Cats are amazing and interesting animals. They do whatever they want, whenever they want, and they decide when it’s time for you to give them attention. They’re independent, aloof, and they’re not always too keen on playing or being all up in your business. Cats love their owner, but they’re often wary of strangers and will retreat or hide when unknown visitors have entered their territory. Essentially, cats are the complete opposite of dogs.
There is, however, a breed of cat whose behaviors and characteristics are the total opposite of what anyone would expect from a feline. This breed is the Maine Coon, and they’re known as the dogs of the cat world.
In December of last year, I was lucky enough to adopt a three-month-old ginger kitten from a local shelter. I named him Wayne, and he quickly became the best friend I could have ever asked for.
Growing up, my family had both cats and dogs as pets, so I was well aware of the differences between the two. When I adopted Wayne, I wasn’t too concerned with his breed because I loved cats and I didn’t think breed played a big role in a cat’s personality.
Boy, was I wrong! From day one, it was obvious that Wayne was definitely exhibiting traits that were much more dog-like, and as time went on, my kitten was becoming more and more like a puppy.
Maine Coon Characteristics
Of course I was super excited about this. A kitten who acts like a puppy? Who wouldn’t love that? It was like the best of both worlds all wrapped up into one little orange fluff ball of cuteness. I knew Wayne was playful and mischievous, but I figured it was just because he was a kitten and he had lots of energy.
After talking to the vet and doing some research, I realized that Mr. Waye was indeed part Maine Coon. The physical and behavioral traits of the breed were a match, and they described Wayne to a T.
How I Knew I Had a Maine Coon
If you think your cat may be full or part Maine Coon, you should do some research on their physical characteristics first. There are certain things like their ears, eyes, coat, tail, and overall size that can definitely help you decide. As for behavioral aspects of the breed, here are 7 traits that stood out about Wayne and made it crystal clear that he was a Maine Coon.
1. He Has a Clownlike Personality
Wayne definitely provides the comedy in our household. He is always getting into trouble and he’s always involved in some sort of shenanigans. He runs around aimlessly, jumping from lap to lap. He also loves the laser pointer, and if you can stand holding it for that long, he’ll follow it around the house for hours on end trying to catch the elusive red dot.
2. He’s Extremely Intelligent
I knew right away that Wayne was a smart little guy. He learned his name quickly and if you yelled, “Wayne! Come here boy!” and patted the couch, he’d come running into your arms. I have NEVER seen a cat do that. He also learned the layout of our house and where his litter box and food was located within an hour of being home. When he was hungry, he’d walk up to the stack of canned kitten food and bat them with his paw or his nose. He was very effective at communicating with us just through simple gestures.
3. He’s Very Social
Maine Coon cats are extremely social, and they love to be around people. Even when people come over who he’s never seen before, he will still jump up on their lap and demand attention. Sometimes it’s almost as if he is putting on a show for visitors because he just loves to be the center of attention like, “Hey everyone, look at me, look at me!”
It really is amazing because when friends come over, the other cats in our house are nowhere to be found, but Wayne is front and center. He will be the first to greet you when you walk through the door. He’ll also be the one who will be jumping all over you in the morning trying to wake you up because he’s bored and wants to play.
4. He Likes Water
I think it’s a scientific fact that cats hate water. Ok, maybe not, but most cats will avoid water at all costs. Not Wayne! He loves water, which is one of the main reasons I thought he was more like a dog than a cat. Whether he’s getting a bath or splashing contents of his water bowl all over the house, he’ll always find some source of water to play in. One time my roommate was showering, and guess who jumped right in to play in the water? You guessed it — Wayne.
5. He Enjoys Riding in the Car
Just like dogs, Maine Coons love to ride with you in the car. I frequently bring Wayne over to my boyfriends house a few miles away, and you can see the excitement in his eyes when he knows we’re going for a drive. Most cats need to be in a pet carrier while they’re in the car because they hate it or they get really scared.
I just have to open the car door and Wayne will jump in before I even sit down. He likes to sit in the passenger seat and prop is little paws up on the window so that he can watch everything going on outside as we pass by. People have pulled up next to me looking very confused because they’ve never seen a cat who liked the car that much — or at all.
6. He Walks on a Leash
This one may be hard to believe, but Maine Coon cats have been known to walk on a leash. This goes back to them being very intelligent, because they can be trained to do many different things. It would be impossible to train most cats to do anything, simply because cats do not take direction very well. It’s not that they aren’t smart, they just don’t usually have any interest.
Before I trusted Wayne to go in and out of the house at his own leisure, I would put a leash on him and walk him around the yard and up and down the street so that he knew where he was and wasn’t allowed to roam. I wanted him to learn the neighborhood so that when he was old enough to play outside, he wouldn’t get lost. Now he goes in and out a hundred times a day, and you can usually find him up on his perch on our front gate. I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s a guard dog.
7. He Loves to Roughhouse With Other Pets
Maine Coons are super social, and that often means that they enjoy playing and roughhousing with other pets. I often see Wayne and our other cat, Hanzel, wrestling in the yard and taking turns pouncing on each other. I know they’re not fighting because they’re not making any hissing noises, so they’re just being boys and playing around.
My boyfriend’s roommate has a little dog, and Wayne loves to play with him. Charlie was actually more scared of Wayne at first because of his high energy. He was running and jumping around trying to play, and it just seemed very strange for a cat to act that way around a dog.
Could Your Cat Be a Maine Coon?
If the 7 things above describe your cat, then it’s definitely possible that you’ve got a Maine Coon in your life. Lucky you! This breed is so amazing, and they can change the mind of anyone who says they don’t like cats — and we know there are plenty of those people out there.
Mr. Wayne has successfully reformed even the most avid cat-haters just by being his awesome Maine Coon self. At 8 months old, Wayne continues to be the life of the party and the center of attention. Wherever we go, the overwhelming reaction is from others is, “I love your cat! He’s so cool, he totally thinks he’s a dog!”
Ashley Welter is a blogger from San Diego, CA, and she enjoys writing about a wide variety of different topics.