... a special breed of cats

 

The Maine Coon is a natural breed originating from North America, or more
precisely: from Maine , one of the state's that form New England . This explains the first part of the name. The second part refers to the popular tale that the Maine Coon supposable is the ascendant is of a crossbreeding between normal housecats and raccoons. Although a brown tabby Maine Coon with his big, striped tail does resemble a raccoon, a crossbreeding between those two is biologically impossible.

The fact that the Maine Coon is referred to as a natural breed, indicates that it took no intended human interference to create the breed. The common assumption is that the Maine Coon is the result of crossbreeding between North American domestic cat populations and half longhaired breeds imported by sailors. Trough natural selection in the harsh environment of Main , these crossbreeds evolved into a stout cat, capable of surviving in the wild.

In America the Maine Coon is described as a solid, rugged a working cat of middle big to big posture with a careful but curios attitude. He was expected to be a good mouser that could provide for himself. Also he was expected to live in harmony with the other farm animals as well as the farmers themselves. Although these cats are basically good natured and gentle, they are also a little bit reserved and at first shy towards strangers and unfamiliar situations. This particular trait of character has allowed the Maine Coon to survive on the harsh countryside. It is no wonder that these cats were very appreciated by the people of New England. As part of the family pride, they were taken to the annual country fairs to be showed and judged, along with dad 's best bull and mum's best cake.

On the first real cat show, somewhere around 1870, the Maine Coon was well presented by Richelieu, a seven years old blue or silver tabby tomcat of approximately nine kilo’s. He won several shows in 1884. Unfortunately some time later the Maine Coon fell out of grace, due to the rise of the more exotic breeds as Persians and Siamese. Thanks to a group of enthusiastic lovers of the Maine Coon that united themselves in to th Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association (MCBFA), the Maine Coon made his comeback successfully and was again recognised as an thoroughbred by all American cat associations.

When drawing up the breed standard for the Maine Coon, the composers did not have a very high breeding ideal in mind. They wanted to preserve the breed as much as possible as it evolved itself in the wild. In 1976 the Maine Coon was introduces in Europe by Connie Condi (cattery Heidi Ho) and Pat Robbins (cattery Gemütlichkatze). Due to the enthusiastic reception of their cats on the European cat shows, the FIFE issued the recognition of the Maine Coon as a thoroughbred in 1982. Since then the Maine Coon concurred all of Europe . Beneath the rough and wild appearance of the Maine Coon, there is a very lovable cat with an easygoing character. He is not intrusive, but playful (some cats even play fetch) and very intelligent. He is easy tempered and kind and will not easily tend to fighting or hurting both people and other animals. Most people are taken by surprise when they hear his soft voice for the first time.

Maine Coons are cat's with a natural rough appearance and an easy to maintain coat. They tend to grow quite a bit bigger then normal housecats and of course, males a bit bigger than the females. Because the breed is slow to mature, it takes four years to reach adulthood. It is then that they are fully grown and have reached their final size, type and coat. With their smooth and shaggy coat, their strong long legs, the long and well furred tail and their strong, muscular body they are a very impressive species. The broad head has a square muzzle and a slight dip at the nose bridge, big (preferably tufted) ears. The coat heavy and shaggy and silky smooth of texture, shorter on the shoulders and longer on the belly, breast, hind legs and tail. Although brown tabby is the most common colour, all other colours are allowed, with exception of Siamese colours and colour point. Beside the tabby pattern (blotched and mackerel) there are also solid coloured cats.