The Maine Coon is a cat of unknown origin, shrouded by myth, legend and fantasy. It would appear that the breed has always been around, for as long as anyone could ever remember.
The "Maine" in Maine Coon comes from their U.S State of origin, the state of Maine. The "Coon" brings mystery. Many people have tried to give explanations but no single story has ever, or will ever, be proven as correct.
One story which was passed on from generation to generation in Maine, was that the local cats mated with Raccoons. This, we now know, is genetically impossible. Another story is that of Captain Coon, a sea captain with a great fondness of cats. It is said that Coon bought and sold (and inevitably bred from) many longhaired breeds of cat around the world, and when he settled in Maine these cats mated with local cats to produce the Maine Coon.
Possibly the most romantic and tragic tale behind this breed is that of Marie Antoinette. At the height of the French revolution she is said to have planned to flee to Maine. Her longhaired cats and other treasured posesions were loaded on to the ship but before Marie could escape, she was caught and beheaded. The ship had to leave without her and her cats were released into the wilds of Maine. Her cats are said to have mated with the locals and thus formed the cat of Maine.
However they got here and wherever their names originate, they are truly amazing cats that capture the hearts of everyone who encounters them.
The Maine Coon is a semi longhaired cat and is recognised by every feline registration organisation in the world. Here, in Britain, our flagship resitration authority is the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). The GCCF recognises 20 different colours of Maine Coon coat - Bengals get brown or snow!