The first mention of Maine Coon cats in a literary work was in 1861

The first mention of the Maine Coon is in a book that I have: The Book of the Cat by Frances Simpson. It is a reprint and almost unreadable because of the poor reproduction quality. It is like a poor photocopy. Although Simpson was a classy writer. She was one of the early leaders of the cat fancy.

Frances Simpson writes about "Maine Cats" in Chapter 28. She starts off that chapter with the following words:

From my earliest recollection I have had from one to several long-haired cats of that variety often called Maine cats. As to how and when they came, I would say, like Topsy they just "growed" for their advent reaches far back beyond the memory of the oldest inhabitant.

Our own family circle was never complete without one or more cats - not always longhaired, but that variety always held the place of honour.

As early as 1861 my younger brother and myself owned jointly a beautiful long-haired black, pointed with white; he bore up for several years under the remarkable name of 'Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines'. 

I have no recollection of his earlier history or advent. I fancy, however, that these cats came into Maine much in the same way and about the same time that they did in England.

The Maine people having had them so long, it is difficult to arouse any great enthusiasm about them there. They are much like other people-they go into heroics over things they know less about.

Comment: there are one or remarks worth discussing. She appears to be saying that the longhaired cats in England were the same as the longhaired cats in the state of Maine in the USA because they were imported from England to the USA. 

But these were not Maine Coon cats as they are today. They were longhaired cats which were referred to as "Maine cats" in the state of Maine because they had a certain characteristic and appearance which was associated to that particular state. There were handsome moggies. Barn cats.

And interestingly she refers to the very long history of the "Maine cat" in the state of Maine which is correct because these were longhaired cats from England as mentioned and had been in that state since the immigrants first arrived in America, which was about 200 years before 1861.

Picture: By Gunn & Stuart - "Cats and All About Them" by Frances Simpson, Public Domain,


Please excuse the occasional typo due to preparing these articles at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I don't have a proof reader.


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