Maine Coon Cats are incredibly popular for their large size and gentle personalities. Known as America’s indigenous cat, the Maine Coon has a storied history. They originally served the mundane but necessary role as pest control agents alongside early settlers to Maine. This rustic breed thrived as rugged as the winters in that frozen state.
Although Maine Coons come in a vast array of colors, the shades of grey are some of the most beautiful. These shades are known as blue and silver and come in many patterns and variations mixed with cream and white. The patterns associated with blue and silver coat colors include tabby, smoke, shaded, and chinchilla.
Although several theories about the Maine Coon’s history are the stuff of storybooks, the most likely history is no less interesting. Although some legends suggest the Maine Coon’s came from a cross of the domestic cat with raccoons or wild Bobcats, these crosses were impossible in the case of the raccoon and unlikely in the care of the Bobcat. Their body type, tufted ears, and snow-shoe paws encouraged these conjectures.
There are even legends involving royalty. One suggests that a scheme to shuttle Marie Antoinette to safety in Maine during the French Revolution went awry. She was captured, but her cats were already on board the escape ship. They made the trip without her, lived and interbred with the group of cats already in the new world, and forged this unique breed. Other legends suggest Viking origin.
The most likely explanation for this rugged breed is that longhaired cats came in on ships with traders and travelers from overseas and interbred with the cats already thriving as working companions in Maine’s challenging climate. These survivors were prized for their mousing abilities by early Maine settlers and became the breed we now know as the Maine Coon.
Grey Maine Coon Genetics
Technically, grey is not an official color of Maine Coon recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association. What appears grey is instead called either blue or silver. Blue appears distinctly blue when the cat is in repose. Blue is described as one even color from nose to tail tip, with the same intensity of color down to the roots. The nose leather and paw pads are also blue. Silver, on the other hand, is a pale clear color, and the nose leather depending on the variety of silver ranges from brick red to old rose.
The genetics behind both blue and silver coats involve a dilution. Dilution lightens the coat color, so a genetically black cat appears blue. The dilution from locus d on the B black coat color creates this shade of blue. Silver, however, is an inhibitor that suppresses melanin production. Pheomelanin or yellow pigment production is suppressed more than black or eumelanin pigment production. Because dilution is recessive, there must be two of these recessive genes.
Using the D to designate the non-dilute color and d the recessive dilution, a regular color non-carrier would be DD. Dd is te genotype of a “regular” color cat that does carry the gene and could pass on the dilute trait. A cat with two of the recessives, dd, would exhibit the dilution and be able to pass along the dilute gene.
Regardless of color, the Maine Coon is one of the most giant breeds of domestic cats. Male Maine Coons may reach twenty pounds without being overweight, and females are large, too. Big-boned and muscular, Maine Coons are rectangular-bodied with a wide stance. Her substantial legs end in large paws with tufts of fur between his toes.
Maine Coons have weatherproof coats designed for protection from the elements. Shorter on the shoulders and longer on the stomach and britches, her coat overall is silky and falls smoothly against his body. Her thick ruff protects her neck and gives her a rugged demeanor that reflects her heritage.
Maine Coon Shades Of Grey
Although we may call a Maine Coon that appears grey a grey cat, there is no “grey” color of purebred Maine Coon. Per the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA), the following colors which are grey in appearance are recognized: Blue Solid, Blue Smoke, Shaded Silver, Shaded Blue Silver, Silver Tabby, Blue Silver Tabby, Blue Tabby, Chinchilla Silver, and Shaded Silver.
Maine Coons enjoy your company and will follow you around the house, especially if you’re working with water. Maine Coons like the water more than most breeds. Your kitten might visit you in the shower or offer an extra set of “hands” while washing dishes. Your Maine Coon can get along well with other pets and children and will likely talk to you and try to include herself in your activities. This pleasant and social breed makes a great addition to a family with calm children.
Exercise & Care
Your Maine Coon sidekick loves to be with you and can even be trained to walk on a leash. Take care to fit the leash properly, and be patient when training her to walk with you. She will be athletic and strong, so make sure she has plenty of opportunities to stay fit. Lasers and wand toys keep her moving. She probably won’t be much of a climber, but she will need movement to avoid becoming overweight. If she’s getting sufficient exercise and time with you, separation will be easier for her to handle as well.
- Use the scratching post or cat tree only.
- Keep claws retracted when playing with people.
- Eliminate only in the litter box.
- Biting is for toys only.
- Games and tricks.
- Standard commands like sit, stay, roll over, jump, high-five, play a game, time to eat, come here, etc.
- Familiarity with the grooming process.
- Familiarity with being bathed.
- Riding calmly in the car.
Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) causes the heart’s walls to thicken, decreasing the heart’s efficiency. Although the cause of HCM remains inconclusive, there may be a genetic component. Maine Coons have an increased incidence of this disease. While the prognosis for this disease varies, proper diagnosis and treatment can help.
Some cats with HCM are asymptomatic, but others suffer from labored breathing and lethargy from congestive heart failure. Your vet may use an echocardiogram or genetic testing to see if your cat suffers from this condition. Your vet will likely prescribe medication to help your cat live more comfortably. Asymptomatic cats may live for many years, but unfortunately, the disease is progressive.
Maine Coon cats can be prone to developing hip dysplasia. If a cat has hip dysplasia, the ball and socket fit of the hip joint is loose and, over time, becomes damaged from wear. Eventually, this wear destroys the cartilage. Your cat may show signs of lameness and discomfort and be unwilling to move around as normal. Cats may lick or bite at the hip joint because of the discomfort. Consult your vet to see if anti-inflammatories and joint supplements may lessen your cat’s pain or if surgery will be necessary to replace the joint.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Although Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is neither painful nor fatal, it disables the affected cat. This genetic disorder causes muscle weakness in the spine. Affected cats lose their ability to jump properly generally by the time they are six months old. Because it is a painless disorder, cats can live with it, but they must receive special care. For safety’s sake, they need to stay indoors and have all of their food, water, litterbox, and bedding on one level.
Maine Coons take up to three years to fully mature. Because she matures much more slowly than the typical cat, choose a food designed for kittens and discuss with your vet how long your blend should use this formula. Protein and fat levels should support slow, steady growth. Kittens need a specific calcium-phosphorus ratio for proper bone development. Look for a recipe with .8 to 1.6% calcium on a dry matter basis. Wet cat food contains more moisture than kibble; if your cat is prone to urinary tract infections, this additional moisture can help reduce the frequency of her illnesses. Your Maine Coon may prefer fresh running water and may try to drink directly from the spigot. She’ll appreciate a fountain drinker.
Any cat food you choose should meet Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards as a complete and balanced diet for your feline. In the wild, animal meat comprises the most significant part of the feline diet. Their diet should reflect what they evolved to eat. They consumed high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates. Their prey provided adequate vitamins and minerals. Regardless of which type of food you choose, read the label. Look for meat, meat by-products, or seafood among the first few ingredients. These ingredients suggest the food contains enough animal-source ingredients to supply essential amino acids and fatty acids without additional supplements. For cats prone to urinary tract issues, a low-magnesium wet food may be worth the extra expense.
Because your longhaired beauty will have a double coat, you’ll be brushing more than if you had a shorthaired kitten. Luckily, Maine Coons have coats that don’t tangle easily. Their grooming needs are fairly basic because their coat was designed to protect them from cold environments. To protect them from cold, wet weather, their coat has a somewhat oily feel, but these oils help keep them from getting mats. Maine Coons have tufted paws and ears that, in addition to their protective coat, are adapted to Maine weather.
During shedding season, your Maine Coon will require more frequent coat care to minimize shedding. Your cat will appreciate being combed gently to loosen shed hair, detangle any mats, and then brushed with a soft bristle brush. Brushing stimulates oil production in the hair follicles and helps keep her skin healthy and coat glowing. Brushing their teeth helps prevent periodontal disease. Like all cats, they’ll need their nails trimmed. If you’re unsure how to safely trim her nails, ask your veterinarian for advice or take her to a professional groomer.
Kitten Prices & Breeders
Because Maine Coons are so popular and the blues and silvers so desirable, the price of a kitten may be higher than other colors. Both have beautiful luxurious long hair and tufted ears and toes. Maine Coons are more significant than most other breeds, so keep this in mind when you plan your kitten’s space and purchase cat trees or travel crates. Even litter boxes will need to be larger than average to accommodate her size, so check the dimensions of what your adult cat will need, even if you’re getting her as a small kitten.
Maine Coons are an expensive breed. In general, you can expect to pay up to $2,000 for a Maine Coon. If you want a specific color instead of the first available one, you can expect to pay a premium. The rarest colors are gold and silver. Silver can be produced by an inhibitor gene that causes pigment at the tip of the hair but not along the shaft. The silver undercoat on solid color Maine Coons may appear when black and red cats are crossed, but it is an expression of a recessive dilute gene that produces a silver root to the hair shaft. Silver can be hard to see on kittens, so if color is your number one priority, you may wish to adopt an older Maine Coon.
Before bringing your kitten home, get the supplies you’ll need to take care of her. Have her litter box and the food you plan to feed. You may wish to have a bed for her, a crate for transport, some toys, and grooming tools. If you don’t already have an established veterinarian, locate one for your kitten’s first vaccinations and a general wellness check. Expect to spend about $700 to $2500 for your kitten and her supplies if you’re starting from scratch.
Shelters & Rescues
Because Maine Coons are such a highly sought-after breed, it may be tough to find one in your local shelters. Check-in regularly for kittens or cats listed that may have Maine Coon in the mix. If you don’t know for sure that an available cat has Maine Coon in her heritage, you may be able to tell by her size, tufted ears, and snow-shoed feet.
Depending on your needs, you may find a kitten with the look and temperament to make you happy at the shelter, even if it isn’t a purebred Maine Coon. If you would be happy with any extra large grey longhaired kitty with a sweet personality, the Humane Society of the United States, your local shelter, and your veterinarian are reliable resources for finding reputable shelters and rescue groups. You can expect to pay a shelter fee of between $60 and $120.
Check your local shelters and rescue groups in late Spring and early Summer if you’re in the market for a kitten. If you are willing to adopt an older cat, you’ll be able to see the adult and interact with her one on one. There are many advantages to adopting a mature cat. You’ll have a much clearer picture of the personality you’ll be living with for the rest of your cat’s life. With silver cats especially, their color may not be apparent until they mature.
Should I Get a Grey Maine Coon
Before you bring home a kitten that will be your constant companion for the next fifteen years, make sure you’re prepared for a cat who will likely want to interact with you and will be a big girl or boy. Large cats can be a handful, or more accurately, a lapful. Study the breed and grooming requirements, and don’t choose an individual based solely on color without understanding anything about how a Maine Coon will fit in your life and lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Grey Maine Coons A Different Breed?
Grey Maine Coons are still Maine Coon cats. The proper term for a greyish color is blue or silver, depending on the shade. Blues have hair that is a solid color down to the roots, while silver cats have hair that has pigment either only at the tips or along the shaft of the hair.
What Color Eyes Does A Grey Maine Coon Have?
Maine Coons may have several eye colors and sometimes even have one eye one color and one eye the other, especially on white cats or cats with white. Overall, their eye color can be shades of green, gold, green-gold, or copper. White cats and all cats with white may have blue or odd eyes.
If you have time and energy to spend with a feline companion who won’t be denied your company, you’ll love a Maine Coon cat. She will probably be an above-average-sized cat of athletic build. She’ll follow you around the house to ensure you’re okay and will love to cuddle in your lap. She’s likely to be very vocal in expressing his opinions, too. If you’re specifically in the market for a silver or blue kitten, recognize you may have difficulty locating one, and in the case of silver especially, they may be quite expensive.
Play with your cat to provide exercise and strengthen your bond. This affectionate giant will hopefully live more than fifteen years by your side. You’ll have a constant and steadfast companion when you open your home and heart to a Maine Coon Oriental. She’ll visit the shower and the sink when you’re in the water because she loves to reach out and grab it with her paws. Show her your love in the most tangible way with regular veterinary care, proper nutrition, and a healthy, attentive environment.