Maine Coon

"The American giant with a heart of gold"

There are many myths surrounding the Maine Coon cat.The most chimerick belief of all is that the first Maine Coon cat was derived from the mating of a raccon and a wild feline. This mythe springs from the idea that the Maine Coon cat's large size and bushy ringed tail are characteristics acquired from its raccon forefather. We know today that its genetically impossible. Possible is that the Maine Coon cat is a mixture of several types of long-haired cats. On the USA:s eastcoast, near Canada, you can find the state Maine, where the Maine Coon cats come from the beginning. The climate was extremely harsh and the cats was formed by the nature, with a easily maintained long shaggy hair coat for protection against the cold, with very little undercoat to mat. Big furry paws would function like snowshoes and furry ears would keep out the snow as well. Cold weather arrived early, as early as late summer in the north, and proceeded into severe winters with much snow. 

In the early 1900s, other long-haired breeds started to become more popular, especially the Persian. Though no longer a popular show cat and now in the ranks of the rare breeds, a number of dedicated fanciers still supported them in their home state. In the following years, the breed slowly but steadly gained more and more admires. A standard was drafted in 1967, and a year later The Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association (MCBFA) was created. The first Maine Coon cat was imported to Sweden 1986, through England, and the first litter was born 1889.

The Maine Coon cat can be big, but a average female weighs between 8 and 12 pounds (4-5 kg). Male weighs upwards of 12-18 pounds (6-9 kg). The Maine Coon cat is a solid, rugged cat and is America's oldest natural long-haired breed. Type must not be sacrificed for size, nor size for type, the optimum being a large, typey cat. Females are somewhat smaller than males, and allowance should be made for the slow maturation of the breed.

 

 

Moonlight 11 weeks old

Headshape: Medium in length and width, with a squareness to the muzzle. Cheekbones should be high. The nose is medium long in length; slight concavity when viewed in profile. The chin is firm and in line with the upper lip and nose.

Ears: Large, wide at the base, welltufted with lynx. Set high and wellapart.

Eyes: Large, expressive, wide set.

Body: Muscular, medium to large in size, and broad chested, the body is long, with all parts in proportion, creating a rectangular appearance. When viewed from the rear, there is a definite squareness to the rump. The neck is medium long.

Legs and paws: Legs substantial, wide set, of medium length, and in proportion to the body. Paws large, round, welltufted. Five toes in front, four in back.

Tail: Long, wide at base, and tapering. Fur long and flowing.

Coat: Heavy and shaggy, shorter on the shoulders and longer on the stomach and britches. Frontal ruff desirable. Texture silky with coat falling smoothly.

Temper: Maine Coon cat is a kind, playful and charming cat. It's also  very friendly. They get on well with other cats and mainly the Maine Coon is easy to keep with other pets to. A special peculiarity with the Maine Coon is the sound. Mostly it doesn't say "miaow" like other cats, it's sounds like "brrp". The Maine Coon cat is a very easy cat. It's uncomplicated and healthy. We, who have a Maine Coon cat, can guarantee that when you get a cat of this wonderful breed you are going to get one more cat, and one more cat............. 

If you want to know more about the Maine Coons:

Maine Coon Katten 

SVERAK

Health

The health of our cats is very important to us. Genetic diseases exist among all cats, pedigree or non-pedigree. We test our breeding cats for the genetic diseases that are the most common in the Maine Coon breed, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and hip dysplasia (HD). We will also test the cats for polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

HCM is a genetic heart disease that exists in several breeds, as well as in non-pedigree cats. Unfortunately this has become a problem in our breed too. The disease makes the heart grow thicker and thicker until it is no longer capable of pumping the blood in an effective way any longer. Then the cat of course will die. HCM is generally not visible in a kitten. Actually, the disease is usually not discovered at all until the cat suddenly dies. But with an ultrasound test, the disease is detectable earlier. But still usually not in a kitten. The disease takes longer to develope. In males it is usually possible to detect at 2 years of age, while in females it takes in average longer to develope. In females most cases can be detected at 3 years of age. HCM is, according to American studies, inherited by a single domonant gene with incomplete penetrance. This means that even if only one of the parents carries the gene, the offsprings have a 50% risk of getting it and they can then potentially get the disease. The incomplete penetrance means that not all cats with the gene will actually develop the disease. A few cats simply carry the gene with out ever showing any signs of it. But all the cats that carry the gene MIGHT be develope HCM, and must do.

Read more about HCM at:

Maine Coon katten 

 

Hipdysplasia (HD)

HD is an heritated malformation of the hip joint, that is less severe cases doesn't cause a cat any problems. In severe cases however the cat might get pain from it and problems to jump and even walk. HD is probably inheritated polygenetic, meaning that many genes are involved. This means that breeding for better hips is similar to breeding for large size in the cats. You might get a large cat out of two small parents, but it is less likely than getting a large cat out of two large parents. And sure you might get a small cat out of two large parents, but it is less likely than getting a small cat out of two small parents, or out of one large and one small. In the same way you might get a kitten with severe HD out of two parents with good hips, and you might get a kitten with good hips out of two parents with severe HD. But it is not very likely.

So what we should do is to breed from the cats with the best hips. We must however be careful not to be too hard here, so that not too few cats are used for breeding. Otherwise our wish to avoid HD might result in a too narrow genepool, leading to inbreeding. And the inbreeding might then cause others and worse problems. Because of this, we have been recommended to for the moment also breed from cats with the mildest degree of HD. Of course we then mate those cats with cats whose hips are good.

We test our cats hips by X-raying them at the age of 1 year or later. The X-ray pictures then are sent to a specialist in Stockholm, who is judging each hip individually towards a scale ranging from OK hips to grade 3 HD. So grade 1 HD is the mildest grade of HD, grade 2 is moderate, and grade 3 is severe. The Swedish Maine Coon club is then registering the test results in an open registry, starting in January 2000.

Read more about HD at:

Maine Coon katten

                                                            FHDA Breeder

 

Genepool

by: Ulrika Olsson S*Ylletrollets

Except for testing our breeding cats for genetic diseases, we think that it is very important for the future of the breed to work to maintain and broaden the genepool, to avoid future problems from inbreeding. There are many foundation cats and foundation lines behind the Maine Coons, but through the competition for the best looking cats over the generatitions some lines have been overused, while some have almost vanished completely. As a result today about 70 % of the genepool internationally comes from only five foundation cats! Of course that is too much to come from that few cats. So what we do is to try to reduce the amount of primarily the two most common foundation cats, but also the other, in our pedigrees. This is done both by saving what is still left of other old foundation lines and by introducing newer foundation lines from Maine.

The five most common foundation cats were living in the 1960s' and 1970s', and they are:

  • 1) Andy Katt of Heidi Ho, male 
  • 2) Bridget Katt of Heidi Ho, female
  • 3) Dauphin de France of Tati-Tan, male
  • 4) Tatiana of Tati-Tan, female
  • 5) Smokie Joe of Whittemore, male

We usually call these cats the Top 5. And we are calculating the amount of them, as one tool of knowing how interesting a pedigree is from an outcross point of view.

The amount of the two most common cats, Andy Katt of Heidi Ho and Bridget Katt of Heidi Ho, we call the percentage of Heidi Ho (or Top 2)

Then we also calculate the amount of clones in the pedigree. The offsprings of Heidi Ho Sonkey Bill and Tanstaafl Polly Adeline of Heidi Ho were born 1979-1982. They all looked very much the same and a judge once asked what they did to make them all look so similar. "Do you clone them?" she asked. And since then these brothers and sisters are called "the clones" among the Maine Coon breeders. The clones were very successful at shows, and soon most breeders wanted one or two clones for breeding. Then many inbred on these cats, to get even better looking cats. Today about 35 % of the genes in the genepool come from only these brothers and sisters that we call the clones.

Read more about this subject at the:

The Maine Coon Herritage Site

 

 

 



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