Mountain Fork Scout, European male brown classic tabby -photo courtesy of his owners, The Madden Family
The Maine Coon cat is a shaggy coated cat originally recognized as a specific breed in Maine where they were held in high regard for their mousing talents. Through nature’s own breeding program, this breed developed into a sturdy cat ideally suited to the harsh winters and varied seasons of the region and now around the world.
This cat is one of the longest recognized breeds of cats. The ancestral origins of the Maine Coon are unknown, although there are theories and stories. One story involves Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, who was executed in 1793. The story goes that before her death, Antoinette attempted to escape France with the help of Captain Samuel Clough. She loaded Clough's ship with her most prized possessions, including six of her favorite Turkish Angora cats. Although she did not make it to the United States, her pets safely reached the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they bred with other short-haired breeds and evolved into the modern breed of the Maine Coon. Another folk tale involves Captain Charles Coon, an English seafarer who kept long-haired cats aboard his ships. Whenever Coon's ship would anchor in New England ports, the felines would exit the ship and mate with the local feral cat population. When long-haired kittens began appearing in the litters of the local cat population, they were referred to as one of "Coon's cats". The generally-accepted theory among breeders is that the Maine Coon is descended from the pairings of local short-haired domestic cats and long-haired breeds brought overseas by English seafarers (possibly by Captain Charles Coon) or 11th-century Vikings. The connection to the Vikings is seen in the strong resemblance of the Maine Coon to that of the Norwegian Forest Cat, another breed that is said to be a descendant of cats that traveled with the Vikings. The true source of the breed is speculated to be from the arrival of the Pilgrims in the 1600s that traveled from New England to North America.
In 1860 this cat was shown in New York, in some of the early exhibitions. They were also shown in New England at fairs and country shows. When Siamese and Persians began to be imported to the United States the Maine Coon Cat lost its popularity. By the 1950s the Maine Coon Cat started gaining recognition again and in 1976 they acquired championship level. After the Persian cat, the Maine Coon Cat pedigree is the second most popular in the United States. Maine Coons are found all over the world.
The Maine Coon is well known for its loving nature, kindly disposition and great intelligence. Maine Coons possess above-average intelligence, making them relatively easy to train. The males tend to be the clowns while the females retain more dignity, but both remain playful throughout their lives. Maine Coon cats are especially good with children and dogs and have always been a popular and sought after companion.
This breed is also known for its special voices: Maine Coon Cats rarely meow (and when they do, that soft, tiny voice doesn't fit their size) but use a loud chirping trill for everything from courting to invitation for play. Another rather strange quality is their affinity to water. They can often be seen playing with their paws in the sink, bath, or shower. They often like to come and sit on the edge of the bath and seem fascinated with the movement of the water. When they drink from their water bowls, they scrape the surface of the water for imaginary leaves. This is presumably an inherited quality from the time when they drank from pools.
Maine Coons are intelligent, playful and very gentle. They adore attention but are not overly demanding, and though they can be equally happy with any member of the household, they do tend to choose one particular person on whom they bestow the MOST affection.
Maine Coon cats are considered to be the "puppies" of the cat world. They will greet you at the door to welcome you home and follow you around the house going from room to room, and will wait outside a closed door for you to emerge. They are not overly noisy, but will chirp at you to tell you about their day or ask for their favorite food. They love people and want to be involved in every aspect of family life. Their exceptionally sweet disposition is second to none and they remain playful for all of their lives. They are commonly called the “Gentle Giants” of the cat world due to their large size and laid back attitude.
Many people consider Maine Coon cats to be the "perfect pet" with their unusual personalities, habits and tricks - and eagerness to help with every activity in the house. Maine Coons love to play and many will joyfully retrieve small items. 'Fetch' seems to be one of their favorite games and our cats are always ready to play. They usually drop the ball or toy mouse at our feet or by our shoes just like a dog would and then wait for us to throw it.
We feel that our direct imported European Maine Coon cats are quite large as well as amazing. Once you see a Mountain Fork Maine Coon kitten, it's "Love At First Sight".
Disclaimer: As with any animal, if a kitten/cat through unintentional acts or by neglect is allowed to be mishandled, tormented by small children, or abused in any manner, they may not adhere to the breed standard. This could result in a kitten/cat with aggressive behavior or a kitten not wanting to be petted or held. Maine Coons are known world-wide as "Gentle Giants". However; being a feline, even they are not excluded from forming a personality that is contrary to the Maine Coon breed standard.
Once you have owned a Mountain Fork European Maine Coon, to have any other would be like a compromise! Ours are an important part of our family and we hope to make them a part of your family as well.