This breed is north American’s only native long haired breed of cat. These cats where recognized as a breed in maine where they were well known for keeping the mouse population down. These cats are quite a large breed and have a long silky coat which is shorter on the shoulders and longer on the belly and tail. The coat is water resistant and easily groomed. Quite surprisingly these cats are known to love water. This is quite unusual as most are terrified of water. Maine coons are a great breed to have as a pet as they are very loyal and enjoy companionship of both humans and other pets.
Although cats can learn to appreciate and value human company they do not have a fundamental requirement for it and it is therefore very important that kittens are given adequate socialization with people if they are to become rewarding pets.
The most important time in a kitten’s development for learning to interact in a social context with other cats, people and other domestic species (including the dog) is called the socialization period and it runs from the SECOND to the SEVENTH week of life.
For most kittens this period will be spent at the breeder’s premises and therefore it is important to select a breeder that pays adequate attention to the socialization process. Developmental periods are flexible and it is possible to enhance socialization once your kitten comes to live with you at 13 to 14 week old, it has been shown that the response to socialization is more rapid during the primary socialization period, those kittens who have received a good foundation in human interaction at an early age will adapt more quickly to life in a domestic environment and are less likely to develop behavioral problems. Such as fear, anxiety and aggression.
There is a number of factors that are important to teaching kittens that human company is worthwhile and these include the amount of handling that they receive during the socialization period, the style of that handling and the number of handlers. It has been shown that handling a kitten for up to an hour a day. Touching them all over lifting then very gently restraining them is the best way of preparing them for the sort of contact that owners will want with them.
When this handling is carried out by at least 2 to 3 people kittens will learn to generalist their acceptance of human contact rather than learn to tolerate interaction with a specific individual.