Often we are able to the pin point the exact date and place a breed was created. But the Main Coon Cat it is an entirely different story. The story of the Main Coon Cat is a blurry one to say the least. Tangled up in old legends and warped truths, it is hard to say exactly how the Main Coon came to be.
One legend has it that domestic cats of New England, America bred with Racoons. Due to it being physically impossible for this to happen, it is quite obvious that this was not the case. More realistically, people once believed that the cat originated from interbreeding the American Bobcat with domestic cats brought over on various sailing ships that came to the North Eastern seaboard. This legend most likely occurred due to the resemblances in fur to the bobcat.
It had been documented that Marie Antoinette had planned to escape to America. A captain filled his ship with her belongings ready to make the great escape, before her inevitable ending. So this legend states that the lonely captain returned to America with the queen’s possessions, along with six long haired cats. These cats bred with American cats, creating the Maine Coon.
The last story is dedicated to Captain Coon, a lover of long haired cats, and owner of many. When he went ashore some of his cats would be left behind. When locals found litters they would say “there is one of Coon’s cats”… interesting.
The most logical assumption would be that long haired cats were brought to America by sailors. These bred with domestic short haired cats that had already appeared in America along with settlers. The cats that were able to survive the harsh winters of New England went on to produce kittens and thereby created the Maine Coon.
But the story doesn’t end there. In fact, for the Maine Coon Cat, it had only just begun. These cats were adored by Americans and became the star of the show for cat shows around the Eastern Cities. Their fame grew and grew as did the shows. The biggest, most famous of these ended up in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The shows then spread across America.
Around 1910, it appeared that the fame was over for the Maine Coon Cat. They slid into the background for the next four decades, resulting in being declared extinct in the late 1950s. However, this was an exaggeration. Breeders went on to work long and hard to preserve the Maine Coon. The breed was finally accepted for Cat Fanciers’ Association championship status in 1976.
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