The Maine Coon cat is a large breed of domestic cat easily recognized by its puffy, squirrel-like tail, tufts of fur at its cheeks and large size. These cats are usually long-haired with a white chest and they have large, rounded paws with tufts of hair between the toes. The Maine Coon cat is native to the United States and is the official cat of the state of Maine. The Maine Coon cat is thought to be developed from breeding between long-haired cats and short haired domestic cats. They have thick undercoats and hair between their toes to help them adapt to the weather conditions of Maine, although of course they are domestic cats and are meant to live indoors. These cats are said to be clowns that purposely slide off furniture to get the attention of their owners. The Maine Coon cat is known to be very affectionate and to get along well with children, dogs and other cats. They are said to be intelligent and may learn to open cabinet doors and turn on water taps. The Maine Coon Cat is also said to prefer to eat with humans or other animals rather than eating by themselves. They may also like to follow their human companion around the house. The Maine Coon Cat is generally a very hardy, healthy cat, but the breed is prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the thickening of the left ventricle heart muscle that can lead to heart failure and death. It may also cause aortic thromboembolism. However, a cardiac ultrasound or echocardiography, can help to detect hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats between one and seven years of age. Coat colors and markings vary in the Maine Coon cat. Tabby striping patterns on some part of the body are common on Maine Coon cats as is a brownish gray body color. Some Maine coon cats have tortoiseshell coloring. This breed does not have points like Siamese cats and may have tufts of longer hair on the chest and/or cheeks. Their coats are fairly long but they don’t usually need more than a weekly brushing as they are mostly self-grooming. Maine Coons are also know as the Gentle Giants of domestic cats.