Hybrid vigor, or heterosis, is the tendency for a crossbred individual to exhibit qualities superior to those of either parent. When you adopt a kitten that is a blend of two breeds, you’ll likely have a healthier individual than a purebred cat with a fixed gene pool for some time. Some newer breeds have been derived from older breeds, so in that case, a cross may not eliminate a genetic issue but instead concentrate it. Knowing about the two parent breeds will help you understand what personality traits your kitten may have and what health issues you’ll need to monitor. If a Maine Coon and a Sphinx produce a kitten, we can tell that there are two very different outward appearances at play, so we need to explore temperament and health.
Blending two such extreme breeds produces a cat that may have traits from both breeds in equal proportion but could also tend more towards the Maine Coon or the Sphynx in certain respects. Because this is a hybrid and not a stable breed, individuals from the same litter may show marked differences in appearance or personality. Considering the typical traits of each parent breed serves as a primary point of reference for what you can expect, no matter which of their parents your kitten favors. Regardless of which breed your kitten resembles, they are unique individuals who will need your love and care for the rest of their lives.
- Maine Coons
- History Of The Maine Coon
- History Of The Sphynx
- Maine Coon Sphynx Mix
- Size & Appearance
- Coat & Colors
- Living Requirements
- Breeders & Kitten Costs
- Rescues & Shelters
- Final Thoughts
As her name suggests, the Maine Coon is Maine’s official state cat. The breed is considered America’s first indigenous cat, highly regarded for its mousing abilities. The Maine Coon coat isn’t fine like a Persians, but silky and a bit oily, as if it would shed water in the weather. With fur between her toes like snowshoes, Maine Coons reflect the rugged nature of Maine’s great outdoors.
History Of The Maine Coon
Several farfetched theories abound about the history of the Maine Coone, but there are a few we can put to rest. One legend suggests the Maine Coon sprang from a cross of the domestic cat with wild raccoons in the area. While Maine Coons may have resembled actual raccoons with their imposing body and ample tail, this cross is impossible. Cats and raccoons aren’t even in the same family. The Maine Coon’s size, tufted ears, and snowshoe paws encouraged the notion that the cats first brought to the New World by early settlers interbred with wild Bobcats to create the Maine Coon. Modern science shows us that this isn’t genetically possible, either.
The legends about the origin of the Maine Coon don’t all involve wildlife. One suggests that a scheme to shuttle Marie Antoinette to Maine for safety during the French Revolution went awry, and although she was captured, her cats were already on board the escape ship and made the trip without her and were part of the new breed. Other legends suggest Viking origin, but the most plausible is that longhaired cats came in with traders and travelers from overseas and interbred with these shorthaired cats. The latter was already surviving with their families in Maine’s challenging climate. Survival of the fittest brought us this gentle giant.
Although her name would suggest an ancient origin, the Sphynx is named for her looks, not her heritage. More cheerful than her serious, wrinkled face would suggest, the Sphynx is an indoor cat. She has little in the way of protection from the elements. Although she has little hair, her healthy skin still secretes the same oils that keep a coat healthy, so be sure to keep her bedding laundered.
History Of The Sphynx
Unlike the history of the Maine Coone, we know the origin of the Sphynx. The Sphynx is a relatively recent Canadian breed dating back to the middle of the twentieth century. In 1966, a normally-haired cat gave birth to a hairless kitten named Prune, who, along with some other naturally hairless kittens, became the founding fathers and mothers of the new breed. Sphynx breeders have tried to ensure sufficient outcrosses with normally-haired cats to create a healthy breed before crossing back to other hairless cats.
Advances in genomic sequencing have allowed scientists to explore the mutation responsible for the Sphynx’s unique coat. The curly-coated Devon Rex has been used in developing the Sphynx breed, and the same gene that causes the Rex’s curls is associated with the unusual hair on the Sphynx. The Sphynx does have hair, but only abnormal hairs. Their bodies are covered with a fine down and some light wavy hair on the nose, tail, and toes. For domestic cats, mutations in the coding sequence of KRT71 (keratin 71, which helps control how the hair grows) appear to cause the differences in the appearance of the coats of both the Devon Rex and the Sphynx.
Maine Coon Sphynx Mix
One of the first things we have to wonder about with a Maine Coon Sphynx blend is what she’ll look like. The genetic mutation that causes the Sphynx’s hairlessness is recessive, so a kitten from this cross will almost certainly be normally haired. That’s where the predictability ends, however, because the Maine Coon and Sphynx body types are so different.
Both Maine Coons and Sphynx cats are friendly and social. They like people and enjoy following their owners around the house. Both breeds tolerate other pets and children and are generally pleasant to be around. Both breeds are athletic and muscular, but the athleticism of the Sphynx is more of a gymnastic athleticism than the power of the Maine Coon. Sphynxes will perch on your shoulder and are more prone to climb than the Maine Coon, so your blended kitten may take after either parent or be somewhere in between.
Both breeds like playing in the water, so your blended kitten might visit you in the shower or offer an extra set of “hands” while washing dishes. Your Maine Coon Sphynx blend will likely be vocal and “talk” to you and try to include herself in your activities. Extroverted and social, this blend makes a great addition to an active, loving family.
Size & Appearance
Your Maine Coone Sphynx blend will likely be a larger than average, muscular cat. Round-bodied and athletic, her face may be where her heritage shows. Her face may be more triangular and her ears more prominent than expected because of her Sphynx ancestry, but otherwise, she’ll look like a more mainstream, medium build cat.
Coat & Colors
Genetically speaking, your blended kitten will be shorthaired. Short hair is dominant to long hair, so to produce a longhaired kitten, two copies of the longhaired gene must come from the parent cats. A Sphynx is shorthaired, so all kittens of this blend will be shorthaired. Their short hair will be regular hair, not the peach fuzz of the Sphynx. The color possibilities are nearly endless because the Sphynx can be any color, and the Maine Coon is available in over seventy-five color combinations. Your Maine Coon Sphynx blend kitten will be a beautiful shorthaired bundle of personality.
Because your blended kitten should have regular short hair, she’ll be easier to groom than her parents. While Sphynx cats have incredibly short hair, they require specialized care because their skin is exposed. Sphynxes need to be kept indoors out of the sun and get especially cold in the winter. They need to be bathed weekly. Maine Coons, at the opposite extreme, have tufted paws and ears and a coat that provides them some protection from the elements, and a relatively self-maintaining coat.
Your Maine Coon Sphynx blend will likely require moderate coat care. They’ll appreciate being curried to loosen shed hair and then brushed with a soft bristle brush. They’ll enjoy it more than they require it, but brushing does stimulate oil production in the hair follicles and helps keep her skin healthy and coat glowing. Like all cats, they’ll need their nails trimmed. Brushing their teeth to prevent periodontal disease will be especially important with a Sphynx blend in case they inherit the problematic Sphynx dentition.
Most importantly, cats want to feel safe in their homes. There should be plenty of hiding places and designated areas for their food and water away from their litterbox. Household items may pose a hazard to your curious companion. Your Maine Coon Sphynx blend brings together two active, athletic breeds. If she takes after the Sphynx, she’ll be a climber, but either way, she’ll need an outlet for her energy. Providing cat trees and scratch toys will help her find appropriate ways to express her desire to climb and scratch.
Your Maine Coon Sphynx mix will likely be athletic and curious. She’ll be bored when you’re not there for her to tag along with, so be sure you play with her to help her burn off energy. Lasers and wand toys keep her moving, and both of you entertained. If she’s getting sufficient exercise, the times you have to be away from her will be easier for her to handle. Play with your Maine Coon Sphynx blend. She craves your attention and misses you terribly when you’re away. Make the most of the time you’re together, and you’ll lessen the chances of separation anxiety because she’ll be ready to nap.
Both Maine Coons and Sphynx cats accept training better than some breeds, so training them to walk on a leash may be an option. It takes the proper equipment and a lot of patience. Not only does being able to get out and about safely outside keep her healthy physically, but it can also alleviate boredom and improve indoor behavior.
Common Training For Cats
- 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. Both Sphynx and Maine Coons have been identified with this disease. While the prognosis for this disease varies, proper diagnosis and treatment can help.
Some cats with HCM are asymptomatic, but others exhibit 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 the disease is progressive.
Separation Anxiety Syndrome
The only downside to a cat who wants to be with you is that she wants to be with you more often than you might be able to support. If you are gone all day every day and need a cat who doesn’t miss you, a Maine Coon Sphynx blend probably isn’t for you. Other breeds who are more aloof and less attached would be better suited to this situation.
Many of us work outside the home, and if your cat becomes nervous or bored when you leave, she’ll need a non-damaging way to alleviate her stress. If you’re able to keep a consistent routine from day to day, your cat will adjust accordingly, but if you work a rotating shift or are on call, leave plenty of toys and food puzzles to keep her busy until you return.
Feline Dental Disease
While any cat can develop dental disease, the Sphynx is at risk. Be sure to have your Maine Coon Sphynx blend’s teeth cleaned regularly. If not removed periodically, the plaque that naturally builds up on your cat’s teeth will move below the gum line and cause gingivitis. The cat’s immune system attacks the bacteria in the plaque, and this causes inflammation. Left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis.
Once a cat develops periodontitis, she may drool, tilt her head while chewing to avoid eating on one side of her mouth and have halitosis. Periodontitis can’t be reversed, so it is essential to keep her teeth clean before she develops any problems. Your veterinarian will show you how to brush your cat’s teeth with specially formulated feline toothpaste and set her up for regular cleanings.
Maine Coons take up to three years to fully mature, and Sphynx around a year. Your mix may mature more slowly than the typical cat, so choose a food designed for kittens. Protein and fat levels should support slow, steady growth. Kittens need a specific calcium-phosphorus ratio for proper bone development. Look for a formula 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 infections. Your Maine Coon Sphynx mix will probably enjoy playing in the water. She’ll prefer drinking fresh running water and may try to drink directly from the spigot. She’ll appreciate a fountain drinker.
Any cat food you choose should be AAFCO certified 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.
Breeders & Kitten Costs
Because this kitty is a mixed breed, the price of a kitten will often be much less than the cost of their purebred parent breeds. Neither breed’s “selling point” will be genetically expressed in this blend. The Sphynx’s downy fuzz is recessive to a normal haircoat. The Maine Coon’s long hair is recessive to the shorthaired gene. Your kitten may have an ordinary appearance, but she’ll stand out from the crowd with the gregarious personality inherited from both parents.
You may find a kitten free from a backyard or accidental breeder. The owners may ask you to reimburse some of the veterinary costs, but you’ll also be able to start a relationship with a vet who has already met your kitten. A backyard breeder may not offer health guarantees, but they should be able to answer your questions. Be wary of anyone selling kittens who won’t answer your questions or seems to produce many litters yearly.
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 $150 to $400 for your kitten and her supplies if you’re starting from scratch.
There may not be many breeders advertising these mixed kittens, but you can check with local online resources. If you have Maine Coon or Sphynx breeders in your area, they may be able to steer you in the right direction. Your veterinarian may know of available kittens in your area and check local rescue and shelter pages regularly.
Rescues & Shelters
Check your local shelters regularly for kittens or cats listed with Maine Coon or Sphynx in the mix. Both breeds are popular as purebreds, so breeders will try to limit accidental litters. If you don’t know that your cat has either Maine Coon or Sphynx in her heritage, it will be hard to tell by looking at her. The blend will genetically cancel out the most tell-tale signs.
Depending on your needs, you may find a kitten with the look and temperament to make you happy at the shelter. 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. They’ll likely have a vast array. 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. Most kittens are playful but settle as they approach adulthood. When you meet an adult cat, what you see is what you get. You’ll have a much clearer picture of the personality you’ll be living with for the rest of your cat’s life.
If you have time and energy to spend with a new addition to your family and want a feline companion who doesn’t spend the day ignoring you, you’ll love a Maine Coon Sphynx blend. She will probably be a medium-sized cat who loves to leap from spot to spot as she follows you through your home. She’s likely an agile climber but equally content to cuddle in your lap. Unless you knew her parents, the only hint you may get of her unique heritage is the size of her ears.
Play with your cat to provide exercise and strengthen your bond. This interactive, active mix will hopefully live as long as fifteen years. Remember that each cat is a unique individual, and being a mixed breed adds to the mystery. When a Maine Coon Sphynx mix loves you, she’ll tell you vocally and demand your attention. Show her your love in return with regular veterinary care, proper nutrition, and a healthy, attentive environment.