America's Native Longhair
|One of the oldest natural breeds in North America, the Maine
Coon is generally regarded as a native of the state of Maine (in
fact, the Maine Coon is the official Maine State Cat).
A number of attractive legends surround its origin. A once
wide-spread, though biologically impossible, belief is that the
breed originated from matings between semi-wild, domestic cats and
This myth, bolstered by the bushy tail and the most common coloring
(a raccoon-like brown tabby) led to the adoption of the name "Coon
Cat" which eventually was changed to "Maine Coon Cat."
Another popular theory on the origin of the Maine Coon is that it
sprang from the six pet cats which Marie Antoinette is said to have
sent to Wiscasset, Maine when she was planning to escape, with the
help of New England seaman Captain Clough, from France during the
In fact, the house that Capt. Clough was said to have built for her
still stands across the Sheepscott river from Wiscassett in Edgecomb,
...a success and now a legend
|Maine Coons were well established more than a century ago as a
hardy, handsome breed of domestic cat, well equipped to survive the
hostile New England winters.
Nature is not soft-hearted. It selects the biggest, the brightest,
the best fighters, and the best hunters to breed successive
Since planned breedings of Maine Coons are relatively recent and
carefully monitored, these cats still have their strong, natural
Maine Coons are healthy, disease-resistant, rugged cats.
Interestingly, the breed closest to the Maine Coon is the Norwegian
Forest Cat which, although geographically distant, evolved in much
the same climate, and lends credence to the theory that some of the
cats responsible for developing the Maine Coon were brought over by
Maine Coon - a popular race
|First recorded in cat literature in 1861 with a mention of a
black and white cat named "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines,"
Maine Coons were popular competitors at early cat shows in Boston
and New York.
A brown tabby female named "Cosie" won Best Cat at the 1895 Madison
Square Garden Show.
Unfortunately, their popularity as show cats declined with the
arrival in 1900 of the more exotic Persians. Although the Maine Coon
remained a favourite cat in New England, the breed did not begin to
regain its former widespread popularity until the 1950's when more
and more cat fanciers began to take notice of them, show them, and
record their pedigrees.
In 1968, six breeders formed the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers
Association to preserve and promote the breed. Today, our membership
numbers over 1200 fanciers and 200 breeders. By 1980, all registries
had recognized the Maine Coon, and it was well on its way to
regaining its former glory.
In the US, there are 5
standards for the Maine Coon, and with FIFé’s standard, the number
is up to 6. Small wonder, therefore, that confusion arises due to
the differences in the way these cats look.
The standards are almost the same, but differ on individual points
enough to result in a different look. US standards prescribe for
example a medium broad and medium long head, slightly longer than it
is broad, while the FIF simply states that the head should be broad.
Some standards wish to see
large, round and slanting eyes, while some require them to be large
and oval, FIFé wants them large and open. CFA requires stooping
ears, while other standards require the ears to be straight with a
least one ear’s width between them.
|The Maine Coon is a working cat, muscular, solid, medium to
large in size with the look of the wild. This cat is a result of
natural evolution, capable of surviving a harsh climate with little
or no human assistance.
Thus, this cat may be reserved initially toward strange people and new
situations, yet the Maine Coon does have an amiable disposition. Males
may be larger, females are usually smaller. Females should not be
penalized because of this size difference.
Allowance should be made for slow maturation, as a Maine Coon does not
achieve ultimate type until three to four years of age. Type must not be
sacrificed for size, or size for type.
Maine Coons develop slowly, and don't achieve their full size until
they are three or four years old. Their dispositions remain
kittenish throughout their lives; they are big, gentle, good-natured
goofs – the gentle giants of the cat world.
Even their voices set them apart from other cats; they have a
distinctive, chirping trill which they use for everything from
courting to cajoling their people into playing with them.
Maine Coons love to play, and many will joyfully retrieve small
items. They rarely meow, and when they do, that soft, high-pitched
voice doesn't fit their size!