Maine Coon cats are one of America’s oldest native cat breeds, with a strange lineage that has piqued the interest of academics for decades. Their exceptionally long and dense fur is renowned for allowing them to survive even the worst New England winters, and they are commonly referred to as the American Longhair.
They’ve earned a reputation as a sturdy cat breed with a kind temperament, making them excellent for households with little children. As a result, it should be no surprise that the Maine Coon cat breed has grown in popularity, particularly in the United States.
Despite this excellent endorsement, the Maine Coon cat breed is far from perfect genetically. Instead, they are predisposed to having specific health difficulties during their Maine Coon lifespan, just like other cat breeds. As a result, before purchasing a Maine Coon, purchasers should check the table below to become familiar with the significant Maine Coon health issues to be cautious.
Hip Dysplasia In Maine Coons
Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the cat’s hip joints do not develop normally, causing ball and socket dislocation. Although this condition is uncommon in cats, it is common in large cat breeds such as the Maine Coon, especially if they are purebred. In addition, it is known to cause arthritis in female Coons more than males. According to studies, this health issue affects 18% of the Maine Coon population.
Even if their cats show no apparent signs of hip dysplasia, breeders should screen their breeding cats for the condition. Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition passed down through the generations when both breeding parents carry the afflicted gene to their offspring.
Although this disease is rarely life-threatening, owners must be aware of the warning signals to look for because hip dysplasia can result in paralysis.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia
Due to the prevalence of this condition in Maine Coon cats, owners should be aware of the following indications and symptoms. The earlier you begin treatment, the greater the results will be.
Early indicators of hip dysplasia are more difficult to detect:
- Joint looseness or laxity
- Pain in the hip joints
Other Signs And Symptoms Include:
- Fearful of jumping, running, or climbing
- You’re not as physically active as you used to be.
- When the cat moves, it makes grating sounds.
- Less muscular mass in the thighs
To prevent pain, cats increase the amount of weight placed on their shoulders, causing their shoulders muscles to grow noticeably larger.
- Lankiness in the hind limbs can be either intermittent or permanent. After a Maine Coon has exercised, the difference is more evident.
- The hind limbs of Maine Coons are too close together.
- Walking with a swaying gait.
- The range of motion of a cat’s hip joint reduces.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
The thickening of the muscle walls surrounding a cat’s heart causes feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which reduces the heart’s efficiency levels. Although it is unknown what causes health problems in Maine Coons, researchers believe a hereditary component is involved.
This argument is based on the fact that the sickness primarily affects specific cat breeds with specific heart gene abnormalities. Unfortunately, the prognosis for this disease varies greatly, although it is thought that specific treatments can drastically enhance the cat’s overall quality of life.
Symptoms Of HCM
One of the challenges in diagnosing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats is that many show no signs of illness. Unfortunately, HCM can cause unexpected death in cats, so just because there aren’t any signs doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
A Maine Coon with HCM is more prone to experience the following health issues:
- Hematomas (blood clots in the heart)
- Thromboembolism is a type of blood clot.
- Acute pain or paralysis in the hind limbs
- A fast heartbeat
- Arrhythmias heartbeats that are irregular, slow, or fast
- Faint pulse
The following symptoms are frequently seen when the fluid has accumulated in and around a cat’s lungs.
These signs may suggest that your Coon is suffering from congestive heart failure:
- Breathing with your mouth open
- Extremely rapid breathing
- Excessive breathing
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) is an inherited genetic illness that might limit your Maine Coon kitten’s lifespan. The sickness isn’t thought to be lethal or painful, although it does appear to induce muscle weakness. It occurs when a cat’s lower spinal cord loses motor neurons, and the muscles in its hindlimbs deteriorate. Progressive instability, unstable stride, and posture problems are all symptoms of SMA in cats.
Ask your cat breeder for proof that their breeding cats are free of this hereditary issue before acquiring an expensive Maine Coon kitten. A DNA test can be used to determine whether the genetic defect is present in the breeding cats or not.
It is not suggested that you continue the purchasing process if a breeder has not screened their breeding cats to see if they are affected or simply carriers of this ailment. Although this may seem like an extreme reaction, you should only buy a pedigree cat from breeders who care about their cats’ health and well-being.
Symptoms And Signs Of Sma
- Symptoms of spinal muscular atrophy in Maine Coon kittens can appear as early as 3-4 months of age.
- A kitten with this ailment will find it difficult to climb onto furniture by the age of 5-6 months and may appear ungainly when jumping down from higher objects. This is because the kitten’s pelvic limbs may be too weak to easily hop up and down.
- Spinal muscular atrophy causes kittens to lose muscle mass in their hindquarters.
The following symptoms are seen in Maine Coons with spinal muscular atrophy:
- Kittens’ back ends swing as they walk.
- The posture of a kitten will appear strange.
- Kitten will find it difficult to jump.
- Muscle instability and weakness worsen with time.
- Fine tremors and fasciculation’s of the muscles
Also Read: Maine Coon Chirping
What Is The Average Life Expectancy Of A Maine Coon Cat?
According to popular belief, the usual life expectancy of a Maine Coon cat is 10 to 15 years. However, utilizing an average figure is that it is essentially a single number chosen to represent a bigger group of values. One Maine Coon cat lived to be 27 years old.
A Swedish pet insurance firm discovered that a Maine Coon cat’s median longevity was >12.5 years between 2003 and 2006. Their research-backed this result, which found that 74% of this cat breed lived to be ten years old or older, and 54% lived to be 12.5 years old or older.
Finally, we can see that there are various important Maine Coon health concerns to be aware of. While some ailments may not be life-threatening to your prized Maine Coon, owners must handle all illnesses with caution. This is especially important because simple illnesses that go untreated can lead to more serious illnesses.