Lyndongraey

Field Spaniels, Maine Coons & Siberians

 

 

Maine Coon History

 

The name 'Maine' comes form the North Eastern American State where the breed is thought to have originated. The 'Coon' bit is a little more difficult. The original cats tended to be brown tabbies, with very dark back and a long flowing tail, rather like a raccoon, and people thought that they must have evolved from matings between domestic cats and raccoons. This is genetically impossible, but this may have been where the name came from.

There are lots of legends surrounding the Maine Coon's origins, including one that they originally came from Marie-Antoinette, and were transported to America from France for safety at the time of the French revolution. However, it is far more likely that the Maine Coon actually evolved from matings between domestic shorthairs introduced by early settlers and angora types later taken across the Atlantic by seafarers. Only the best of the breed survived, mating to produce a hardy animal, capable of living in a cold harsh climate.

The Maine Coon was originally the American wild cat, living mainly on farms where it was held in high esteem by farmers for its ability to catch vermin. The cat has all the points of a typical hunter. It has large eyes and ears, essential for detecting prey, and a big, muscular body for catching them. Being a cold climate animal, it has a long silky shaggy coat, short over the head, becoming longer over the back, stomach, legs and ruff. This is not for beauty, but for sheer survival. There is a soft undercoat, covered by a harsher weatherproof topcoat to keep the animal dry. The shagginess acts rather like layers of newspaper; it traps air, which helps to keep the animal warm.

But the Maine Coon's pride and joy is his tail, he is often referred to as 'the tail with the cat on the end'. The tail must be at least as long as the body and is especially long so that the cat can wrap it around its body. As show by this photo.

The Maine Coon takes 3-4 years to finish growing, and people expect to see a giant cat sitting in a pen, when at fifteen months they are still only babies. Fully-grown females average 7-12lbs and males 10-18lbs, granted a few do reach the 20's. Most colour combinations are accepted, but cats aiming for the show bench must not be more than 1/3 white. Blue or odd eyes are only permissible in white cats. Colours include solids, tortoiseshells, tabbies (both Classic and Mackerel), tortie-tabbies, smokes and shadeds, all with or without white. Chocolate, lilac or Siamese Points are definitely not permissible. This is because they are not natural colours to the area where the Maine Coon originated.

Although it is fairly new to the British show bench, local farmers at their own annual cat show at the Skowhegan Fair have actually showed the Maine Coon in America since the 1860ís, initially, and Maine Coons from all over the territory competed for the coverted title of "Maine State Champion Cat". It is now the second most popular breed in America. In the mid 1980's it began to arrive in Britain. In 1988 the Maine Coon was granted Preliminary Status with the G.C.C.F. and in 1992 progressed to Provisional Status. Finally, on 1st June 1994, less than ten years after the first one arrived on our shores, the Maine Coon was granted full G.C.C.F. Championship Status. It is now the seventh most popular breed being registered with the G.C.C.F.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO OWN A MAINE COON?

The modern day Maine Coon has a wonderful temperament. They are very intelligent and dog like in their devotion and make loyal and loving pets. Although they look rugged they have adapted to domesticity and indoor living. As kittens they are lively, affectionate and full of fun. You will never be bored or lonely with a Maine Coon as a companion. Both kittens and adults love the company of their owners and readily mix with other pets in the household. A dripping tap can turn them into idiots, as they happily spend hours catching drops, without realizing that they are slowly starting to resemble a drowned rat.

Perhaps the most unique thing to the Maine Coon is the noise he makes. Rather than the standard meow, this cat "chirps", a noise, which is difficult to describe but once heard is never forgotten!

A Maine Coon has similar care requirements to other semi-longhaired breeds; during the summer an occasional brush is enough to keep the coat in condition. However, during a moult, the cat should be groomed daily to prevent the coat knotting and / or the cat swallowing too much hair, which can cause fur-balls.