Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pete and Lily Are Maine Coons!

A lot of people have told me (including those at the vet) that they think Pete and Lily are part Maine Coon (actually, Uncle Chuck said he wouldn't be surprised if they were close to pure-breed Maine Coons; something I cannot quite figure out since they were found in a storm drain!)

When they were little, they looked like this (remember these pictures?):

So, yes, I looked up Maine Coons today and what I found stunned me in that it perfectly describes Pete and Lily. I mean, these articles could have been written about OUR cats!
Here are some excerpts from various sites, with my comments inserted:
Everything about the Maine Coon points to its adaptation to a harsh climate. Its glossy coat, heavy and water-resistant, is like that of no other breed, and must be felt to be appreciated. It is longer on the ruff, stomach and britches to protect against wet and snow, and shorter on the back and neck to guard against tangling in the underbrush. The coat falls smoothly, and is almost maintenance-free: a weekly combing is all that is usually required to keep it in top condition. The long, bushy tail which the cat wraps around himself when he curls up to sleep can protect him from cold winters. His ears are more heavily furred (both inside and on the tips (Lily's more so than Pete's)) than many breeds for protection from the cold, and have a large range of movement (I swear that Pete can swivel his ears 360 degrees!) Big, round, tufted feet (Both of them have a lot of tuft and Pete's feet are HUGE) serve as 'snow shoes.' Their large eyes and ears are also survival traits, serving as they do increase sight and hearing. The relatively long, square muzzle facilitates grasping prey and lapping water from streams and puddles.
Although the Yankee myth of 30-pound cats is just that, a myth (unless the cat is grossly overweight!), these are indeed tall, muscular, big-boned cats; males commonly reach 13 to 18 pounds (Pete was over 11 pounds two months ago; we're betting he's at least 13 now) with females normally weighing about 9 to 12 pounds (Lily was 10 1/2 two weeks ago). Add to that two or three inches of winter coat, and people will swear that they're looking at one big cat (no kidding!)
Maine Coons develop slowly, and don't achieve their full size until they are three to five years old (Oh. My. God). Their dispositions remain kittenish throughout their lives; they are big, gentle, good-natured goofs. Even their voices set them apart from other cats; they have a distinctive, chirping trill (We initially thought Pete was part squirrel) which they use for everything from courting to cajoling their people into playing with them. (Maine Coons love to play, and many will joyfully retrieve small items (Yes! Yes! Pete, in particular!)) They rarely meow, and when they do, that soft, tiny voice doesn't fit their size! They are playful throughout their lives, with males tending to be more clownish and females generally possessing more dignity (This definitely sounds like Pete and Lily!)
Maine Coons are known as the "gentle giants" and possess above-average intelligence, making them relatively easy to train. They are known for being loyal to their family and cautious-but not mean-around strangers (Yep!) and are independent and not clingy. The Maine Coon is generally not known for being a "lap cat" (Yes, neither really cares for hanging out on laps) but their gentle disposition makes the breed relaxed around dogs, other cats, and children.
Many Maine Coons have a fascination with water (Just ask Mr. B about this one!) and some theorize that this personality trait comes from their ancestors, who were aboard ships for much of their lives.
In the Maine Coon, the most common inherited health problems are hip dysplasia, which can produce lameness in a severely affected cat, and cardiomyopathy, which can produce anything from a minor heart murmur (Pete does have a Level Two (on the low end) which Uncle Chuck is keeping an eye on) to severe heart trouble.
Below are some pictures. Will the "real" Maine Coons please stand up? Some are of Pete and Lily and some are from the on-line sources; I'm sure you will be able to tell which are which, especially since I've posted these pictures of Pete and Lily before, but, by means of comparison!
Mrs. B


Margot said...

Very handsome cats, Amy. I think we have an orange maine coon.

Doc said...

We have a dreamsicle cat that eats squirrels and an orange throw rug on the front porch.

Mrs. B said...

Margot, Timmy might be part MC. Is he getting a ruff?

Doc, Willow is an amazing hunter for such a little guy. Well, not sure how much of a fight the orange throw rug put up...

Analee said...

they definitely have the maine coon look! i had a cat once (josey) that looked like a maine coon also. he was gigantic - i always thought bo was maine coonish also, but since he's been outside, he's lost so much weight (because he's exercising) that he doesn't look so much like it anymore. he just has such a fluffy face... and he is so big (big feet too). just his voice is so high. josey used to talk to me (we could have conversations). and, he used to GET IN THE SHOWER with me. not near the shower, i mean literally IN the shower (he'd get wet and all).

josey also had the raccoon tail like is standard for the maine coon. but, like pete and repeat, i mean lily, he was also just a "mutt" cat. those are the best kind anyway!