History, Legends and Myths of the Maine Coon
Somewhere in time, beyond the swirling mists of legend and folklore lies the origins of the beloved "Coon"...once know only as "Maine Cats"...tales were spun of a cabin boy, Tom Coon, who would collect cats when ashore to bring aboard his sailing vessel for vermin control and good fortune. It was said that Tom brought aboard beautiful long haired cats, and continued to do so when he became a captain.
Whenever he would go ashore, these exotic beauties would go along with him. As man is want to fellowship and mingle after his long confinement at sea, so did "Coon's Cats," his beloved companions, intermingle with the hardy resident cats.
These offspring were said to pop up in various and sundry places amid the settlers, along the coast of Maine.
The natural intermingling of this variety of cats is believed to be the genetic basis for today's "Maine Coon Cat".
The heavy-boned Maine Coon continued its development to adapt to the harsh climate and rugged terrain of Maine. Its long legs assisted to traverse obstacles, snow, wooded areas, causing them to develop a great deal of stamina and sturdiness. Their coat is insulated against the wind and cold, it repels water and snow. Their feet are larger than most breeds to give them traction on snowy surfaces with tufts assisting in the distribution of their weight. Their ears are larger and thicker because of their dependence on hearing, also providing approximately 75-90 degrees of rotation to more acutely funnel sound. Their tails are bushy to protect from cold and long to act as rudder and provide more balance and power in running and maneuvering at a rapid pace.
The endearing chirp and trill of the Maine Coon sets them apart from other cats. This, along with their silly antics and resemblance the first Coons bore to raccoons lead people to erroneously believe that they are a product of the genetically impossible cross mating of raccoons and cats, incidentally, another legend of how the Maine Cat acquired the "Coon".
Some say that our beloved Coon's genetics descend from the Norwegian Skogkatts, or Forest Cats that accompanied the Vikings on their travels, whose climate was very similar to that of Maine, or, perhaps, Angora types brought by the New England seamen.
The legend of the Coon would not be complete without the telling of tale of Marie Antoinette, who along with the assistance of one Captain Samuel Clough, planned to escape France. She sent her royal treasures on ahead to the Captain's ship, among which were 6 of her favorite cats. The queen's escape was, unfortunately, cut short, when she was seized and beheaded. However, her beloved cats reached safe harbor in Wiscasset Maine.
Whatever its origins, nature produced the Maine Coon that we know and love today. They retain their kittenish, clown-like personalities throughout their lives. They develop slowly, not reaching their full size until they are 3-4 years old. They are "Gentle Giants" with loving, affectionate natures and sweet dispositions. This loyal companion will never cease to keep one amused with its tricks and habits so typical to the breed. They are very vocal and quite sociable, often following their human from room to room with a willingness to assist with a multitude of projects.
Not the "cats' meow" they chirp and trill with a voice not quite fitting of their size, with distinctive voices for courting, playing, calling attention to themselves or cajoling their humans to play.
In general, this friendly, easy-going, fun-loving, big ole fluffy ball of fur integrates well into families, are good with children and other pets (dogs too)...they are wonderful, intelligent companions.