Cat + Wild animal Theory
The funniest myth, as well as the most unbelievable myth, is that the Maine Coon was the result of a cross between a wild cat and a raccoon. Just like the raccoon, the Maine Coon has a thick, hairy tail with black rings.
As with the raccoon, you can see each toe on the Maine Coon at its feet is very defined (in contrast to most cats who have a foot that seems to consist of one whole). The raccoon would also explain the second half of the name. Genetically such a cross is, of course, utterly impossible, but it is a lovely story!
Another legend is that of Marie Antoinette’s beloved longhaired cats. We’re talking about the time around the execution of the French Queen. Somewhere at the end of the 18th century. Documents have been preserved, telling us that during the French Revolution, conspiracies were forged to bring the Queen from France to the United States. With the cooperation of a certain Captain Samuel Clough, who herself came from Wiscasset, Maine.
In letters from the captain to his wife, he asked her to make the house as comfortable as possible. So that the Queen could move in with the captain and his family. The cargo lists also show that expensive furniture and other belongings were on board the ship, including six longhaired cats. After the beheading of Marie Antoinette in 1793, no one claimed the royal properties. So it happened that the cats stayed in Maine and intermingled with the local cat population.
Captain Charles Coon And His Cats
More likely is the folk tale of the English sailor. Captain Charles Coon, who also had half-haired cats (probably Norwegian Forest Cats) on his ships to keep his boats free of vermin. Every time Captain Charles Coon docked in New England and gave his sailors shore leave, the ship’s cats did the same! As more and more half longhaired kittens began to appear in the nests of the local wild cats, they began to be called “Coon’s cats” more and more often.
Then we have the legend that most breeders consider to be accurate, and that might also fit a bit better in time setting. The domesticated cat (Felis catus) finds its origin in the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. This means that before the discovery of America, there were no domesticated cats there. Somewhere at the end of the 1st century, the Vikings set foot in America for the first time and founded settlements there. In the state of Maine, they found a Norwegian coin from the reign of Olav IIII of Norway (1067 – 1093 AD).
It is very well possible that the Vikings also brought Norwegian Forest Cats with them. which then mixed with native populations of the bobcats, creating the first domesticated American cats, including the Maine Coon.