12 alternative origins of the Maine Coon cat

Here are 12 alternative origins of the Maine Coon cat. Some are clearly outrageous or fanciful and at the end of this list I tell you the one which is the correct one in my opinion (and as I go along I'll comment)!

Maine Coon. Fabulous cat. Photo: in public domain on Pinterest.

  1. It is a cross between a house cat or a wildcat and a raccoon. Impossible genetically. The species are too different.
  2. It is a cross between a house cat and an American bobcat or the Canadian lynx. This is too fanciful. There is no evidence that this happened and anatomically the theory is unsupported.
  3. It is descended from 6 Angora cats that belonged to the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette. A sailor, Capt Samuel Clough of Wiscasset, Maine brought them to the state on board his ship, The Sally, together with other possessions belonging to the Queen. The cats broke free and fended for themselves in the New England countryside founding the breed.
  4. It is descended from Norwegian Forest cats which were sent to America by Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution when she hoped to escape to the New World.
  5. It is descended from Angora cats brought to America by Marie Antoinette during the American War of Independence.
  6. It is descended from Persians and Angoras brought to New England by an English sea captain whose name was Coon. He was the captain of a trading vessel and he liked cats. The cats escaped his ship and ended up on dry land where they founded the Maine Coon.
  7. It is descended from Norwegian Forest cats in the 500 years before Columbus discovered the New World as they were brought over on ships by Vikings.
  8. It is descended from Russian long-haired cats brought to the state of Maine by sailors on trading ships.
  9. It is descended from a French breed of cat from the mountains of the Pyrenees which looked very similar to the Maine Coon cat. The early French explorers brought these cats to The New World during trading voyages to deal with the local Indian tribes.
  10. It is a cross between local house cats running wild in the New England forests and Angora cats that had been imported into New England by sailors. The sailors brought the cats across because they were exotic.
  11. It is a result of British sailors bringing Angoras over as ships' cats in the 1850s. The cats escaped the ships and matted with the local cats founding the cat breeds, the Maine Coon.
  12. It is a descendant of local house cats that became semi-wild and they gradually developed heavier and thicker coats, as a result, against the cold. They became barn cats in the state of Maine.
The last is correct but only part of the story. This cats ultimately came from Europe with the settlers in the 1600s and therefore any of the theories which includes the cats coming from Europe may have some validity.

The accepted origin of the Main Coon cat is that European settlers brought over from Europe long-haired cats and these cats settled with their owners in the state of Maine and from there they became typically barn cats and the usual semi-domesticated cat whereupon in about the mid-1800s the cat fancy was beginning to develop and breeding started in the late 1800s which meant that these handsome barn cats were developed into purebred show cats. 

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