One of the oldest natural breeds of North America, the Maine Coon, has been known as a true variety for more than a hundred years. As its name implies, it originated in the state of Maine. At one time it was thought that the cat was the product of matings between semi-wild domestic cats and raccoons, hence the name "coon" though this is now known to be a biological impossibility. Another legend tells how Marie Antoinette, in planning her escape from the horrors of the French Revolution, sent her pet cat to cared for in Maine until she could find herself, and them, a new home. Today's more enlightened felinophiles believe that long-coated cats such as the Angora were introduced to coastal towns as trade goods by visiting seamen, and these cats bred with the local domestic cats, resulting eventually in the large and handsome American longhaired breed we know today.
Considered by their fans to be perfect domestic peets, typical Maine Coon have extrovert personalities and are very playful and amusing, often teaching themselves tricks. They may take three or four years to develop their full size and stature, being very slow to mature. Although the coat is long and flowing, it rarely gets matted, and is easy to care for with occasional combing through.