There is a lot of interesting folklore around the origins of the Maine Coon. The vocal chirping often heard in a Maine Coon, and its lovely fluffy tail gave way to the story of an amorous raccoon and a barn cat girlfriend. The tuft on the Maine Coons ears and the huge, fluffy paws suggests the story of a wild lynx and a smitten lady cat. Perhaps the story of Marie Antoinette saving her most prized kitties from the French revolution and smuggling them into Maine suggests an explanation of regal bearings of the breed. Some say they came with the Vikings on the ships landing in the Americas. Needless to say, no one really knows the origin of the Maine Coon other than it is a true American breed. And like the people who populate this country, they are resilient, intelligent, and proud.
Originally known as the Maine Cat, this gentle giant made its official debut into stardom in 1895 in Madison Square Garden. By the turn of the 20th century, the Maine Coon was the most popular breed in the United States. However, the Persian and Siamese pushed the Maine Coon out of favor with the show audiences and potential cat owners to the point that by the 1950's this native long-haired cat was believed to be extinct. Fortunately for all of us, the robust Maine Coon ignored fashion statements and continued to thrive in Maine. Thanks to the diligence of a handful of dedicated breeders, the Maine Coon made a slow rise back. By 1971, there were only 20 registered Maine Coon cats in the country. By 1975, the CFA recognized the breed. Today, the Maine Coon is the second most popular breed in the United States. The sheer size, huge paws, tufted ears, and extremely gentle nature wins the hearts of most who know them.