Maine Coons are one of the largest domestic cats and oldest natural breeds in North America. The Maine Coon is generally regarded as a native of the state of Maine and is the official Maine State Cat. Maine Coons were recognized as a specific breed in 1861 with a 22 pound male called Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines. Most breeders believe that the breed originated in matings between preexisting shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or perhaps longhaired cats brought to America by the Vikings.
Eventually other long-haired foreign breeds gained popularity over the Maine Coon and the Coon was forgotten for 40 years, except in Maine, until 1976. The Coon was eventually reinstated through much hard work on the part of local breeders. Today the Maine Coon is the 2nd most popular cat in CFA. Persians are number one.
Maine Coons are the perfect pet. They are the gentle giants of the cat world. Coons are easygoing, intelligent, playful, affectionate and like to follow their owners around the house. They are not destructive and would much rather lounge around with their humans. They don't speak often, but when they do it is with an endearing voice with tiny chirps or coo's. Their coats are easy care, with a once a week brushing and a delight to touch, with a softness beyond compare. They are larger than most other breeds, with females ranging from 9 to 12 pounds, and males from 12 to 16 pounds, some reaching 20 or more.
Many legends have been told about the Maine Coon. One, that they are the offspring of Marie Antoinette's Angora' s or that they came on Vikings ships and bred with early settlers cats. For a history of the Maine Coon visit http://www.cfa.org/Breeds/BreedsKthruR/MaineCoon/MCArticle.aspx
Maine Coons are a very old and loved breed with many interesting and articles written about them. Today they are the second most popular breed in the United States. Maine Coons all over the world are beloved by all, with many organizations devoted to their well being and preservation.