Maine Coon has the wrong name as it comes from New York

DNA testing has shown that the cat breeds can be separated but only over the past 150 years or so. The point about this DNA testing is that it shows that extensive selective breeding by purebred cat breeders has taken the cat breeds away from their origins. 

So, for example, the Persian is meant to come from Persia but none of the Persian cats in existence today have any connection to Persia, now Iran. Selective breeding has distanced the current breeds from their origins and this applies, I would argue, to the Maine Coon cat.

Maine Coon from South America
Maine Coon from South America. Photo: Dani.

You would have thought that all the current Maine Coon cats in America had their origins in the state of Maine in America. You would have thought that these cats had been brought over by European settlers in the 1600s to the state of Maine on the East Coast, become farm cats and then refined into show cats at the end of the 1800s. A DNA test should be able to establish that the current Maine Coon cats in America all started in the state of Maine but that is not the case.

DNA tests find that the closest non-pedigree relatives to the Maine Coon cat live in New York state. Yes, the non-pedigree relatives of the purebred Maine Coon are all in New York! It's a bit of a shocker that because you would expect that there would be a DNA connection between the random bred cats in Maine and the Maine Coon cat breed. But that isn't the case.

I don't think it matters that much because, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the origins of these breeds have been distanced by selective breeding. There is a disconnect between the current state of affairs with respect to any one breed and their long-term history. 

That doesn't always apply because, for example, the Turkish Van cat has random bred counterparts living in the Van district of Turkey. And the Turkish Angora comes from Turkey but the true Turkish Angora does not look like the American version. Once again breeding has distanced the cat from its true origins. In fact, on that subject the Turkish Van and Angora are the same cat! The breeders just separated them out to make 2 breeds.

It may the case that the original Maine cats, the barn cats of the state of Maine, of the 1800s were crossed with selected random-bred cats from NY state. I am guessing. Why are there NY state random bred cat genes in the Maine Coon?

Source: Dr Bradshaw's Cat Sense who referred to a study on DNA analysis of the cat breeds.


  1. Wasn't it simply that of the cats selected to revive the breed in the 1960's, only one was actually from Maine, but several were from the New York area?

    1. Thanks for the comment but I am not sure of the answer! Sorry. I'll check it out when I have time.


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