Maine Coon cats are a popular breed, famous for their generous size, tufted ears, and loving personality. These “gentle giants” are native to the United States but have a long and interesting history. They come in many colors, including white. A White Maine Coon cat is fairly rare and quite a remarkable sight.
White Maine Coon cats are among the most magnificent and stunning cats in the world. With long, luxurious fur and striking ivory coats, these cats have the perfect combination of beauty, size, and intellect. Cat lovers highly covet these unique cats, and their popularity has only grown with time.
There are a few things to know about this majestic kitty, from breed history to health care. Whether you already own a majestic ivory gentle giant or just hope to be lucky enough to find one, there is much to learn. Jump in with us and get to know this fantastic feline.
Maine Coons are a breed of domestic cat native to Maine, United States. They are a naturally occurring breed that developed after cats that came to North America in the 1800s and 1900s. The felines often served as ratters and exterminators for seafaring explorers. These hefty felines are one of North America’s oldest recognized breeds. They are quite popular among farmers for their hunting skills and are prized worldwide as affectionate family pets.
The breed does have a few tall tales and stories intertwined with its true history. One more commonly told tale attributes the kitty’s large size and long, bushy, often ringed tail to being a crossbreed with wild raccoons or even bobcats. In truth, that hybrid pairing could never happen. These species are too different ever successfully to interbreed. Another legend connects the breed to the ill-fated Queen Marie Antionette. Some believe today’s gentle giant is a descendant of her beloved pets. That tale says that the treasured pets were aboard ships prepped for her escape and made the voyage without her, landing in what is now New England.
These hefty kitties were first recognized as a breed in the early 20th century and have become increasingly popular in recent years. Today they serve proudly as the official state cat of Maine. They come in a large variety of colors and patterns including, including white, grey, silver, red, orange, black, blue, gold, and more.
White Maine Coons are part of the larger breed but quite rare. Only about 1.5% of these kitties are estimated to be pure white. The snowy color is not due to crossing with another breed, though that does happen. Some ivory-colored mixes occur from breeding with a Norwegian Forest Cat or similar breeds.
Purebred white gentle giants are not the color white. In reality, their hue is a result of a lack of color. They do not have albinism, which results from a lack of melanin, even in their eyes. These vanilla-hued felines result from a genetic combination that hides or masks their actual color.
White is a recognized color for this breed by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). They must be “pure glistening white,“ with pink paw pads and nose leather. White gentle giants must have one parent that has this same coloring in their coats.
All white kitties carry a risk of being deaf, especially if they have two blue eyes. This means White Maine Coons do run a genetic risk of being deaf, but not all will be.
Albino Maine Coon
While some felines can be albinos and will have colorless, pale coats, White Maine Coons are not always, or often albinos. Nor are all white cats albinos or snow-colored cats gentle giants. Albino felines have pink-looking skin and eyes that usually appear pink or red. Their skin and hair have no pigment or melanin, so the pinkness of the skin is actually from the cat’s blood flowing underneath it.
Albino cats suffer from light sensitivity and are prone to sunburn. They often have weakened immune systems, easily suffer eye damage, are clumsy, and are overall less healthy than other cats. Albino kitties have hearing issues and a higher chance of being deaf.
The gentle giant is a popular breed due to its unique size, beauty, and intelligence combination. They are also known for their loyalty and devotion to their humans. These rugged cats are also quite active and love exploring and playing. They are very vocal and often make a chirping, or trilling sound, rather than the traditional cat’s meow.
They are very affectionate, loyal to their humans, and love exploring and learning new things. These large, ivory kitties are extremely independent and unafraid to take risks. They are also quite playful and spend hours darting around the house or playing with toys.
Size & Appearance
Like all kitties of this breed, these alabaster felines are medium to large cats, with males usually weighing between 12 and 25 pounds and females generally weighing between 9 and 20 pounds. Gentle giants reach 30 to 40 inches long, making them one of the largest breeds of domestic feline. These giants have large, muscular bodies, broad chests, and sturdy legs. They have sizeable, pointed ears with prominent tufts and tufted paws. Additionally, they have a lion-like ruff of fur around their neck and chest, often making them look even bigger.
Gentle giants have large, broad heads, almond-shaped eyes, small ears, and long, bushy tails. They also have a long, thick, rugged coat, which is medium to long. Most have blue eyes, though some have one blue eye and one other colored eye, a condition called heterochromia. Amber, green, copper, gold, and orange eyes are also a possibility.
Coat Color & Patterns
When they are kittens, they may have a spot of darker fur that will give you a clue about their actual, masked color. Most often, when they reach adulthood, this spot will fade. White gentle giants have solid alabaster coats, though some may have darker, cream, or light orangish markings. Their offspring may be all white or may have their masked colors showing. The pale coat, or lack of color, is genetic and does not skip generations, meaning that even if offspring are not entirely colorless, they will have an ivory undercoat or white in their coat.
This breed can have several different patterns. The main patterns are solid, tabby, and tortoiseshell. Tabby covers a variety of patterns, including classic, mackerel, spotted, ticked, and patched. Due to the masking gene, the gentle snow-colored giant will not have a very strong, if any, pattern visible. Offspring or a mix has a varying level of pattern visible.
Gentle giants are generally healthy and live between 12 to 16 years on average. They can still be prone to specific health problems. These kitties can be susceptible to common feline illnesses such as feline lower urinary tract disease, feline viral rhinotracheitis, and calicivirus. They can also be prone to certain hereditary conditions, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and polycystic kidney disease. In particular, White Maine Coons can be deaf, are at an elevated risk of sunburn, and have very high rates of skin cancer.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This skin cancer often develops around these pale kitties’ ears, eyes, lips, and noses due to the thinness of hair in that area. Skin cancer is painful, disfiguring, and in most cases, fatal.
This occurs after inner ear degeneration and is generally related to coat color. Inherited deafness most often occurs in solid-colored white cats with blue eyes of any breed.
This is a painful condition that is caused due to a deformity in the femoral joint. Cats can experience difficulty walking, pain, stiffness, and eventually lameness if not treated.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disease found in felines. It causes the heart’s walls to thicken and causes issues with proper blood pumping to the rest of the body. It is present at higher levels in some breeds, including the gentle giant.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
This is a genetic disorder that causes the loss of spinal nerve function. It affects the control of voluntary muscle movement. This can also cause muscle weakness and an unsteady gait.
To keep your sweet purr baby healthy, it is essential to provide regular veterinary checkups and vaccinations. Discuss any health concerns with your veterinarian early. This is also a breed many owners consider pet insurance for. It can help cover emergency care as well as treatment of some long-term conditions, depending on the plan.
Nutrition is a significant factor in any feline breed’s overall health and lifespan. Cats require a balanced diet high in animal protein and low in fat. They are obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat to survive. Look for foods that list animal proteins first. Avoid unnamed animal by-products and foods using fillers like wheat gluten, corn, and pea protein.
Felines need variety in their diets, so offer them both dry kibble and wet, canned, fresh, or freeze-dried foods. Avoid heavily seasoned foods meant for humans and low-quality products full of filler. It is best to pick a brand and stick with it, as changing around a lot can cause your pet digestive distress and stomach pain. Discuss with your veterinarian if your kitty needs food for sensitive stomachs, kidney care, weight control, or low sodium.
Gentle giants are large but are also prone to overeating. Offer them a few small meals daily to keep them energized and control their food intake. A few treats and snacks throughout the day are great but stick to healthy, feline-specific treats. This is also a great breed to try puzzle and maze feeders with.
Exercise & Care
Gentle giants are active and need plenty of exercise to stay healthy and in shape. Exercise also helps with their mental well-being. These big guys love to explore and play, so it is crucial to provide them with plenty of opportunities for physical activity. This breed can be trained to walk on leashes and enjoy a nice walk outside.
These kitties need plenty of room to move around and places to climb. They will climb on anything, so offering a climbing tower, steps, or even exercise wheels will help protect both your cat and your belongings. Frequent play sessions with toys like fishing poles and feather wands can help keep your pet active and engaged. Keep a wide variety of toys and change them out every week or two to prevent your kitty from getting bored. Scratching posts are also helpful, as this will help keep their claws in good condition.
Grooming will be necessary for this breed. You will want to brush them at least 2 to 3 times weekly to prevent tangles, mats, and knots. Make sure to inspect their skin and coats for debris, irritants, cuts, or other problems. Invest in high-quality brushes and combs. This breed likes water and may benefit from occasional bathing. A once-a-month bath can help with managing shedding. Be sure to use only products marked safe for feline use.
Make sure to clean your cat’s teeth and regularly trim their nails. You can speak with your vet or local groomer, as well as most pet stores, if you need help with nail trimming or grinding. This often is a very affordable service. Claws mustn’t get too long. They can cause injury to humans and felines and damage floors and furniture. Be very gentle when cutting nails and brushing a kitty’s teeth. It is best to start young to get your kitty used to these procedures and keep them healthy.
All cats require basic training to prevent becoming destructive or aggressive. This includes litter box training. Maine Coons are very smart and can be taught games or tricks, but this should wait until they have learned expected behaviors and boundaries. This will help them learn proper behaviors right away, but also things that will help them survive, like where food is and what areas are safe for them to go. They should be socialized as young as possible. Gentle giants are not aggressive cats but do need to be taught how to interact appropriately with other pets and people.
Common Training For Cats
- Do not bite people.
- No scratching walls or furniture.
- Proper litter box behavior.
- Not to play on furniture.
- Training to tolerate bathing and grooming.
- Tricks and games like walking on a leash, fetch, hide and seek, etc.
- Gentle giants react better to positive behavior reinforcement, such as treats, toys, cuddles, verbal praise, and playtime.
Price & Breeders
White Maine Coons are generally quite expensive due to their rarity. Prices can range from $1,000 to $2,000. Breeder quality, pedigree, kitten availability, time of year, and location all factor in. Purchasing your kitten from a reputable breeder is crucial, as this will ensure that your cat is healthy and tested for genetic health issues.
Be sure to look at a breeder’s reputation, reviews, and previous litters. Ask questions about the kittens. Health screenings and care. Companion cats are less expensive than those from champion bloodlines.
Though Maine Coons are not a rare breed, the snowy variety is. This can make the price high, and some breeders may even ask as much as $4,000.
Shelters & Rescues
Though this breed is hard to find, they can occur naturally and may sometimes be in a shelter or rescue. There are some breed-specific groups and general rescues. Look into purebred rescue groups and on social media, and ask your veterinarian for shelter and breeder recommendations.
Adopting a cat from a shelter or rescue is a fantastic way to give a cat a second chance at life. It’s far more affordable than a breeder and is a perfect option for people who want feline companions but do not want the responsibility of a kitten.
As Family Pets
White Maine Coons make amazing family pets. They are super intelligent, friendly, affectionate, loyal, and get along with other pets and people. These kitties are best kept as indoor pets due to the risk of sunburn and cancer.
This is one big cat. They need homes with plenty of room. They do not need any kind of special diet. If you have a deaf cat, there will be some extra precautions to take to keep them safe. Deaf felines live full, happy lives, but owners will need to ensure they are safe, kept inside, and get regular medical care to monitor their condition.
The White Maine Coon cat is a stunning yet elusive beauty. If you are lucky enough to meet one of these frisky felines, you will not soon forget. They are large, personable, very smart, and extremely gentle. While Maine Coons are common, the snowy-coated variety is not. The lighter-colored coats are due to a specific genetic combination and a masking gene covering the cat’s natural color. Because the coloration is so hard to find, it can be costly.
White Maine Coons, like all other cats, require financial and emotional responsibility from their owners. They need food, medical care, supplies, and regular interaction their entire lives. These kitties can live quite a long time. One of these kitties is no small commitment. They make excellent companions and will happily accompany you on your day’s activities or snuggle up by your side. With this elegant breed, you can expect a lifetime of love and never-ending photo opportunities.