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The Maine Coon Cat; the Only Long Haired Cat Native to the United States

Updated on September 7, 2019
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Maine Coon Cat

The Cat

The increasingly popular Maine Coon Cat is on the rise as one of the world's most sought after cat breeds. The Maine Coon cat is known as the gentle giant of Native American cat breeds. Males weigh usually between twelve and eighteen pounds with females weighing between ten to fourteen pounds. The Maine Coon Cat can be up to forty inches in length. They have extremely thick coats, long hair, and are very hardy cats. These cats have been in North America since colonial days and possibly earlier. They are the only long haired cat native to the United States.

Where the breed originated is highly debatable. One theory is that a raccoon somehow mated with a cat giving the name, "Maine Coon". However, that has been proven to be biologically impossible. Another theory is that they are a mix between a bobcat and a short haired cat. Some people think that the Vikings brought the cat to the United States before Columbus did. The first record that was published of the Maine Coon was in 1861. This specific cat was called Captain Jerks of the House Marines (what is now known to be the Marine Corps. of the United States). One idea is that the Main Coon is a descendant of the long haired cats that belonged to Marie Antoinette. The story is these cats were smuggled to the United States by a sea Captain named Clough who was trying to rescue the Queen and failed. Then, there is the tale of a sea captain whose name was Coon who during the 1700's brought over the long haired cats to the North East Coast.

Physical Characteristics of the Maine Coon

Although some people claim that the Maine Coons are the biggest domesticated cat bred, they really are not. The Norwegian Forest Cat can weigh up to 16 pounds while the Ragdolls can weigh up to twenty pounds. The Main Coon developed characteristics such as large, tough paws. They have thick, bushy tails that they use to wrap around their bodies for warmth. The biggest and most distinguishing feature is a dense and water-repellent coat that appears thicker on the cat's belly. Some Main Coon's have six toes which appears to be a genetic mutation. Although their coats come in many different colors, their eye color varies from copper, to green, or even gold.

The Colors of the Main Coon Cat

  • Smoke
  • Cream
  • Cameo
  • Mackerel
  • Tortoiseshell

Popularity of the Breed

For a long period of time the Main Coon was a very desired cat. Then, Persian cats became the new prized pet. Maine Coons were so scarce, it was believed in the 1950's to be extinct. However, people started breeding them again and the species not only survived, it flourished. In 1985, the Maine Coon was named the official cat of Maine. According to Cat Fancier's Association's registration statistics, the Maine Coons were the third most popular breed in the United States while being popular in Japan and Europe also.

Famous Things About the Main Coon

The famous Maine Coon is named "Pebbles" which was one of the three cats to play Argis Filch's pet feline, Mrs. Norris in, the Harry Potter films. The Maine is not only famous in the sense that the cat is used in the Harry Potter movies, it is known as "Gentle Giant" and "Dog of the Cat World" as they are known as being very intelligent and friendly as well as being playful and curious. It has been said that the Maine Coon comes when called, can be taught to do tricks, and other things that display a deeper intelligence than what one normally finds in a cat.


Personality Characteristics of the Maine Coon:

  • intelligent
  • playful
  • gentle
  • somewhat dog-like

Maine Coon Cat Quiz

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Sources Cited:


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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      21 months ago from Norfolk, England

      These are lovely cats. They are so pretty.


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