The Fun History of Maine’s Furriest Friend, the Maine Coon Cat
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
I'm a proud cat dad. Or perhaps a better way to describe me is a crazy cat dude. I have four that run around the house, and I absolutely love it.
Even with this cat menagerie, I had never really done much research into Maine's history with the feline species. The simple reasoning is that we don't own and have never owned a Maine Coon cat.
However, my mindset has changed, since one of the latest cats we adopted was not the short-haired little guy we expected when we first got him as a small kitten. Instead, he is a thick, medium-haired lunatic who undoubtedly has Maine Coon in his heritage.
This revelation got me started down the path of the Maine Coon cat's history. I was eager to learn for a couple reasons. One was simple curiosity, while the other was my fascination of Maine's proud and unique history.
What is the Typical Size of a Maine Coon Cat?
First, let's start with the size. According to All About Cats, the typical size of a Maine Coon is, well, large. They can vary in size (9 to 20 lbs) and height (10 to 16in). They are always rather notorious for shedding, which is pretty standard with a large lug of an animal.
Maine Coon Cat History
While dates are fuzzy, the Maine Coon cat is believed to have originated in the 1850s. According to All About Cats, the breed likely began with sailors bringing long-haired cats from overseas. Those ship cats would hit the mainland and breed with the native shorthairs. The result would bring quite the hunk.
This new cat breed would quickly gain popularity due to its beauty, strength, and hunting ability. All About Cats adds that the Maine Coon was also a popular breed due to its "gentle giant" reputation.
According to hillspet.com, the Maine Coon cat hysteria truly took off right before the turn to the 20th Century when a tank named Leo became the first of his breed to become a show cat superstar. Leo would go on to win cat shows in New York City and Boston.
How Popular Are Maine Coon Cats?
While the Maine Coon cat has always been one of the more popular breeds in the US, hillspet.com does point out that it played second fiddle to the Persian for about five decades. But the Maine Coon made a comeback, and now finds itself on most popular cat breed lists.
It's quite an interesting history for Maine's official cat. And after researching more about them, I have no doubt that our big boy certainly is a descendent of this fine lineage. I also feel this has just opened up a Maine Coon cat rabbit hole that will end up with me owning more cats. I don't think my wife will mind.