Majestic Child of Maine
The Maine Coon originated in Maine, New England off the eastern seaboard of the USA.
Though some say that the original cats were brought by the Vikings with what today we know as the Norwegian Forest cat. Artefacts have been discovered along the 49th Parallel and in Newfoundland, proving that marauding Vikings definitely were there.
And with their many toed cats? The jury is still out……? The breed was brought to South Africa from England in 1987 and has subsequently become one of the most sought-after breeds of cat in South Africa.
Maine Coons are known as the ‘gentle giants’ of the cat world.
But it is not only their huge size and rugged looks, nor their intelligence and playful nature that have made them such popular pets. They are extremely affectionate and get on well with children and other animals, including other dogs, parrots and even rabbits!
Everything about the Maine Coon points to a breed that had to adapt to survival in the very harsh New England winters. The coat is glossy and water-resistant and virtually maintenance free. A clear indication of how the breed adapted to fending for itself in the wild. They were known as ‘working cats’ as they usually lived in the barns and are natural hunters.
The fur is longer at the ruff, stomach and britches to protect against the wet and snow. And shorter at the neck to guard against tangling in the underbrush. The cat’s long bushy tail works as a ‘hot water bottle’ which the cat wraps around itself when it curls up to sleep in order to protect it from the cold and wind.
The legs are big and solid and well boned. The feet are big and round with tufted ‘snow shoes’ – just what a cat needs for walking on ice and snow!
The cats have a relatively long square muzzle which is ideal for grasping prey and lapping water.
The ears are well furnished – both inside and on the tips.
One characteristic of this breed is its distinctive ‘chirrup’. It is a very sociable cat and loves to talk to you. They love eye contact – in fact demand it, where other cats find it aggressive.
Most of them have a passion for water. After a rain storm they love trying to catch the leaves and twigs floating in the puddles. Many drink water off their paws after first splashing and swirling the water in their water bowls. Perhaps this was an instinct that went back to when they were wild and had to clear leaves and ice from their water bowls.
Maine Coons are not generally ‘lap’ cats. And rather prefer to ‘hang out ‘ with their owners. They are more like dogs and follow you everywhere. They will help investigate the plumbing or decide whether the hole for the new rose tree is big enough!!