Maine Coon is thought to be native of the state of Maine. It is one of
the oldest breeds of North America. There are many myths and stories
related to the origin of Maine Coon. A popular belief is that it is
originated from mating between semi-wild domestic cats and raccoons.
Another belief is that the Maine Coon is originated from the mating of
domestic cats and wild bobcats. And according to the generally-accepted
theory among breeders, it is believed that the Maine Coon is descended
from the mating of local short-haired domestic cats and long-haired
breeds brought overseas by English seafarers who may be Captain Charles
Coon or 11th-century Vikings.
Maine Coons were popular in cat shows in the late 1800s. The breed was
first recorded in cat literature in 1861. Their popularity declined with
the arrival of Persian cats. In 1950s, their popularity began to rise
once again. In 1968, six breeders formed the Maine Coon Breeders and
Fanciers Association (MCBFA) to preserve and protect the breed. By 1980,
Maine Coon was recognized by all the registries, including CFA.
According to the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), Maine Coons is now the
second most popular cat breed in the world.
Cat Shows & Popularity
In 1895, a female Maine Coon brown tabby, named Cosey, won the silver
collar and medal and was named Best in the first North American Cat
Show, which was hosted at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The
silver collar won by Cosey was purchased by the Cat Fanciers'
Association (CFA) Foundation, and was housed at the CFA Central Office
in the Jean Baker Rose Memorial Library. The last recorded prize won by
a Maine Coon in a national cat show was in 1911 at a show in Portland,
Oregon. Then in 1970s, it came back with great popularity and won many
cat shows. Thus, in 1985, the state of Maine announced that the breed
would be named the official State Cat. In 2006, the Guinness World
Records named Leo - a male purebred Maine Coon - the "Longest Cat",
with 120 cm length, from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, and
with 16 kg weight.
Maine Coons have a long, rectangular body with large bones, square
muzzles and high cheekbones. It has large oval eyes, tufted ears with an
extra-long tail. One of the distinctive features of Maine Coon is a
long, smooth, silky and shaggy coat that is shorter on the shoulders and
longer on the belly and tail. They come in variety of colors and
patterns, including solid, tabby, bicolor, tortoiseshells,
tabby-tortoise, smoke, and shaded colors. Maine Coons males can weigh
between 8.2 to 11 kg, while the females can weigh anywhere between 3.6
to 6.8 kg. The height of adults can be between 25 to 41 cm and they can
even reach a length of up to 100 cm, including the tail, which can be up
to 36 cm.
Maine Coons are renowned for their loving nature and intelligence. They
are very loyal and enjoy the company of both humans and other pet
animals. They can be very easily trained and adapt themselves easily to
new environment. Today, Maine Coons are one of the largest breeds of
domestic cat because of their friendly & calm temperament.
Health problems, such as feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and hip
dysplasia, are seen in the breed, but testing is available to detect the
genes responsible for causing these abnormalities. Another health
problem commonly found in female Maine Coons is Spinal Muscular Atrophy
(SMA), which is a genetically inherited disease and causes the loss of
the neurons in the spinal cord that activate the skeletal muscles of the
trunk and limbs. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a slowly progressive
disease that is possible among Maine Coons.