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The Maine Coone is one of the most impressive cat breeds. It is one of the largest breeds, weighing up to 14kgs, exceptionally powerful and well muscled, large boned and broad chested. The ears are tall, wide at the base, moderately pointed with longer hair extending horizontally beyond the outer edge of the ear giving the characteristic and unique lynx-like face.
Folk-lore tells that this cat is a descendant of matings between cats and raccoons in Maine, U.S.A., but as this is genetically impossible it is more likely that the breed developed from crosses between Angora cats imported to Maine in the 18th century and local cats. One story tells that the Angoras were given by Marie-Antoinette to the Marquis de Lafayette who took them, with him on one of his trips to the New World during the American War of Independence.
Although the Maine Coone became very popular in USA in the mid 19th century their popularity as a show cat and pet declined with the introduction of exotic breeds such as Siamese and Persians.
The Maine Coone was developed as a working cat which could defend for itself under the extreme winter conditions in Northern U.S.A. It has an all-weather coat with a frontal ruff, long shaggy britches and belly fur and slight but definite undercoat, and a
long flowing tail. The Maine Coone was highly valued on the farms of Maine where it kept the mice and rat populations in check and protected the stored grain from these vermin. In 1976 a society for the preservation of the Maine Coone was formed and today the Maine Coone is again one of the most popular show and companion cats in U.S.A.
The Maine Coone is a gentle giant with an amiable nature, loving, faithful and self confident. Because of his working heritage the Maine Coone is best kept as an indoor cat in environmentally sensitive areas.
Article Courtesy of Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia