First American Maine Coon Show Cat?

The books refer to a Maine Coon cat that appears to have been shown at American cat shows as early as 1861. I don't think this is correct because the first cat show in England was in 1871 as far as I am aware and the cat fancy in the USA was a little behind that of the UK. If anyone can clarify by leaving a comment it would be most welcome. Update: I think the truth lies between these two points. There were farm shows at which purebred cats or domestic cats generally were shown perhaps by the farmer's wife. This is where early Maine Coon cats could have been shown.

Anyway the books do record a Maine Coon called "Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines" (big and grand name, don't you think? But Maine Coons are big and grand!). He was a black and white Maine Coon cat. The name incidentally is after a music hall song of the mid-1800s.

He is said to have been "owned" by the brother of Mr FR Pierce and Mr Pierce himself who wrote the book, The Book of the Cat. The year was 1861. Or was it Mrs Pierce and her younger brother - there are some variations on this. They referred to their cat as a "Maine cat". Interesting.

In the late 1890s in the USA, Maine Coons were said to have "dominated cat shows in the East". A tabby Maine Coon (the best coat I think for this cat) called Leo was awarded best in show in a New York Cat show of 1895. Leo went on to win in Boston shows from 1897 to 1899. He was defeated by his son!

Sources: Encyclopedia of the Cat by Dr. Fogle and The Complete Cat Encyclopedia by Grace Pond and That Yankee Cat by Marilis Hornidge.


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