Myths, legends and fantasy have always surrounded the origins of the Maine Coon cat. According to one tale, Maine Coons originated from matings between semi-wild and domestic cats and racoons. This is of course we know is biologically impossible. Another account claims that Maine Coons are descended from the long-haired cats that belonged to Marie Antoinette and were transported to America for safety reasons during the French Revolution. Although no one knows the true origins of this breed, the tales make for amusing stories and good material for books and articles on the breed.
One thing is for certain, the Maine Coon is North America's only native long-haired breed. Originally a working cat, these cats were recognized as a specific breed in Maine where they were held in high regard for their adeptness for keeping down the mouse population.
Today the Maine Coon is known for its large size, easygoing temperament, and rugged appearance. Also known as the "gentle giant" of the cat family, It is not unusual to find males who weigh over twenty pounds with females generally smaller though still considerably larger than the average housecat. These cats are well adapted to surviving the harsh, cold winters of their native New England.
Main Coons have a long, rectangular body, large bones, and an overall look of a sturdy cat who is a great hunter. Maine Coons also have square muzzles, high cheekbones, large oval eyes, tufted ears and toes with an extra-long flowing tail.
The Maine Coon has always been admired for its beauty and a distinctive feature of the breed is a long, smooth, silky and shaggy coat that is shorter on the shoulders and longer on the belly and tail. The coat is water-resistant and easily groomed. Another interesting feature is that these cats seem to love water. It is not surprising to find them helping their owners fill a bath or see them dunking their food in water.
The Maine Coon is well known for its loving nature, amicable disposition and great intelligence. They can learn to fetch easily and adapt to walking on a leash with very little trouble. Maine Coons are very loyal pets and enjoy the companionship of both humans and other pet animals. This graceful, dignified breed has become a very popular sought after companion. Maine Coon owners appreciate the breed's versatility and adaptability to different environments.
Maine Coons can be found in a variety of colours and patterns including solid, tabby, bicolour, tortoiseshells, tabby-torties, smoke and shaded colours. The brown classic tabby is the most common and best known. Eyes are large, oval shaped and range from green, gold to blue. Odd eyes can also be found in some cats. Maine Coons are slow to mature and can take from three to five years to reach full size.