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Origins

No records of the Maine Coon's exact origins and date of introduction to the United States exist, so several competing hypotheses have been suggested.
With unknown ancestral origins of the Maine Coon — there is only speculation and folk tales.

 

One such folk tale involves Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, who was executed in 1793. The story goes that before her death, Antoinette attempted to escape France with the help of Captain Samuel Clough. She loaded Clough's ship with her most prized possessions, including six of her favorite Turkish Angora cats. Although she did not make it to the United States, her pets safely reached the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they bred with other short-haired breeds and developed into the modern breed of the Maine Coon.

 

One such folk tale involves Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, who was executed in 1793. The story goes that before her death, Antoinette attempted to escape France with the help of Captain Samuel Clough. She loaded Clough's ship with her most prized possessions, including six of her favorite Turkish Angora cats. Although she did not make it to the United States, her pets safely reached the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they bred with other short-haired breeds and developed into the modern breed of the Maine Coon

Another folk tale involves Captain Charles Coon, an English seafarer who kept long-haired cats aboard his ships. Whenever Coon's ship would anchor in New England ports, the felines would exit the ship and mate with the local feral cat population. When long-haired kittens began appearing in the litters of the local cat population, they were referred to as one of "Coon's cats".

A myth which is trait-based, though genetically impossible, is the idea that the modern Maine Coon descended from ancestors of semi-feral domestic cats and raccoons. This myth is likely based on the common colour of the breed  (brown tabby) and its bushy tail.

Until recently the generally accepted hypothesis among breeders was and in most case, still is that the Maine Coon is descended from the pairings of local short-haired domestic cats and long-haired breeds brought overseas by English seafarers (possibly by Captain Charles Coon) or even 11th-century Norsemen. The connection to the Norsemen is seen in the strong resemblance of the Maine Coon to the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Some recent DNA testing sources, indicates that the genes in the Maine Coon are most likely, descended from the pairings of cats that traveled with the Norsemen Norwegian Forests cats and English Short Hair.

Origins

No records of the Maine Coon's exact origins and date of introduction to the United States exist, so several competing hypotheses have been suggested.
With unknown ancestral origins of the Maine Coon — there is only speculation and folk tales.

 

One such folk tale involves Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, who was executed in 1793. The story goes that before her death, Antoinette attempted to escape France with the help of Captain Samuel Clough. She loaded Clough's ship with her most prized possessions, including six of her favorite Turkish Angora cats. Although she did not make it to the United States, her pets safely reached the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they bred with other short-haired breeds and developed into the modern breed of the Maine Coon.

 

One such folk tale involves Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, who was executed in 1793. The story goes that before her death, Antoinette attempted to escape France with the help of Captain Samuel Clough. She loaded Clough's ship with her most prized possessions, including six of her favorite Turkish Angora cats. Although she did not make it to the United States, her pets safely reached the shores of Wiscasset, Maine, where they bred with other short-haired breeds and developed into the modern breed of the Maine Coon

Another folk tale involves Captain Charles Coon, an English seafarer who kept long-haired cats aboard his ships. Whenever Coon's ship would anchor in New England ports, the felines would exit the ship and mate with the local feral cat population. When long-haired kittens began appearing in the litters of the local cat population, they were referred to as one of "Coon's cats".

A myth which is trait-based, though genetically impossible, is the idea that the modern Maine Coon descended from ancestors of semi-feral domestic cats and raccoons. This myth is likely based on the common colour of the breed  (brown tabby) and its bushy tail.

Until recently the generally accepted hypothesis among breeders was and in most case, still is that the Maine Coon is descended from the pairings of local short-haired domestic cats and long-haired breeds brought overseas by English seafarers (possibly by Captain Charles Coon) or even 11th-century Norsemen. The connection to the Norsemen is seen in the strong resemblance of the Maine Coon to the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Some recent DNA testing sources, indicates that the genes in the Maine Coon are most likely, descended from the pairings of cats that traveled with the Norsemen Norwegian Forests cats and English Short Hair.