History and origin

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The Maine Coon cat is a large framed semi longhaired cat from Maine north-east in USA. With a weight that varies from 4 – 9 kg plus, and a length of about 1 m from nose to the tip of the tail, it is considered the largest of the domestic cat breeds in the world.
The origin of the breed is not quite clear, and there are several myths on how it came to exist.

One known myth, that is reflected in the breed’s name, is that housecats from Maine had been bred with racoons – which today we know to be genetic impossible.

A more royal myth has it that Marie Antoinette’s Angora cats came ashore in Maine, and that they bred freely with the local housecats.
These kind of myths which claim to involve royalty figures is not uncommon in dog- or catbreed history. Most of them is not verified though, and continues to be just a rumor or a myth.

A third example on a myth to the breed’s origin, and perhaps my personal favorite, is that the vikings supposedly brought the forefather of the Norwegian Forest Cat along on the ships when they went out on their raids. The ships sailed ashore in Maine, and it was love at first sight between the norwegian – and american forest cats.
This is also a myth that can’t be proven a fact, although Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats do have some genetic resemblance.

Besides the fact that the origin of the Maine Coon breed can’t be pinned down, the breed is still one of the oldest. Maine Coon is a natural breed, which means that it came to exist in nature with the cats breeding freely with each other and not by human selection. Man discovered the beauty in these cats and wanted to preserve it by selecting the cats who had these common traits and qualities, and making it a breed.
Originally the Maine Coon cats were an outdoor farm cat who were bred for it’s excellent hunter qualities. It was bred to keep the farms free of rodents. These origin cats, also known as foundation cats, did make the foundation for the Maine Coons nowadays.

Picture; cat in viking ship.

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