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Maine Coon History
The Maine Coon is commonly reffered to as the tail with a cat attached!
One of the oldest natural breeds in North America, the Maine Coon is generally regarded as a native of the state of Maine (the Maine Coon is the official Maine State Cat). A native American longhaired cat the Maine Coon was recognized as a specific breed in Maine where they were held in high regard for their mousing talents. Through nature's own breeding program, this breed has developed into a sturdy cat ideally suited to the harsh winters and varied seasons of the region.
A number of legends surround its origin. A wide-spread, though biologically impossible belief is that it originated from matings between semi-wild, domestic cats and raccoons. This myth, bolstered by the bushy tail and the most common colouring (a raccoon-like brown tabby) led to the adoption of the name Maine Coon. Originally, only brown tabbies were called Maine Coon Cats; cats of other colours were referred to as Maine Shags.
Another popular theory is that the Maine sprang from the six pet cats which Marie Antoinette sent to Wiscasset, Maine., when she was planning to escape from France during the French Revolution. Most breeders today believe that the breed originated in matings between pre-existing shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs (perhaps Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or longhairs brought to America by the Vikings). 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 the Vikings.
First recorded in cat literature in 1861 with a mention of a black and white cat named "Captain Jenks 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.
Maine Coons develop slowly, and don't achieve their full size until they are three to five years old. Their dispositions remain kittenish throughout their lives; they are big, gentle, good-natured cats. 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.
While Maine Coons are highly people-oriented cats, they are not overly-dependent, prefer to "hang out" with their owners, investigating whatever activity you're involved in and "helping" when they can. Maines will follow you from room to room and wait outside a closed door for you to emerge. A Maine Coon will be your companion, your buddy - even your soul mate!
Maine Coons are relaxed and easy-going in just about everything they do. The males tend to be the clowns while the females retain more dignity, but both remain playful throughout their lives. The Maine Coon is very well known for its loving nature and great intelligence. They are especially good with children and dogs and have always been a popular and sought after companion.
They are not as vertically-oriented as some other breeds, prefering to chase objects on the ground and grasping them in their large paws - no doubt instincts developed as professional mousers.
Although brown tabby remains the most popular pattern today, Maine Coons do wear coats of many colours. Traditionally a tabby cat, but today almost any colour is possible, including solids, shaded, smokes, silvers, bi-colours and parti-colours. Throughout the history of the breed there has been no restriction on the colour, with the exception of the Siamese pattern. All eye colours are permissible in Maine Coon Cats (blue and odd eyes are permissible in white cats only).
Pedigree Maine Coon kittens from established breeders usually go to their new homes at over 13 weeks. Be wary of a breeder homing them before 12 weeks, this could mean they are not full pedigree and not registered with a Governing Body.
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