Moosecoons Maine Coon Cats & Kittens in Maryland
Growth and Development
of Maine Coon Kittens
Maine Coons are lauded as the largest domestic breed, and this can be misleading to the uninformed. They aren't much bigger at birth than other breeds, but sometimes their baby fluff and the long tail make them look larger in the first couple of weeks if compared to another breed kitten of the same age.
I don't weigh my kittens, but judge their condition and health by how they feel under my hands. A Maine Coon Kitten should have a little poochy belly and by the age of 3-4 months you should feel a firm layer of muscle on haunches and legs and ribs should not be too prominent. A small girl may weigh as little as 2 pounds at 3 months. A large boy may be pushing 8 pounds. Between 3 and 7 months the average weight gain is estimated around 1 pound per month, and this can be spread out over fits and starts, where they gain 1/2 pound one month and 2.5 the next. When people people meet your 6 month old kitten, they may be shocked that it's still a baby! Maine Coons start to level out somewhere between 9-14 months; though still growing the maturation process slows and they fill out more subtly until the age of 4 or 5 years. A smaller female Maine Coon may only be 7 pounds at full growth, and I've known females that run a lean and healthy 17 pounds. Males can range from 11 - 22. Some people want the personality of the Maine Coon but not necessarily a big cat; again, we can't really predict but females will generally be smaller.
There is no guarantee your kitten will end up being 20 pounds or more. If many related cats tend to grow to this size, chances are good yours will, but there's always a sneaky gene that can show up in this one kitten that will leave it to only grow to maybe 14 or 16 pounds - now have a friend drop a bowling ball on your lap a few times, preferably when your bladder is full, and tell me that's not much weight! As for the stories about the 30 pound cats, those are mostly myth and exaggeration. I've never met a Maine Coon over 24 pounds that was a trim, healthy weight, and that is sincerely the exception rather than the rule! A healthy 16 pound boy with a full fluffy coat in prime condition will "look" to be a solid 20 or 25 pounds. You'd be surprised if you put them on a scale! If you are interested in keeping track of your cat's weight, you need to use a proper scale (either a baby scale or large postage scale, preferably digital) and you need to weigh them on the same scale each time for consistency. If your vet uses different scales in different rooms, tell them you want to use the same scale each time you visit. Stepping on a human scale and then picking up your cat and subtracting the difference is not an accurate indicator of weight.
Some people are confused about the coat as well, as many Maine Coon cats seen in the show hall appear to have a mostly short coat, with some length and fluff around the belly and britches, and may have no noticeable ruff. These will generally be your younger adults and seen in Championship, which are cats that have not been altered. Some Maine Coons will never grow a full and luxurious coat until they have been either spayed or neutered. MC's may also vary on when they grow their "seasonal" coat, often known as full coat. Logic would suggest they be in full coat over the colder winter months, but this is not always the case. Some cats look like a domestic short hair with excess belly fur all winter and grow a long lustrous coat in May, while others are mostly bald until November when they look like they're ready to face the arctic!
At what age your Maine Coon kitten starts to grow it's shaggy coat can vary greatly. Some kittens develop coat almost immediately and look like miniature MC adults at 3 or 4 months, while others will start getting britches and belly fur around 6 months and a ruff will start to fill in as late as 1 year, provided the kitten has been altered before 8 months of age.
Do not be concerned if your cat doesn't look like a Maine Coon all at once :-) The variations of growth patterns are as varied as they are among different families of humans. No, not all MC's will look the same, but the classic shaggy coat, square muzzle and big expressive eyes will all come together eventually, and whether you end up with a 10 pound or a 22 pound adult, the cat will be your loving and ever-present companion! You may be initially attracted to the Maine Coon for their rugged good looks, but you'll fall in love with the personality.
A note on weight: You'll hear folks bragging about their 30# cat, and frankly I don't see this as a reason to brag - if your cat is approaching the 30# mark, chances are that he's overweight! A quick way to judge: with your cat standing naturally, stand overtop of them and look straight down at their silhouette - if you can see a slight indent between ribs and hips, that's the waist. If the waist is prominent and you can feel the rib cage and spine easily, your cat is probably underweight and needs to get to a vet for testing! If there is no indent, he may be slightly overweight. If your cat is shaped like a football from this view, put him on a diet! Excess weight on a pet can be very dangerous to their health, putting undue stress on the heart and lungs, other internal organs and joints. I know I'm too fat and I feel the strain on my body! I always say if I had someone to monitor my meals and exercise I could be lean and healthy like my pets <gg> In geriatric pets you may see the "waist" but they have a large dangling pouch from the belly - gravity shifts where the excess weight shows up on their body. Never diet an older pet without your vet's advice and monitoring, as abrupt changes in an aged pet can cause unexpected medical crises!
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Moosecoons Maine Coon Cats & Kittens in Maryland
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