The Black Maine Coon cat might be the size of a dog, but make no mistake, this impressive creature is all cat. Weighing in at 18 lbs. and measuring a massive 38 inches in length, it’s one of the biggest breeds in the world. But despite its size, the Black Maine Coon cat is about as friendly and affectionate a cat as you could wish to meet – so much so, in fact, they’ve earned the nickname ‘gentle giant’. If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about this distinctive breed, you’ve come to the right place. Without further ado, here are ten things you didn’t know about the Black Maine Coon cat.
1. They’re one of the biggest cat breeds in the world
The Black Maine Coon cat may be famous for its gentle personality and its affectionate nature, but there’s one feature above all else that makes it stand out from the crowd – its size. This giant breed can grow to truly epic proportions, with males tipping the scales at a mighty 13 to 18 lbs. and females weighing in at a slightly lither but no less impressive 8 to 12 lbs. But it’s not just their weight that’s noteworthy – from tip to tip, an adult Black Maine Coon cat can measure a stonking 38 inches in length. Unlike most cats who reach their maximum growth at around 2 years old, Maine Coons prefer to take their time about things, reaching maturity at about 4-5 years old.
2. They come in more than one shade
A solid Black Maine Coon cat might be as black as night, but there are several different color variations across the breed. A Black Smoke Maine Coon, for instance, might seem solid black while they’re sitting still, but any movement will display flashes of white from their paler undercoat. A Bi-Colored Black Maine Coon cat might be one of any three colors: black silver, tuxedo, or black and white. The Black Tabby Maine Coon can also be found in several color variations, including black-tabby, black silver classic tabby, and black tortoise.
3. They’re known as ‘gentle giants’
The Black Maine Coon cat may grow to monstrous proportions, but there’s nothing frightening about its personality. Maine Coons are almost as famous for their kindly ways and outgoing, sociable personalities as they are for their size – so much so, in fact, they’ve been nicknamed the ‘gentle giant’ in honor of their good-natures.
4. They’re designed for winter
If you live in a cold, snowy climate, you might want to steer clear of hairless pets like the Sphynx cat. The Black Maine Coon cat, on the other hand, was practically made with harsh winters in mind. As mypetience.com writes, the breed makes use of their bushy raccoon-like tails by wrapping them around their bodies like blankets. Their long, water-repellent coats grow thickly on their ruffs, flanks, and stomachs to keep their most vulnerable parts warm and toasty. Even their tufted paws with their extra-long hair seem to have been specially designed for walking through snow.
5. They love to swim
While most cats will throw a hissy fit if they come anywhere near water, the Black Maine Coon is cut from a different cloth. As yummypets.com writes, it’s not at all unusual to find your Black Maine Coon cat taking a nap in the sink or cooling off in the pond in the summer months. Some say the trait can be traced to their distant ancestors, who spent so long at sea they eventually learned to overcome their natural aversion to water and learn to love it instead. Either way, no bowl of water or full bath is safe around these water-loving fur babies.
6. They have a fascinating history
Although no one can say for sure where Maine Coons originated, many people believe that the Vikings bought them to Europe in boats during their invasions. Whether that’s true or not, we can’t really say, but their thick coats and bushy tails certainly seem perfect for the cold climates of Northern Europe.
7. They have a distinctive meow
Some people say that Maine Coons don’t talk. In fact, Black Maine Coon cats love to chat – even if the sounds they make are closer to those of a canary than a regular cat. While they’re as capable of letting loose with a deafening meow as any other cat, Black Maine Coon cats prefer to ‘chirp’ rather than wail. The distinctive sound comes from their tendency to purr at the same time as they meow. Most of the time, you’ll hear it when they’re excited, pleased to see you, or in the middle of a good ear scratching session.
8. Some are born with 6 toes
If the Black Maine Coon cat’s humongous size and flowing coat wasn’t enough to make it stand out from the crowd, one of its other distinctive features certainly will. As meowingtons.com writes, in the early days of their development, many Maine Coon kittens were born with one more toe than their owners were expecting. At one stage, as many as 40% of Black Maine Coons were polydactyl, meaning they were born with six toes rather than the usual five. The trait stemmed from a genetic mutation which, by happy coincidence, worked to the breed’s favor by turning their paws into natural snowshoes – perfect for icy Maine winters! Although the feature has been largely bred out, you’ll still find the occasional Black Maine Coon cat with an extra toe.
9. They’re prone to certain diseases
Although Black Maine Coons are generally considered to be healthy cats with good life expectancies, they’re not immune to the occasional health niggle. Some of the diseases they’re most prone to include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a heart condition that can develop rapidly in middle or old age and quickly turn fatal), spinal muscular atrophy (a genetic disorder that causes muscle weakness and wasting), and hip dysplasia (a common problem in larger breeds that can reduce mobility and cause limping).
10. They’re eternal kittens
Don’t let their stately appearance and majestic size deceive you. No matter how big they grow and no matter how old they get, Black Maine Coon cats never stop being kittens at heart. Combine that with how they can jump higher and stretch further than most felines, and you’re looking at a cat that’s capable of pulling some serious mischief around the house.