Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Queen's Cats

The history of Maine Coons. From PetSide:
There are only bits and pieces of folk tales, legends, and speculations as to how the Maine Coon came about. One of the more popular ones involves then-Queen of France, Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette sought the assistance of Captain Samuel Clough in an attempt to escape France and reach the New World in June 1791. Clough loaded Marie Antoinette’s most prized possessions in his ship. This included 6 of Marie Antoinette’s favorite Turkish Angoras. Unfortunately, Marie Antoinette and her royal family never got to escape. Her possessions did arrive in Wiscasset, Maine, however. The story has it that Marie Antoinette’s Turkish Angoras mated with the native shorthaired feline breeds in Maine to produce what we now call the Maine Coon. 
Another story is that of an English seafarer who was known for keeping longhaired felines aboard his ship. Every time Captain Charles Coon’s ship anchors in one of New England’s ports, his longhaired kitties would disembark, too. They would explore the port and its immediate surroundings before they set sail again. Coon’s cats interacted and mated with local feral cats. Local townspeople began noticing the increasing number of longhaired kittens in their town, which they referred to these as Coon’s cats. Somebody also forwarded the hypothesis that the Maine Coon is the result of mating between a domestic cat and a wild animal. 
The first of these myths involves a raccoon and a semi-feral domestic cat. The idea behind this proposition is the observation that Maine Coons have a bushy tail and a brown tabby color. The bushy tail is very characteristic of a raccoon, while the brown tabby is what you can expect from majority of domestic cats. Unfortunately, mating a cat with a raccoon was unheard of at the time. The second hypothesis involves the mating between a domestic cat and a wild bobtail. This should account for the tufts of hair that Main Coons are famous for on the tips of their ears. Again, this might not be possible at the time. (Read more.)

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