The white Maine Coon Cat is a remarkable feline companion that has stolen the hearts of many cat lovers over the past few decades. These cats are admired for their graceful nature, intelligence, and gentle demeanor, not to mention their stunning white fur, remarkable size, and mysterious presence.
While Maine Coon Cats come in different colors, the enchanting allure of the white variant is mesmerizing. In addition to their striking looks, White Maine Coon Cats are curious explorers who form deep bonds with their human companions. Their friendly and affectionate temperament makes them great family pets, as they develop strong and loyal connections with everyone in their households.
Let’s look closer at White Maine Coon Cats, exploring their fascinating history, physical traits, and delightful personalities. We’ll also look at some of their more curious traits, like why they love water and proneness to certain health issues. This is all about the White Maine Coon.
Can Maine Coons Be White?
Maine Coon cats come in more than 75 different colors and patterns, and white Maine Coons are among the most popular. They have beautiful long, pure white fur and often have interesting eye colors like blue, gold, and green.
White Maine Coons are not naturally white, but they have a white masking gene that makes them appear white. This gene covers up their true color, so their real color is hidden beneath the white fur. It’s important to know that white isn’t considered a color in this case.
White Maine Coon cats are often called a “non-color.” Sometimes white Maine Coon kittens are born with a small spot of their true color on their head, but it usually goes away as they grow up. All Maine Coons can have green, green-gold, copper, or gold eyes. White Maine Coons can also have blue eyes or eyes that are two different colors.
NB: The Cat Fanciers Association recognizes white as a solid color for Maine Coons, as long as the cat has pink paw pads and a pink nose.
Image by Cassandra from Pixabay
1. White Maine Coon History and Origin
The Maine Coon is a very old breed of cat that comes from North America, specifically from the state of Maine. It’s even the official state cat there!
Stories vary on where this breed came from, but there are a few interesting ideas about how it came to be.
Another theory is that the breed was created when short-haired cats in Maine mated with longhaired cats brought by sailors from New England or even by Vikings when they explored North America.
The Maine Coon became really popular in the United States in the late 1800s. In fact, in 1895, a brown tabby Maine Coon named Cosey won the first big cat show ever held in the country.
Nowadays, Maine Coons are popular worldwide. According to the CFA, they’re ranked third among the most loved cat breeds. You can often see them strutting their stuff at cat shows and winning big prizes too!
As mentioned, the white Maine Coon is just a variation of color in this breed.
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2. Formal Recognition of the White Maine Coon Cat
White Maine Coons were officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 1976. Three years later, in 1979, The International Cat Association (TICA) also accepted them.
Are White Maine Coons Rare?
White Maine Coon cats are considered rare because they make up only 1.5% of the entire Maine Coon population. This low percentage makes them a unique and uncommon color. If you have a white Maine Coon in your home, consider yourself among a few lucky owners.
3. Appearance and Characteristics of White Maine Coon cats
The White Maine Coon is a captivating and elegant variation of the Maine Coon cat breed, renowned for its long and luxurious white fur. While they share many characteristics with their more colorful counterparts, white Maine Coons possess a unique beauty that distinguishes them.
White Maine Coons typically have medium to long fur, which is silky and dense. This breed boasts a robust, muscular body with large, tufted ears and a long, bushy tail. Their stunning white coat may be accompanied by odd eye colors or matching blue eyes, further enhancing their enchanting appearance.
Facially, White Maine Coons exhibit high cheekbones, a square muzzle, and a strong chin, lending them an esteemed look. Despite their majestic appearance, White Maine Coons are known for their gentle, amiable, and pleasant disposition.
Image by Sarah Laps from Pixabay
Are White Maine Coons Albino Cats? The Science!
White Maine Coons are often mistaken for albino Maine Coon cats, but this assumption is incorrect. Albino cats have a genetic defect that causes a lack of pigmentation, resulting in a white coat. The visible skin around their eyes and mouth is pink, and they have pink noses. Their eyes may also appear pinkish due to the lack of pigmentation in the iris.
White Maine Coons, although not true albinos, can have very pale blue eyes if partially albino. A blue-eyed Maine Coon may also be more prone to deafness (see below).
4. Personality and Temperament
Even though they are large, White Maine Coons are not mean or bossy. They are curious and smart, and they like exploring and playing. They demonstrate intelligence and curiosity, often displaying dog-like behaviors such as following their owners and playing fetch.
People call them “gentle giants” because they are kind and calm. They like being with their human family and showing love. They are good companions for families with kids or other pets.
Image by Laura Maria from Pixabay
5. Grooming and Care of White Maine Coons
Caring for White Maine Coon cats involves regular grooming to keep their beautiful coats looking their best. Because their fur is long, brushing them at least once a week is important to prevent matting and tangles. A wide-tooth comb or slicker brush can help prevent knots and remove loose hair.
Bathing is not something that needs to be done often for White Maine Coons, but occasionally it may be necessary to keep their fur clean and white. When bathing, use a gentle cat shampoo and avoid getting water in their ears to prevent infections.
It’s a good idea to introduce white Maine Coon cats to bathing when they are still kittens. Don’t wait until they are adults, or you’ll have a hard time. You can also occasionally use cat wipes designed for hygiene and cleanliness.
Some people think owning a white cat is difficult, and they’re not entirely wrong! White Maine Coons are not more prone to getting dirty than other Maine Coon colors. However, their pure white fur shows dirt more easily, making it appear dirtier than it is.
Image by Kanashi from Pixabay
Why Maine Coons Love Water
Maine Coon cats have a strong affinity for water and enjoy playing with it. Their fur is somewhat resistant to water, keeping them warm and dry even when they’re in contact with it. It’s common for them to lick water from leaky faucets or play with their water bowls.
Many people find the Maine Coon cat’s love of water fascinating and adorable. It’s a well-known trait of the breed, recognized by specialists as a common characteristic.
One possible explanation for their love of water is a folklore myth that claims they are descendants of cats that lived on Viking ships. These longhaired cats, possibly Norwegian Forest Cats, were kept on the ships to control the mouse population. The idea is that growing up on the ships made them comfortable with water.
Image by Banesa from Pixabay
You might enjoy reading my article on 4 things that affect the lifespan of a Maine Coon Cat.
The Bizarre Raccoon Conspiracy
There is a somewhat bizarre and unlikely myth suggesting that Maine Coon cats love the water because they are believed to have some raccoon genes. According to this story, it is said that a semi-wild domestic cat and a raccoon had offspring, leading to the creation of the Maine Coon breed we see today.
However, scientists have proven that this myth is biologically impossible. Although there are similarities between Maine Coon cats and raccoons, they are not related in this way.
You might enjoy reading my article on white cats with blue eyes.
Photo by Omar Ramadan:
6. A Note on White Maine Coon Breeding and Genetics
White Maine Coons are known for being big cats, and there are various theories explaining why. One straightforward explanation is that they have an extended growth period.
Unlike most cats, which reach their full size by the age of two or even earlier, white Maine Coons continue growing until they are around four or five years old.
Here are some more interesting facts related to breeding and genetics:
- If you want to breed an all-white Maine Coon kitten, at least one of the parents must be completely white.
- Breeders cannot control if their white Maine Coon cat will pass on the “masking gene” to its kittens. This gene is crucial for creating white Maine Coon cats because it blocks other colors from appearing.
- White Maine Coon cats have litters that can be either white or have hidden patterns and colors. Breeders study the family history of the breeding cats and the previous kittens they’ve had in a controlled breeding environment to figure out the masked patterns and colors of the white Maine Coons.
- When White Maine Coon kittens are born, they often have a small colored mark on top of their heads. However, this mark fades away within a few months. Breeders quickly take note of this mark because it indicates the cat’s masked coloring. If a white kitten with this mark grows up and breeds, there is a chance that the kittens will either be white or have the same color that briefly appeared as a mark on the top of their heads.
Image by 888LC from Pixabay
7. White Maine Coon Health and Lifespan
Maine Coon white cats are usually very healthy and can live for a long time, usually around 12 to 15 years. However, a few health problems may be more prevalent in this breed.
Deafness in a White Maine Coon with Blue Eyes
There is a bit of sad news when it comes to white cats in general, and especially White Maine Coons. White Maine Coons with blue eyes are more likely to be deaf in one or both ears.
This is because of a gene called the W gene, which is responsible for their white coat color and is also linked to deafness. However, not all blue-eyed white Maine Coons will be deaf, and many can still live happy and healthy lives despite this condition. Deafness can be tested for in kittens when they are still quite young.
Side note: Read this for more on blue-eyed cat breeds.
Hip dysplasia is a rare condition in cats compared to dogs and humans. However, cat owners should still know its signs and how to manage it if it happens.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic problem where the ball-and-socket joint connecting a cat’s thigh bone to its hip is malformed. The ball is the knobby top end of the thigh bone, and the socket is a cup-shaped cavity in the hip bone. Normally, the femoral head fits well into the acetabulum, allowing the cat to move comfortably by gliding and rotating.
Hip dysplasia can occur in White Maine Coons, at least partially agitated by the cat’s size. It affects the development of the hip joint, leading to problems with mobility and arthritis.
In cats with hip dysplasia, the ball and socket don’t align properly and are loose. This causes the femoral head to move unevenly. The misalignment, known as subluxation, leads to the femoral head and acetabulum rubbing and grinding against each other.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coon cats have a genetic mutation that affects around 30% of them. This mutation increases their chances of developing a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
The condition causes the walls of the heart to thicken, leading to heart failure and other complications like blood clots blocking major blood vessels. Heart failure can cause prolonged discomfort and malaise, while blocked blood vessels result in severe pain.
It is possible to detect this genetic mutation through a specific genetic test and ultrasound scanning of the heart before the cat reaches breeding age.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Spinal muscular atrophy is another inherited condition that giant White Maine Coon owners should be aware of. This neurological disorder can result in muscle weakness and atrophy.
White cats, like the White Maine Coon, are more likely to get sunburnt than cats with other colors, according to the RSPCA. Sunburn can cause discomfort and even life-threatening damage to your cat’s skin.
As an owner, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your White Maine Coon safe from sunburn. Here are some helpful tips:
- Provide shade: Ensure your cat can access shady areas to seek refuge from direct sunlight.
- Limit outdoor exposure: Avoid letting your cat spend prolonged periods outdoors during peak sun hours, especially when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Use sunscreen: Consult your veterinarian with a pet-safe sunscreen specifically designed for cats on exposed skin areas, such as the ears and nose.
Image by Lars Schlageter from Pixabay
White Maine Coons, known for their beauty, are unfortunately prone to skin cancer due to their pale skin color. According to the RSPCA, pure white cats are more likely to develop skin cancer around their ears, eyelids, and nose where their hair is thin or absent. Limiting sun exposure and keeping them inside can help decrease your cat’s risk of skin cancer.
Final Thoughts on White Maine Coon Cats
White Maine Coon Cats are captivating creatures that combine elegance, charm, and intelligence. Their striking snowy fur and enchanting blue or heterochromatic eyes make them a true marvel to behold.
They are visually stunning and possess a loving and affectionate nature, forming strong bonds with their human companions. With their playful and friendly personalities, White Maine Coon Cats bring joy and warmth to any household lucky enough to welcome them.
Want to know more? Read this article all about Maine Coone Cats.