Kitten History: Maine Coon

This native, North American kitty impresses in both sweetness and stature.

By Stacy Hackett

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Maine Coon © Helmi FlickYour Maine Coon kitten certainly lives up to his reputation as the gentle giant of the cat fancy. Sweet, mild-mannered and already big for his age, he charms you with his kitten antics and beauty. Did you know he comes from a long line of native North American cats?

Facts and fiction swirl together in the history of the Maine Coon. Breed enthusiasts know for a fact that a dozen of Americas first indigenous show cats were listed in the program for a Boston cat show in 1878. Various fictional tales mention the Maine Coon as a result of an encounter between a domestic cat and a bobcat; a hybrid breeding with a raccoon; or as a descendant of Norwegian Skogkatts brought to America by the Vikings.

Most Maine Coon breeders will tell you that this distinctive cat is descended from the domestic shorthaired cats of early American settlers. As the young country matured, trading ships brought longhaired cats from other lands. The foreign newcomers bred with the shorthaired natives. Eventually, someone recognized the cats good looks and began showing them competitively. In the 1860s, the title of the champion cat at the Skowhegan Fair was Maine State Champion Coon Cat.

As other breeds were introduced into the fancy, the popularity of the Maine Coon declined. In the early 1950s, Alta Smith and Ruby Dyer formed the Central Maine Cat Club to help rebuild the popularity of the breed. Through hard work and dedication, breed enthusiasts convinced the Cat Fanciers Association to accept the Maine Coon for championship status in 1976.

 

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Kitten History: Maine Coon

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Reader Comments

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

9/23/2013 11:04:04 PM

I have one of these!

Loïs    San Luis Obispo, CA

7/30/2013 5:18:30 PM

I adopted a tabby cat from an SPCA. I had grown up with a variety of farm cats and thought nothing unusual about her. But people began asking me if she was a Maine Coon cat; so I bought books about cat breeds. I discovered that she had every single characteristic of purebred Maine Coon showcats: Not only the long hair on her feet and in her ears, but a ruff around her neck and graduated hair length the rest of the way down her back. During the next 3 years her body got longer and longer, as did her whiskers, the hair on her tummy, down the backs of her hind legs and especially her tail. She also became increasingly beautiful. Always loving she has never met a stranger. She follows me around and always wants to be near me, but not on my lap. She is trained to a leash, comes when she's called and sits up to be petted. Many people have said she acts more like a dog. Wanting her to have a ladylike name, I call her Tessie, for Contessa. She is 9 years old now and stays at 13 pounds.

Charla    San Tan Valley, AZ

6/8/2013 4:41:54 PM

I adopted 2 fuzzy kittens 6 years ago. One is black and white tuxedo, and the other is an orange and white with the tuxedo markings. I know their mother was a calico, but I believe the father must have been a Main Coon. They both have the tufts of hair coming out of the bottom of their feet and out of their ears. They have bushy tails and carry them straight up when they walk. The male is especially attached to me and will often follow me from room to room all day long. When they were kittens they were very attracted to water, but not so much as they get older.

william wilson    Palmdale, CA

5/29/2012 10:49:12 PM

My wife and myself found this little grey ball of fuzz in a garage in Malibu where we worked,That was in 1993...He grew into the most amazing Maine Coon.So smart he could open door by the door knob,Also he would wait at the door when heard me drive up.My boy-FUZZER-was all that you read about Maine Coons.Sadly in Jan 2012 after 19yrs he died in my arm..........RIP FUZZER....I will never forget you..You were the best....There will never be a cat like you......

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