region United States (Maine)
silhouette Midline semi-foreign
weight Five to nine kilos on average
dress All colors are allowed except chocolate, cinnamon lilac and fawn. The colourpoint pattern is prohibited
head Square muzzle
eyes Large and oval. Blue and minnow colors are allowed for white cats
ear Large, set high, preferably with plumes at the ends
tail Long and full
federation LOOF, CFA, ACF, ACFA, TICA, FIFe, WCF
The Maine Coon is a medium-long-haired cat breed from the state of Maine in the United States. This cat with a rustic physique is characterized by its very large size, it is indeed one of the largest breeds of domestic cat. The Maine Coon is also the oldest natural breed in North America. Development of the breed In 1860, the farmers of Maine, very proud of their cats, organized their own shows to elect the champion. The first Maine Coon cited in literature is a black and white male named Captain Jencks who was owned by Mrs. Pierce. This dates back to 1861. A little later, in 1895, this large cat caused a sensation in Madison Square Garden during the first official United States exhibitions and it was a Maine Coon female named Cosey who won the competition. . In 1897, a dozen Maine Coons participated in an exhibition in Boston. At the beginning of the 20th century, the popularity of the breed went beyond the East Coast and reached the West Coast of the United States, then gradually fell into oblivion since until 1950 the fashion was for Persians and Siamese, leaving many side the American giant. At the end of the 1940s, the Maine Coon breed was declared to have disappeared somewhat quickly. The breed's popularity grew again when two breeders founded the Central Maine Coon Cat Club in 1953. Three years later, this club also wrote the first standard for the breed. The efforts pay off since in 1960, the breed regained its former popularity. The Maine Coon has been officially recognized since 1967 by the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) and the Canadian Cat Association (CCA). The Cat Fancier Association (CFA) was slow to recognize the breed, which it refused on several occasions between 1969 and 1972. It was not until 1973 that the federation recognized the breed provisionally and 1976 for definitive recognition. Meanwhile, in 1972, the various existing standards were harmonized at national level. The Maine Coon was imported into France in 1981, but the breed only took off in the early 1990s and it was also at this time that Germany discovered it. The International Feline Federation (FIFe) recognized the breed in 1983 and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in 1986. Popularity Currently the Maine Coon is very popular. In 1988 in England he was already in the top ten breeds with 308 registered cats. In 2008, he was in seventh place among the most popular breeds, again according to the GCCF and, unlike others, he has remained there for 15 years. In view of the increase in the total number of purebred cats, the number of Maine Coon has doubled so that it can keep this seventh place. In the United States, its country of origin, the Maine Coon has remained in second place among the favorite purebred cats of Americans for several years, and has been the official mascot of Maine since 1985. In 2008, it represented the third breed in terms of births registered by the CFA. In France, he occupied between 2003 and 2008 the fourth rank with more than 2,000 registered pedigrees, an increase of 97% compared to 2003. Since 2008, he is third in the ranking of purebred cats in the LOOF and has outstripped the Chartreux . 2003 LOOF Registrations:1,317,Rank:4th GCCF Registrations:1,729,Rank:7th 2008 LOOF Registrations:2,600,Rank:3rd GCCF Registrations:2,095,Rank:7th five cats, called “founding cats” which served to construct the type of the breed as we know it and came from three different catteries: Andy Katt of Heidi-Ho, Bridget Katt of Heidi-Ho, Tatiana of Tati-Tan , Dauphin of France of Tati-Tan and Whittemore Smokie Joe. These five cats have been mated together a significant number of times as well as with their descendants. In particular a grandson and great-grandson of Andy Katt and Bridget Katt of Heidi-Ho called Heidi Ho Sonkey Bill who when he was married to a certain female gave kittens that all looked alike, like clones. These cats gave very good results in exhibition and they were used in an intensive way to develop the race, so much so that the consanguinity became very important. This expression has remained and we can calculate the rate of clones in a pedigree. Currently, we generally trace 35% of clones but this can go up to 50%. Acquisition The price of a Maine Coon varies greatly according to the age, lineage and aesthetic qualities of the individual, but also according to the breeder. In 2004, the prices observed in France for a kitten intended for the company (that is to say which will not be used as a breeder and will not be presented in competitions) vary from 650 to 1,000 euros; in the United States, a pet kitten was sold for between 350 and 500 dollars in 2007. In France in 2010, there were 756 declared breeders who had had at least one litter since 2003. Only 524 of them were active during the last two years and most of them only have one litter per year. Only about ten breeders declare more than ten litters per year. Reproduction The females have rather discreet heats and give birth on average to four kittens per litter with extremes ranging from one to eleven. In France, there have been 590 breeding males over the past two years, but only 113 of them contribute to more than half of French births. Most of these males are between one and two years old, but the oldest can be up to eleven years old. Females are more numerous on French territory: 1,129 over the past two years. They are however only 304 to give birth to more than half of the kittens. The majority of these females are between one and two years old but it can be up to nine years old. Outcrossing This term refers to the external blood supply. It is used by Maine Coon breeders who are working to enrich the currently very restricted genetic pool of the breed. For this, they work with the American origin books which are still open, that is to say which accept to register cats which are not purebred. There are indeed cats in the United States whose phenotype is very close to the Maine Coon. The chosen cat is then recorded in the stud book without knowing its parents and it is called “foundation cat” or F1. It is thus incorporated into breeding and can be mated with other “foundation cats” or with cats of classic lines. Health This breed is prone to many diseases due to high inbreeding. Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy This is a breed more predisposed than the others to feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). In the Maine Coon, this disease is transmitted in most cases in an autosomal dominant mode, through a mutation of the MYBPC gene of the HMC1 form, which is specific to the breed and which has been the subject of a test. specific DNA. The mobilization of Maine Coon breeders against this disease and their collaboration with cardiology laboratories will have enabled the implementation of this DNA test, the short-term objective of which is to eradicate this form of cardiomyopathy specific to Maine Coon and which represents 70% of known cases in the breed. It should however be emphasized that this DNA test is not of sufficient value to affirm that a Maine Coon is free from cardiomyopathy and remains only a tool for the breeder: ultrasound monitoring with color Doppler and DTI remains absolutely essential in the follow-up of breeders. Hip dysplasia Hip dysplasia can also affect the Maine Coon. This hereditary disease is characterized by malformation of the hip joints. Dyplasia causes painful joint damage that can lead to osteoarthritis. We do not have many studies on this subject, but it would seem that the breed is particularly affected, up to 20% for the American Orthopedic Foundation for animals. The first case of dysplasia in cats was diagnosed in 1974 and it cannot be ruled out that the excessive selection of large sizes over the years has led to the appearance of more and more frequent cases of dysplasia, such as this has been the case in recent decades in many large dog breeds. The malformation would develop in the kitten from the age of six months and in 72% of cases it is bilateral. It would seem that it is hereditary with polygenic determinism and that it is also influenced by the environment of the cat (obesity and intense physical activity in particular). X-ray screening can be done from the age of two cats. The examination is however quite heavy since it is carried out under general anesthesia, limbs attached in extension. There is no treatment for this condition other than surgery to remove the malformed part of the femur. Drug treatment may be given to stop cartilage damage or to temporarily relieve inflammation. Other diseases Although less present than in the Persian, polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is transmitted by autosomal dominant gene in the Maine Coon. The screening test is done by ultrasound, at the same time as the HCM screening. There is also a breed-specific DNA test, which detects mutations in the PKD1 gene, which causes the disease. In the Maine Coon we also suspect a form of polycystic kidney disease caused by a mutation of the PKD2 gene, but research does not yet allow us to confirm this completely. The breed can also have spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). This disease causes the degeneration of the neurons controlling the muscles. It is transmitted genetically in an autosomal recessive mode. There too, there is a DNA screening test to detect mutations in the LIX1 gene, responsible for the disease.
The Maine Coon is probably one of the oldest natural North American breeds. Several legends describe the origins of the breed. The most common says that the Maine Coon is the result of a cross between cats and raccoons (raccoon in English), which would explain their color (the most common is the brown tabby, that is to say tabby brown) and their very bushy tail. Of course, it is genetically impossible to make such a cross but the breed keeps its name from this legend. The second argues that the Maine Coon is a descendant of the six Angora cats sent by Marie-Antoinette of Austria when she was planning her escape to escape the French Revolution1. These Angoras were reportedly brought on Captain Samuel Clough's boat Sally from Wiscasset along with the Queen's other personal effects. The Angoras would then have mingled with local farm cats to give birth to the Maine Coon. Another theory holds that the breed developed from crosses between local farm cats and other long-haired or semi-long-haired cats first imported by the Vikings around the year 1000. coon would then descend from the Norwegian forest cat, which would explain their resemblance. This hypothesis is supported by the resemblance between Van Turks, Siberians, Norwegians and finally Maine Coons whose geographical origins correspond to the movements of the Vikings. This resemblance with Norwegian can also be explained by the fact that the winter climate of New England and Norway are identical and would therefore have led to selecting the same physical specificities. In the 19th century, Mrs. Pierce, one of the first Maine Coon owners, also speculated that these cats arrived on the Maine coast by sea, but not thanks to the Vikings, rather by the wealthy Maine families who then owned luxurious boats and traveled a lot. They would have brought back many exotic pets from their expeditions, especially to amuse children. Mrs. Pierce's second hypothesis was that Angora cats were taken on board merchant ships to hunt rats. Either way, they would have landed on the East Coast and mixed in with the local short-haired cats. Another possibility is that they were imported by European immigrants and knew how to adapt to the living conditions and harsh climate of the region.
Character traits are not defined by standards and remain individual and function of the individual's history. Despite his massive size and rustic demeanor, his character is often referred to as that of a "gentle giant". Very sociable, he gets along well with children and other animals according to the LOOF portrait. Still others describe him as a player, a good hunter, athletic and very attached to his owners.