can carry the genetic trait for HCM.

HCM is a disease where the heart muscle becomes severely thickened and cannot function properly. This can lead to signs of congestive heart failure, thromboembolic disease (“throwing” clots) or sudden death without previous signs. HCM is an autosomal dominant disease, which means a cat only needs one copy of the mutation to be affected. The age of onset of disease and the severity of disease can vary quite a lot, however it does tend to be a disease seen in adult cats (the average age of onset is 8-9 years).

In the Maine Coon breed, the A31P mutation in the cardiac myosin binding protein C (cMyBPC) gene has been found to be associated with increased risk for HCM. Genetic DNA screening is available to detect this mutation in the Maine Coon. A Normal/Clear result does not mean a cat will not develop HCM. There is at least one other gene mutation suspected in the Maine Coon. The genetic test is only testing for one specific mutation that is causative of HCM and it is recommended all breeding animals undergo regular cardiac ultrasound examination as well.

Mightypawz breeding cats have been DNA screened and ALL returned a Normal/Clear result for the cMyBPC gene mutation.

Mightypawz breeding cats attended Massey University for cardiac ultrasound examination in June 2018 and will be regularly screened (every 2 years). 'Up and coming' Mightypawz kittens will be screened from 12 months of age prior to breeding.

Ch. Rascal Gandalf The White - Clear/Normal Result (June 2018)

Mightypawz Mystique - Clear/Normal Result (June 2018)

 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia (HD) is a genetically inherited malformation of the ball-and-socket joint that connects a cat’s thigh bone to its hip.  There is not one specific gene responsible, but a combination and both parents must have the disorder or be carriers. HD is a wearing down of cartilage and bone rubbing on bone, causing osteoarthritis and pain. It is recommended all breeding animals (after reaching 1 year of age) have their hips x-rayed for HD and graded by a veterinary orthopaedic specialist. 

PennHIP uses a unique method, a Distraction Index (DI), to measure hip joint laxity, to quantitatively assess the risk of your dog or cat developing HD. The method is quantitative (i.e., it assigns a number to joint laxity) as opposed to being qualitative or subjective (e.g. excellent, good, fair, etc.). The index is not as vulnerable to inter- and intra-observer errors commonly associated with subjective measurement systems. 

The current median Distraction Index (DI) for the Maine Coon breed is 0.62 DI. It is recommended that breeders choose breeding stock from the tightest 40% of the breed (meaning the 60th percentile or better)

Mightypawz breeding cats attended Massey University for Penn Hip x-ray and grading in June 2018. Both Gandalf and Misty were within the tightest 40% and below the 0.62 DI.

Ch. Rascal Gandalf The White  - No radiographic evidence of Osteoarthritis for either hip. Distraction Index (DI):Right DI = 0.44, Left DI = 0.42. Within the tightest 5% of DIs for the breed.

Mightypawz Mystique - No radiographic evidence of Osteoarthritis for either hip. Distraction Index (DI): Right DI = 0.56, Left DI = 0.46. Within the tightest 40% of DIs for the breed.

 

Other genetic diseases

In additional to the above, Mightypawz breeding cats have also been DNA screened for other common genetic diseases, including Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), with ALL returning Normal/Clear results for these diseases.

 

Personality   

Maine Coons have fantastic personalities and bring much laughter and joy to the family home. These cats have several nicknames that people have bestowed upon them in direct relation to their personality traits. They are called the “gentle giants” and the “dogs of the cat world”. They are very intelligent friendly cats. These large sized cats are curious and outgoing, socializing well with the whole family, including other pets.

 

 

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For details on kitten availablity, please contact Naomi - mightypawz@outlook.com  :-)