MAINE COON CAT WORLD HISTORY
There are many legends how Maine Coon Cat has originated. I will try to make an easy summary.
One of most romantic legends is one about Marie Antionette, The Queen of France. Marie Antoinette had also a few sympathizers and they wanted help her in her driven life. Her supporters had organized sail which should take her to newly discovered country, to America. Legend says that the ship captain named Clough promised to transport The Queen with her several cats safely to the American cost. But when the events began to turn towards the execution of The Queen, captain had panicked and sailed off from France without The Queen. But cats of Marie Antoinette were already on board.
Some sources say that there were several Norwegian Forest Cats, which were the gift from Swedish King and several Persians and Angoras. Nobody knows the true. But the legend says that when the ship arrived at the shores, cats were escaped and joined to a pack with domestic cats. American domestic cats were very strong cats, with strong body construction, big head and strong paws. By the crossing with The Queen´s longhair cats the Maine Coon Cat has originated. But this legend sounds more like fairy tale not real history.
More supposable is story which was descripted by Mrs. Molly Haley, Maine native, she has heard the story about Jack Coon captain. He earned his living by shipping various shipments and he used to deliver also longhair cats. These cats stayed in American farms, were crossed with domestic cats and deliver longhair kittens. And people used to say when longhair kittens were born that they are Coon cats.
When we look at the origin history from a scientific point of view we have to say that it is a result of the work of genes and nature over the long years. Maybe with the human help or without. But one thing is sure. There is no breed of wild cats in Northern America and Maine coon Cat ancestors were imported to America for sure.
The first Maine Coon Cat show was held in 1860 in Skowhegan and first Maine Coon Cat mentioned in history was black & white male named Captain Jinks of The Horse Marines. On the Boston´s show in 1878 was already 12 Maine Coons. Then history mentions female cat Cosie, which was winner of Madison Square Garden Show 1895 or male cat King Max, the winner of Boston´s show 1897-1899.
At the 1908 a pedigree book was established, which registered 28 Maine cats. The registration was made under the condition of honourable statement, that both parents were the same longhair breed. But the breed popularity has fallen down. Even in 1953, the breed was declared extinct.
But, thanks god, it was a big mistake. In 1953 was established Maine coon Cat Club by Alta Smith with Ruby Dyer. They also set the basis of the standard of Maine Coon Cat and conditions for breeding. From this moment the new Maine Coon history started to develop.
The first Maine Coon cats was imported to Czech Republic in March 1989 by Mrs. Bozena Resslova. There were two females and one male and they were from breeding cattery of Mrs. Ingeborg Jung from Germany. Mrs. Resslova was participated on establishing of Bohemia Cat Club in 1992 in the World Cat Federation.
Most of Czech breeders are organized under Fédération International Féline - FIFé and keeps their rules. Several breeders are also organized at TICA (The International Cat Association).
I think Maine Coon Cat catteries are very widespread. I tried to put into an internet browser the Maine Coon Cat cattery in Czech and it is not possible to count how many. There are also many groups on Facebook, where the breeders are joined and pass on experience and advices.
I don´t think that is not enough of breeding males in Czech. But I think not so many breeders keeps the principles of the healthy breed. Unfortunately, you can find catteries which combines animals not suitable for breeding. Normally you can meet heterozygotes crossings. There are a lot of an irresponsible breeder which sells their kitten for breeding as heterozygotes in PKDef, kinked tail etc. That´s why the breeders have to be very careful when they select a new arrival kitten for breed.
In our country are several breeding catteries which import their cats from abroad. Mostly they do it because of new blood needs. As I know, kittens for breeding are imported from Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Netherlands or Russia.
Maine Coon Cats have to be tested on several genetically portable diseases. These diseases are polycystic kidney failure - PKD, pyruvate kinase deficiency - PKDef, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - HCM, Spinal muscular atrophy - SMA and dysplasia of hip joints. I don´t have any own experience with diseases above mentioned but lot of laboratories deal with testing especially of these diseases for Maine Coon cat breeders and I think this is because of breeders' questions. Also, veterinarians recommend to precede that to make available tests - best on future kitten parents.
Generally, Maine Coon Cat is for me very interesting breed with very nice body and soft and silky coat, amazing head, beautiful eyes, stunning ears, great paws and really wonderful tail. And moreover, my Maine Coons are my best friends.
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