Are Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats related?

I believe that the question is asking whether Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats are related genetically. In other words, do they have the same foundation cats? Do they come from the same place? That I think sums up the question in the title. It is a question that pops up from time to time because they look very similar in terms of size, coat type and overall appearance. Although there are dissimilarities due to selective breeding e.g. the squarer muzzle of the Maine Coon. And this is my first point: the selective breeding (artificial selection versus natural selection) of the various cat breeds has disconnected them from their place of origin.

Comparing Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest and Siberian Cats
Comparing 3 similar breeds. See a page on this by clicking here.

It's as if through selective breeding ground zero in terms of their history begins with the breeders. It does not begin with Maine Coon cats living in the state of Maine as barn cats in 1650. And the Norwegian Forest cat's history does not really begin with the moggies of Norway any more. Selective breeding has introduced genes which appear to have erased their history.

But if there are some genetic similarities between Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats in terms of their origin it has been mooted that this is because Norwegian Forest cats were brought to North America as ships' cats at a very early date by the Vikings. You have to believe that the Vikings visited North America in the 500 years before Columbus discovered the New World. And that these ships' cats from Norway became both the Norwegian Forest cat and the Maine Coon.

Apparently one expert cat judge at a cat show in Berlin remarked that in her opinion they did indeed belong to the same breed. However, the counterargument is that both are solid longhaired cats designed to withstand cold climatic conditions and therefore there are bound to look similar.

CLICK FOR NORWEGIAN FOREST CAT FACTS FOR KIDS

The conclusion is probably that they are unrelated. Both because of the reasons stated above to do with selective breeding and because it is far more likely that the Maine Coon originates in ships' cats brought over with English and European settlers in the early 1600s who landed on the east coast of America including in the states of Maine and New York as they now are.

On the subject of genetics, Dr. John Bradshaw in his book Cat Sense states that the current Maine Coon in America is genetically linked to domestic cats in New York state. This would indicate that ships' cats from England and Europe landed in New York state and from there were transported to Maine where they became the foundation cats for this very popular breed today. I am speculating of course because this is not fact and people really must understand that.

Perhaps another conclusion would be that we don't know and therefore all we can do is write about it and discuss the various options.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Maine Coon with a hint of tiger

Maine Coon versus Persian

Maine Coon Eye Colors