Maine Coon - Longhaired Cats

The Maine Coon has the distinction of being both the oldest American breed and one of the largest. It may well have roamed free in the state of Maine during the early days of its history, drawing comparisons to the indigenous raccoon, which has a similar appearance to tabby-type Maine Coons and similar hunting habits. The severe New England climate contributed to the development of the Maine Coon’s thick coat, a feature that is shares with yet another cold-climate mammal, the Norwegian Forest Cat.

History
Robust American farm cats and longhaired cats brought back to Maine by traders and sailors from Europe make up the Maine Coon’s probable early forebears. The breed was shown at the 1860 New York Cat Show, was registered in 1861, and won the Madison Square Garden Show of 1895. However, its popularity diminished once Persians were introduced into the US, and did not revive again until the 1950s. The Central Maine Coon Cat Club, established in 1953, contributed directly to the breed’s resurgence, which was given further impetus by the setting up of the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association in 1976, the same year as the breed was given official recognition in the US.

Temperament
Two characteristics are unique to the Maine Coon: perhaps because of its humble origins, it is used to “sleeping rough” and is found curled up in the oddest positions, in the oddest places; it is also notable for the delightful, quiet chirping sound that it produces. Maine Coons make affectionate, companionable pets.

Varieties
Apart from chocolate, lilac, or Siamese-type patterns, the Maine Coon is bred in every color and combination of colors.

Brown Tabby Maine Coon
A colorful tradition holds that the Maine Coon is descended from the American raccoon; the more mundane truth is that such an ancestry is a genetic impossibility.

Head
- Fairly large, but small in proportion to the body. Should be wedge-shaped, with a medium-long nose and pink nose pad.
- High cheekbones, firm chin and squarish muzzle.

Eyes
Should be large and slightly slanted, set well apart; green, gold, or copper in color.

Ears
- Large, tapering to a point.
- Ear tufts.
- Ears are set well apart and high on the head.

Facial Characteristics
Brown Tabby Maine Coon.

Picture: Brown Tabby Maine Coon

Body
- Very large, long, and well-muscled. Weight ranges from about three to six kilograms (eight to fourteen pounds) although larger individuals have been recorded. In silhouette, the shape is almost rectangular.
- Broad chest.
- Level back.
- Moderate neck ruff.

Coat
- The fur is thick and shaggy, with a silkiness that belies its appearance. Color should be coppery brown, marked in black.
- Fur is not as long as of other Longhairs, and is more uneven.
- Fur is shorter on shoulders and front.
- Coat is relatively easy to groom.

Tail
- Should be as long as the body, with a wide base and a blunt end.
- Plume-like end to tail.
- Long, flowing tail fur.

Legs
Medium in length and strong.

Feet
The paws are large and round. Color of pads should match that of the coat.

Picture: Tortoiseshell-and-White Maine Coon

Tortoiseshell-and-White Maine Coon
This attractive example is only one of the thirty or so varieties of the breed.

Picture: White Maine Coon

White Maine Coon
Gold, blue, and odd eyes are all permitted in this variety.

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