Your Maine coon kitten is a sweet-natured little bundle of love. Wait a few months, and he'll be a big love bundle. Maine coons grow up to be very large cats, but while your kitten's size will inevitably change, his basic personality won't. He'll retain that easy-going, friendly, curious disposition.
The history of a breed can hold clues to characteristics such as personality. All domestic cats are the product of centuries of selection for traits such as hunting prowess and temperament. While the origin of the Maine coon has long been the topic of speculation, it is not considered an exotic breed, like the Siamese or Persian. Rather, this cat developed naturally in Maine, where its plush fur suits the cold climate. There's a good argument that the breed's ancestors arrived in early America on merchant ships, where cats provided rodent control. The Maine coon greatly resembles the Norwegian Forest Cat, an ancient Scandinavian breed, and the Maine coon also is considered a forest cat. Whatever its origins, the cat's beauty, outstanding disposition and work ethic gained it a following among cat fanciers. The Maine coon was the first American breed recognized by the cat fancy, winning top prizes at 1890s cat shows.
Maine coon kittens typically are friendly and good-natured. They like to be with people, and as a result they have become the second most popular registered cat breed in the U.S., after the Persian. If someone in your household isn't crazy about kitties, a Maine coon could change his tune. The American Cat Fanciers Association describes the Maine coon as "a dog in cat clothes." Some learn to walk on a leash or play fetch.
Plays Well With Others
If you have other cats or dogs in the house, the Maine coon is a good choice. The breed is well-known for its amiability. The Maine coon makes a good playmate for children, once the kids are old enough to understand how to treat Kitty. Remember, that little kitten of yours might easily top 20 pounds when grown. He'll be bigger than a small dog. Even if Fido is medium-sized, he might think twice about trifling with a Maine coon.
Choosing a Kitten
Purchase your Maine coon kitten from a reputable breeder. The breeder should provide individual information about your kitten, including whether he is shy or outgoing. You also should see this for yourself. Observe how the kittens in the litter behave with each other -- who's the boss, which kittens are passive or aggressive, and other traits. You'll probably have a tough time making a choice. You can generally bring your kitten home when he's between 3 and 4 months old. By the age of 12 weeks, kittens should have their initial shots. They're ready for their new homes and people.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.