With a look that resembles a lion and a warm temperament that will win over even the staunchest dog lover, the Maine Coon is quickly becoming a popular pet.
"I think what a lot of people like is their size but a lot of people contact us because of their temperament . . . they're just a very affectionate cat," Delaine Hall, breeder and co-owner of DirtyPaws Maine Coons, said.
"We love that they've got this big wild look and they're a registered domestic cat."
Ms Hall said the gentle personality of the Maine Coon meant it adapted easily to any family. "It's not a cat that's just for active families. The Maine Coon is for everybody."
Anne Newton, chairwoman of the Cat Owners' Association of WA, agreed that Maine Coons would suit almost any owner.
"They're very friendly, very gentle, and not aggressive in any way," she said.
"They love being around the family, they're a great family cat, and they don't mind other cats or dogs."
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
A semi-long-haired cat, the Maine Coon needs a good brush once a week to take care of its coat and, during shedding season, Ms Newton recommended more frequent brushing.
"At the beginning of spring, they drop their winter coat and you have to brush them regularly, a couple of times a week, if not every day," she said.
"In the cold months, the Maine Coon's coat is traditionally very thick and wild looking. However, in the mild winter climate of WA, many Maine Coons may not grow such a coat and will not have the classic look but still require a good brush."
Ms Newton said Maine Coons had very specific dietary requirements. "They have spurts of growth so quickly and they can double their size in a month," she said. "So unless you're giving them the right food, it can affect their bones and things like that because they have such huge growing spurts."
She recommended they be fed the specifically designed Royal Canin Maine Coon biscuit. "It's good for their heart, their teeth and their bones," she said.
Cost: About $1000
Life span: 13-15 years (though some have been known to live to 19)
Temperament: Gentle, friendly, affectionate
Ideal for: Families, couples, existing pet owners