The Long-haired Cats

The Long-haired Cats, ©1968, first american edition published 1970, SBN: 498–07382-3Grace Pond F.Z.S.
Chapter 3 – Choice of Varieties, Colours and Coat Patterns Maine Coon Cats (pages 70-71)

Maine Coon Cats
I have read often of the almost legendary Maine Coon Cats in America and their supposed origin through mating cats with raccoons. I realized that this was utterly impossible, as the two animals belong to two entirely different divisions, if anything being nearer to dogs, than cats. I was, however, interested in learning more about them and wrote to Mrs Robert Whittemore. She has been breeding these cats for over twelve years and very kindly sent me the following:

Judging at Crystal Palace

Judging at Crystal Palace

The Maine Coon Cats are haphazardly-bred longhairs. Their ancestry goes back to the 1850s when seafaring men brought many beautiful cats to Maine from foreign ports. The Maine climate proved favourable to them, and all types of plain and fancy cats were permitted to breed at random. The natives of Maine took great pride in their cats. They considered them bigger and better, and smarter than any other cat in the world. They soon became’natives’, developing a thick coat as protection against the rugged Maine winters. They are found in all solid colors – white, black, blue, and red (or orange) as well as tabby. Intermingling has produced mixed colouration, often marked with white. Smokes and Silvers are rare.

After more than a century, these long-haired Coon cats continue to grace the Maine scene abundantly. The relatively recent practice of neutering pet cats seems to offer the first noticeable threat to the production of surplus Coon Kittens. Because they carry mixed blood strains and had no registered pedigrees, Coons have only just been accepted by the Cat Fancy, but their beauty, intelligence, and cleverness has insured their popularity as pets for years. Since virtually all of them are born in private homes, and little can be predicted about them before they are born, locating a specific Coon kitten available for adoption depends largly on chance.
Maine Cats were the first show cats in the United States. No definite records are available but it is known that exhibitions were held as early as the 1860’s, centered principally in Maine.
The Central Maine Cat Club was organized in 1953 and now holds a show every year, in May, at Skowhegan, Maine. Usually seventy-five to one hundred cats and kittens are shown. From these (neuters included) a Maine State Champion Coon Cat is chosen for that year. The pure-bred cats are welcomed to attend the show, but they cannot compete against the Coon Cats.
Our coon cats come in the same colours as the Persians, but are not so long-haired. The heads are longer, and they stand higher, with longer bodies and tails. They are very intelligent and quite aggressive. Massive in size, weighing as much as 17 lbs, and neuters have been known to reach 24 lbs.

Mrs Whittemore was the only breeder, but as these cats have now received recognition, other breeders have now become interested. They have not yet been seen over here, but I hope one day to have the pleasure of seeing them at the Maine Show.