What is a Maine Wave?

The Maine Wave is a now a part of the history of cat breeds in that it was a new name suggested for the wavy-coated Maine coon cats which carried the Rex gene; the sort of genetic mutation that causes the curly-coated cats such as the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex. 

Rexed Maine Coon
Rexed Maine Coon in Germany. Photo: Messybeast.com

The British breeder David Brinicombe bred these curly-coated Maine Coons and he said at the time: "I exhibited my three recently (billed as 'Maine Waves' or just 'Waves') and received an overwhelmingly positive reaction to them, with very few adverse comments."

Not everyone in the cat fancy were so enamoured of the breed.

The Rex gene was first reported to be in the Maine Coon cat by British breeder Di Everett. She commented in 1994: 

"The first rexed Maine Coon in Britain was born, as far as we know, in our household in 1988. We have produced a total of four rexed kittens, from these different mothers, all mated to the same male".

The particular genetic mutation concerned was neither the same as the Devon Rex nor the American Wirehair gene. And neither, it was believed, was the gene the same as the Cornish Rex gene.

At one time it was thought that the gene which caused these curly-haired Maine Coons was semi-lethal because some of the rexed cats died young. But this was a miss-assessment because other breeders pointed out that their own cats were "bounding with health".

At the time some breeders thought that the Rex gene should be eliminated. I guess they were purists. Others thought it was an interesting new development.

The Rexed Maine Coon no longer exists as a distinct breed but they probably exist occasionally but I have no reports of that. If you have heard of any curly-coated Maine coon cats in circulation then please leave a comment!

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