Maine Coon Origin: A Brief History of America’s Native Cat Breed

History and Origin of Maine Coons

By Jennie @ Maine Coon Cats World

March 24, 2023

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Maine Coon is a breed of cat that has a fascinating history. The origin of this breed is still not clear, but there are many theories about where it came from. One of the most popular theories is that Maine Coons are descendants of long-haired cats brought to North America by European settlers.

Another theory suggests that Maine Coons are descendants of cats that belonged to Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France. According to this theory, when the queen was executed during the French Revolution, her cats were shipped to America, where they bred with local cats to create the Maine Coon.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding their origin, Maine Coons are widely recognized for their distinctive appearance and playful personalities. They are one of the largest domesticated cat breeds and are known for their long, bushy tails, large ears, and tufted paws. Maine Coons are also known for their friendly and sociable nature, making them a popular choice for families and pet owners.

Early History

The Maine Coon is a breed of domestic cat that originated in the United States, specifically in the state of Maine. The breed is believed to have descended from domestic cats and long-haired cats brought to Maine by English sailors and settlers in the 1600s. These cats interbred with other cats in the area, including short-haired cats and other long-haired breeds, resulting in a unique breed with distinct physical characteristics.

The Maine Coon was first recognized as a breed in the late 1800s, and it quickly became popular among cat enthusiasts. The breed was known for its large size, friendly temperament, and ability to adapt to harsh weather conditions, making it a popular choice for farmers and other rural residents.

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During the early 1900s, the popularity of the Maine Coon began to decline as other breeds, such as the Persian and Siamese, gained popularity. However, a small group of dedicated breeders continued to work to preserve the breed, and in the 1950s, the Maine Coon began to regain its popularity. Today, the Maine Coon is one of the most popular cat breeds in the United States, known for its affectionate nature, playful personality, and distinctive appearance.

Maine Coon Being Held

Folklore and Legends

Maine Coons have a rich history filled with folklore and legends. One of the most popular legends is that they descended from six long-haired cats that Marie Antoinette sent to America in the late 1700s. According to the legend, the cats were sent to America to escape the French Revolution. However, this story is not supported by any historical evidence, and it is unlikely that Marie Antoinette ever owned cats of this breed.

Another popular legend is that Maine Coons were bred from domestic cats and raccoons, hence their name. However, this is a biologically impossible crossbreed, and this legend is likely a result of confusion between the words “coon” and “raccoon”.

Despite the lack of evidence for these legends, they have helped to create a sense of mystery and intrigue around the Maine Coon breed, and they have contributed to the breed’s popularity.

Another interesting fact about Maine Coons is that they were once known as “the ship’s cat”. It is said that they were brought on board ships to control the rodent population and were highly valued for their hunting skills. They were also known for their ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, which made them ideal for life at sea.

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Today, Maine Coons are beloved for their friendly personalities, playful nature, and distinctive appearance. While their origins may be shrouded in mystery and legend, there is no doubt that they have become one of the most popular cat breeds in the world.

Maine Coon Ship

Breed Development

The Maine Coon is a breed of domestic cat that originated in the United States. The breed is believed to have developed from domestic cats that were brought to America by early settlers. These cats were then bred with local feral cats, resulting in a large, rugged cat that was well-suited to the harsh New England winters.

The Maine Coon breed was first recognized in the late 1800s, and it quickly became a popular breed among cat fanciers. The breed was known for its large size, intelligence, and friendly disposition. Maine Coons were often used as working cats on farms and ships, where they were valued for their hunting skills and ability to keep rodents under control.

Over time, breeders worked to refine the Maine Coon breed, focusing on traits such as size, coat color, and temperament. Today, the Maine Coon is one of the most popular cat breeds in the world, known for its gentle nature, playful personality, and striking appearance.

Recognition as a Breed

Despite the Maine Coon’s popularity, it was not until the 1950s that the breed began to be recognized officially. The first organization to recognize the Maine Coon was the Central Maine Cat Club in 1953. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognized the breed in 1976, and it has since become one of the most popular breeds in the United States.

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The Maine Coon’s recognition as a breed was not without controversy. Some breeders and cat fanciers believed that the Maine Coon was a natural breed, meaning that it developed without human intervention. Others argued that the breed was a result of crossbreeding between domestic cats and raccoons, or between domestic cats and wild bobcats.

However, genetic testing has since proven that the Maine Coon is indeed a natural breed, with no wild or exotic ancestry. The breed’s origins are still shrouded in mystery, but it is believed to have developed in the northeastern United States, possibly from cats brought over by European settlers.

Today, the Maine Coon is recognized by all major cat registries, including the CFA, The International Cat Association (TICA), and the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA). The breed is known for its distinctive appearance, friendly personality, and intelligence, and continues to be a popular choice for cat lovers around the world.

Maine Coon Cat

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Written by Jennie @ Maine Coon Cats World

I'm Jennie, the creator of Maine Coon Cats World and Ragdoll Cats World. I have been owned and loved by Ragdoll Cats for almost twenty years and have recently introduced a Maine Coon Cat into our family, Eddie, who we think it the best cat in the world but shhhhh ... don't tell our Ragdolls that! We love sharing our knowledge of all things related to Maine Coon Cats with you at Maine Coon Cats World!

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