Are Maine Coons half raccoon?

I can guarantee, as can almost everybody else, that the popular cat breed called the Maine Coon is not, positively not, half raccoon! How do we know for sure? Because it is genetically impossible. These are two very distinct species of animal and they simply can't mate to produce offspring. There are limits to mating. For instance, the first filial Savannah cat has a serval father (medium-sized wild cat species) and a domestic cat mother. It is quite difficult to breed first filial Savannah cats which is why they are so expensive ($20k). But the serval and domestic cat are the same species.

Raccoon. Photo in public domain.


But to take two entirely different species of animal and imagine that you can create a wonderfully exotic hybrid simply isn't feasible. It was a bizarre myth that the raccoon was part of this cat's heritage but it is simply untrue. It does beg the question why they decided to name this cat the "Maine Coon".

The word "Maine" is a reflection of the US state of Maine which is more or less where the European settlers landed over 400 years ago and brought with them long-haired European cats which evolved into today's impressive Maine Coon. So we know where the first part of the name comes from. The second part i.e. the "Coon" perhaps comes from a ship's captain who plied his trade around the east coast of America including off the coast of the state of Maine and it is he who brought long-haired cats ashore with him as he was a cat lover. His name was Capt Coon! This may be very convenient, perhaps too convenient to be believable but there it is.

An original, not bred to extreme, brown tabby-and-white Maine Coon
 photographed by Helmi Flick.

Many of the first long-haired domestic cats were brown ticked or seal brown in colour and they had tabby rings on their tails somewhat like the tails of the raccoon. This may have encouraged the exotic thought that Maine Coons were half raccoon! No such luck.

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