Cat Breeds 101: Maine Coon!

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Cat Breeds 101: Maine CoonPhoto – Wikimedia Commons – lic. under By Ankord (Own work) [Public domain]

Considered to be one of the oldest breeds of feline in Northern America, the Maine Coon is known for its unique appearance and impressive hunting abilities. Many people believe this cat is the descendant of a wild cat crossed with a raccoon because of its ringed tail. However, this is impossible. Another theory states that when Marie Antoinette planned to escape France during the revolution, she shipped many of her belongings to Maine in the US, including six of her long haired cats. She was never able to escape France and it is believed her cats mated with the native wild cats of North America to create the Maine Coon. [1]



The first Maine Coon to be registered in a show was in New York in 1861. [2] However, with the arrival of Persians in the 1900s, the popularity of the Maine Coon significantly declined and it was not until the 1950s when the breed regained its popularity.

This cat is built to survive the harsh winter conditions of Maine. The semi-long coat of Maine Coons are usually heavy, glossy, and water resistant. It has also a long and bushy tail which this cat can use to wrap around itself during cold nights.



Some owners love this breed because of its soft coat which falls smoothly and require little brushing and grooming regularly. The Maine Coon has large and expressive eyes that capture the attention of many onlookers. Their eyes can vary from green to gold. The Maine Coon also has relatively large ears that allow them to hear particularly well. Their large and tough feet are also well suited to crossing snow quickly and smoothly.

Maine Coons are known to be people-oriented but unlike other breeds, they are not overly dependent on their owners. Though they make wonderful companions at home, you cannot expect them to stay on your lap all of the time. However, they do have a tendency to be curious and interested in what their owners are doing. This cat is also extremely easygoing and calm. It is for this reason that the Maine Coon acquired the nickname “Gentle Giant.” [3]

The Maine Coon is generally quiet and rarely meows. Throughout their lives, they remain kitten-like. In fact, they are considered to be slow-growers because they do not reach maturity until age four or five. They also get along well with children and other household pets.

References:

[1] Joanne Mattern and Carol A. Pedley, The Maine Coon Cat (Capstone, 2000). 10-12.
[2] Stuart A. Kallen, Maine Coon Cats (ABDO, 1996). 6.
[3] Joanne Mattern, Maine Coon Cats (Capstone, 2011). 4.



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