Please find below a guest post from Gary:
I’ve been the human of a 15-pound smoke silver-gray Maine Coon girl (shown above) for about 4 years now, and she is wholly unimpressed by me. I submitted an article about what I’ve learned as a first-time pedigreed Maine Coon cat owner and it was published, much to her chagrin.
People liked the article, but her attitude to my roaring success as a published blogger, (and her subsequent rise as overnight cat celebrity) has been one of boredom. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up the daughter of two cat show stars!
Well, because life with Chelle rolls on (she is now a late teenager or young adult, and prone to age-appropriate issues like mood swings and sleeping all day), I’m back with more wisdom and unique insights gleaned from living with a Maine Coon.
Maine Coons are smart and are trainable animals. But I am talking about the inverse here. Chelle has me trained pretty well. The power of habits is really powerful in Maine Coons, and she has noticed it’s pretty strong in humans too.
Every night after dinner, she sits next to the coffee table and looks at me. This is my cue to get the wide stainless steel water bowl and fill it with clean, filtered tap cold water. Then I sit on the corner of the coffee table and hold the bowl at an angle. She will now come and lap up water for a few minutes straight.
(Side note: You read everywhere that “cats have a low thirst drive,” I’ve even said it myself. But that’s not true, Chelle loves her water. Give your cat fresh flowing water via a fountain, and offer water additionally via interesting ways to encourage drinking.)
Another thing she’s somehow finagled me to do is to provide a couple of cat treats as an appetizer before eating her main course at every mealtime.
I’ve also discovered that Maine Coons are perfect as therapy animals – professional or amateur.
Now I did not get my Maine Coon as an emotional support animal explicitly but did derive real benefits from taking care of kitten Chelle. Like many millennials, I dealt with self-esteem issues and a bit of intermittent low-grade depression. But providing for another living creature really improved my self-image. Caring for a large, friendly, and loyal cat that follows you around the house is totally rewarding!
Professional certified Maine Coons are wonderful therapy cats. Some of the finest examples of working therapy cats are Maine Coons. You’ll catch them in settings like retirement homes, hospitals, detention centers, even prisons spreading comfort and joy. Maine Coon cats give the day a spark, a break in the monotony to the inhabitants of these environments.
One last thing. Living through 2020 and in the wake of the global pandemic, you can’t blame anyone for working on themselves. And one of the ways people have coped with loneliness and emptiness is with pets! It’s no surprise that it’s almost impossible to find a pet to adopt.
The Maine Coon breed is the state of Maine’s official animal, and proudly so. This is no surprise, judging by the name. Maine Coon history is common knowledge: their European long-haired cat ancestors sailed the rough seas with pilgrims or Vikings and then landed on the East Coast of America. Once there, they promptly interbred with local cats and over generations, the modern Maine Coon is the result.
But the more I think about it, the more I believe Maine Coons are not only Maine’s cat but America’s cat. Here’s why. Maine Coon arrived on ships, as an immigrant. They stayed hungry, catching mice and working hard in the cold. One day, they catch a break. Farmers notice their tenacity and friendly attitude. Maine Coons are invited into barns and homes to catch mice and other vermin.
And as we all know, once Maine Coons got indoors, it was simple to charm humans and snuggle their way into their hearts. A market quickly emerged. By the late 1800s, breeders were marketing Maine Coons to well-to-do families, at expensive prices, as the perfect family cat. Today, most Maine Coons enjoy a pampered and spoiled life, with only an occasional vacuum cleaner as a nuisance. Success.
If that is not the American Dream come true, I don’t know what is! Maine Coons are the perfect representation of upward mobility, of a rags to riches tale we should all get behind.
I tried to explore more of the emotion and heartwarming human aspects of Maine Coon ownership. I hope you enjoyed it. I must be off, Chelle has given me a project deadline on some work for her website Mainecoonhawaii.com!