Breed-related disease: Maine Coon

John K. Rosembert

The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed, it has a distinctive physical appearance and valuable hunting skills, the Maine Coon is solid, rugged, and can endure a harsh climate.
Maine Coons, like American Shorthairs, are considered native to America because they ‘ve been on this continent since the colonial days, and perhaps longer. How they got here in the first place and where their progenitors came from, however, is anyone’s guess, since no records of the Maine Coon’s exact origins and date of introduction to the America exist, so several competing hypotheses have been suggested, the most credible suggestion being that it is closely related to the Norwegian Forest cat and the Siberian.
The Maine Coon is a big, rugged cat with a smooth, shaggy coat with a well-proportioned body that is muscular and broad-chested. It has substantial, medium-length legs and large, round paws, well tufted with fur, to serve as “snowshoes” during winter.
A heavy coat is shorter on the shoulders, longer on the stomach and britches (long fur on the upper hind legs), with a ruff in front and a long, furry tail waving a greeting. A medium-width head is slightly longer than it is wide and has a squarish muzzle. Large, well-tufted ears are wide at the base, tapering to a point, and large, expressive eyes are green, gold, greenish-gold or copper. White or bi-colored Maine Coons may have blue or odd eyes.
The friendly, laid back Maine Coon is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. They love the attention they receive from children who treat them politely and with respect, and they don’t mind playing dress -up or going for a ride in a baby buggy.
They’re happy to live with cat-friendly dogs, too, thanks to their amiable disposition. Introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.
While Maine coon cats are generally healthy, some inherit genetic diseases that can shorten life, cause pain or decrease mobility. Here listed below some of the most common Maine coon related diseases.
1. Hip Dysplasia: which Maine Coons and Persians are said to be more prone to, is the failure of the hip joints to develop correctly. This leads to a deteriorating hip joint and eventually a complete loss of function. Both Maine Coons and Persians are both ‘heavy boned’ cats.
2. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA): This is a degenerative disorder affecting the spinal cord to the rear legs. An affected kitten will lose its trademark steadiness and cat like abilities.
3. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is essentially a thickening of the heart tissue with scar tissue. It’s very tricky to diagnose, and is often called a ‘silent killer’. More middle aged and older Maine Coons are predisposed to it, whereby the heart becomes too muscular. This leads to a distortion within the heart muscle where the left ventricle becomes smaller, leading to abnormal heart rates.
4. Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD): In a disease that is said to affect up to 6% of cats annually, you may well be in good company if you find your Maine Coon has this condition. PKD has a wide scope of disorder. Many Maine Coons can lead happy and fulfilling lives before succumbing to something else, whereas others, with a fatal level of PKD will succumb earlier to chronic renal failure.


Sources: / maine-coon-cats # / slide / 1
Photo credit: breeders-list / maine-coon /