Maine Coons are a breed of cat native to North America. The history of the origin of the breed is not well known. However, according to most experts, the ancestors of modern coons are wild American cats that were crossed with individuals that arrived on ships from Old World territories.
The further formation of the breed is due to the climatic factor. The breed is widespread in northern Maine, known for harsh winters and short summers. To survive in harsh weather conditions, the cat got a thick undercoat and waterproof coat.
Maine Coons have long been kept on farms to protect barns from rodents. Therefore, the animal had to become both hardy to get food in an honest hunt, and dexterous to evade attack by larger predators.
The first confirmed mention of the breed dates back to 1861, marked by the first presentation of the Maine Coon at a cat show in New York.
In 1908 the breed was registered with the CFA Felinological Federation. In 1967 a breed standard was published. Maine Coons were introduced to Europe in the 1970s. And in the 1990s they gained well-deserved popularity around the world.
Today the breed is considered one of the most widespread – Maine Coons are registered in more than 10 cat systems. At the same time, animals are allowed to crossbreed with the Norwegian Forest Cat, Siberian Cat and Turkish Angora, which leads to the spread of the gene and the formation of completely new offspring of the breed.
Please note: according to the results of genetic research, the theory of the origin of the breed by crossing a domestic cat with a wild raccoon remained unconfirmed. Maine Coons are nicknamed Manx coons or sable cats because of their fluffy tail and distinctive striped (tabby) color. Tabby, however, is nothing more than a manifestation of the feral tabby cat gene that is inherent in all domestic cats. And the relationship of Maine Coons with other representatives of the wild is just a myth entrenched in the breed by several generations of breeders.