Maine Coon History

All breeds of cats can be divided into two types: native and man-made. With the second, everything is clear – they were formed by people on the basis of some interesting mutations or by crossing two or more breeds. The result of this work can be unusual cats, such as the sphinx, toyger, Scottish fold and so on. With indigenous people, everything is much more complicated.

At a certain point in the world, a cat population appears. Adapting to local conditions, they change. The most useful traits are fixed, the most powerful and fit individuals survive. As a result, over many generations a new breed of cats is being formed from the population, ideally suited precisely to these living conditions. Darwin’s theory in action.

This happened and Maine Coons. They come from North America, Maine. The climate there is continental: wet summers, snowy frosty winters. The history of the Maine Coon breed began here. It is not surprising that they acquired a thick dense fur coat, a chic tail and a strong muscular body.

Double wool protected them from frost in the winter and rains in the spring and autumn. Long legs allowed walking in the snow, fluffy tail – to sleep in the snow. Hunters need a long mustache to navigate at night. Extraordinary hunting instincts allowed to survive, eating birds and rodents. Their whole appearance is ideal for this area.

For a long time they lived next to people, protecting their supplies from mice and rats. Local farmers praised them for their extraordinary hunting abilities. The decorative qualities of rural residents were of last interest. But over time, it was appearance that became the engine of their popularity in the world.

Maine Coon Origin

How the coons formed is relatively understandable. Similar processes took place with a dozen other indigenous breeds. More interesting is the question of how they got to this state of Maine. At the moment, researchers have no consensus. There are only more or less believable legends.

According to one of them, cats were brought to the continent by a ship that took away the things of Queen Marie Antoinette. According to legend, she wanted to flee to America before execution, equipped the ship with the crew. They had to take her things, including pets – several large long-haired cats. A different fate awaited the Queen, but the ship successfully left the port and even reached its destination. Doubt causes that time factor. The execution of Marie Antoinette took place in 1793. And already in the 60-70s of the next century, Maine Coon participated in international cat shows. Could such a breed independently form in 70-80 years? Hard to tell.

Another legend, less romantic, tells of a certain captain Kun, who often molested these shores. He always carried cats with him, and apparently some of them preferred to live on safe land rather than the shaky deck of the ship.

Another opinion connects Maine Coon with Norwegian forest cats. Fresh historical concepts claim that the Vikings more than once molested the shores of America, long before Columbus was born. It is likely that they took with them to the drakkara cats that so fell into new territory. There are several facts in favor of this version. Norwegian forest cats are large cats of wild color with dense long hair and tassels on the ears. Slightly reminiscent of Maine Coon, isn’t it? In addition, the Vikings made their tours back in the 11th century, which means that cats had quite enough time to form a breed.

Maine Coon Modern History

More or less reliable data appear from the middle of the 19th century. In 1861, an international cat show was held, in which one of the participants introduced a new breed – the giant “raccoon cat from America.” The success was deafening. Large, unperturbed, covered with long and dense hair, they gained popularity overnight.

Interestingly, at first only one color was recognized – black marble. Cats with gray and white stains on a black background – this is exactly what, according to experts, the perfect kun should have looked. But gradually, the standards became softer, and almost all colors and color variations are recognized for this breed.

Unfortunately, over time, they went out of fashion. Persian cats became their competitors – even more furry and exotic. As a result, by the turn of the century, interest in Maine Coons had faded. The purely utilitarian function saved the breed from extinction and degradation. Manx farmers, as before, fought pests, and Maine Coons remained the best weapons.

But by the middle of the twentieth century, the second round of popularity of this breed began. Everything has returned: exhibitions, amateurs, breeders, shows … More than half a century has passed, but Maine Coons are still one of the most popular breeds in the world. In the United States they are in second place, in Europe and other countries – in the top five. And this time, they are not going to give anyone a position.

Maine Coons appeared in Russia relatively recently, in the early 90’s. Then, together with the Iron Curtain, many barriers collapsed, including those that impede the penetration of new breeds from other countries. During these years, dozens of cats unlike each other came to Russia, including Maine Coons. Only two – a cat and a kitty, but they laid the foundation for the popularity of coons in the post-Soviet space. Then more and more new representatives of the breeds began to come to them, and now dozens of nurseries work in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and neighboring states, which release thousands of kittens into the world every year. They receive high awards at international competitions, which confirms the qualifications of domestic breeders. Therefore, now, to buy Maine Coon, it is not necessary to go somewhere: in Russia there are enough qualified breeders.

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