The Maine Coon Stare
Classic Maine Coon Stare - photo copyright Helmi Flick
The Maine Coon stare is not confined to Maine Coons. It's just that it seems that this most popular of all purebred cats (based on the PoC poll) has the ability to look us in the eye without discomfort. A stare is defined as, "to look directly and fixedly, often with a wide-eyed gaze" (Free Dictionary).
I got the idea for both the title and the post from Valley Girl, a colleague of mine. She runs an associated website called TEH KITTEH ANECDOTE/ANTIDOTE - a clever name for a site.
She is good with words and she has created a Flickr gallery which she calls, The Maine coon stare aka "The LQQK". See it here.
The thing is she got her idea from a post I made on a blog I created! The post is called "Feline Stare".
Which finally and conveniently brings me full circle to the point of this post. Some cats can look us in the eye and hold it. Some cats take a quick glance and turn away. And some cats turn their whole body around, present their backside to us, swivel their ears backwards and listen to us!
Seriously though, what is behind a cat's ability to hold a gaze into our eyes? Is it cat breed related - dependent on a breed or is it an individual trait? It may even be sex related but I can't discuss that...
I'll speculate on this. Maine Coons do have a greater ability or even desire to look at us in the eye and hold it. In fact they can hold the stare longer than us sometimes!
I remember ZAK, a beautiful Maine Coon boy living with Ken and Helmi Flick. He would come into my bedroom, jump on my bed and stare at me intensely. He was getting my attention. He could outstare me I felt.
Is this a means of getting our attention. Is it born out of a confident character. I think that it is (the both) and more.
My lady cat turns away and she is a nervous girl, always has been. Charlie is more confident and he looks at me straight in the eye while in the meerkat mode.
Perhaps Maine Coons are naturally, generally more confident because they are generally larger than almost all other domestic breed of cat. In the natural world size counts.
And surely it is about confidence. We can relate to this as humans. Shy people avert their gaze and more confident people stare you down. They impose their will over others by presence and look! It would seem that the same underlying reasons are behind the the Maine Coon stare.
But it can't just be about confidence. When Charlie looks at me I think he is looking at me out of admiration :)! Although I am joking a bit there may be something in that.
Cats like to play Sumo style fighting, out posturing and outstaring their opponents. The stare is used, as mentioned, as a means to dominate in a fight. That said, the cats that have stared at me were definitely not trying to get me to run off! They were more likely trying to achieve the opposite.
Perhaps a kind and wiser visitor will put me straight and educate me on this one...