These cats came from North America, and there they were named Maine Coon (coon, raccoon or shag cat). The fact is that this cat breed has an unusually shaggy tail, which looks like a racoon’s tail. According one of the legends, this cat came into the world from the love of a cat and a raccoon, from which a lot of Maine Coons inherited a striped tail. Another legend says about interbreeding with a North American lynx. All known brushes on ears say in favor of this version.
However, both versions are impossible due to specific differences and the impossibility of species’ interbreeding. The truth is that Maine Coons are a natural population of American cat metropolis. Its development was determined by the nature for many years that made these cats large and physically tough animals able to survive in the harsh winters.
Since ancient times “The racoon cat from the state of Maine” lived on farms, and his main duty was the fight with numerous rodents. Living in a viscous liquid in farms, villages, and often in the streets, these cats were able to survive by adapting to the harsh climate of New England. Only the hardiest individuals with highly developed muscles had the opportunity to participate in further breeding.
However that may be, we are dealing with the breed, which are really typical for the American continent. Already more than 200 years, they are widely used for the fight with rodents there. It is well-known, for example, that in 1860, when the specialized cat show was not organized, Maine Coons were exhibited as “workers cat” at agricultural exhibitions. But at the end of XIX century people forgot about this breed for some reason. And only in 50-ies of our century, thanks to the cares of the Central Maine Cat Club, this breed was selected again and it was standardized in 1967. Since these cats have become popular again and not only in America, but in Russia.
Maine cats mature very slowly, females are about year, and males are later. From an anatomical point of view these animals fully develop only to 4 years.
The important distinctive features of the Maine Coon are a shape of a head, ears, body and texture of their hair. The head is slightly elongated more in length, than in width, with a slightly curved profile and high cheek-bones. The ears are large and broad at the base, set high, downy inside. Brushes on ears look like lynx brushes. The neck is medium in length; the body is long, large chest. The tail is as long as a body. Maine Coon’s tail is his pride, which is often described by the authors as “the tail of a cat on the end”. Once more the nature proved that the beautiful tail can be an important factor for the survival of the animal. When the Maine Coon lies down on the cold ground, he or she turns this heap of hair around him or her, protected from the cold. Foxes and other animals with fluffy tails behave the same way. The long tail is still “the wheel”, which help the coordination of animals’ movements.
The Maine Coon’s hair is thick and short on the neck and shoulders and it gradually lengthened to the croup that gives him or her the ability to move in forests and bush thickets. The hair on the back and sides is called “cover”. “Cover” is this thick water-repellent hair, which serves to protect the animal from external factors.
Maine Coons have extremely long whiskers, which are also gifted by the nature. Being night predators, they could feel the proximity of branches and bushes without running them in the dark. Maine Coons have a long body with a large chest and have a huge weight and power.
Advantages of the Maine Coon:
- This is a very intelligent and noble animal, whose beauty makes us happy, as all perfect. Their intelligence is not smaller than their size, they are very smart and logical in all their actions.
- If you have a small child at home, better nanny you will not find. They get along with all members of the family, but they still prefer to choose for themselves one owner.
- Maine Coons have a good memory. They can remember many words and intonations and can understand the person by a hardly noticeable gesture or look.
- Maine Coons look very harmoniously on the nature and feel themselves great. As a rule any efforts to escape does not happen. They are not confused by autumn puddles or winter snowdrifts. Their love for water is unique. They enjoy playing with the water and swim, even if during bathing their owners cover them with a shampoo. Maine Coons do not require special care and they are ideal for those, who like long-haired cat, but has no time for daily combing.
- They have a pleasant voice, the only one of its kind. According to the President of the Association of Maine Coons’ breeders Irina Guseva: “Even the voice sets them apart from other cats. It has a distinct bright vibration. Maine Coons are rarely meow, and only occasionally dearly and briefly give a voice, that does not correspond to their size. You will not hear heart-rending shouts or oring meowing from the Maine Coon, they are extremely musical and all their emotions are told by melodic music.
- Maine coons are very active and curious. They manage everything, always and everywhere - to help cook dinner, watch TV, play and run. As all the large animals, Maine coons should have free space for movement. They like to watch the owners from a height. Sometimes it seems that they know more about us than we think.
- They have matriarchy: huge males try not to argue with a much smaller females and they are always inferior to them. Cats of this breed are not isolated even from kittens - they take an active part in their upbringing along with the mother-cat.
They like to take the upper floors of your house (cabinets, racks, shelves) to see from a height – watch from a height all events and sometimes just to sleep.
About Maine Coons we can tell long, but much more interesting to watch them. This breed has only one disadvantage, which you should remember when you open your doors to the Maine Coon. One Maine Coon is never enough. And one day, settling at your home one such cat, you will soon be looking for a second!
The WCF standard for the Maine Coon
Sizes are from large to very large. The body is well muscled, long and wide, creating the impression rectangular. The neck is medium in length, well muscled. The chest is large. Limbs are strong, medium in length. They have tufts of hair between fingers. The tail has the length to reach the shoulder, at the base the tail are large, tapering towards the tip, covered with long, flowing hair.
The skull is large, massiv, looks square, the contours of the skull are direct. High cheekbones, nose is medium in length. The cranium is massive and square, the forehead is well expressed. The massive chin, is located on the same level with the upper jaw and nose. Curved profile.
The ears are very large in size, put almost vertically and high, wide at base and tapering to the tip, the distance between the ears should not be greater than the width of the ear at its base. Internal hair of the ear extends beyond its outer edge. Brushes on ears are desirable.
The eyes are large, oval, are situated far enough from each other, set slightly oblique. Eye color should be uniform and in harmony with the overall color.
Hair is short on the head and shoulders (except a mane). Hair is obviously lengthened to the back, abdomen and “trousers” on the hind legs. The undercoat is dense, soft and gentle, outside closed rough outer cover. The coat is dense, smooth close to the body, waterproof, completely covering the rear part of the body, legs, and upper side of the tail. On the abdomen and "trousers" there is only undercoat. Fluffy mane is desirable but is not compulsory.
Colour: Any colors that are mentioned in the General Colour Guide, except chocolate and cinnamon and clarified their variations (purple and caramel), are allowed. The latter is not accepted in any combinations. Also all types of patterns colour prohibited.
Essential lack - is the same length of hair all over the body. Animals with this disadvantage can't get the title CAC even when they have other good exterior signs.