Why are Maine Coons Called Maine Coons? A Brief History and Fun Facts!

The exact origins of the Maine Coon breed are unclear, but there are several theories. One of the earliest records of the breed can be found in the diary of a sea captain named Samuel Clough. In 1861, he wrote about a long-haired cat that he had acquired in 1850 in Maine. According to Clough, this cat was the father of all Maine Coons.

Possible Origins of the Maine Coon

Another theory on the origins of the Maine Coon is that they are descended from six cats that Marie Antoinette sent to America during the French Revolution. She had planned to escape to America but was unable to do so. Her cats, however, were sent ahead of her and arrived in Boston Harbor. These cats are said to have mated with local cats, giving rise to the Maine Coon breed.

Maine Coons in History

Their Role as Farm Cats

Maine Coons were once known as “working cats” because they were used on farms to catch mice and rats. They were also popular with sailors because they were good at catching mice on ships. Maine Coons are known for their hunting skills, which they inherited from their wild ancestors.

Their Popularity in the Show Ring

Maine Coons became popular in cat shows in the late 1800s. They were first recognized as a breed in 1895 by the Cat Fanciers Association. Maine Coons are still popular in cat shows today and are known for their beauty and unique characteristics.

Maine Coon Characteristics

Physical Characteristics

Maine Coons are known for their large size. They can weigh up to 20 pounds and stand up to 16 inches tall at the shoulder. They have long, thick coats that come in a variety of colors. Maine Coons are also known for their distinctive facial features, including large ears with tufts of hair on the tips.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Maine Coons are known for their gentle and friendly personalities. They are intelligent, playful, and loyal. They get along well with other pets and children, making them a great family pet. Maine Coons are also known for their love of water, and some even enjoy swimming.

The Naming of the Maine Coon

Possible Origins of the Name

There are several theories on the origin of the name “Maine Coon.” One theory is that it comes from the French word “chaton,” which means “kitten.” Another theory is that it comes from the word “coon,” which was a derogatory term for a raccoon. Maine Coons were known for their bushy tails, which were similar to a raccoon’s tail.

Other Names for the Maine Coon

Maine Coons are also known as American Longhairs and Maine Shags. These names reflect the breed’s long, thick coat and its origin in Maine.

Fun Facts About Maine Coons

Their Large Size

Maine Coons are one of the largest cat breeds in the world. They are known for their impressive size and strength. Maine Coons have been known to weigh up to 25 pounds and stand up to 16 inches tall at the shoulder.

Their Love for Water

Maine Coons are known for their love of water. They enjoy playing in water and some even enjoy swimming. This love of water is thought to be inherited from their wild ancestors, who lived near water sources.

Their Polydactylism

Maine Coons are often born with extra toes, a condition known as polydactylism. This is a trait that is common in cats from Maine and is thought to have been brought to the area by sailors.


In conclusion, the Maine Coon breed is a fascinating part of cat history. Although the exact origins of the breed are unknown, there are several theories. Maine Coons have played an important role in American history as working cats on farms and ships. They are known for their distinctive physical features, friendly personalities, and love of water. So why are Maine Coons called Maine Coons? While there is no definitive answer, the most likely explanation is that the breed originated in Maine and was named after the state.

ThePetFaq Team