Origin and History of the Maine Coon


  • The Maine Coon cat breed calls the New England region of the United States home.
  • The ancestor to Maine Coons likely came on ships captained by early settlers from Europe & Scandinavia. Once in America, these cats interbred with local felines, and after evolutionary magic, we get the modern Maine Coon. 
  • Maine Coons caught mice and pests for humans, but were soon invited into the house as valued pets. Not long after, they were elevated to show cat status. 
  • Today, they’re found in cat shows around the world, enjoying a spot as one of the top 3 most popular cat breeds in the world. 
  • The breed differentiates itself with a standout personality, extreme size, high price, and notable physical features.
Photo via Catza

Few things capture attention and imagination like the Maine Coon cat breed.

Maine Coons are so distinct. No other cat breed is as interesting with regard to their history and origin – fun stories and legends abound. Not to mention their characteristic physical features.

Let’s get into it.

Maine Coon Origin

The origin of the Maine Coon breed of cat starts in the 1700s. Ships sailing into New England probably carried their ancestor from European homelands – Northern Europe and Scandinavia.

These feline seamen left their vessel for some R&R and (as they tend to do) started relationships with the local land cats…

And the large Maine Coon cat breed was created!

Maine Coon History

Throughout their history, Maine Coons held a job – they caught mice and other pests in farms, houses, and ships.

This career path took advantage of the Maine Coon’s strengths: stalking, hunting and being physical.

Their performance and winning attitude got them a seat the table with humans, so much so that Maine Coons didn’t have to be a mouser anymore.

Function and health are signifiers of beauty, so it’s no surprise the natural, strong looking Maine Coon went into show business: the Show Cat career.

first winner of cat show Maine Coon
Cosey, winner of the first cat show in the United States, 1895

Honestly, that picture kind of creeps me out a little, but we gotta know the legacy of these majestic beasts.

And the show circuit is where you can find Maine Coon breeders and catteries working today.

This American breed of cat is also the state cat of Maine, and the second or third most popular breed in the US.

Maine Coon Cat Breed – Conclusion

Whether you’re thinking about bringing a Maine Coon into your home or reading to better know a current Maine Coon buddy, the details matter.

If you know the biological significance of a trait, you appreciate it more. When you learn the history of the breed, taking care of one carries more meaning.

But! If you just want a sweet, fluffy, big cat to show off to your friends, the Maine Coon breed is perfect for that too.

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