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Looking Up at Maine Coon Cat
Maine Coon Cats: Maine's Gift to Cat Lovers
By Lisa J. Lehr  

Maine coon cats are an American classic, a contribution to our history and
culture that only Maine could provide. This hardy, handsome breed of domestic
cat was established at least 150 years ago, and its unique characteristics
developed as it adapted to Maine's own unique characteristics. And as America
has become a nation of animal lovers, the Maine coon has only become more

Maine Coon: One of Oldest Cat Breeds in North America

Maine coons are one of the oldest natural breeds in North America and are
regarded as a native of Maine.

"Around the origins of the Maine Coon cat swirls a fog of legend and conjecture
as obscuring to reality as the fogs of its homeland," says Marilis Hornidge in
That Yankee Cat -- the Maine Coon. "Of the many legendary tales of the Coon cat's
beginnings, the one most completely discredited is the best known, the mating
of the raccoon and the domestic house cat. This is, of course, a physical

Most Maine coon breeders
believe that the breed
originated from matings
between pre-existing
shorthaired domestic cats
and longhaired types
brought to America from
overseas by New England
seamen or by Vikings. We
know from history that
the old sailing ships kept
cats for rodent control,
and Maine was a
commerce area, so it is
not difficult to imagine
how this could happen.

Maine coons are tall,
muscular, big-boned
cats, with a long,
rectangular body and deep chest. Males commonly reach 13 to 18 pounds;
females, normally about nine to 12; they may continue to grow until three to five
years of age. They have long muzzles and long teeth. All of these traits would
have given them an advantage against competitors as well as predators.

A Cat Well-Suited for New England Weather

Maine coons, with their heavy coats, are well suited to the harsh New England
winters. Adult Maine coons have a three-layer coat; in winter, their undercoats
thicken. They have long guard hairs to keep off the snow and repel water, and a
long, bushy tail to wrap around themselves for warmth. Maine coons have large,
furry feet (all the better for walking on snow); furry, tufted ears that stay warm
against the cold; and extremely long whiskers, which help them stay clear of
brush that may entangle their long fur.

According to the website, "Maine coons' voices set them apart from
other cats; they have a distinctive, chirping trill."

Initially appreciated for their rodent hunting skills, they were also highly
admired by the families of Maine for their friendly personalities and high
intelligence, and began to take on an important role as pets. As they became a
more important part of New England culture, it became a popular pastime for
families to admire, pamper, and brag about their cats.

In the mid-19th century, the Maine coon became a special exhibit at many county
fairs in Maine, thus becoming America's very first "show cat."

Maine coons come in almost all colors; although the classic brown tabby may be
the first that comes to mind, they can be red tabby, silver tabby, tortoiseshell,
black and white -- almost anything except the Siamese pattern and a few others.

As Cat Fancy Magazine says, "Maine coons are a furry piece of American

About the author: Lisa J. Lehr is a freelance writer and Internet marketer specializing in
direct response and marketing collateral. She holds a biology degree and has worked in a
variety of fields, including the pharmaceutical industry and teaching, and has a particular
interest in health, pets, and conservative issues. Visit her blogs at
My Maine, and Warm
Fuzzies Animal Rescue. (If you’re looking for a copywriter, go to Just Write Copy --
because words sell.)
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The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
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