Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon
Maine Coon
? The breed’s dominant personality traits. While each individual has a unique personality, breed-specific genetics affect qualities like sociability, playfulness, and intelligence.
Gregarious, kind, intelligent, family-oriented
? Where this breed was first established.
United States
Other Names
? In addition to their official names, most breeds earn a few nicknames.
Maine cat, Coon Cat, American Coon Cat, American Longhair, Maine Shag, American Forest Cat, Gentle Giant
? Breeds are grouped by their size and coat type.
Large Longhair
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
Body Length
? The typical adult body length among individuals of this breed. A cat’s length is measured from the base of the tail to the tip of the nose.
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
9-20 pounds
Life Expectancy
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
9-15 years
? The average price.
Affection Level
? Breeds with a high affection level want to give and receive a lot of attention, while less-affectionate breeds are not as interested in petting and snuggles.
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Activity Level
? Breeds with high activity levels will engage more in active play and demand more space and attention.
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? How well the breed tends to get along with cats, dogs, and other pets.
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? Breeds with a higher rating in this area tend to be gentle and patient, while lower-rated breeds may feel uncomfortable with children.
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? Breeds with a higher sociability rating will want to spend time with you all day, while less-sociable breeds seldom seek out human interaction.
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? Breeds with higher intelligence ratings are more curious, investigative, and easy to train. Less-intelligent breeds are less trainable but often laid-back and easygoing.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area have strong hunting instincts that make them great playtime companions.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area are able to spend hours alone, while less-independent breeds require plenty of attention.
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? A higher rating in this area indicates a breed prone to plenty of meowing and other vocalizations, while less-vocal breeds are happy to stay quiet.
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? Breeds with higher grooming scores require more maintenance like brushing and bathing, while lower-scored breeds are virtually maintenance-free.
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Maine Coon Personality and Temperament

Bold features, a thick, luxurious coat, and an incredibly friendly personality set the Maine Coon cat apart from the rest. These gorgeous kitties love to play, yet they enjoy taking time out for a well-earned nap when the mood strikes. Often, they’ll snuggle up next to their favorite people, which can be quite helpful on chilly evenings!

The Main Coon’s purr is warmly expressive, and it’s often loud enough to be heard from several feet away. Their vocalizations are surprisingly quiet for such big cats, but their vocabularies can be extensive, with a range of chirps and meows that help you understand exactly what they’re saying.

One of the largest cat breeds in existence today, and one of the most popular breeds worldwide, the Maine Coon has a heart to match its stature. These kitties tend to love people and get along well with other pets. They are ideal for families as they tend to have an appreciation for children. When you meet a Maine Coon cat, you'll understand why they are nicknamed the gentle giants of the cat world!

About the Maine Coon Cat


Maine Coon Cat Care









Maine Coon cats have no special nutritional needs; however, it is worth noting that these big kitties need a high-protein diet, and their daily caloric needs can be far higher than that of a smaller cat. We recommend feeding your Maine Coon cats a fresh diet or offering a high-quality commercial brand that lists real fish or meat as its number one ingredient.

As your Main Coon ages, you might find it necessary to cut back a bit. Offering an age-appropriate diet is one of the best ways to ensure that your feline friend enjoys good health throughout their golden years.

The Maine Coon benefits from frequent grooming. Their silky soft undercoat has a tendency to become matted if left unattended, so daily brushing might be necessary. Your cat will appreciate the regular grooming sessions and view them as an additional opportunity to bond.

As these are big, heavy cats, you may want to teach them to accept nail trimming from a very young age. Keeping your Maine Coon cat's claws trimmed will spare your furniture, your clothing, and your skin.

Consider teaching your cat to allow you to brush their teeth. This can cut back on professional dental procedures and help maintain your pet's overall wellness.

While Maine Coon cats are playful, they are equally fond of lounging and too much inactivity can lead to obesity over time. Encourage your cat to play and if possible, consider teaching them to walk on a leash. The more activity your cat gets, the better their health is likely to be for the long term.

Maine Coon cats are generally very healthy; in fact, the oldest cat in the world is a Maine Coon named Rubble, who reached the age of 31 in 2020. That's almost 150 human years!

Certain individuals may suffer from health problems including hip dysplasia and feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Reputable breeders take care to screen potential parents and minimize the likelihood that either of these problems will occur.


As you might have guessed, the Maine Coon cat is a native of the state of Maine. Endemic to the United States of America, this breed probably originated in the 1850s, when long-haired cats were brought to America and mated with local shorthaired cats. The result was a hearty, healthy, large cat with a medium hair coat, a characteristic ringed tail reminiscent of that of a raccoon, and incredible hunting prowess.

The breed was exhibited at cat shows throughout the late 19th century. Farmers who prized these cats for their outstanding ability to keep barns and outbuildings free from rodents held their own competition, called the "Maine State Champion Coon Cat" contest at the Skowhegan, Maine fair.

Maine Coon cats briefly fell out of fashion during the early 20th century, when more exotic long-haired cat breeds such as Persians came to the US. The breed declined until the 1950s, when Maine Coons regained popularity – probably because they are such gentle giants.

We have a trio of Maine Coon cats aficionados to thank for creating the Central Maine Cat Club (CMCC) and perhaps even preserving the breed for future generations. In an effort to increase awareness about the breed, Alta Smith, Ruby Dyer, and Ethylin Whittemore posted cat shows and exhibitions that featured photographs of Maine Coon cats. The CMCC didn’t only help this unique breed regain popularity; they created the first written breed standards for Maine Coon cats.

CFA granted Maine Coon cats provisional status in May 1975, and they approved the breed for championship status in 1976. Today, Maine Coon cats are recognized by all major cat registries.

Maine Coon Cat History

Did You Know?

The largest domestic cat on record is a Maine Coon. While average males can weigh up to 18 pounds, it's not unheard of for a big male Maine Coon cat to weigh up to 25 pounds. The heaviest Maine Coon cat on record is named Ludo. He weighs in at 34 pounds.

Maine Coons are the oldest natural cat breed in the United States. Not surprisingly, they are also the official cat of the state of Maine.

The longest Maine Coon cat on record was named Stewie. He measured 48.5 inches from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Breed Standard

About the Maine Coon Cat


The Maine Coon cat should have large, expressive eyes with an oval shape. They should slant slightly toward the outer base of the ears. The eye color should complement the coat’s color.

Legs & Paws

The legs should be substantial, and of medium length, well proportioned in comparison to the body. The forelegs should be straight, and the back leg should appear straight when viewed from behind. Maine Coon cats have large, rounded paws that are well tufted. Polydactyl Maine Coon cats are accepted (and sometimes even encouraged) in the show ring.


The tail should be long, and should be wider at the base with tapering toward the end. A luxuriant, flowing plume is desirable.


Maine Coon cats are muscular, well proportioned, and rectangular, giving the impression of overall balance. Male Maine Coons are typically larger than females and it’s not at all unusual for a male to achieve a weight of 20 pounds or more.


The head should be of medium width, and it should be a touch longer than it is wide. The muzzle should have a visibly square shape and be of medium length. The chin should be strong and firm, and in profile, chin depth should appear squared, creating a 90° angle.


The ears should be large with wide bases that taper to pointed tips. They should be set approximately one year's width apart at the base, and should have ample furnishing. Tufts are desirable.


Maine Coon cats have an uneven double coat with a silky soft satin undercoat and longer guard hairs over the top. Their tails are long and bushy, and they have a prominent rough across their chests.


Maine Coon cats come in every color and pattern, however two colors are disallowed for pedigree: chocolate and lilac. Maine Coon cats displaying agouti coloring are also disqualified from show as are chocolate, lilac, or agouti colors combined with white.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Maine Coon cat cost?

Maine Coon cats cost between $400-$2000.

How big do Maine Coon cats get?

Maine Coon cats tend to be large in size. A fully grown Maine Coon cat might weigh between 9-20 pounds or more and range in height anywhere from about 10"-16" inches tall.

How long do Maine Coon cats live?

The Average lifespan for Maine Coon is 9-15 years.

Do Maine Coon cats shed?

Maine Coon are long-haired cats, so you do have to expect a certain amount of shedding from this breed, but they don't shed as much as other cat breeds.

25 thoughts on “Maine Coon

  1. Patti Mikosky

    i have decided that I NEED a Maine Coon Cat. I have always been a dog person. Most recently I had two maltese dogs. One was very comforting and stayed with me all the time while the second is more aloof, and doesn’t like to cuddle. My first maltese died of complications from diabetes and I am long for a cuddle buddy. I have been spending time with a friend who has a Newfoundland, a St. Bernard, a Pomerianian , a Maine Coon cat, a domestic short hair cat and a Persian. Her mother had a tonkinese, which I also loved, but until last week it has been a hands down win with the Maine coon as the most desireable pet. Hope to find one soon.

  2. John D

    Maine Coons are often described as gentle giants. But what if you get one who isn’t?

    About ten years ago we bought a Maine Coon kitten. She had been raised in dreadfully overcrowded premises with two queens’ litters all thrown in together. She was the smallest of all the kittens. Many were quite large males. So from the moment she opened her eyes, she had to fight and go on fighting. She got beaten up constantly. She got the message very thoroughly that life consisted of fighting. When she came to us she had no whiskers. They had all been chewed off in kitten-fights. The breeder assured us this was quite normal but I don’t think so. A cat relies on its whiskers for all sorts of sensory information. It must have been like being partly blind.

    As she grew up she became a real hooligan. She would attack any of our other cats. As far as she was concerned any other cat was automatically the enemy. It was impossible to stroke her because she would interpret any movement of a hand coming towards her as a possible attack and either lash out or bite. She had no idea how to look after herself because in the dreadful chaos she had been raised in, her mother-cat had not been able to teach her much. Keeping her coat brushed and free of lumps was very difficult. Fortunately our big Siberian is a very maternal cat and when our half-grown Maine kitten attacked her, she put out a large golden paw, held her down and washed her very thoroughly all over, after which they curled up together. So our Maine did get some proper cat-mothering. Possibly it was the saving of her.

    As she grew she became extremely large and strong and remained nervous, jumpy and bad-tempered. There were years when we wondered if we could cope with her. It wasn’t her fault, poor cat. It was the fault of her first dreadful twelve weeks of life. Underneath all the aggression we could see glimpses of a very nice, intelligent, affectionate cat. But you just try living with a very strong fifteen pound hellcat who is all muscle and liable to lash out at the slightest provocation. Try to pick her up, stroke her or brush her and she would commence to wowrrl and “swear”. The claws and the teeth would come out very quickly. For some years it was fairly dangerous to be near her.

    We persevered, because after all, who else would take her on? We left her to her own devices when she wanted peace. Fortunately our place is large, rambling and dilapidated with plenty of hidey-holes for a cat who just wants to get away from it all and have lots of peace and quiet. We fed her treats. We told her she is beautiful and that we love her. We spoke to her very gently. (She is acutely sensitive to a sharp or a raised voice). We let her get on with it in her own time and at her own pace.

    Today she is a ridiculously affectionate cat with a magnificent fluffy coat who purrs constantly and loves to lie on me full-length and receive fuss, strokes and compliments. She has indeed become a real gentle giant, very much beloved and spectacularly beautiful.

    But it has taken the best part of ten years to get there. If a cat’s trust is badly damaged, it can take a long time to heal. The bigger breeds, Maines and Siberians certainly, maybe Norwegians too, are not quite like ordinary cats. They are more intelligent. They give more to their humans. But they demand more understanding in return.

    So if you want a Maine Coon kitten, it is very important to inspect the breeder’s premises carefully. Find out as much as you can about the conditions their kittens are raised in. Don’t listen to sales talk. Check. Remember that to some breeders, their kittens are not pets. They are revenue-earning livestock.

    None of that is a criticism of the breed. I think Maine Coons are wonderful cats. She is certainly a marvelous companion these days. Her earlier, difficult, years, were definitely not her fault. But do remember that a big, physically powerful, highly intelligent cat can be quite difficult to live with if circumstances or her history have made her unhappy. Taking one on is a serious responsibility.

    1. Dennis S.

      Thanks – this is a great and a very insightful text. I agree although there’s a lot of “nature” in this breed (they are inclined to be kind and loving through decades of careful selection), but when a “nurture” factor kicks in, it can turn the most loving and affectionate kitten into a proverbial cat from the hell. So, yes. always research your breeder, visit them if possible, and take time to meet kittens and select your new friend in person, not just by pictures.
      One minor note – kittens do indeed chew off each others’ whiskers – not uncommon at all. This doesn’t necessarily involve fights, sometimes other kittens or even mother cats do it while grooming.

    2. kitty

      We had a Maine Coon live for 18 years. At one time he topped 27 lbs, and despite being declawed, bullied all other cats in the neighborhood by using his massive weight to pin down any feline that dared challenged him. He acted like a dog and would come, sit, and laid down at commands…very unusual. He even knew how to turn doorknobs to open doors, and liked to take baths. He loved being petted, unless he was in a bad mood…then look out! vicious. We miss him dearly.

      1. Hester

        Glad to hear you had such a wonderful Coonie. But please, if you get another one (or any other cat come to that), don’t be so cruel as to have it declawed.

    3. Lisa Keller

      Perhaps someone else has already pointed this out, but a reputable breeder or rescue is invaluable to help you find the right pet for you and will take back a pet at least with a two week window of time.
      As with anything in life ” buyer beware”.

  3. Suzanne

    This gives me hope and perhaps a map.
    We have a 2-year old dog who was raised similarly. We’ve persevered with her nasty side, wondering what to do.

    Maybe continued love and kindness along with time will mellow her out. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. John D

      It works, yes. But it can take a long time. Good luck!

      As well as being kind to our poor abused kitten, we also had to be firm, especially as she grew into a big powerful cat. She learned she would be reprimanded if she bit us. It was never the sort of full-on predator’s chomp that can take a finger off, but she would give us a painful nip and those big front fangs are needle sharp. The claws? Also extremely sharp and with great muscles behind them. She drew blood on many occasions. Eventually she learned this was not acceptable. Sometimes she would bite one of us then look absolutely embarrassed; “Oh dear, I’ve forgotten my manners!”. Some times she would move as if to bite and we could see her restrain herself. When the battle between instinct and training got too confusing for her she would go off and hide for hours, while she thought about it all. We let her. If we ever had to do anything she disliked, like cutting lumps out of her coat, we would console her with treat foods immediately afterwards. Although she was jumpy and violent, she was never a cat who held grudges, as some do.

      These days she is pretty much okay. She will never be 100%. She is still jumpy and always will be. But she is safe to be around, as long as nobody takes liberties with her. She loves to lie on me full-length and purr thunderously. The Maine Coon purr is something to be experienced. We are extremely fond of her, as you might have guessed.

      A dog is a different bundle of problems. They are pack animals so you have to be your dog’s pack leader. You really do not want a dog thinking it is your pack leader. How to convince an abused dog you are its pack leader when it is liable to interpret even very gentle discipline as an attack is very difficult indeed. I would suggest getting advice from a canine behaviour specialist.

  4. JEB

    This depresses me. Think I’ll look back to the smaller rescue and found cats we have enjoyed so much over the years.

  5. Sunny Tae

    I’ve had many cats through out my lifetime but most have been rescued. When my daughter needed someone to take her big cat, I said yes. I wasn’t sure the type but learned he was a younger Maine Coon. I’ve had Dexter for 8 years now and he is huge weighing in at about 24 pounds. He is funny, intelligent, gentle, extremely loving, meows like a little girl and flops over so I can rub his stomach. In many ways he acts like a dog. For such a long haired cat he sheds very little. In the spring I have him clipped in a Lion cut so he stays cool in the summer. By the time winter arrives he is fully fluffy again. I will always seek out a Maine Coon but hope that day is far off. I love Dexter!

    1. Beau

      I have a very similar cat and story to yours. I’ve always been a cat person. After a long term big orange tabby passed of old age, I went to see 2 rescues from a friend who ran an organization rescuing abandoned cats. One of them immediately bonded with me, and it was decided I should take him home if I was able… I did. His name is Rufus and is pushing 10 now. I cannot imagine more of a BFF than Rufus. He’s my best pal and I love having him around. He seemed large for being under a year old when he came home. I didn’t really think about it. Then, like you found out he was a Maine Coon. He grew…..and grew……and grew…..slowly for almost 5 years. He has similar temperament as you mentioned. Exceptionally intelligent and perceptive. Quirk sense of humour. Has odd squeaky vocalizations (when he bothers to but tends to be quiet by nature), and for those he trusts will always roll over for a belly rub. I’ve never done a Lion cut for summer, but I have always thinned his coat wayyyyy down with undercoat grooming tools. He enjoys it also. He loves to play ball. I throw the ball fairly high over top of him and he’ll jump up really high to give it a proper volley ball spike across the room. Or catch it with both paws and hold on as long as he can until he has to let go to land. Neither of us has ever grown bored of this game all these years. I don’t think he is full Maine Coon, and I doubt he came from any sort of Cattery, which I’m glad for. Though I have no way of knowing.

  6. Laurie Bishop

    As it happens I suppose, the Maine Coon Cat seems now to be progressively bred to have more exaggerated features. I loved the older form of cat with a rounder head, A big muzzle that was not so long as it seems now, and ears that were not so large and with rounder tips. The Maine Coon cat, I’m afraid, might be going the way of the Oriental, the Siamese, and likely some other breeds. Do we still have a choice? Are there catteries that still favor the old appearance? I hope the older style cat still rates well in shows as week or I am afraid we will lose them.

    1. K Watt

      I concur with Ms Bishop the more recent photos of Maine Coons show very exaggerated features – a big square, pushed-out muzzle and HUGE ears! They hardly look like cats. It’s very unattractive. The “old style” cat looked much more like a cat – rounder head, not a prominent square muzzle, ears in proportion.
      And by “old style”, my nephew had one born about 2010.
      The other breeds she mentions also have been bred to an extreme of exaggerated features that, to me, they’ve lost their original elegant appeal and are bred purely for cat fanciers.

  7. Sascha

    I have a beautiful female retired breeding queen who came to me when she was 6 and a half years old. It has taken her almost three years to break the shackles of her controlled past. Firstly she cried all the way home the day I collected her then hid in her bedroom for days and then hid again every evening when I went in to spend with her until morning. She must’ve missed all her Maine Coon siblings she lived with terribly. Eventually she slept next to me but any movement from me sent her hiding under the bed. I let her go outside after 3 months and couldn’t get her in. Freedom at last! I’d watch her so happy just sitting out there mid winter in the rain or snow. My heart.
    It took hours each early evening to coax her in whatever the weather, she would prefer any time outside than with me inside. But now after my patience and understanding she will spend time inside with me and chats away constantly. She loves to play simple games with ribbons or long fishing rod toys. Her purs are quiet but still she purs when I stroke or groom her. She looks at me with trust and love. Finally.
    She has some weird traits, like loving anything plastic. She licks bubblewrap and bags or try’s to scoop them up to make a nest to sleep on. Every day this happens.
    She is my lovely independent girl. We understand each other and I’m so happy to have her in my life entertaining me.
    I love her very much

  8. tina

    We got one a year ago at the shelter, well two sisters. One is a torby short hair and the other is a torby/maincoon, both beautiful and growing into two great kitties. They talk, open up drawers and play with the sink, also they love anything to play with so i am always watching for what they have goten into now and moving things up higher. But the maincoon is funny she follows me everywhere and I agree very smart. I brush once a week to keep her hair nice. I have never had sisters before, they clean each other, it is so cute and chase and play, one thing is we got a play structure and scratching post 1st thing. I look forward to them growing and having them in our lives and always check shelter’s they can have some great babies.

  9. Sandra Jones-Kennedy

    I am a dog person; I’ve bred raised and shown Spaniels for most of my adult life, over 50 years now. That said, I’ve also always had a cat, mostly Abyssinians, and I always enjoyed them. The dogs and their cat always got along famously! But I recently moved into a smaller home and decided that I would try a less active cat. I have friends who had Maine Coon cats and always raved about them. So I got on the waiting list of a breeder of Maine Coons who was adamant about health testing and temperament. I wanted a male, but had no other requirements. My sister and I drove about 300 miles to pick up my 14 week old kitten, who turned out to be a silver tabby! And such a handsome boy!! His name is Clark, after Sunshine Superman, and he is everything I can imagine wanting in a cat. He is now four years old. He has no desire to go out doors, which I’m thrilled with. He has bonded with any dog that lives here or comes to visit. But his favorite by far is my Champion, three year old, blue roan English Cocker, Robbie. They wrestle and chase, with Clark often “nailing” Robbie to the floor. There is never any growling or angry noises from either one of them. The blue roan and silver tabby colors are so similar that it’s often difficult to tell which is who. they are making my senior years a joy!!

  10. Jeanette Paul

    Thank you for this informative website which confirms my suspicions that our neighbor’s previous cat and the present one are Main Coon cats. These striking black and white felines were probably siblings from the same breeder, being almost identical. In fact, another neighbor thought they had been always seeing the same cat for the last couple decades. The first one did live many years, considering that the owner, who is not a talkative or sociable person, would leave it outside year-round, occasionally for weeks at a time while she travelled elsewhere. I have read on another site that Main Coon cats were originally bred as outdoor winter cats, and I had marveled at its endurance. Anyway, we found out that yet another neighbor had sometimes fed it, and that “it” was actually a “she” who gave birth to a litter in the dead of winter outside. We are talking about a suburban Montreal, Canada environment here.

    By this time I had gone from being a cat person to an exotic bird person after our last cat Tessy, a rescued stray, had died at age 20. I taught Tessy to leash-walk, or rather the skill was passed down through successive cats by each other, after I first taught my Siamese, a dog-like breed who will fetch a ball, to do so. (This skill came in especially handy when Tessy went blind in her later years, in fact she became a better leash-walker than before.) Apparently playful Main Coons are similar to Siamese in this respect. But our neighbor did not train hers, she just opened the door. The Coon cat was friendly at first and even made attempts to enter our home, her bold macho attitude having me assume she was male, albeit with a tiny tinkerbell voice. But being a bird person, I did not encourage her. She picked up on my vibe and would stay a few feet away, but was very affectionate with other neighbors.

    Nor did I welcome her with open arms into our back yard as we have birdbaths. However the second Coon cat, like the first, seems to assume ours is the home away from home and prances over with a proud, entitled gait, to the extent that some neighbors have assumed they are ours. We often turn a blind eye when they visit our sheltered balcony, especially when the snow is deep and the temperature frigid. In this area, many are up in arms about cats roaming freely, there are many environmentalists and birdwatchers, and there is often talk of coming legislation.

    I rated the Main Coon cat breed as four stars, but that is with the provision that they should not roam freely in urban areas. My heart was broken when the first one killed the two baby squirrels that we loved observing. But that is in a cat’s nature, and apparently Main Coon nature especially, as they were reportedly first owned by farmers as a “working breed” to keep vermin out of barns. And no doubt both these black and white visitors have helped keep the house mice population in check, though the odd one still gets inside, which we and our indoor birds do greatly appreciate.

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Hey Sherril, this is a question for someone in your local area. I would recommend searching “Maine Coon breeder” + “(your town name)” and seeing what comes up. Local cat Facebook groups or friends may also be able to help.

  11. Margaret Rothenhoefer

    I recently lost my kitty best friend, Angel, a 9 year old Maine Coon Rescue Kitty. She was the kindest, most compassionate, emotionally intelligent being I’ve ever met.
    Losing Angel breaks my heart.


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