History of the breed
Maine coon is an aboriginal breed of North America, it is often called the national breed. The name of this magnificent breed of massive cats comes from two words: "men" - from the state of Maine, which is located in the northeastern United States, where these cats were very common, and "kun" - derived from the word "rekun" (from English). racoon - "raccoon"). The second part of the name (which was added to their name already in the 20th century) is due to the frequent striped coat coloration. One of the legends about the origin of Maine Coons is connected with this. Some believe that the first Maine Coons appeared as a result of crossing a European cat and a wild raccoon, from which they inherited striped color, lush wool and perfectly developed hunting instincts. Naturally, such crossing is impossible, because raccoons and cats belong to different types of predatory mammals, however the legend has survived to the present day. According to another opinion, maine coons could have arisen from crossing a feral cat and an American trot, which is also unlikely.
In addition to the legend of the origin of the raccoon and the cat, the myth of the origin of maine coons from the cats of the French queen Marie Antoinette is very well known. According to legend, the queen had 6 favorite cats. During the Great French Revolution, the queen decided to flee from France to America. With her, she took the most valuable things, including decided to save her furry favorite. Their Marie Antoinette handed to a certain captain Samuel Clou. The captain settled with his wife in Maine. There he took away the cats of the queen. Once in America, the cats "made friends" with the local, becoming the ancestors of the new breed - Maine Coon.
There are many legends about the origin of the maine coon breed from cats brought by seafarers to the American continent. Some felinologists believe that raccoon cats lead a pedigree from Norwegian forest cats, which were brought to the American continent as far back as the second century. the Vikings. Others believe that Maine Coons were brought to North America from Asia Minor. The navigators took the ancestors of the modern maine coons with them because of their excellent hunting instincts, as they were magnificent catchers of rats and other rodents. Since in the holds of the ships there was always enough work for them, these cats could well become the permanent companions of man in sea voyages. Maine at that time was a large commercial center with intensively growing trade. From the ships of the cat could well get on the continent and spread to the state. There is written evidence that from sea ships during their stay on the continent came the large ship cat-rat-cat. Also mention that often sailors, leaving themselves a small kitten, gave the old cat on the shore in good hands.
There is a legend about Captain Kune (on whose behalf the second part of the name of the breed allegedly occurred). This captain carried a cat and a cat with him on the ship (according to one of the opinions - Persian and angora). When the ship moored in one of the ports, the captain let his pets walk ashore. Some time after the visit of Captain Kuhn's cats to the continent, kittens appeared there. It is these descendants of cats of Captain Kuhn, according to legend, who are the ancestors of modern maine coons. Some breeders even attribute to the cats of this breed a kind of swinging gait - "sea".
There is another legend - a young man named Tom Kun, who served on the ship Glenn Lauri. This ship stopped near a Tarbox farm in Maine, where the boy sold the long-haired cats to farmers. Then he sold a few more cats on the same farm. The owner of the farm Lida Choate was engaged in breeding cats, and she was very interested in powerful ship cats. They became the ancestors of the breed of Men's raccoon cats. The first cats wore the names of Jani and Jennifer. They received a large number of offspring, the word "Choate" (the name of the breeder) or "Tarbox" (the name of the farm) was added to the names of the kittens. Although there is no evidence that raccoon cats were imported by Captain Kuhn (or a young man with that name), however, Lida Choate cats have become very famous in the state of Maine. Perhaps she became the first breeder of this breed, and also gave the maine coon such a name.
There is an opinion according to which Maine Coons were not brought to the American continent. The ancestors of this breed were large and massive native cats, which were native to North America. These cats led a semi-savage lifestyle, to which they were perfectly adapted.
Currently, most felinologists are of the opinion that maine coons appeared as a result of crossing local North American shorthair cats with long-haired cousins brought by sailors to the continent. It is assumed that these cats were imported from the north of Europe (from Scandinavia or the Baltic countries). Aboriginal American shorthair cats who also participated in the creation of the Maine Coon breed were excellently adapted to the climate of America. Perhaps they penetrated the North American continent in historical time from the territory of modern Europe (England, France). It is interesting to note that in the 1880s. many cats in Maine wore the name Captain, probably in memory of the ship's ancestors.
It is believed that the development of the Maine Coon breed began about 250 years ago in the North American state of Maine, which was characterized by a rather severe climate. It was characterized by a short cool summer and a fairly long cold winter. In such harsh natural conditions, the Maine Coon breed developed. A powerful strong body allowed them to move freely in the thick thickets of grass and shrubbery. They were strong enough to lead a predatory life, to resist competition from other carnivores of North America. Long and sharp teeth were a terrible weapon in the hunting for rats.
In modern Maine Coons, one can sometimes observe such signs from the distant past - in some animals sharp and powerful fangs protrude from under the upper lip. A long and wide muzzle allowed to capture a large prey and hold it tight. The shape of the maine coon is the appearance of a night predator perfectly adapted to movement in the dark due to well developed mustaches. Maine coons could carry in the natural conditions and cold. They could sleep in snowy holes, wrapping their furry tail around the body, protecting their stomach and sides from freezing.
Probably, at some point in time these cats began to exist side by side with people. The Maine Coons spread throughout the entire North Atlantic coast, populating the neighborhoods of the settlements. There they hunted in numerous barns, houses and outbuildings. The inhabitants of the coast noted their excellent abilities of the Pied Piper, they began to tame them. Gradually, settlers began to celebrate not only the hunting abilities of Maine Coons, but also their friendly, not wild nature. So Maine Coons became favorite pets, who were appreciated and cared for. It happened about 150 years ago. Gradually the maine coons spread to the interior of the continent. People gave their relatives and friends kittens from magnificent cats, which ideally combined the ability of the Pied Piper and the peaceful nature.
The article is prepared
on the materials of the book
L.V. Zhuglya "Maine Coon"