We have the following articles of interest ready for
Maine Coon, America's Native Longhair - by Mike and Trish
Simpson, Cheeptrills Maine Coons. A presentation of our wonderful breed,
the history, appearance and personality of the Maine Coon Cat.
Cats and Queens - by Mary L. Daniels. An interesting story about
a possible connection between Marie Antoinette of France and the Maine
Coon Cats in the USA.
to Find a Maine Coon Kitten - by Cat Moody, Stormwatch Maine
Coons. Lots of advice for the aspiring kitten buyer, about health,
breeders, ethics, cost, showing and much more.
4. Care, Health,
and Safety - by Trish Simpson, Cheeptrills Maine Coons. Once you
get a kitty, here's a lot of advice on how to care properly for it.
Guidelines for Maine Coon Breeders - by Mary D. McCauley, D.V.M.
- Kenland Maine Coon Cats. Read about parasites, genetic disorders,
breeding and other points of veterinary interest.
America's Native Longhair
By Mike and Trish Simpson
One of the oldest natural breeds in North America, the Maine Coon is
generally regarded as a native of the state of Maine (in fact, the Maine
Coon is the official Maine State Cat).
A number of attractive legends surround its
origin. A once wide-spread, though biologically impossible, belief is that
the breed originated from matings between semi-wild, domestic cats and
raccoons. This myth, bolstered by the bushy tail and the most common
coloring (a raccoon-like brown tabby) led to the adoption of the name
"Coon Cat" which eventually was changed to "Maine Coon Cat." Another
popular theory on the origin of the Maine Coon is that it sprang from the
six pet cats which Marie Antoinette is said to have sent to Wiscasset,
Maine when she was planning to escape, with the help of New England seaman
Captain Clough, from France during the French Revolution. In fact, the
house that Capt. Clough was said to have built for her still stands across
the Sheepscott river from Wiscassett in Edgecomb, Maine.
breeders today believe that the breed originated in matings between
preexisting shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs (perhaps
Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or longhairs brought to
America by the Vikings).
First recorded in cat literature in 1861
with a mention of a black and white cat named "Captain Jinks of the Horse
Marines," Maine Coons were popular competitors at early cat shows in
Boston and New York. A brown tabby female named "Cosie" won Best Cat at
the 1895 Madison Square Garden Show.
popularity as show cats declined with the arrival in 1900 of the more
exotic Persians. Although the Maine Coon remained a favorite cat in New
England, the breed did not begin to regain its former widespread
popularity until the 1950's when more and more cat fanciers began to take
notice of them, show them, and record their pedigrees. In 1968, six
breeders formed the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association to
preserve and promote the breed. Today, our membership numbers over 1200
fanciers and 200 breeders. By 1980, all registries had recognized the
Maine Coon, and it was well on its way to regaining its former
Maine Coons were well established more than a century ago as
a hardy, handsome breed of domestic cat, well equipped to survive the
hostile New England winters. Nature is not soft-hearted. It selects the
biggest, the brightest, the best fighters, and the best hunters to breed
successive generations. Since planned breedings of Maine Coons are
relatively recent and carefully monitored, these cats still have their
strong, natural qualities. Maine Coons are healthy, disease-resistant,
rugged cats. Interestingly, the breed closest to the Maine Coon is the
Norwegian Forest Cat which, although geographically distant, evolved in
much the same climate, and lends credence to the theory that some of the
cats responsible for developing the Maine Coon were brought over by the
Everything about the Maine Coon points to its adaptation
to a harsh climate. Its glossy coat, heavy and water-resistant, is like
that of no other breed, and must be felt to be truly appreciated. The coat
is longer on the ruff, stomach, and britches to protect against wet and
snow, and shorter on the back and neck to guard against tangling in
underbrush. The coat falls smoothly, and requires little maintenance ?a
weekly combing is all that is usually required to keep it in top
condition. The long, bushy tail which the cat wraps around himself when he
curls up to sleep can protect him from cold winters. His ears are more
heavily furred (both inside and on the tips) than most breeds for
protection from the cold, and have a large range of movement. Big, round,
tufted feet help them negotiate uneven terrain and serve as "snow shoes."
Their large eyes and ears are also survival traits, serving as they do to
increase sight and hearing. The relatively long, square muzzle facilitates
grasping prey and lapping water from streams and puddles.
the Yankee myth of 30-pound cats is just that, a myth (unless the cat is
grossly overweight!), the Maine Coon is one of the largest domestic
breeds. They are tall, muscular, and big-boned; males commonly reach 13 to
18 pounds, and females normally weigh about 9 to 12 pounds. Add to that
two or three inches of winter coat, and people will swear that they're
looking at one big cat.
Maine Coons develop slowly,
and don't achieve their full size until they are three or four years old.
Their dispositions remain kittenish throughout their lives; they are big,
gentle, good-natured goofs ?the gentle giants of the cat world. Even their
voices set them apart from other cats; they have a distinctive, chirping
trill which they use for everything from courting to cajoling their people
into playing with them. Maine Coons love to play, and many will joyfully
retrieve small items. They rarely meow, and when they do, that soft,
high-pitched voice doesn't fit their size!
The important features
of the Maine Coon are the head and body shape, and the texture and "shag"
of the coat. The head is slightly longer than it is wide, presenting a
gently concave profile with high cheekbones and ears that are large, wide
at the base, moderately pointed, and well tufted inside. They are set well
up on the head, approximately an ear's width apart. Lynx-like tufting on
the top of the ears is desirable. The neck should be medium-long, the
torso long, and the chest broad. The tail should be at least as long as
the torso. One of their most distinctive features is their eyes, which are
large, round, expressive, and set at a slightly oblique angle. Overall,
the Maine Coon should present the appearance of a well-balanced,
strongly-built, rectangular cat.
Throughout their history there has
been no restriction on the patterns and colors acceptable, with the
exception of the pointed Siamese pattern. As a result, a wide range of
colors and patterns are bred. Eye colors for all coat colors range through
green, gold, and hazel (green-gold). Blue eyes and odd eyes (one blue eye
and one gold, green, or hazel eye) are also permissible in white cats.
There is no requirement in the Maine Coon Standard of Perfection for
particular combinations of coat color and eye color. The only
color-related restrictions in Maine Coons intended for breeding are
buttons, lockets, or spots on any solid color (tabbies or non-tabbies
without white), and deafness in white cats.
Many people consider
Maine Coons the perfect domestic pets, with their clown-like
personalities, very affectionate natures, amusing habits and tricks,
willingness to "help" with any activity, and easily groomed coats. They
make excellent companions for large, active families that also enjoy
having dogs and other animals around. Their hardiness and ease of
kittening make them a satisfying breed for the novice breeder. For owners
wishing to show, the Maine Coon has reclaimed its original glory in the
show ring. Welcome a Maine Coon into your home, and you will join the
thousands who sing the praises of this handsome and lovable