About the Breed

Maine Coons originate from the US state of Maine. When the first farmers arrived in the United States, Maine Coons were discovered and encouraged into the barns and stores because of their excellent mousing abilities. The first Maine Coons were resilient, rugged working cats.


If ever there was evidence that nature is an artist, it is this breed. Each of the Maine Coon’s distinctive features was not bred to be alluring to humans (although they no doubt are) but emerged from natural selection for the purposes of helping these cats to survive and thrive in the cold and sometimes harsh northeastern United States.

Their long fluffy tails acted as built-in blankets, their large tufted paws allowed the heavy Maine Coons to walk atop deep snow, and their intelligent minds helped them hunt. Even the Maine Coon’s affectionate and social nature is thought by some to have been adaptive, giving them a backup option when hunting didn't go as planned – charming food from humans.

Today, the breed retains its charm over humans to such an extent that they seldom have to hunt for their own food, although they certainly can, if they want to! In fact if you don’t feed them on time, there is a strong possibility that they won’t meow or throw a tantrum as other breeds might do, they will simply go outside and bring back a take-away mouse, bird or whatever other tasty meal they can find.


Breed standards

The Maine Coon was originally a working cat, developed through a natural selection process in the woods and farms of New England. The Maine Coon is solid and rugged, able to thrive in the rough, woody terrain and the extreme north-eastern US winter climates. The cat has a well proportioned and balanced appearance with no part of the cat being exaggerated. Quality should never be sacrificed for size. With an essentially amiable disposition, companionable and playful nature, it was adapted to many varied environments.


Medium in length, slightly longer than wide, with a gently curving forehead and high prominent cheekbones. The profile is slightly concave with no nose break. Nose is of uniform width. Muzzle is visibly square. Chin firm, in line with nose and upper lip. Bite level.


Large, tall and wide at base. Set high on the head with a slight outward tilt, approximately one ear’s width apart. Ears to be well furnished. Lynx tips desirable.


Large and widely set, slightly oval but not almond shaped. Appear round when wide open. Set at a slight slant.


Medium in length. Males have a strong muscular neck.


Large, long and rectangular. Broad chest, square rump. Muscular with substantial boning. Females are smaller than males.


Sturdily boned, medium length and in proportion to the body.


Large, round and well tufted.


Wide at base, and tapering. At least as long as the body from the shoulders to the base of the tail. Fur long and flowing.


Heavy and shaggy. Undercoat soft and fine, covered by a substantial topcoat. Shorter on head, neck and shoulders; lengthening gradually down back, flanks and tail. Trousers and belly fur full and shaggy. Frontal ruff desirable. Texture silky, falling smoothly. Different coat colours may have different coat textures.


Any eye colour is permitted. Clear eye colour is desirable. Coat and eye colour may be unrelated.


All colours and patterns acceptable, excluding chocolate variations and all pointed patterns.

Self Coloured Cats should conform to the standard as for All Breeds


The above breed standards are from the Southern Africa Cat Council. Other breed standards for international associations can be downloaded below:


For a cat adapted to be so resilient and self-sufficient, Maine Coons enjoy their people, and are a particularly social breed. Your Maine Coon will appreciate your attention, and will likely involve herself in many of your human activities, possibly even ones like showering and washing dishes, since Maine Coons are known for their un-cat-like love of water. 

Maine Coons are often described as similar to dogs in their intelligence and trainability, and their good temper and gentle nature have meant that they have even made a name for themselves as excellent therapy animals (don’t tell the dogs though!).

To enjoy the best of your Maine Coon’s personality, it's important not to neglect their need for exercise and running room. Your cat will also enjoy interactive play, and can even be taught (or will sometimes teach their humans) to play fetch. Do remember, though, that any climbing frames or cat trees should be sturdy enough to accommodate the larger than average weight and size of the Maine Coon.

Autistic children and child therapy

Because of their gentle and interactive nature, Maine coons bond with their human owners readily and actively want to participate in everything their owners are doing. As a result of this wonderful kindness and patience, Maine coons are often used as therapy cats with autistic children. If you have an autistic child and you believe they would benefit from some cat visits please feel free to make an appointment for visits at no cost. Philip and the girls would love the extra cuddles we are sure your child will love it too.  

What Are Therapy Cats?

Therapy Maine Coon cats are cats on a mission who are trained with a career and a certification. Their goal is to spread joy & comfort and give people reasons for enjoying life through human to animal contact. 

In an age where social isolation has become the norm, there is an increased need for safe and meaningful affection. A loving loyalty that interaction with a loving pet offers.

These interactions have immeasurable benefits, psychologically and physically. A therapy pet can easily change perspective and give not just a new lease on life, but a meaningful purpose to live. Sometimes, that is what someone needs to get back on track.

Our experience has proven success over and over again that both older people and special needs children have shown like changing benefits from these particular cats.

Maine Coons Are The Perfect Therapy Cat

The personality of the Maine Coon makes it the perfect therapy cat. Its true to say that Maine Coons have a very unique personality, endlessly patient, gentle and loving, but curious and inquisitive and playful. By their nature, Maine Coons are non-aggressive, socially out-going, and affectionate animals. They bond well with their owner, young and old alike, and remain extremely gentle and patient. Happy to watch and participate with all activities they are constantly involved. Once bonded, expect your Maine coon, to wait at the door for you to return home, beg you to go out with you, enjoy the car ride and even swimming. It’s like having a loyal dog in a cat’s body.

And they are big cats! Like dramatically large. This size makes them really huggable, like a teddy bear of sorts. Maine Coons are very curious, and love novel situations, going to interesting places, and meeting brand new people.

That calm confidence of a Maine Coon will come into play when amongst loud children and youths, special needs children or shaky elderly folks alike. Besides the personality, the Maine Coon intelligence and trainability are real keys for becoming a therapy cat.Are The Benefits?

The benefits of a therapy cat cannot be overstated. The right therapy cat is warm and shows affection to those who are in need of comfort. In private homes or a nursing home or elderly care facility, a cat’s purr at the right frequency is perfect. This is because it has been linked to bone growth, fracture healing, inflammation, and pain relief. A therapy cat can reduce stress, blood pressure, and heart disease.

In a hospital setting, therapy cats can do everything mentioned above, plus just offer some sunshine through the emotional clouds. Maine Coon cats enhance your life by decreasing stress and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. The calming effect is real: cat owners have a 40% less chance of a heart attack.

Please be aware that although we breed and sell kittens as pets, if a special needs child bonds with a particular kitten, we consider that a very special and important need, and we will swap kittens around to firstly accommodate that special needs child above all else. If you have booked a kitten, we reserve the right to swap your choice for another kitten if we need to accommodate the preference of a special needs child.


Adults and children alike suffer from Anxiety, often going hand in hand with sleeplessness and irrational stress. A Maine Coon therapy cat offers a chance for true bonding with no barriers. People suffering from anxiety have shown major improvements in anxiety levels by interacting and bonding with these cats.

Our very own cattery can attest to several situations where such a bond prevented teenage suicide. We have also seen first hand anxious children, who are scared to go to bed alone happy to go to be and sleep snuggles up with their therapy cat.

A Maine Coon therapy cat and its purr have a calming effect. Even people with social anxiety can play with a cat that won’t judge and is 100% benevolent.


With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the sufferer experiences considerable anxiety, often constantly, and generally triggered by events or memories.  Generally leaving the sufferer in a constant state of high alert.

Having a Maine coon therapy cat to stroke, or just sit next to you has wonderful calming effect, its gentle non aggressive personality encourages a victim to focus on the here and now in a calm non-threatening way. The cat is here with you and they’re not afraid. The deep bond encourages trust and a sense of security and loyalty.

The purring also promotes healing and reduces stress and in your brain, neurotransmitters like serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine is being released, all of which produces a feeling of well-being and calm.


There are so many success stories and published articles on the amazing impact a maine coon therapy cat has benefited children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Many autistic children not only form close bonds with their therapy cat. Maine coons have a wonderful ability to participate with the child’s daily activities and because of their gentle calm nature, the children calm and feel safe to learn and explore new ideas. Although we have witnessed so many positive improvements, in reduced anxiety, improved social behaviour and improved verbal skills. Most impressive was witnessing non-verbal children giving their cat commands.

Having a cat that “belonged” to the child was valuable because it often built a positive relationship of trust that later opened the door to other relationships, often with family. Its of course difficult to predict the ultimate impact, and every child is different, but we very proud of the wonderful results we have witnessed by simply placing a maine coon kitten with a special needs child.


Owning a Maine Coon cat improves quality of life and mental health. A proper therapy cat provides companionship and reduces loneliness, two of the biggest issues with depression.

Owning a cat is simply does require more responsibility from the owner, but some added responsibility is not necessarily a bad thing. Having another creature dependent on you can trigger positive feelings of being loved and needed. Offering an individual a purpose in life is a lovely way to find joy in day to day activities and real purpose.


Therapy cats often visit senior care facilities, with residents who have been diagnosed with dementia. In these facilities, there are daily activities with the aim of giving residents something to look forward to, a purpose for enjoying life, and stimulation.

A visit from a Maine Coon therapy cat is one of best ways to experience the love and companionship of a pet, without the ongoing responsibility. The activity is low-impact, and people can decide how involved they want to be. Some may welcome the cats into their laps while other prefer to pet and watch.

Choosing the specific cat for the individuals is very important, and may require several visits to the cattery for that special bond to be established. For this reason we recommend private visits where individuals can take their time to interact with the kittens until typically the right kitten chooses you. 


Maine Coons have an average life expectancy of around 9 to 13 years in nature but longer when domesticated, and their characteristic ruggedness and sturdiness is not just aesthetic; they are generally healthy, adaptable and resilient cats. Perfection takes time, though, and they can take as long as four years to reach full physical maturity.

Responsible Maine Coon breeders like Jaeger Cats take every measure to ensure that any genetic defects or predispositions towards illnesses are eliminated, however, the following ailments are sometimes believed to have a slightly higher incidence among Maine Coons:

  • Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common feline heart disease, and is seen more frequently in males and middle-aged and older cats. As the disease progresses, it causes paralysis in hind legs, heart failure and sudden death. Genetic testing can be performed for the mutation that is thought to cause HCM in Maine Coons.
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetically inherited disease which affects the neurons in the spine linked to the skeleton and muscles, and results in muscle weakness and atrophy, and a shortened lifespan. The genes that cause SMA can also be tested for.
  • Hip dysplasia is considered to be more common in heavier-boned breeds such as Maine Coons, and in males. This abnormality of the hip joint can cause difficulty walking and painful arthritis.


Although they are naturally hardy and adaptable cats, there are a number of reasons to feed your Maine Coon a high quality, high protein diet. Firstly, it can take as long as four years for your Maine Coon to reach full physical maturity, and for those years it is especially important to provide the nourishment your growing cat needs to for optimal development. Secondly, Maine Coons are large and usually active cats, meaning that they have higher than normal energy requirements. Thirdly, Maine Coons do sometimes have a tendency to become overweight, which can cause or exacerbate medical conditions such as hip dysplasia, so good nutrition is especially important.

Because Maine Coons take so long to fully mature, we suggest that you keep your cat on kitten food rather than adult food. At Jaeger Cats, the cats are kept on kitten food for their whole lives. Dry food (kibbles) is permanently freely available as well as fresh water. Young kittens start off with five meals per day (breakfast, lunch, supper, second supper around 8pm, and midnight snack) consisting of fresh raw beef, raw chicken fish or cooked eggs. As they get older they get four meals, later they will only get three meat meals a day.

They can also have goat’s milk or Lactogen1 as often as they like, but cows milk is not recommended as it can cause diarrhoea. They also love a bit of yogurt now and then. A little bit of oil in their diet is also very good for them and coconut oil will help keep your Maine Coon’s coat in top condition, while being naturally antibacterial, too.

A good rule of thumb is to feed your Maine Coon dry foods that list meat as the first ingredient, as a diet high in animal protein is preferred over plant protein. Also rather choose brands that use whole meat, rather than meal or animal by-products.

A staple diet of high-quality dry food is recommended to keep your cat’s teeth healthy, with wet food being offered a few times per week. Larger kibbles encourage chewing which keeps the teeth clean. Be careful with a large Maine Coon, the larger cats swallow smaller kibbles whole and that is not good for their teeth.  



Keeping your Maine Coon’s coat in good condition is surprisingly easy, if you are accustomed to the care of Persians or other longhaired breeds. Perhaps because the Maine Coon’s sleek coat developed naturally to protect the semi-wild mousing cats from the cold (when they would hardly have been groomed by humans in the lounge), healthy cats can maintain their own coats to a large extent.

However, a weekly combing is recommended at a minimum to keep knots and mats at bay, so it’s best to get your Maine Coon accustomed to grooming at a young age. Since Maine Coons usually love any and all attention, though, grooming is an enjoyable experience for the cat. Try to avoid brushing their tail too much as the hair snaps easily and it takes a long time to grow back.



Hills Pet Nutrition | Southern Africa Cat Council | The Cat Fanciers' Association | University of California Veterinary Genetics | Laboratory: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy | Universities Federation for Animal Welfare | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy | University of California Veterinary Genetics Laboratory: Spinal Muscular Atrophy in Maine Coon Cats | PetMD | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Hip Dysplasia | Mainecoon.org | Main Coon Expert