Cat Breeds: The Maine Coon

Cat Breeds: The Maine Coon

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Description: The Maine Coon is a cat which is famous for its huge size and friendly nature its a gentle giant which is beloved of cat-owners the world over. But how exactly did such an unusual breed ever come to be? In this article, well take a look and see if we can find out.

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The Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is a cat which is famous
for its huge size and friendly nature – it’s a
gentle giant which is beloved of catowners the world over. But how exactly
did such an unusual breed ever come to
be? In this article, we’ll take a look and
see if we can find out.

Profile: what is a Maine Coon?
Perhaps the best place to start with the
Maine Coon is its famously voluminous
proportions – we’re talking about a very
big cat, here. In fact, some can grow so
large that they tower over most dogs.
Maine Coons come with a moderatelylong fur coat, which creates the
impression that they’re even larger than
they actually are. These fur coats can be a
variety of different colours, in a variety of
different combinations – from
tortoiseshell to tabby!

History: Where did the Maine Coon
come from?
As with many pedigree breeds of cat, the
clue is in the name: the Maine Coon’s
roots lie in the American state of Maine.
The specifics of the breed’s birth is not
exactly known – and this gap in
knowledge has led to all sorts of bizarre
theories being concocted. One holds that
Marie Antoinette tried to escape to the
United States, and managed to load a
Maine-bound ship with her collection of
Turkish Angora cats before being
summarily executed – and it’s from this
feline cargo that the modern Maine Coon
is descended.

Another suggests that an Englishman
called Charles Coon used to sail around
with a ship full of long-haired kittens,
which he would allow to mate with the
local cats wherever he docked. A third
holds that the Maine Coon is descended
from the wild ancestors of bobcats –
which would explain why the breed has
those distinctive tufts above its ears.
Whatever the breed’s precise origins, it
was not until the latter part of the 19th
century that pedigree cat breeding began
to grow more sophisticated. The state of
Maine held a contest at Skowhegan Fair,
in order to discover the “Maine State
Champion Coon Cat”. The first formal cat
show to take place in the US was held in
Madison Square Garden in 1895. A
handful of Maine Coons were entered
here, one of which was Cosey, a tabby
Maine Coon kitten who was awarded Best
in Show. Everything, at this point, looked
rosy for the breed.
But, like many other breeds of cat, a
threat was on the horizon in the form of
the long-haired breeds like the Persian
and Angora from the East. The Maine
Coon would, after World War One, begin
to decline in popularity. This decline was
so absolute that in the 1950s the breed
was declared extinct! Breeders set up an
organisation called the Central Maine Cat
Club (CMCC) in the 50s, in an attempt to
reverse this unfortunate trend. One of the
key contributions of this group was the
creation of the first written standards for
the breed.

Over the decades that followed, the breed
enjoyed a huge resurgence – to the point
that it was named the official cat for the
state of Maine! The Breed would
eventually arrive in Britain in the 1980s,
where it is the fourth most popular
pedigree breed according to the
Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, a
body set up to keep track of pedigree
breeds in the UK.

Personality: What is a Maine Coon
like to own?
Maine Coons have acquired a reputation
for somewhat dog-like. This is owing not
only to their considerable size, but also to
their temperament. They are intelligent
and obedient, to the point that they can be
taught to do a few of the tricks that dogs
can do, like walking on leads and playing

For this reason it’s especially important
that those considering a cat should check
with the breeder before proceeding with
the purchase: Have both of the parents
been tested for the gene associated with
HCM? If so, the breeder will be able to
provide proof in the form of either a
certificate or a test result.
One should also consider that Maine Coon
will have appetites proportionate to their
size – and so, if you’re considering buying
one, make sure to account for this larger
food bill in your budgeting!

A Maine Coon craves affection in much the
same way that most dogs do – for this
reason, they aren’t overly fond of being left
on their own for long periods of time. If you
spend a lot of time away from the house,
you might want to pair your Maine Coon
with another animal, to stop them getting

Any Special Issues?
The Maine Coon has a reputation for heart
trouble, owing to its propensity toward
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). This
is a heart defect which is passed down
from generation to generation. Those
considering buying a Maine Coon might
have heard horror stories involving sudden

Beeston Animal Health Ltd.,
Whitchurch Road,
Beeston Castle,