No cat is as majestic as the gigantic Maine Coon breed. This gorgeous cat is the largest domesticated cat breed in the world and yet has a calm, sweet personality. One of the most beautiful variations of the Maine Coon is the black Maine Coon.
Black Maine Coons are quite rare, given the genetics involved in creating a fully black Maine Coon, but the resets are stunning. Black Maine Coons are regal, sociable, affectionate, smart, and independent. They make great family pets and striking animal companions. Is the black Maine Coon the cat for you? Let's find out.
Name and Origin of the Black Maine Coon Cat
The origins of the black Maine Coon are the same as that of all Maine Coons. There is a little mystery as to the exact date and even which breeds crossed to form this magnificent cat, but sometime during the 1800s, longhaired ship cats that were used to control pests on board ships were brought to Maine and began breeding with American shorthair breeds. Given the size of the purebred Maine Coon cat and the composition of its coat, it is believed that the European ancestors may very well have been Norwegian Forest cats.
The Maine Coon got its name due to its origin in the US. The early belief was that the breed had been crossed with actual raccoons. While this was not the case, the name stuck due to the cat's raccoon-like long and fluffy tail.
The black Maine Coon is a color variation of the regular purebred Maine Coon and is a rare cat to find due to the genetics that lead to creating a black Maine Coon in a litter. Apart from color, however, they are the same as any other Maine Coon regarding size, personality, and care needs.
Because black Maine Coon is a genetic rarity, there are alot more male black Maine Coons in a little more than there are females. And like all black cats, they may have disease resistance.
Appearance and Size
The black Maine Coon is a giant cat breed, with some individuals getting as large as 25 pounds. The average size is between 11-20 pounds, most of that weight coming from their thick, dense fur and strong muscular bodies. These cats have a multi-layered coat that is thick and water resistant.
While they are available in many colorings, a black Maine Coon cat comes in two main colorings: solid black and smoke black. A solid black Maine Coon coat is dark throughout all the layers and has coal black from root to tip. A smoke black Maine Coon or black smoke Maine Coon cat, on the other hand, will have variations of grey and white within its thick layered fur, creating a dusky black color. Black smoke Maine Coons are often mistaken for solid black Maine Coons, but you will see some silver smoke.
The Maine Coon cat breed has long tails, pointed, tufted ears, snow-shoe paws, and powerful, strong bodies. Black Maine Coon eyes are usually gold or copper.
The life expectancy of a black Maine Coon is 9-15 years. As a breed that takes longer to reach full maturity, they won't be fully mature until they are 3-5 years old.
Housing Maine Coon Cats
The requirements for housing your black Maine Coon are the same as any cat, with adjustments made for this breed's larger size. Maine Coon cats need a large litter box of at least 27x18 inches, a cat bed in a secure and safe place, a scratching post to preserve your furniture, and plenty of toys to keep it active and entertained. This smart cat breed can get bored easily, so puzzle toys can help keep this big cat out of trouble.
Behavior & Temperament
Black Maine Coon cats have very sweet, gentle personalities. They are playful, sociable, and smart. However, they are also independent and don't need a lot of constant attention to be happy. They do very well with children and other pets.
They can tend to be a chatty breed with a variety of vocalizations. As a smart breed, they can sometimes get bored, so supplying puzzle toys and planning playtimes can be a great way to prevent troublesome behaviors in your black Maine Coon.
Black Maine Coon cats do not require a special diet; they need high-quality food and may benefit from food formulated for giant breeds. It is more important, however, that whatever quality cat food they are fed provides complete and balanced nutrition. Check with your vet if you have questions about what kind of food to feed your black Maine Coon.
Black Maine Coon cats benefit from a diet of both wet and dry food, but meals should be measured and regulated to prevent obesity.
It is especially true for black Maine Coon kittens. These kittens grow and mature quite slowly, and it can be tempting to overfeed kittens to help them grow faster. However, this will lead to obesity and health issues for your cat in the future.
Clean, freshwater should always be available, and the cat owner should clean dishes daily to prevent any health issues.
Like most cats, black Maine Coons are pretty good about keeping themselves clean, and not much additional grooming needs to be done by pet parents. A quick brush of Maine Coon's coat a couple of times a week can help reduce hairballs and matting and lessen the amount of hair on furniture. You may want to brush your cat daily in the fall and spring when black Maine Coons shed seasonally to prevent knots and tangles. Use a soft drifted brush to groom your cat and a fine tooth comb to tease out tangles.
If your black Maine Coon is prone to matting and knotting, and you aren't able to get it out. Take your cat to a groomer.
Check their ears periodically for irritation or infections—clip toes tufts and any excess ear fluff that can lead to issues. Keep nails trimmed or provide plenty of scratching posts to keep claws short, so they don't snag or split.
It can be challenging to correctly gender a black Maine Coon kitten, so if you ever have any doubts or concerns or you want to be certain, always take them to your vet or an animal shelter where professionals can confirm your kitten or cat's gender.
In general, the genitals of a male cat are further from the anus, whereas in females, the genitals are quite close to the anus. In males, you may be able to make out two bulges which are the testicles, but these are sometimes not very prominent, especially in very young kittens. Both sexes have between 6-8 nipples, so that is not a good way to tell a male from a female.
Black Maine Coon Cats Breeder
Before you seek a breeder, check out your local shelter and rescue centers first. It is possible to find a black Maine Coon there.
If you do decide to work with a breeder, do your research and seek a cat from a reputable breeder. You can contact The Cat Fanciers' Association or The International Cat Association to obtain a list of reputable breeders.
Common Health and Behavior Problems
Purebred Maine Coons are quite a hearty and healthy breed and do not usually suffer from many health issues. Their health issues are mostly hereditary and can be screened for and monitored throughout your cat's life.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
HCM is a hereditary condition that affects your cat's heart health. This results in the gradual thickening of the heart's muscular walls decreasing the heart's efficiency and often leading to other issues. While some cats can survive for years with HCM, it is a progressive disorder and more commonly leads to congestive heart failure, thromboembolism, hypothermia, and eventual death.
Hip dysplasia in cats is a genetic condition wherein the hip joints suffer malformation—these conditions are not preventable and cannot be cured. However, medication and exercise can control and moderate the pain throughout your cat's life.
While not strictly a hereditary condition, back Maine Coons are much more likely than other cat breeds to develop obesity which can lead to a number of other serious health issues. Cat owners of black Maine Coons should avoid overfeeding and giving too many treats. Try to increase your cat's exercise and activity by adding cat towers, a large indoor cat tree, a variety of toys, or going for an outdoor walk (leashed).