The Maine Coon cat is a beloved breed known for its friendly personality, playful disposition, and unique appearance. However, many feline enthusiasts want to know where their friends have come from or belong. No doubt knowing the origin of your feline companion is an exciting topic. As far as the Maine coon origin is concerned, it is hidden under the thick layers of history, and nothing can be said for sure. However, it is widely accepted that the breed originated in the North Eastern parts of America somewhere in the mid-19th century.
The exciting part of this topic is that several myths and legends or theories have arisen over the years about the Maine coon cat’s origin. So before discussing the origin of the Maine coon cat, let’s explore the three most common myths about Maine Coon origin.
Common Myths Or Theories About Maine Coon Origin
Before delving into the origin of the Maine Coon, it’s important to dispel some of the most popular myths surrounding the breed. While many tales have circulated about how the Maine Coon came to be, it’s essential to separate fact from fiction to understand the breed’s true history.
Part Raccoon Myth
One of the most persistent myths about Maine Coon cats is that they are part raccoons. This myth likely arose due to the breed’s distinctive long, fluffy tails resembling raccoons. However, there is no truth to this myth – Maine Coon cats are not part raccoons, nor are they related to raccoons in any way.
In reality, the Maine Coon’s tail is simply a result of the breed’s natural evolution. Maine Coon cats evolved in the harsh winters and rugged terrain of Maine, where their long, fluffy tails helped to protect them from the cold and snow.
Viking Ship Cat Myth
Another popular myth about Maine Coon cats is that they are descended from cats brought to North America by Vikings in the 11th century. While it is true that the Vikings are believed to have brought cats on their voyages to control rodents on their ships, there is no evidence to suggest that these cats were the ancestors of the Maine Coon breed.
Since Maine coons have evolved naturally from domestic felines, there may have been some influence from cats brought by Vikings; it is unlikely that this played a significant role in developing the Maine Coon breed.
Marie Antoinette Myth
The third myth about Maine Coon cats is that they were brought to North America by Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. According to this legend, Marie Antoinette planned to escape to the United States and brought her beloved cats, including several Maine Coons. However, this theory needs to be supported by actual historical events.
Actual Maine Coon Origin
In reality, the origins of the Maine Coon are somewhat mysterious. It is a 100% domesticated breed that developed through natural evolution and interbreeding among domestic cat breeds in North America and the cats brought to America by early settlers.
Over time, the Maine Coon evolved to become a large and sturdy breed with a thick, shaggy coat. These physical characteristics were necessary for the cats to survive the region’s harsh winters; however, today, these traits have become one of their most distinctive features. Though Maine Coon-type cats were known throughout New England, they were prevalent in Maine.
In the mid-1800s, some farmers started showcasing their prized “coon cats” at the Skowhegan Fair, the oldest continuously held an agricultural fair in the United States, dating back to 1818.
During the late 1800s, Maine Coon cats participated in cat shows to compete for the title of Maine State Champion Coon Cat. One of the most notable victories was achieved in 1895 when a female brown tabby Maine Coon named Cosey won what is now recognized as the first American cat show held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Maine Coon was listed as a foundation breed, called “Maine Cats,” in the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s first stud book and breed registry in 1908. In addition to getting recognition from the International Cat Association, the Maine Coon won the title of “official state cat of Maine” in 1985.
Despite so much uncertainty about their origin and many myths circulating, the Maine coon is one of the most sought-after breeds globally. They are so friendly and charming that they are worth your love, affection, and care. Thank you for reading. We hope you learned something new.