The History of the Maine Coon Cat
Maybe you’re the proud owner of one of these awesome cats, or perhaps you’re just interested in learning more about the History of the Maine Coon. These cats have a fascinating history, so let’s learn more about them!
Maine Coons are the oldest natural cat breed in North America. They are also one of the largest breeds of domestic cats. It is native to Maine and is the official state cat. Because of this, surely there is plenty to learn about these cool cats!
According to experts, these cats grew thick, long hair through natural adaptation. The same is true of their larger size (compared to other domestic breeds). They are quite different than other domestic breeds because they love water and have more dog-like intelligence. They don’t meow, but chirp instead.
These unique cats have been called many names over the years, including Coon Cat, Maine Cat, Maine Shag, American Longhair, American Coon Cat, Snowshoe Cat, and American Forest Cat. They are most commonly known as the Maine Coon.
Common Legends about Maine Coons
There are many different legends about the history of the Maine Coon and where this awesome cat originated from. This makes it tricky to truly track down their real origins. This is likely due to the uniqueness of the Maine Coon cat. Plus, they have been around for a fairly long time. These are interesting to explore more deeply if you ever have the chance to!
One of the legends is that the Maine Coon came as the offspring of Marie Antoinette’s Angoras. The legend says that, prior to her execution, Antoinette was attempting to escape. Captain Samuel Clough helped her to fill his ship with her possessions. Antoinette put her six Turkish Angoras on the ship. Then, of course, she was executed. Her cats arrived in Wiscasset, Maine. There, they bred with short-haired breeds.
Another theory is that these cats were on Captain Charles Coon’s ships, an English seafarer. For some reason, he kept cats on his ship. Once the ship was docked in New England, the cats would mate with feral cats near the ports. This occurred in many ports throughout New England. The kittens that were born with longer hair were called “Coon’s cats”, which would explain the name of the breed.
The Silliest Myth of All about Maine Coons
There are other legends and myths about Maine Coons. One states that the Maine Coon is a result of semi-feral cats mating with raccoons. Another theory is that the Maine Coon came from domestic cats and bobcats. We may never know the actual true story, but there are plenty of legends to consider. They’re definitely fun to think about!
There is one particular story that makes the most sense. It’s more logical than the other Maine Coon ancestral beliefs. It’s believed that the Maine Coon came about when domestic short hair cats and long-haired cats mated. Notice that this likelier story includes a little bit of the information from the myths listed previously. There may also be links between the Norwegian Forest Cat, which is a breed that once traveled with Norsemen.
It is thought that the domestic short-haired cats came from New England and the long-haired cats came from Europe. This began sometime between the 17th and 18th centuries. The first time that Maine Coons were truly recognized as a breed was in 1861. This first recognized Maine Coon was a 22-pound male.
Maine Coons Make Their Appearance at Cat Shows
In 1870, Maine Coons found their place as show cats. This was because of their unique appearance and the size of the cats. The first North American cat show took place in 1895 in New York City. This event, which was held at Madison Square Garden, featured Cosey, a Maine Coon brown tabby. Cosey took home the silver collar and the title of Best in Show. This lasted until the early 1900s.
Because of the other long-haired cat breeds appearing in shows, the Maine Coons were replaced. In the late 1950s, Maine Coons were listed as extinct. The main reason that people believed that they were extinct was because of the other long-haired breeds that took over the cat shows. It turned out that the announcement was quite premature. During this time, Maine Coons were still around in Maine, but not anywhere else.
The Maine Coons are very popular at the CFA and TICA Cat Shows, with the Black Classic Tabby being favored amongst all other colors.
Maine Coon Clubs Help Preserve the Breed
A group called the Central Maine Cat Club was able to share with the public that Maine Coons still exist. The Central Maine Cat Club is made up of Ethylin Whittemore, Alta Smith, and Ruby Dyer.
This group continued to hold cat shows and spoke about the breed throughout this time. They also set the breed standards for the Maine Coon. The Central Maine Cat Club only lasted until 1963. After the Central Maine Cat Club was ended, the Cat Fanciers’ Association refused to recognize the Maine Coon as a breed. This meant that Maine Coons could not be a part of championship cat shows.
The Maine Coon Cat Club, which was started in 1973, had some major contributions to the breed’s acceptance. Because of these organizations and their hard work for Maine Coons, the Cat Fanciers’ Association recognized the cats for provisional status. This was in 1975. In 1976, the cats could be a part of the championships.
Most Popular Cat Breed is....
As a result, the Maine Coon became a very popular cat breed. For a couple of decades, the Maine Coon’s popularity continued to rise. They had some great championship victories. They achieved high rankings nationally too. The Maine Coon is available in over 84 different colors and patterns!
All of the hard work from the Central Maine Cat Club and the Maine Coon Cat Club paid off. Today, Maine Coons come in 2nd place for popular cat breeds, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
Because the history of the Maine Coon is a bit unclear, it is interesting to investigate the different legends and myths. This cat is truly a unique breed, which brings even more value to its rich history. Maine Coons are an excellent cat breed to bring into your home. These gentle giants are very sociable and get along well with others.
Maine Coon Pedigree Research
In my research, It was discovered that here are 5 Maine Coon cats that can be found in every Traditional Pedigree. We'll refer to them as "Foundation" Maine Coons.
- Andy Katt of Heidi Ho
- Bridget Katt of Heidi Ho
- Dauphin de France of Tati-Tan
- Tatiana of Tati-Tan
- Smokie Joe of Whittemore
Three of the very famous catteries are: Whittemore, Tati-Tan, and Heido-Ho. Let's give a standing ovation to these lovely catteries and foundation cats for producing such a wonderful breed of cat that is loved by so many people Worldwide.
The Maine Coon is a marvelous breed of cat, and every cat enthusiast should have the opportunity to be owned by a coonie! If you're considering adopting a Maine Coon, let Sassy Koonz be your choice of Maine Coon breeders!
FUN FACT: Maine Coons like to sleep at the foot of the bed. Read this article to find out why!