The Gentle Giant called The Maine Coon!
One of the 3 Forest Cats, and a native of Maine, the Maine Coon is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America. Their popularity as show cats began to decline in the early 1900's with the introduction of the Persian. In the 1950's the Maine Coon again became more wide spread in popularity, and was again well established as a hardy, handsome, pedigree breed, more than a century ago. It is one of the biggest, brightest, best hunters and fighters, and fairly recent to planned breeding. Maine Coon breeders strive to preserve the natural rugged qualities, and a strong healthy cat. The females normally weigh between 9 to 12 pounds, with the males commonly reaching 13 to 18 pounds and some larger. Developing slowly, they achieve their full size at 3 to 5 years of age.
The Maine Coon is a great companion as they court their people with coaxing, and their distinctive trill chirping which sets them apart from other cats. They love hanging out, "helping", and playing with their owner and will remain kittenish all their lives, as big, gentle, good-natured goofs. Many people train them to fetch small items and walk on a leash. They like water, and chasing objects. They are one of the most dog like of cats and for the most part they get along well with other cats, dogs, and children.
According to history the polydactyl (mitten paw, or snow shoe) was one of the original characteristics of the Maine Coon Cat. Polydactyl's can exhibit only one to two extra toes on the front paws, or as many as five, some with a dew claw on the rear paws, or even a Thumb that reaches the ground like the other toes. This is a single dominant trait, meaning if one parent has the polydactyl gene, than 40 to 50% of the kittens will inherit it. But, can NOT be inherited if neither of the parents have the trait.
Although they are a long haired cat, Maine Coons require minimal grooming. Usually a good combing is all they need and seem to enjoy.