OriginThe Maine Coon cat a North American breed, distinguished by its long coat and large size. It is unclear how and when the gene for this cat first appeared in North America, but it could have travelled on ships from Scandinavia or Russia, arriving in the American port of Maine. Another theory is that the cat was brought back from Turkey by clipper and was an Angora or similar breed.
There are various stories associated with the breed's name.
One goes that although it is biologically impossible, Maine locals believed that these strong sturdy cats with thick coats, bushy tails, and tabby markings, were cats crossed with raccoons, hence the name.
Another story is that the cat was named after a ship's captain called Coon who was responsible for the cat reaching the port of Maine.
Wherever they came from, most breeders today believe that the imported cats, possibly Angoras, bred with local shorthaired cats.
It is similar-looking to the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Siberian Cat.
AppearanceMaine Coon cats are very large and heavy with a thick, shaggy coat. They have longer hair, known as a "ruff" on their chests, similar to a lion's mane. Their fur has two layers - a shorter undercoat and a layer of longer hair. The fur is generally very soft and is long on the back of the legs and between the toes. They also have a bushy, plumed tail.
The most common color is brown with tabby markings, although it comes in a range of colors including red and tortoiseshell. Eye color varies widely.
Maine Coons have a broad, angular head, with a squared-off muzzle and wide-set ears topped with tufts of fur (known as 'Lynx-tips').
PersonalityThis breed has above-average intelligence, and is known to be one of the easiest breeds to train. It can be quite dog-like and may bring a ball and drop it at its owner's feet and wait for the ball to be thrown. It will often follow its owner around the house and may come easily when called.
This breed is also known for its dexterity, having a tendency to use its front paws to pick up objects, open cabinet doors, turn on water faucets, flush toilets, and even eat or drink from its paws.
Maine Coon cats are also known for the ability to trill their meows, sounding like a combination purr and meow. They makes this sound when happy or startled, and it is a delightful sound to hear.
The Maine Coon is also know for rarely eating alone, preferring the company of other cats or people. It is not necessarily a lap cat, however, but this can depend on the individual cat.
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