Maybe today's most popular and largest domesticated cat breed, the Maine Coon is a fascinating creature. Their origins of this breed are unknown but many tales mention it and there's even a myth, which claims that these cats are descendants of wild cats and raccoons (obviously, this is impossible).
As you can see, the history of Maine Coon is quite shady, but what we know of sure: these pets were gaining popularity around the end of the 18th century. During the late 1860s in France, farmers started to hold contests for this breed. All this fame started to decline in the early 20th century due to other long-haired breeds which have been introduced from the East. Around the last part of the century, Maine Coon clubs and shows were born and these majestic cats had the chance to shine again.
Their physical appearance is rather robust: males are bigger than females in height, lenght and weight, too. These cats can reach up to 18 lb (8.2 kg). The coat is silky and soft, described as long- or medium-haired, the texture of it can be various. They often wear a lion-like ruff around their necks. This coat doesn't need much grooming, it's mostly self-maintaining. Eyes of the Maine Coon can come in all colors, but the shape is always like two almonds. It's important that these cats were designed to survive in harsh weather. Their water-resistant fur gives them extra protection when walking in snow. They have quite large paws comparing to other breeds, so they can walk easier in snow or on ice. Even their ears have extra fur. Keep in mind that they are outside animals, so keeping them in a cold house won't make them feel better. Maine Coon has above-average intelligence among cat breeds, so they are easy to train. They have no problems living around dogs, children and other cats. This breed is known as the "gentle giant", even if they're not the typical lap-cats. They are surprisingly loyal, playful and relaxed. The only bad habit they have: these cats are pretty loud. They can make extra creepy sounds, what is hard to consider meowing, but howling, trilling, chirping and other noises.
Because this breed is not so old, they have some health threats during their average lifespan (12-16 years). The most common is a heart disfunction (feline hyperthrophic cardiomyopathy) which can cause sudden death, paralysis of legs, heart failure in middle-aged or older cats. Luckily, not all cats inherit this genetic disease; clinical tests have shown many resistant ones. Another potential health problem is a disease which causes muscle-activating neuron loss (these cats live a shorter life than their healthy mates). Males can be affected by hyp dysplasia, if they grow too large.
As you can see, the Maine Coon is a very big cat with a very big heart. If you're considering buying one, please make sure you can provide it the environment and food this cat requires. In return, you'll have a loving, walking ball of fur, singing weird noises for you.