The Maine Coon cat has always been considered as a native American breed that occurred naturally in Northern United States and Canada. Many legends have grown up about its mysterious origins ranging from interbreeding with Raccoons (a genetic impossibility) to Marie Antoinette’s cats descendants.
The Maine Coon is one of the largest cat breeds, taking three to four years to reach full growth (Look at the picture to your left for an idea of how big these cats are, that is a full size bottle of wine!). Its coat although semi-long flowing is easy to maintain and it is easily able to shed water and snow, an evolutionary asset due to the cold harsh weather of its natural environment. The underbelly is sparser to enable the cat to quickly make its way through snow and undergrowth. A weekly combing would be fine to maintain a good coat. The Maine Coon also has large tufted ears and feet and a full bushy tail, all traits to look for in a prime example. Its head features large obliquely set eyes with high cheekbones, a square muzzle and strong chin. It’s ears are set far apart and end in sharp tips. Maine Coons also have a wonderful, gentle, affectionate temperament and retain a playful, kitten like disposition throughout their lives and make ideal pets or family members. Maine Coons come in a variety of colours, the best known being the brown tabby and the silver classic or mackerel tabby. There are however many others such as solids, tortoiseshells, smokes and particolours.
This photo gives an indication of the size and stature that can be attained by our Maine Coons.
These photos show what an authentic Maine Coon should look like.
History and legend
There are many legends surrounding the Maine Coon and its origins. It is considered to be a result of cross breeding between European long haired cats (the Skogkatt of Norway and others) and the native American cat of the Northern American and Canadian regions. The origin of its name has been linked to its impossible cross breeding with Raccoons and also to Captain Coon of China who may have brought the breed to America. Other legends tell of a Captain Clough who was linked with Queen Marie Antoinette of France. Legend has it that he was preparing a home for the Queen in Maine. She unfortunately never made it but legend has it her cats were duly transported by Captain Clough and may be the descendents of today’s Maine Coons.
Maine Coons were first shown at county fairs in Maine USA in the 19th century at which prizes were given for best examples, the first official cat show not being until 1895 at Madison Square Garden. Further shows sprang up all over the country and the fame of the Maine Coon spread with them winning Best Cat awards time and again. The introduction of Persians and other exotic breeds in the early 20th century caused the interest in Maine Coons to wane but they were not forgotten and in 1953 the Central Maine Cat Club was formed, exhibitions were arranged and interest again began to spread in the Maine Coon breed. In 1968 six breeders formed the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association which has continued to grow since that time and boasts international membership. Since 1976 all cat associations have recognised the breed for championship status.
The Maine Coon has now become extremely popular again being highly intelligent, loyal, with an exceptionally gentle temperament. There is a story about a Maine Coon that saved its family from starvation by bringing them fish it had caught in icy waters while the head of the household was away fighting in the revolutionary war. Throughout its life a Maine Coon remains a perpetual kitten; the cat is loving with its humans but tends to shy away from strangers. A Maine Coon will come and sit on your knee and thrives on affection breaking into loud purring. They love to follow you around the house, often talking to you with meows and trilling chirps. The Maine Coon will adapt to its surroundings, whether it being apartment life or a house with a garden, they will walk with you on a harness and love going out in the car, they are easily trained to sit and lie down, always coming to call and ready to please their humans. Being a gentle cat they make ideal companions for children, tickle their tummies and they will role onto their backs and ask for more! If they are allowed into your bed they will snuggle down beside you with their head on your pillow and give you a wake up call with a kiss on your cheek. So, if you are looking for a purebred cat with a gentle, loving temperament then look no further than a magnificent Maine Coon!!!
As you see Maine Coons get on well with dogs and even take the liberty!! Majesticoon Maximus Catticus and his best friend Sam. Photo courtesy of Libby Cook.
Care and Feeding
A high quality dry food is recommended; most cats can free feed without becoming overweight. Middle aged cats of 5 to 10 years of age are most likely to have weight problems which can be controlled by switching to a low calorie food. A wet meal i.e. fish or meat is advisable as an evening meal. Maine Coons love water so keep a good supply available at all times.
Maine Coons do not need much grooming and a weekly combing is all that is usually required to keep the cat's coat in top condition. Most Maine Coons can be trained to accept a leash and being creatures of habit they train easily if they associate the activity with something they want (they train humans too!).
In 1979 contact was made with Louise Wohifort and top breeding lines were imported by Majesticoon. That was 37 years ago and we have continued to provide outstanding examples of the breed which have gone on to win major prizes at shows in the UK and abroad. Award winning cats include Majesticoon Thomas and Majesticoon Rameses (The Great). All the kittens are raised in a home environment, well socialised, fully vaccinated and vet checked twice before leaving for their new homes. So whether you intend to keep a Maine Coon as a treasured pet or present them in shows, you can be assured that Lucille produces strong, sound cats with proven bloodlines.
- The Maine Coon Standard, From the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
- Further reading from the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
- Americas First show Cat - The Maine Coon Cat good article from the CFA